Saturday, August 31, 2013

Hobby and Teaching Collide

This is a wonderful long weekend. I'm still adjusting to a modified block schedule and the start of school. We've had three full weeks.

Occasionally, we have dress down Fridays and I have some coworkers wearing cute appliqued t-shirts. The shirts have our school initials on them in a variety of fonts and fabrics. Being the crafty girl I am, I've decided to applique my own and create an awesome school pride shirt at the same time.

Our school colors are royal blue and white. I have a royal blue T and I'm hoping to find some bright fabric in my quilting stash to add the letters. I have chosen a great front from Kimberly Geswein's collection on Teacher Pay Teachers.

I can't wait to show off my new t-shirt and school pride at the same time!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Land Bridges

My eighth grade US History class is studying explorers and early civilizations. As a close to the unit on early civilizations, I gathered supplies and my classes proceeded to make land bridges - Berengia. I purchased pie plates from the local Walmart. I had lots of clay left over from a previous project and I divided the class into groups of three and gave each group two colors of clay.

They used the map in our text as a guide and they flattened and sculpted the clay into their rendition of the continents. After arranging the continents, they placed them in the pie plates. I borrowed a sno-cone machine and crushed a lot of ice. They covered up their continents with ice making sure the bridges were well covered.

The project went a lot quicker than I had anticipated. We had to wait a little bit to put them in the freezer and that allowed the ice to begin to melt. When they froze, we a great ice age replica. Today, I took the projects out of the freezer and was able to slide each project out the pan. They looked like stain glass.

This allowed us to look at each project and see the arrangements of continents. We were able to critique the projects as a group and discuss any problems we saw as well as compliment the designs of their classmates.

It was a nice beginning of the year project. I arranged the groups randomly and they had to learn to work with new classmates. Next year, I will divide them into groups of two instead of three. The work would evenly distributed with partners.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Reading Like a Historian

I was flipping through the Teaching Channel two weeks ago and came across a video of an inquiry based classroom. I loved the environment and knew with Tennessee's leap into Common Core it would blend perfectly with my teaching technique.

The teacher used curriculum from Reading Like a Historian and I knew I needed to try it in my classroom. For the first two days of class, I integrated the intro materials with the beginning of my back to school curriculum. The second lesson involved creating and writing an autobiographical book. I had run across a bound book project on another blog (one I can't find now) and I changed the lesson up just a little to use the bound book.

My students wrote their autobiographies and interviewed people about events in their lives. I have finished reading all of the books and they did an excellent job. I asked them to use as much artistic talent as they had after I explained that my talent lie in stick people but I could color with the best of them.

Here is a sample of one of the books. I learned so much about my students and I loved this lesson as an introduction to my students. I have made instant connections with them.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Liebster Award

I am so excited to have Julie from The Pencil Monkey nominate me for a Liebster Award. I'm very flattered and I've found so many blogs this summer by following other bloggers nominations.

To accept this nomination I must do the following:
1. Link back to the blog that nominated me
2. Nominate 5 - 11 blogs with fewer than 200 followers
3. Answer the questions posted by my nominator
4. Share 11 random facts about myself
5. Create 11 questions for my nominees
6. Contact my nominees to let them know I nominated them

Here are my questions from Julie!
1.  What is your guilty pleasure when you are not teaching?
Ben & Jerry's Chubby Hubby Ice Cream!

2.  Who is your hero or role model?
My education role model was my senior English teacher, Mrs. West. She had high expectations for everyone in her class, but she knew how to let you know individually what she expected of you. 

3.  Where do you see yourself in five years?
I see myself right here in my school. I love teaching in my high school. The only thing that could change that would be putting a middle school. We are a 7-12 school and I can see so much growth happening over the next few years.

4.  What is your favorite part of your day as a teacher?
I teach history and run the computer lab. I love doing enrichment with computer apps in my lab. I love see kids learn a new skill and then apply that to the content in a new way. It is very exciting. 

5.  What would your students say about you?
That I'm tough but fair and I can be a little wacky and unexpected in the classroom. I think nothing of stopping and pulling a brain break out when I see them start to melt. They just don't expect things like that in their classrooms.

6.  If you could buy one resource for your class what would it be? Why?
I really want a document camera. I love to use primary sources and photographs in my history classes and I really think students need to see those larger than life.

7.  What is your biggest strength?
I use a lot of technology and diverse teaching methods in my classroom.

8.   What is your favorite pen or pencil?
Pentel in green or purple ink and Sharpie Pens

9.  If you could take your class anywhere on a field trip where would it be?
I love national parks. So, I'd probably take them on a tour of Gettysburg or the National Mall.

10.  What is your favorite book?
I really don't have a favorite book, but I have favorite series. I love the mystery writer Dana Stabenow and her Kate Shugak series set in Alaska.

11.  One random item that you can't live without as a teacher.
colored pens

Here are my nominees:
Lisa at

Here are my questions for my nominees:
1. Tea or Coffee?
2. Why did you begin your blog?
3. What is one goal you have for your classroom this year?
4. What is your favorite thing to teach?
5. Mac or PC?
6. What is the most prominent color in your wardrobe?
7. Does your classroom have a decoration theme?
8. What was your favorite class in college?
9. Where would you like to travel most?
10. Do you use foldables/interactive notebooks in your classroom?
11. Do you eat the cafeteria lunch?

My eleven random facts.
1. I love to do needlework. I cross stitch, quilt and last summer I taught myself knitting.
2. This summer I crossed Acadia National Park off my bucket list of national parks to visit.
3. In 2011, I traveled to Alaska on a mission trip. It was fabulous and I would love to go back.
4. If I go back to Alaska, I want it to be on a cruise.
5. Over the summer I went really all out girly and had manicures very two weeks. I never do that!
6. I have scripture verses hidden in spots all around my classroom for me to see throughout the day.
7. I have a screened in porch that I love to sit on but hate to clean. :)
8. I have two kitties, Asher and Puff and they are spoiled rotten.
9. I volunteer with BellyRubs Bassett Rescue. I transport bassetts and occasionally foster them. I love their arhooos, wrinkles and ears!
10. I have a fish pond with 20+ goldfish/koi. They've had babies and I'm scared to try and get a count of those.
11. I want to retire in Guatemala working with friends at a boys ranch they are building!

Thanks again Julie for the nomination!!!