Friday, July 31, 2015

Back to School Giveaway!

I'm so excited to share that I'm joining in a giveaway for back to school! 

(Click the photo to enter on Sunday!)

The giveaway opens August 2nd and there are tons of categories to submit for if you're a secondary teacher! High school math, high school English, middle school math, middle school English (the one that I'm participating in!), science, and any grade level bundles are open for submissions on Sunday!

You'll get my September Morning Work for Upper Elementary PLUS a ton of other super fun products for your upper elementary/secondary classroom. 

Thanks so much to Julie & Lauralee for hosting! The link will go live on Sunday, so be sure to come back here and click the photo above enter!!

Have a fabulous weekend, friends!
XO Emily

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Managing Absences

Over the past two years, one of my biggest teacher headaches came from a place I never expected: absences. I definitely was not as prepared as I could've been when managing how my students' made up missed work.

Something that makes me even crazier when trying to keep up with missed work is that I have students in and out of my classroom throughout the day. Our talented and gifted kids are out for half a day one day a week for an enrichment program, our band and orchestra students have half hour lessons during the day, plus our band and orchestra kids have their full group lessons at the end of the day! This is in addition to the students who are absent due to sickness or family vacation.

I went to Pinterest in search of management ideas and found a lot of great resources! Combining their ideas with my classroom needs, I created my own system.

The Inspiration

I love the little graphic on this one! I started to realized that I wanted to have separate folders for each weekday, but I didn't love the idea of the weekday folders sitting loose in a bin. Knowing my 6th graders, it would get very disorganized.

Here's another great idea! I like that the weekday folders were hanging folders and that this teacher has a separate folder for missing forms. That would be perfect for my homeroom kids who missed the daily notices from the office in addition to the classwork.

I love that this is on a bulletin board, because I have a ton of wall space (the entire back wall of my classroom is a bulletin board!) and not a lot of counter space. This was also helpful because it was labeled by class periods and I teach 3 periods a day. I like the idea of a calendar, but I wasn't sure what realistically I needed the calendar for and figured it might end up making more work for me in the end.

Another great bulletin board option, but this one used pocket folders.

Here's another compact file folder option! This one just didn't leave me room to fit in multiple periods worth of work. I didn't want my kids to have to go through more papers than necessary. Simplicity is key!

So after looking through other teachers' ideas, I came up with what worked best for me.

My System

Here's my finished product! I am lucky enough to be able to staple things directly to my back wall, so that's how the folders are hung up. My two columns are for each period. Periods 1 & 2 have the same work, so I could consolidate those periods. Then I had a folder for each week day, plus a folder for social studies. All social studies work is the same, so I could keep that in one folder too.

It came together very easily too with supplies that I already had in my room. I color coded my file folders based on the ones I had in my cabinet. The label up top is just construction paper and the period/week day labels are sentence strips.

My homework is always written on the front whiteboard, so the students come in and grab their missed work and check the homework section of our board to see what was classwork and what was homework. We also have an "Ask 3 Before Me" policy, so my students ask three classmates their questions about their assignments. This prevents me from being flooded with questions, and saves me a bit of sanity.

My life became much simpler once my kiddos became more independent. I can't wait to set this system up again in my classroom for next year.

How do  you manage absences and missed work? I'd love to hear your ideas!
XO Emily

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Book Lovin' : Gabriel Finley

A couple of months ago my class had the privilege of having an author come and visit our class! George Hagen's first novel for adults was published 2004, but in 2014 he published his first novel for young adults, Gabriel Finley & The Raven's Riddle.

He talked to our kids about the writing process and what inspires him. I had just finished mini-lessons in  my writers workshop narrative unit about where good writers draw inspiration from and his timing couldn't have been more perfect! He talked about stories he read as a child, people that are important in his life, and places that mattered to him that influenced his novel.

My kids ate it up and were engaged the entire time! He also gave my students an opportunity to ask questions, and I loved how thoughtful their questions were. One of my boys asked "Do you use figurative language?" and George responded "Every chance I get!" I could see my students' eyes light up and the wheels start turning in their head. It was so much fun to see them making the connection between what they were doing as writers and what professional writers do!

George was incredibly generous and gifted signed a copy of his novel to my classroom as well as our school library! My students couldn't wait to finish our current read aloud so that we could start on Gabriel Finley! By the end of the year, many of my students cited this book as their favorite that we read all year! It follows the story of a young boy who becomes wrapped up in a world of mystery and legends that he didn't even know existed, following in the footsteps of his father. It's a magical coming of age story reminiscent of Harry Potter.

I'm so grateful that our media specialist was able to set this up for us, because he made such an impact on our class with his insights into the writing process and introduced us to an awesome novel! I highly suggest it as an addition to your class library or as a read aloud!

What are some of your favorite books for a read aloud?

XO Emily
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