English Teacher Party: A Look into the Real Life of an English Teacher

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The First Steps July 29, 2012

Filed under: classroom management,thoughts,wn entry — hey2blondie @ 10:04 pm

For the past few days I have been searching the internet for ideas to help me revamp my discipline and management strategies. I came across this website (The Teacher’s Guide) about discipline that was very helpful. I have to agree that I have been guilty of  using the techniques that backfire.OK – VERY guilty. I have learned from these websites that I am a reactor and not a pro-actor. My goal this school year is to be more proactive and to be thinking ahead. I want a smooth running classroom and if I can anticipate problems before hand I can eliminate some. These 11 techniques are great reminders to be proactive!

With my research I found some cool ideas on pintrest that I want to implement. I usually get frustrated with the 50 billion questions that are related to assigning assignments. I am going to use this visual in my room using a more middle school approach. I think it will help eliminate those repeated questions.

Another thing I am going to work on is my warning system. I did this last year. I had laminated yellow and red cards. A student would receive a yellow card as a warning that they need to stop their behavior. Usually this stopped the behavior. Once receiving a yellow card, they must conference with me before they leave the room. If they continued their behavior, they would receive a red card, which resulted in a demerit. At our school we give demerits. They are electronically mailed to the parent explaining the behavior. If a student receives 4 demerits, they will earn a detention. I think this year I am going to use the yellow and red cards, but on the yellow card I’m going to have this visual printed on it. I am going to also keep a dry erase marker close by and quickly jot on the card what the student was doing. Such as T for talking or OT for talking out of turn – that way I don’t forget. I know that my problem is consistency. My goal this year is to be consistent and follow through with what I have said.

I am organized, but not the way I want to be. I am going to try to implement a teacher binder like these:

binder idea 1

binder idea 2

I am also going to try color coding my classes so I am not always scrambling to find my materials.

These are the first steps that I am going to use with my revamp. I still have a lot more to consider before I get back into the classroom. The clock is ticking away!~!



Looking Back July 25, 2012

Filed under: thoughts,wn entry — hey2blondie @ 3:12 pm

You’ve probably wondered where I’ve been. Well, I had a baby girl June 14. During the 9 months that I was pregnant I didn’t feel like doing anything not even updating my blog. A lot has happened since my last posts. Writing club went very well for me this year. We met every other Wednesday. I had about 20 regulars. I look forward to this school year’s club. I’m hoping to become a little more ambitious – maybe have a writing contest or something where the school can submit writing. We’ll just have to wait and see.

My earlier post 5th grade stated that I was enjoying it. I was until the year progressed. The days seemed to go by slower and slower. I didn’t feel that I was in my element any more. I was second guessing my decision.  In January, I finally seized the opportunity to go back to middle school in the fall. (I was lucky that the teacher who replaced me was moving to a different position in the fall. )I missed the middle school setting – my former students, the bell schedule, not having to escort your kids to every special, and of course just teaching language arts. I did enjoy the social studies in 5th grade, but it just wasn’t me. After speaking with my principal, we decided that I could move back to teaching 6th and 7th grade. I do have to teach the same students again (I’ll have them for 3 yrs in a row- but I can see how they’ve progressed).

Looking back – I don’t regret my decision. It has opened a new window in my teaching career. It’s allowed me to think about my discipline procedures and how I handle certain situations. I plan to go in full throttle and revamp a lot of things with my discipline. I’m not sure as of now what that exactly entails, but I have some idea. I look forward to middle school again. This year will mark my 12th year with teaching. I’ve come a long way and I’m still learning about myself as a teacher.


Under My Belt October 18, 2011

Filed under: slice of life writing — hey2blondie @ 9:16 pm

Tomorrow I will be observed by my principal. I am not nervous, but I do wonder if I should be. I have been teaching for so long that observations come naturally to me. I can remember my palms sweating, heart pounding, and loss of sleep the night before my observation. I can say that I have grown as an educator. I do like to be observed so I know what I need to improve upon.

I know one thing I need to improve upon ~ consistency with discipline. It is so hard to be consistent. I have been better this year. Maybe because of the new grade or maybe because I am more sure of myself. Whatever it is, I still need help. Tomorrow class will probably go smoothly and I will receive high marks on my observation, but the part that my principal doesn’t see is the days Johnny Boy misbehaves. Tomorrow he’ll be an angel.

I guess I can say I have my lessons under my belt, but I sure do need help with that area of discipline. I wish it were a perfect world in a perfect schoolhouse, but it’s not. I have to live and learn from my mistakes even when the principal is not around.


Writing Club Agenda October 17, 2011

Filed under: thoughts,wn entry,writers' notebook,writing activities,Writing Club — hey2blondie @ 9:16 pm

I’m so excited about my very first club meeting this Wednesday. Since we are only meeting once this month, I’ve decided to do Halloween themed writing. Here’s what I’ve come up with. We only have an hour so I hope we get to finish.

