Monday, July 27

Back to School Ideas


Hi Everyone,

I cannot believe back to school season is around the corner. Next you will tell me Walmart has their Halloween decorations on display.

It's Kristy from 2 Peas and a Dog. I am so excited to go back to school this year for my 9th year of teaching During my career I have always taught ELA and I love it.

My absolute favorite novel to teach is The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton. It is a fantastic novel that speaks to the realities of teenage life, and the various perspectives of social classes. I cannot believe that S.E. Hinton was only 16 years old when she wrote the book and 18 years old when it was published in 1967.

During the first chapter of the novel when all of the characters get introduced my students usually give each other side glances. Who names their kids Ponyboy and Sodapop? They quickly forget their initial impressions as soon as the interaction between the characters begin.  What is your favourite novel? I love adding new books to my classroom library and syllabus.

My favorite back school activities are things that get kids up and moving and meeting their classmates. When they enter my room they have a Student Info Sheet  waiting on their desk so they have a task to do while I am taking attendance, helping lost students find their real homeroom (believe it or not every year I have students who end up sitting in a desk in my classroom, who are not my class list, and I have to page the office to help me sort it out) and sorting out general first day chaos.

After attendance has been taken and I introduce myself, students work on two activities Back to School Bingo and Interview The Room Activity which require them to get out of their desks and get to know their fellow classmates. Students want and need to talk to their peers on the first day of school and this gives them an opportunity for purposeful talk with their peers.
    
The first week of school, I make the seating plan alphabetical by last name, but by the end of the week I ask each student to fill out a Student Seating Plan Choice Card. The following week I rearrange my groupings using their input and my professional judgement. You can find these fun and engaging resources by clicking on the photos below.
Back to School BingoBack to School Activities


Check out other awesome ideas from The Literary League Goes Back to School Blog Hop.



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Sunday, July 26

#2ndaryELA Twitter Chat on Classroom Libraries

Join secondary English Language Arts teachers Tuesday evenings at 8 pm EST on Twitter.

Brynn Allison, The Literary Maven & Kristy, 2 Peas and a Dog are hosting #2ndaryELA on Twitter every Tuesday evening from 8 - 9 PM EST.  #2ndaryELA is a weekly chat for secondary English Language Arts teachers focused on a topic.  Every Sunday, we will post the topic and questions on our blogs to allow you to prepare for the upcoming Tuesday evening's chat. Thank you to everyone who joined us last week and we hope that you will join us again.

On Tuesday, July 28, our #2ndaryELA chat will focus on the ELA classroom library.

The Format:
8:00 Intros: What and where do you teach? Include a link to your blog if you have one.
8:05 Q1: What are the most popular reads in your classroom library? (titles, genres, etc.)
8:15 Q2: Where do you get your books from? (other than what your school provides)
8:25 Q3: How do you ensure that your books match student interests and reading levels?
8:35 Q4: Do you allow students to take books home? What is your system for managing that?
8:45 Q5: How do you have your classroom library organized? Is it easy for students to self select?
The Directions:
1. Log into Twitter on Tuesday from 8-9 PM EST.
2. Search for tweets with the hashtag #2ndaryELA in the search bar.  Make sure to click “All tweets.”
3. Introductions are for the first 5 minutes.
4. Starting at 8:05 (@literarymaven or @2peasandadog) will post questions every 10 minutes using the format Q1, Q2, Q3, etc. and the hashtag #2ndaryELA.
5.  Respond to questions using the format A1, A2, A3, etc. with #2ndaryELA.
6.  Follow any teachers responding and who are also using #2ndaryELA.
7.  Like and respond to other teachers' tweets.

You can schedule your responses to the questions ahead of time using a scheduler like TweetDeck or HootSuite (but don't forget to use A1, A2, etc. and #2ndaryELA). Links are encouraged, so be sure to use a link shortener like tinyurl, bitly, goo.gl or ow.ly  Just visit one of those links and paste your long link to shorten it for Twitter. Using images is also encouraged when relevant.

New to chats? Here are the rules:
1. Stay on topic & stay positive!
2. Please do not post or promote paid products unless specifically asked.
3. If you arrive late, try to look through other posts before beginning.
4. Feel free to just read, like, and/or retweet.
5. Always use our hashtag #2ndaryELA, including in your replies to others.
6. Make sure your twitter feed is set to public. (Also keep in mind that Twitter is completely public – that means students, parents, and administrators can and will read what you tweet.) 

Be sure to spread the word to any teacher friends who might be interested in joining us as well. 

We look forward to chatting with you Tuesday evening.
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Sunday, July 19

#2ndaryELA Twitter Chat The ELA Classroom Environment


Brynn Allison, The Literary Maven & Kristy Avis, 2 Peas and a Dog are hosting #2ndaryELA on Twitter every Tuesday evening from 8 - 9 PM EST.  #2ndaryELA is a weekly chat for secondary English Language Arts teachers focused on a topic.  Every Sunday, we will post the topic and questions on our blogs to allow you to prepare for the upcoming Tuesday evening's chat. Thank you to everyone who joined us last week and we hope that you will join us again.



On Tuesday, July 21, our #2ndaryELA chat will focus on the ELA classroom environment.

