Friday, August 30, 2013

Classroom Tour

I know that you all have been in school for months now...ok, maybe not months, but it probably feels like it to some of you.  Me? I finally had orientation day yesterday, and I'm ready for the official start next week Tuesday...which means that my room is finally ready!

Here are some pics, so you can tour around...

Here is the view from the door: 

Along the side wall (you can see the corner of the doorway in the right hand photo) I have my Shakespeare corner and another bulletin board with the 4 types of writing.  Each poster has a real-life example of that style of writing on it (poetry examples on the descriptive writing poster, a magazine article on the expository writing poster, etc.)

This is the back of my classroom.  I use the silver wire baskets for homework turn-in (there is one for each class, the manila folders in the middle are absent folders for students to check if they are gone from class - I put copies of classwork in the files, and there is one for each hour, the stacked files hold lined paper, plain paper and pink slips (click here for more info about pink slips), and I also have a hole punch, stapler, and jar of "ugly pens" - pens I find on the floor that I collect in case a student needs one.  I NEVER supply new pens or pencils to my students...NEVER.

My back-of-the-class bookshelf: Fiction is on the right and non-fiction and resource on the left...should probably work on building my non-fiction library.  The two signs on top read "Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body (found it on Pinterest), and "No Whining."


This is my desk...not much to tell
 Another shot of my desk and the view outside...I'm blessed to have 2 floor-to-ceiling windows in my room!

The far side of my room - two group-work tables and a door that leads into the computer lab.

Well, that's pretty much it.  I really love my room; it's bright, it's big, and to me, it's really homey, I mean, it should be, right? We spend more time in our rooms than we do at home!  Anyway, I've loved seeing all of your rooms, and I'm so glad to share mine.  Looking forward to a great year!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Just a little real life...

So really, this post has nothing to do with education, literature, the classroom, or CCSS...but I couldn't help sharing with you all the fun that I had over the weekend cheering on Baby Girl in her first High School volleyball game.  First of all, can I just say that she made the JV team as a Freshie - you go girl!  And on Saturday they played 16 sets of volleyball - 16 SETS!!  We were there from 8am until 6:30 pm...but it was so much fun, and a proud mama moment for me.  In the end they made it to the championship round and took 2nd place!

She's the one in the white, if you haven't figured that out yet :).  Apparently she is the libero? All these volleyball terms are fairly new to me, but I'm enjoying figuring it all out!  Well, thanks for letting me share a little "real life" with you! Enjoy your Sunday!

Monday, August 19, 2013

My New Hanging Files!

This weekend I invested in a roll of zebra striped duct tape for my classroom, and after I finished the one little thing I needed it for, I had an ENTIRE roll of tape and no plans to use it.  So today, after some major Pinteresting, I decided to make an ultra-fancy hanging file system.  I found a few examples that I really liked including this one from The Silver Lining
The Silver Lining: Make your own filing system with hanging folders, duct tape, and stickers. easy way to get organized 
and this one from Classroom DIY

but I still couldn't really figure out how to do I winged it (wung it?), but I included a detailed pictorial just in case you want to try it out for your self.  Here we go...

I started with 6 red folders from Staples, and I decided that I wanted them all to have the same middle tab.

...and then I lined them up, and of course I eyeballed it because I didn't feel like searching the house for a ruler.

Then I added the duct tape.  I lined it up along the top edge of the back of the folder (the folder is open in the following pics.  I then attached the back of one folder to the front of the next, starting from the bottom and working upward.

Finally, in order to add zebra stripe to the top of the files, I topped one side of an extra file folder with the duct tape, and fastened it to the back of the entire file system.  I also taped them all together on the back for extra support.

And here's the final product...

BUT...that's not all!  From here, I decided to go ahead and hang it in my classroom...and since I wasn't exactly sure how to do that, I decided on MORE DUCT TAPE! So yes, I duct taped it onto my wall and filled it with student resource pages.