3:30 – Warm-up activity – “Monster” Exchange –  Each child designs a “monster” (no blood, violence, etc. of course) and writes a careful description. They keep this secret . Then they give their writing piece to a partner ( who hasn’t seen their drawing) and the partner tries to draw it from the description. You hang them up with the writing in the middle and with both illustrations on either side. The kids really get how critical descriptive detail is!

3:45-4:15 – Halloween sensory list and ghost story activity – I haven’t decided yet how I will go about the ghost story. I may find one and read it to them first. Then have them use their sensory list to create a ghost story. I am welcome to ideas.

4:15 – share time


The End of the Quarter October 14, 2011

Filed under: poetry,slice of life writing,thoughts,wn entry — hey2blondie @ 9:17 pm

The end of the quarter

Seems to creep up

On me and my students

What can I do to get my grade up?

Do your assignments when they are due

Can I get extra credit?

Um, let me think about it?

Can I?

Um, no…



The end of the quarter

Seems to creep up

On me and my students

May I take an AR test?

Not if it is The Berenstain Bears and Too Much Junk Food


You’re a fifth grader.

It’s a fourth grade level.

Why have you waited until today to take a test?

The end of the quarter

Seems to creep up

On me and my students


Papers everywhere

Grades here and there

Comments and conduct

I wish you all good luck


Writing Club Interest Meeting October 7, 2011

Filed under: writers' notebook,Writing Club — hey2blondie @ 10:35 pm

This past Wednesday I had my Spilling Ink Writer’s Club interest meeting. 21 students signed up and 17 attended the meeting. I was thrilled. At the meeting I passed out permission forms and a quick interest survey. I wanted to see why they attended and the types of topics they wanted to write. We wrote as well. The students seemed to enjoy it.

What makes me the happiest is one of my struggling students signed up and attended the meeting. He wrote and shared. That just warmed my heart. I know this club will be beneficial to him in so many ways – socially, academically, and mentally.

Our next meeting is Oct. 19 and I can’t wait. My plans are to do Halloween themed writing. Any suggestions?


Teacher and Peer Conferences September 30, 2011

Filed under: conferring with students,editing,revising,thoughts — hey2blondie @ 9:56 am

I have to admit that I struggle with teacher conferences and peer conferences are another story. I like to do them, but sometimes I feel that I am not benefiting my students. Since now I am in 5th grade I have come to realize that I must model more often so the students can see what they are “supposed” to do. I decided to come up with a very short power point on peer conferencing. I found a video clip on unitedstreaming.com of two boys conferencing. I showed it to my students and the magic happened when it was time for my students to conference with a peer.

Before the students conferenced, I gave them a writer’s checklist for conferencing that I found on the internet. I found the perfect checklist for my students and myself. Check it out! What I loved about this checklist is that it had a place for the student to write down if they wanted a teacher conference and what 2 specific things they wanted me to look at.

Every year I have students say, “read this.” I hated that. With this form I had successful teacher conferences. Also there are other forms you can use to help with the teacher conference.

I look forward to reading my 5th graders’ personal narratives.


Writing Club September 20, 2011

Filed under: slice of life writing,wn entry,writing,Writing Club — hey2blondie @ 9:36 pm

It’s official. I am starting a writer’s club this school year. For several years now I have wanted to conduct a writing club, but wasn’t sure how. This year I took the plunge and wrote the proposal! My principal is excited about this new endeavor at our school. The name of the club is The Spilling Ink Writer’s Club. I have the book Spilling Ink: A Young Writer’s Handbook and wanted to learn more, so I googled it. Guess what? The authors have a blog  with a plethora of writing information for young writers. This year we will use the book Spilling Ink. I have made buying the book optional. The club is for students in grades 4-8. My hope is that the students will come to enjoy being with a community of writers along with creative writing. Our first official meeting will be Wednesday, October 21. I can’t wait!


5th Grade September 15, 2011

Filed under: wn entry — hey2blondie @ 7:25 pm

Tomorrow marks the one month anniversary of being a 5th grade teacher. I didn’t think I would like it as much as I do. It has been a little difficult getting used to the maturity level of the kids, but other than that I love it! My former students still visit me every day. It’s hard seeing them in a different classroom, but I am happy with this change. I am learning new things. Social Studies has been the subject that’s out of my element; however, I am making it work. I’ve implemented a new way for taking notes with them (it’s nothing very innovative). Instead of having them copy notes from the screen, we make webs or graphic organizers. Sometimes the students get into groups and read a section of the book, make a web, and then present them to the class. I also use the tool United Streaming, which is a big help! I look forward to what’s to come in 5th grade!


First Day Delights August 11, 2011

Filed under: back to school,poetry,slice of life writing,thoughts,wn entry — hey2blondie @ 8:22 pm



I love the first day of school

Freshly waxed floors

Welcoming classrooms

New shoes

Crisp uniforms

Happy smiles with contagious laughter

Hugs from previous students

Eager eyes wait in anticipation of the new year

Questions, questions, questions

Answers, answers, answers