The Format:
8:00 Intros – What and where do you teach? Include a link to your blog if you have one. #2ndaryELA
8:05 Q1: What makes your classroom appropriate for and appealing to secondary ELA students? #2ndaryELA
8:15 Q2: What are the “must haves” in your classroom? (furniture, decor, materials, etc.) #2ndaryELA
8:25 Q3: How do you showcase student work and evidence of learning? #2ndaryELA
8:35 Q4: How do you arrange your desks? Why does that work best for you and your students? #2ndaryELA
8:45 Q5: Share a picture of your classroom or one that inspires you. #2ndaryELA

The Directions:
1. Log into Twitter on Tuesday from 8-9 PM EST.
2. Search for tweets with the hashtag #2ndaryELA in the search bar.  Make sure to click “All tweets.”
3. Introductions are for the first 5 minutes.
4. Starting at 8:05 (@literarymaven or @2peasandadog) will post questions every 10 minutes using the format Q1, Q2, Q3, etc. and the hashtag #2ndaryELA.
5.  Respond to questions using the format A1, A2, A3, etc. with #2ndaryELA.
6.  Follow any teachers responding and who are also using #2ndaryELA.
7.  Like and respond to other teachers' tweets.

You can schedule your responses to the questions ahead of time using a scheduler like TweetDeck or HootSuite (but don't forget to use A1, A2, etc. and #2ndaryELA). Links are encouraged, so be sure to use a link shortener like tinyurl, bitly, goo.gl or ow.ly  Just visit one of those links and paste your long link to shorten it for Twitter. Using images is also encouraged when relevant.

New to chats? Here are the rules:
1. Stay on topic & stay positive!
2. Please do not post or promote paid products unless specifically asked.
3. If you arrive late, try to look through other posts before beginning.
4. Feel free to just read, like, and/or retweet.
5. Always use our hashtag #2ndaryELA, including in your replies to others.
6. Make sure your twitter feed is set to public. Also keep in mind that Twitter is completely public – that means students, parents, and administrators can and will read what you tweet.

Be sure to spread the word to any teacher friends who might be interested in joining us as well. We look forward to chatting with you Tuesday evening!
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Sunday, July 12

#2ndaryELA Twitter Chat


Brynn Allison from The Literary Maven & Kristy Avis from 2 Peas and a Dog are hosting a #2ndaryELA chat on Twitter every Tuesday evening from 8 - 9 PM EST. 

 #2ndaryELA is a weekly Twitter chat for secondary English Language Arts teachers focused on a specific topic.  

Every Sunday, we will post the topic and questions on our blogs to allow you to prepare for the upcoming Tuesday evening's chat.


On Tuesday, July 14, we will host our first #2ndaryELA chat reflecting on last school year.

The Format:
8:00 Intros – What and where do you teach? Include a link to your blog if you have one. #2ndaryELA
8:05 Q1: What is something you will definitely being doing again this year because it was such a success last year? #2ndaryELA 
8:15 Q2: What is something you want to change or improve upon from last year? #2ndaryELA
8:25 Q3: What was your biggest instructional challenge last year? Were you able to overcome it? How? #2ndaryELA
8:35 Q4: What was your favorite text you read last year with your class? Why? (nonfiction, fiction, poetry, play, etc.) #2ndaryELA
8:45 Q5: What was an invaluable resource you relied upon last year? (book, article, blog, type of technology, etc.) #2ndaryELA

The Directions:
1. Log into Twitter on Tuesday from 8-9 PM EST.
2. Search for tweets with the hashtag #2ndaryELA in the search bar.  Make sure to click “All tweets.”
3. Introductions are for the first 5 minutes.
4. Starting at 8:05 (@literarymaven or @2peasandadog) will post questions every 10 minutes using the format Q1, Q2, Q3, etc. and the hashtag #2ndaryELA.
5.  Respond to questions using the format A1, A2, A3, etc. with #2ndaryELA.
6.  Follow any teachers responding and who are also using #2ndaryELA.
7.  Like and respond to other teachers' tweets.

You can schedule your responses to the questions ahead of time using a scheduler like TweetDeck or HootSuite (but don't forget to use A1, A2, etc. and #2ndaryELA). Links are encouraged, so be sure to use a link shortener like tinyurl, bitly, goo.gl or ow.ly  Just visit one of those links and paste your long link to shorten it for Twitter. Using images is also encouraged when relevant.

New to chats? Here are the rules:
1. Stay on topic & stay positive!
2. Please do not post or promote paid products unless specifically asked. 
3. If you arrive late, try to look through other posts before beginning.
4. Feel free to just read, like, and/or retweet.
5. Always use our hashtag #2ndaryELA, including in your replies to others.
6. Make sure your twitter feed is set to public. (Also keep in mind that Twitter is completely public – that means students, parents, and administrators can and will read what you tweet.) 

Be sure to spread the word to any teacher friends who might be interested in joining us as well. We look forward to chatting with you Tuesday evening!
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Friday, June 5

Looking Ahead Blog Hop


Hello Readers,

I am writing this blog post with a little over 3 weeks left of the 2015 school year. I will be sad to see this group of students move on to high school, but I really need my summer to rest up. I have joined up with some great English Language Arts bloggers to help you plan now for next year's start up.

Tip #1: Use the Photocopier Before You Leave

    

I never leave at the end of the school year without having my first day photocopies completed or at least easily accessible in a folder. Basic items like Student Information and Interest Forms, Reading and Writing Surveys and Back to School Bingo. These are items I use every year and I know will be useful for the first day as I am trying to get to know my students.

Tip #2: Reduce Prep by Using Long Term Assignments



I love year long assignments that students can get familiar with the routine and format, so they develop more independence as learners. My favourite product in my store that I use every year in my classroom is my Genre Based Independent Reading Assignments. Here is a detailed blog post about them, and how I use them. Each month students must read a certain genre. By the end of the school year students have been exposed to more than just their "go to" genre.

What do you do in your classrooms to help with the back to school rush?

Leave a comment below so we can all learn from your expertise.
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Don't forget to read the other great posts in this Looking Ahead Blog Hop.