Monday, June 29, 2015

Summer Revitalization

What do you do with your summer vacation?

For years I spent the summer getting my masters of English at the Bread Loaf school. I traveled to Vermont, New Mexico and England for my courses, learned and saw so much. It was awesome! Now that I have my M.A., I spend the summers at the lake, canoeing in search of frogs and turtles with my three-year-old and cooking as much as possible. I don't focus too hard on curriculum, though I enjoy a bit of work here and there.

As a teacher, do you think it's more important to be revitalized by the summer or to get ahead in your work?

I used to work hard to get ahead over the summer, planning units and projects like mad. These days, summer feels like the time to let that part of my brain rest a bit. Perhaps it all depends on how long you've been teaching, or how stressful your job situation is. I'm not sure. But I love to hear the wind in the trees and smell freshly baked cinnamon rolls in my oven. Somehow it helps me get ready for everything else that is to come when the leaves begin to change color.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Launching my 50 Follower Challenge and Giveaway

50 Follower Challenge / Giveaway

Hi Everyone,

If you'd like to learn how to create a classroom blog this summer and save yourself oodles of time and energy by linking in your homework assignments so you never have to deal with the make-up work paper trail again, read on.

This week I developed a great product for Teachers Pay Teachers that gives you a step-by-step guide to starting a classroom blog on Blogger and uploading and linking any documents you want to share at Google Docs. My class blog got over 5,000 hits in its first year - that's a lot of questions and e-mails I did not have to answer!!! 

I'm going to make this guide free to my followers as a flash freebie as soon as I hit 50 followers at TPT. Since I'm new to the site, I don't have many followers yet. But I'm not new to teaching, and I have dozens of great products available. Come on over, click the green star, and get us a bit closer to that blog product giveaway. Thanks! You'll soon find that Teachers Pay Teachers is quite a resource, both for sharing your own curriculum and finding wonderful resources developed by your peers.

Saving Grading Time and Energy

Nothing overwhelms me as a teacher like having an essay due in every class. Or a stack of finals to grade. I love writing curriculum and working with students, but the hours and hours of grading are really tough.

After seven years and thousands of essays, I've found that 95% of my students errors come from the same eight mistakes. That's why I've developed a simple handout that addresses them all. I'm giving it away over at my Teachers Pay Teachers store. Grab it. Print it. Insist that your ELA students use it in their self-edits, peer edits, and maybe even lunchtime conversations. If they can get the hang of these eight simple things, they will be so much more prepared for college, and your grading hand will finally stop cramping up...