Now, if you are a better think-through-the -details person than I am, you would have realized that the folders weren't actually far enough apart to put the papers in and still be able to read the labels...but instead of starting over, I improvised and made little arrow labels to distinguish between each folder.

And finally, here is another photo with the files in the context of my classroom

Well, that was my big project for classroom is almost ready, so hopefully a room tour is coming soon!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Found Poetry

While all of you amazing teachers are having orientations and teaching your first lessons, I'm still wandering around my empty classroom wondering where exactly to start.  In fact, here's a photo of my current recycling box - I've just gone crazy and tossed a bunch of stuff...

Anyway, as I was emptying shelves, and drawers, and filing cabinets, I made a pile of books that were really just beyond repair, there is a split-in-half To Kill a Mockingbird, a duct-taped Les Miserables, a Lord of the Flies with the cover completely missing, and a yellowed and falling apart Jane Eyre...

I was contemplating what to do with these books (because throwing them away would absolutely hurt my heart) when I remembered an idea that I had seen this summer on Pinterest...Found Poetry.

These particular pieces are for sale at, but I thought it would be a really cool project for my creative writing class to work on.   I could also have my Freshman and Senior Lit students create a poem using a page from one of the novels that they have read (Freshmen read TKAM and LOTF, Seniors read Les Mis and Jane Eyre).  I would love to have them create a poem from a page of the novel that relates to one of the themes of the novel.

I have plenty of ratty books in my classroom, so let me know if you have any other ideas as to how to use old books? I'd love to hear your ideas!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Orientation Day

My first day with students is actually a 1/2 day scheduled for August 29th - we have 30 minute classes and it's basically considered an "Orientation Day."  I'm always perturbed by this day because it's not quite enough time to go through the complete syllabus, but it gets too long if I just do an introduction of myself.  This year, inspired of course by Pinterest, I created a Google presentation (using Google Drive) that introduces myself and also uses the ever popular memes to talk about basic class expectations.  I figure I can go through the syllabus more in depth when we officially begin on September 3.

Here's the presentation for my new Freshman classes...I especially like the Sweet Brown meme since it was my students who introduced me to the original YouTube video in the first place.  Enjoy!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Hangin' in the Office

Last week I was reminded by Connie at, that it's not the principal, teachers, or superintendent who runs the's the office ladies!  They know everything about everyone, they are the first line of defense when it comes to upset parents, and most importantly, they are the only ones who really know how to unjam the copy machine when all of the bells and whistles start flashing and ringing.  I thought it might be nice to start off the school year with a little bit of encouragement for these awesome ladies.  Here are a few beginning-of-the-year gifts that I thought might make their day.
We're "berry" thankful for all you do. @Olga Ko Datil thought this might be cute for next year's banquet, you could even do berries in a salad & for dessert to go with it! :)

Up here in Michigan, we grow 75% of the country's blueberries, this idea from could use blueberries, strawberries, or any other berries that are currently at the Farmer's market...and here's another cute berry idea from

couldn't have ''picked'' a better teacher! Cute idea to gift with dipping chocolate. 
 I also like the idea of a gift using these reusable cups...something that can be used continuously throughout the year.  You could change the tag on this one from to read "Thanks for being tea-riffic!"

Affordable Teacher Gift Tea Double Walled Cup 

And this was is from

Finally, here are some cute ideas to use with lotion.  I love to always have at least one bottle of lotion at my desk, and I know the office ladies do too.  This first idea is from

and this second one is from, and it comes with a free printable.  I like it with the soap, but I still think that I would use lotion instead.


Well, there are a few ideas to send you back to school on the right side of the office ladies.  If you are lucky like me, you have amazing women in the front office and giving these little gifts is just a downright pleasure!  I haven't decided which one I'll make, but I'm leaning toward the "You are tea-riffic" tumbler.  Do you have a favorite?  Can't decide and want more options? Check out my Class-y gifts Pinterest board. Have a great weekend!!