Memories and Looking Ahead!





2014 brought some good times with going to concerts, 
watching various football games that my sons played, 

This was at the Will Muschamp 2014 Jr. Gator Camp


Disney stay-cations and trips to the Florida Disney parks, 




but the most special was the trip to England with my Husband and two sons!










We are not sure we can top that one this year, but we hope to go out West on 'ol Route 66.  We'd love to find a way to RV it, but they are just so darn expensive!

As for school, well let's just say that I still teach Special Needs but the way it's structured now I only work as a Facilitation teacher for my Special students and spend the rest of the day teaching 8th grade ELA.  I enjoy ELA immensely so this is not a problem except that we're taking a brand new State test and all courses now also have a local End of Course Exam....yikes!  

I am hopeful though, as this year is the first year of all these tests, I know that we will learn a lot for next year.  

And speaking of next year -  2015...


I am thinking that I'd like to include verses in my boys lunch at least once per week and then we can discuss them in the car on the way to school.  It would be a good way to focus the day.

Plus, I'd like to be able to make some scarves and hats that would be nice for those nippy days we get sometimes here in Florida.  It might be fun to teach this to my students too!

As for blogging and such, I plan to blog at least once per week and add one new product at least once per month.  I am going to go back to my "secret sauce" - novel games.  Up next - the game for Hatchet!

Susan was my inspiration for these last 2 goals - putting time on them makes them seem so much more "do-able"!
You can join the fun by clicking {here}.

And now, for those of you looking for a way to do this New Year's resolution thing with your students, I'd like to share a freebie:




Click {here} to get your freebie!  I'll be using this and making sure my students add a time frame to make it more "do-able" too.  :)


Thanks for stopping by!


Winter Things to Do

Yay!  It's Christmas break!  No school for two weeks!!  That means I have lots of time to do what I want to do.  What would that be, you ask?  Well, here's a small list:



I also want to sleep in and read some books, but that wouldn't fit on the list!  I hope I have time for all these things, but mostly just to be in the moment of all the holiday fun!

You can share your list at Teaching with Grace!


You might also want to check out this great giveaway:



Thanks for stopping by!


Anchors Away with Logos & Pathos


Today I am linking up with Deb at Crafting Connections for


We have been working on close reading of Argumentation texts.  With that, we have been focused on diffusing vocabulary, using the ACE method to write short answers and thanks to Darlene at ELA Buffet, we are using RACES for longer answers.

As part of our quest, we have been learning that argumentation authors use various persuasive appeals.  The two that we have focused on are logos and pathos.

I made this anchor chart to help us remember which is which:


Living in Florida, we hear a lot about the sun and sun protection so I thought this would be pretty relevant for the students.

This week the students will be creating their own project to compare/contrast the appeals in the two texts we have been studying in our SpringBoard textbooks.  If you are interested in that, I'd be happy to share the projects and the rubrics - just let me know.  :)

Not very holiday-y but this is what we must do.  I will at least play some lovely holiday music in the background while we work!

Before I go, I want to wish my Granny a Happy Birthday!  
Today she is 101!


This was taken last year on her 100th Birthday - I so wish I could be there today, but alas, she lives in NY and I am in FL.  I will, however, try to get my Uncle to Facetime for us.  :)

Thanks for stopping by!



Sparking Motivation with Music


I am linking up with Joanne at Head Over Heels for Teaching for


We all know that music is motivating, but I found something that worked so well for me this week that I just had to share.

I am sure many of you are working with your students to help them learn to write text-based short answers.  A lot of people call this the "ACE" strategy (Answer, Cite, Explain).

We were working on this through a close reading workshop in our Springboard curriculum on Argumentation when I found this:



It was perfect!  

And as luck would have it, I had an unexpected (surprise!) observation while I was using this!  And not just an ordinary observation - our district ELA coach was part of it!  Yikes!

I started class with my planner routine, followed by a discussion of the learning target in relation to the scale, then we watched this video, made an ACE foldable from Lovin' Lit's Interactive Writing Notebook, and finally used our text to create a sample ACE response as a class.



Thankfully, with this video, the kids were super motivated and into the lesson.  I received much praise and great feedback.  Whew!  The district coach even asked me to co-teach a model lesson with her next week so I guess she was impressed!

Now I just have to find something motivating for that...  :)

Thanks for stopping by!



Show us what you bought!


I'm linking up with BlogHoppin' to show you what I bought!


I love this kind of linky because I really enjoy seeing what everyone has bought for their classrooms - it always gives me more ideas for my students!

Here's what I bought:


I bought this because I am thinking that this will help me prepare my students better for our new Florida Standards Assessment that is coming in the Spring.  I am thinking that I can use these for bell-ringers or homework.



Since I am teaching 3 classes of "regular" Language Arts, you can imagine that there are time when I am up to my eye balls in essays!  I definitely needed this!



This was a kind of impulse buy - I like the idea of essays being "graded" by peers in a competition sort of way.  I am thinking there might be many uses for this idea - community building and some healthy peer pressure too!

So, what did you buy?  I hope you'll link up because I will definitely be reading all those posts to discover new and exciting things to put on my wishlist for the next sale!  :)

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, Monday...with Argumentation




It's hard to believe my Thanksgiving break has come to an end!  It went by soooo fast...sigh.

When I get back today, we will be beginning a close read workshop through our Springboard books for Argumentation.  

Unfortunately, it looks a bit dry.  I am hoping to satisfy the requirements by using it as an "I do" activity, but then branch out with some great little items in my TpT shopping cart!


I also had an idea of my own... what about using popular children's books and then posing a great open ended question for the students to "argue" about using text evidence?
I am thinking about the one about that mean green fella (I heard that using the actual name will bring lawyers out of the woodwork) and "Polar Express".
I think this would be a great "we do" activity where students work with partners to outline an argumentation essay.  I have just the pattern for them to use...



Then maybe for a "You do", the students could read "The Gift of the Magi" and then get another open-ended question for which to choose a side.  This time, they would independently read, plan and write an argumentation essay.

I'll have to run this by my PLC....fingers crossed that we can inject some holiday fun into our plans!  :)

Thanks for stopping by!