I made my planner today! I’ve been tweaking my ideas and figuring out what I want and how I want it over the past few weeks. I am so, so excited about how it turned out. It has a grade book section, a full calendar for the year, lesson planning and unit planning sections, and the back has pages set up for taking notes at meetings (because I usually take notes for meetings in fifteen different notebooks and then I can never find what I need). 

I used (the old 2009 version of) Pages to make everything after being truly inspired by hithertokt. I finally declared it “perfect enough” and took the whole thing to Staples this afternoon to get it printed out and bound. Right now I’m in the process of adding tabs and covering the covers with washi tape, making it look all pretty (because that, kiddos, is what is truly important). 


Math is so amazing.

Tagging Hithertokt because I remember one time she said she needed to get better at not hating math.

hithertokt  asked:

So, this: "I wanted students to be reading a book for pleasure at their own pace while we went over the process for creating a persuasive argument." Could you possibly tell me more about how you incorporated these two elements together? I too have started having students read for pleasure, and would be most appreciative of your insight.

Sorry for the delay, but I was trying to figure out the best way to describe the craziness that happens in my classroom.  I couldn’t think of a good way, so you are getting my best go.

In VA we give students the English EOC test in 11th grade.  This includes a persuasive essay which they have never been expected to write (according to the standards) until 11th grade.  When students enter my class they have two months to be ready for the written portion of their test, so we hunker down into what it means to create an argument, how to construct a great thesis, how to support your ideas, etc. During this time it is very easy to lose sight of reading and literature and this makes me profoundly sad.  So, instead of starting with the traditional Scarlet Letter, or the like, I let them pick their own book that they can be enjoying during this stressful writing time.

In class I have them journal, but I am specific about what they are writing.  I went through our state standards and tried to apply the concepts from all areas (speaking, writing, reading, research) to a novel study.  Here is an example of what in the world I am talking about (all three bullets would be used together):

  • Most novels has a central issue—something that the characters are dealing with, or must overcome.  What is this issue in your novel (answer in complete sentences)?
  • What would be helpful to research in order to understand the struggles that your characters are going through more deeply?
  • Create a list of at least five places you could find information about this topic. This could include specific people, websites, organizations, books that you know about, etc.

In this way I am having them think about research in a way that is not merely a “read and answer the prompt” kind of way.

I would be more than happy to answer any other questions you, or anyone, may have about this process.

Oh my gosh. hithertokt said she wanted to send me a mug. I was definitely not expecting all of this! You are too, too kind, my friend. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I nearly cried when I opened the box today.

Lately, I have been so blown away by the relationships I’ve made in this community and how much they mean to me. I don’t know how I would be surviving my first year without you guys.

Re: previous post about my planner

Here’s a PDF of my planner so far. 

If the monthly calendars seem weird just know that they will be double-page spreads, so one month spread over two open pages. :) You’re welcome to use/steal whatever is convenient for you! Just give me a heads up if you do. I’d like a general idea of what you like about it or any suggestions for improvement.

Also, I got a lot of inspiration from Hithertokt’s planner, and she posted a bunch of templates here! She’s also generally wonderful. :)

Just in case you were wondering,

Hithertokt is just as sweet and lovely in person as she is on her blog. We ate nachos and drank beer and talked teaching and tumblr, and her patient boyfriend withstood it all (what a champ!).

I’m so lucky to live in the same city as tumblr friends’ relatives. :)

hithertokt replied to your photo:Workspace for editing a play. Acts 1 & 2 done.

Why editing?

We’re putting on Midsummer as our fall play this December.  I’m editing it.  Yay for open domain texts!  This means it’s free to produce.  We’re only out photocopying costs.  It’s a short play, but really monologue-y and overly descriptive (because, that’s Renaissance theater for ya).  I’m keeping the meter 90% (when editing allows), trimming bits, and making all the pronunciation American.  (This is a high school show.  I guarantee we’ll have kids try out who have never really read Shakespeare.) There are rare moments I’m switching the order of lines (because William is dead and I’m here so nyah nyah nyah…).  The most liberty I have taken is reassigning lines in the final act so Hermia and Helena speak more during the mechanical’s show.  And that’s how I’m spending the second week of my summer vacation. 

hithertokt replied to your link: Do you really have a question for Cop with a Teacher?

