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!~!



Winding Down May 21, 2008


The school year is winding down. Today we had our field day and boy was it tiring. Our school does field day a little differently. They are divided into 24 teams where there are students from all grade levels. The goal for this was to be more family oriented. The teams compete against each other and they win by the best times. The past two years my team has placed 2nd, but unfortunately we didn’t place this year. It was a good day.

You can always tell when it’s the end of the year– students shut down 2 weeks before school is actually out. Tuesday I attempted to do this cool lesson on vivid verbs, but it bombed. I can’t blame the kids though–I’m ready for it to end too. This year was a good year over all–next year will be an even better year. I am already thinking of new ways to improve the year.

I was wondering what some of  you do at the end of the year to keep your students going. Please share your ideas.



Classroom Libraries December 11, 2007

Filed under: classroom management,reading — hey2blondie @ 7:05 pm

libraries.jpgI have a classroom library filled with books for my students to read. I have a system of checking out and in. Well, each year books seem to disappear. Lastweek, I started having my students come to me to check out a book with a limit of 2 out at a time. I have two index box sets. The boxes are alphabetized by authors’ last names. Box one (pink) = cards with books on the shelf. Box two (orange) = cards with books that are checked out. Students sign the back of the card and I place it in the appropriate box.

Do you have a way that you have your students check out books? I would love to hear about it. What do you do if a child loses your book? 


More on Organization November 23, 2007

My students have a writing binder that stays in the classroom. It has 5 tabs in it to help organize their binders. This idea came from Judith Gould except for the rubric tab. That’s my idea.

    The order of tabs:


tab 1 = my work – this is where their current writing is located (choice of writing, assigned writing, etc)


tab 2 = conferences – all the essential tools needed for conferencing are located here


tab 3 = rubrics – this is new this year! I have several rubrics for my students to use (self editing, peer editing, & teacher rubrics) I found that having a place for their rubrics helps me and them stay organized


tab 4 = writer’s helpers – all the essential tools to help them be better writers (transitions, proofreading stuff, whatever you would like for your students to have, etc)


tab 5 = tips from writers – any pieces of writing from other authors that they may want to use for guidance in writing styles

Each quarter I have my students turn in a choice of writing. This writing is anything that they choose to write about. (poems, songs, stories, etc) They are given time in class to work on these pieces. Once the pieces are done, I have them use rubrics to help edit themselves. The rubrics consist of self editing, peer editing, and teacher rubric. The self editing is where they edit their piece of writing themselves and once finished with that they get a peer editing sheet. The students are to give their piece of writing and the rubric to any peer to edit. They then conference on what was edited. Now, my students are to make any revisions that they may have. After making revisions and they are ready to hand in the writing of choice, they are to get the teacher rubric. The teacher rubric is the one I use to grade their work. Each of these rubrics have the same criteria on them except the teacher rubric has a scale of 5-1 and the self/peer rubric has yes and no check sheet. I found last year that giving students a scale of 5-1 didn’t work because they didn’t know what consisted of each criteria. Yes, I need to model each of these and that would show them each, but right now I haven’t had the time.

Back to organization:

To organize their rubrics, I bought color coded folders and labeled each of them. Each folder has a different type rubric in them because you know that poetry is different from essays.

Blue folders= 7th grade poetry/songs

folder 1 = self editing rubric (students are to get this rubric first)

folder 2 = peer editing rubric (after self editing, they are to peer edit)

folder 3 = teacher rubric (get when ready to turn in)

Pink folders = stories or essays

folder 1 = self

folder 2 = peer

folder 3 = teacher

Yellow folders = 6 poetry/ songs

I have a rubric station where they can get these rubrics when they need them. I took time to explain the rubric folder system. We’ll see how it goes. Next week I plan on going step by step on each rubric to explain what the criteria means.


Organization Helps November 8, 2007

Filed under: classroom management — hey2blondie @ 11:12 pm


I feel so disorganized when administration comes to me the day before a new student comes or that day. At the beginning of the year, I give out syllabuses, schedules, writer’s notebooks, reading response logs, writing notebooks, and the list goes on and on to give to students, but when a new student comes, I can’t remember where I placed them. It’s so hard to get that information together and give it to the student, so I came up with a great idea for our Middle School Team. At the beginning of the year, I had asked the middle school teachers to give me their syllabuses and any information they give out to students at the beginning of the year. Then I made folders containing all of our important information for each grade level with a welcoming letter. The folders are housed in the vice principals office so that she can give it to the parents of the new student.


Writing Conferences September 26, 2007

clownIt’s that time of the  year when I start conferencing with my students on their writing. So far my students have been drafting their personal narratives. Of course the next step is to have a teacher conference. Yesterday and today, I spent time conferring with students. I use the system of taking a number and waiting your turn. Sometimes I go to the students and sometimes they come to me. When they wait, they are to work on writing of choice, read a book, or work on some other assignment.  This doesn’t always work because my attention is focused with the conferring student wherever I am in the room. The class catches on to this and notice that I am not paying attention to them, so I have a little clowning around. What can I do to make this more successful? Any suggestions would be helpful.