Might have missed the opportunity, but: I remember you posted once about your fiance dropping off your lunch at school and your students’ awed reaction. What does he think about the almost mystical quality in which students view his existence?

Exact quote:  

“Wow…that’s a heavy question.  I would have to say that part of it probably because you talk about me so much and they have so little contact with me, and also police officers seems so inaccessible.  But over all, I’m amused by it.”

GWALP adds:  While he answers this, he’s sipping a Guinness and taking apart his pistol.  I can see the mystique.

The drama kids know him better than most because he’ll show up to a stray rehearsal and always makes it to shows.  They have no problem even sidling up to him and start chatting.  During improv games, the kids would heckle him from the stage DURING a sketch about not proposing to me.  

Tumblr Karma

So, my semester buddy has been absent this semester. No big deal.  I love putting together packages to send away, so I don’t mind. 

After I posted my Pen Buddy picture yesterday I was sent a sweet message explaining that there was a bit of a mishap and they had also sent me a buddy package.  Thanks tumblr karma! The part that made this extra special? The message was from hithertokt!! 

We all have tumblr blogs that we love and hithertokt is one of my absolute favorites.  I love her posting style and her lesson always impress.  It also doesn’t hurt that I am reading a Pride and Prejudice spin off right now that uses the word “hitherto” liberally and it reminds me of her every time.

This community allows us to feel connected to educators we have never met and I think that is pretty great.

I will post the amazingness that was in the package sent to me latter, but I just wanted to spend a moment singing the praises of hithertokt.


@hithertokt’s Snow Day Challenge! And it is only a quarter after 4!

I did something I enjoy. I made buffalo mac & cheese, played a ton of Just Dance (guilty pleasure song - One Direction’s “What Makes You Beautiful” - 5 stars baby). Now, I am about to curl up and read It’s Kind of a Funny Story.

I did something school related. Started mapping out my class’s Olympic games. I am going to break them up into four teams. They will be awarded/deducted points for homework and behavior, and there will be an event every day. On the last day, we will have a day filled with the more… involved/active/messy events. I’m getting excited.

I went outside. Murphy did not want to join me in the snow. And bonus for hithertokt, I found sun. Not a whole lot, but some!


Hithertokt’s Snow Day Challenge Yay!

Go outside: I braved the barely-double digits and took a walk to the store. As a friendly reminder, I don’t own pants ;) Also! If you look quite closely at the second picture, you can see the Capitol building. I only live a few blocks away (i.e. come visit?)!

Do what I want: I moved my body with Cardio X. It was more of a I-have-to-or-I’ll-go-insane thing as opposed to an oh-yeah-I-way-want-to-do-this-now thing, but it felt good to be a bit less blobesque (even if I do hate the yoga warm-up for this one).

School related: Dun dun dun. Here is my school’s amazingly annoying and inefficient template with which we have to write our lesson/unit plans. It doesn’t make any sense to me so I dread it, but we have to have them in a binder in our room just in case admin does a walk through–it’s the first thing they look for and the first thing they mark down on in an observation. Wah.

What did you guys do today?

hithertokt: TOTALLY. I almost tagged you after I said that Liquid Flairs are where it’s at, just to say that you should feel at least partial responsibility. I wrote ONE word with it, paused, looked at the boy and exclaimed “Holy shit." 

christinaamused: I can’t thank you enough!! I used the pens all day yesterday and was delighted to write passes left and right simply because I was able to use my new pens! Also- I had the same thought about sending my package out in the cold! Was very nervous about the pens’ well being. THANK YOU! :)