Friday, January 17, 2014

Favorite Teacher Giveaway

(A small aside - why hello!  I am alive!  I've just had a slightly difficult year with some behavior kids… They have been zapping my blogging energy, so when I get home, I'd rather not think about their issues anymore than I usually do!  Thanks to Susan at Middle School OCD for getting me off my couch and back to writing.)

I am so happy to join up with Susan at Middle School OCD and Erin at Miss Lifesaver to join their 300 Follower Giveaway!



First, you must go and follow Miss Lifesaver and Middle School OCD!  

Go.  Now.  I can wait.

{hums patiently}

Are you back?  Oh good, then we can continue.

They are hosting a fantastic giveaway that features a scavenger hunt, where EVERYONE wins and a grand prize package full of wonderful items.



Graphics and Fonts by Confetti Graphics, The Learning Site, Lovin' Lit, and Shelia Melton

I've included my Literature Circle Guide as part of the grand prize.  It helps you prepare for using Literature Circles in a middle school setting based on my triumphs and failures!

I've also included some of my smaller items in their Everyone Wins! Giveaway.  There are so many awesome items, that I'm headed off to go and participate.

Favorite Teacher 

My favorite teacher was Mr. Bacer, my 6th grade teacher.  I loved this teacher, he was able to make all our subjects so interesting and it always seemed like he really cared about all his students.  He also was a computer guy and had an account to Prodigy (OMG I'm so old) that we could log onto to the internet during our 1/2 computer time.  The man was obviously a visionary in 1990.  I remember that his class really made learning fun.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

2 Year Blog Anniversary

Two years ago - I started this blog because I had been transferred to a new school and I missed all my work friends.  I never thought that I would still be blogging two years later and would have made so many new blogging friends and followers!

I wanted to celebrate two years of stories, linky parties, pinterest boards, lessons, TPT products with all my friends and followers.

I have some great blogging friends and bloggers that I simply aspire to be like lined up to celebrate with me!


To celebrate, I am giving away some fabulous prizes! There will be an individual winner for each prize.


  • $25 Amazon or TPT Gift Card (Winner's Choice)
  • My entire 35 item TPT Store
  • Prize donated by Middle School OCD
  • Prize donated by Joy in 6th Grade
  • Common Core Task Cards from Carson Dellosa Publishing
  • Winner's Choice of 2 Items from Teaching Tales Along the Yellow Brick Road's TPT Store
  • Graphics Set from I'm Lovin' Lit
  • Paragraph of the Week Kit from Teaching in Room 6
  • Number of the Day Task Cards from Laffin's Learnings
  • 12 Genre Book Reports from 2 Peas and a Dog 
  • Winner's Choice of a Math Unit from Ideas by Jivey
That's a total of 11 awesome prizes for 11 awesome winners!

To earn entires you can follow each blog and their TPT stores.  You can earn additional entries by tweeting about the contest and writing a blog post on your own blog!  Earn your entries by claiming them in the Rafflecopter below!



Here are the wonderful bloggers that are joining up with me for the party!  Each blogger has graciously donated an item to celebrate!

Middle School OCD


joyin6th Homepage


Teaching Tales Along the Yellow Brick Road


I'm Lovin' Lit

2 Peas and a Blog


Thank you again for following me!  I hope to keep up my blogging about Life in Middle School :)


Monday, September 16, 2013

Quick Plot Review Chart Freebie!

A quick post - but I wanted to share something that I made tonight!

I needed something that I could give to my students and have them quickly review plot elements.  Since my school is concerned about my "excessive paper usage" (pft!) these are two on a page - save some trees.  (Or your school budget in my case!)




If you do download it, please leave me a comment letting me know! 

My BIG BIG BIG 2 Year Blog Anniversary party starts tomorrow (or tonight at midnight!).  Come back and check out the super awesome prizes you could win!!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

A Peek at my Week - Week #6



I'm excited to be back for another installment for a Peek at my Week linky!  It's funny, I have stuff to blog about during the week, but it's been hard to get going after a long day a work.  I have pictures from my Interactive Student Notebooks, a lesson called "Hooks from Books" and my common assessment woes.  (Woes!)

The posts I write in my head are pretty awesome people.  If only I had my clone available to write them.

It's another full week for me:

1.  Blog Anniversary!

This week marks the 2 year anniversary of my blog!  I've been working to gather together some fantastic bloggers to join my celebration and I'm so very happy with the people that are participating!  When I decided to have my little internet party, I wanted the bloggers that I enjoy reading their blogs and buying their products to join up. 

The bloggers that are joining me are:
  • Susan from Middle School OCD
  • Kim from Joy in 6th Grade
  • Christy from Teaching Tales Along the Yellow Brick Road
  • Erin from I'm Lovin' Lit
  • Stephanie from Teaching in Room 6
  • Jennifer from Mrs. Laffin's Laughings
  • Jessica from Ideas by Jivey
  • Kristy from 2 Peas and a Dog
Come back on Wednesday, September 18th to see what you have to do to win all the fantastic prizes available!

2.  Re-teach, Re-teach, Re-teach!

My students totally bombed their common assessment this week.  It's pretty embarrassing, but I know that it's time to put a full stop to any new material and to go back to what they need to have mastered.

Have you guys read Instruction for all Students by Paula Rutherford?  (Amazon Link)


I love this book.  It has a lot of good ideas.  One idea listed is called "Chris' Test" - you put the students into groups of 2 and then they have to correct a fictional student called "Chris" and his/her test.  They don't know which answers are marked correct or incorrect - they have to go through and determine how to make their test better.  

I'm going to be using this on Tuesday to help my students review the common assessment and determine their mistakes.

3.  The Hunger Games (insert the music here)

Finally, finally, finally - my class is starting on the Hunger Games.  I think they are excited and starting to enjoy the first few pages we read on Thursday.  I had a few dissenters, but you can't make everyone happy.  I did purchase the famous Hunger Games TPT Lesson by Tracee Orman and it's as fabulous as you would think!

4.  Maintain Everything and Maintain my Sanity

Yep!  It's tough handling everyone, everything and to keep smiling.  Does anyone else feel the same way?

Sunday, September 8, 2013

A Peek at My Week - Week #5

Hi Everyone - I'm back and gearing up for Week 5 at work.  My husband is finally on the mend from his surgery and our lives are starting to get back into the regular routine of life!  (Thank goodness!)

So, to start off my week on the right foot, I'm joining Jennifer over at Mrs. Laffin's Laughings for her Peek at my Week linky!


1.  Continue with the Routines:

Another week into the madness of trying to get my 7th graders close to where I think they should be.  It's been a little difficult getting my morning group "with the program" so to speak because I have this weird revolving door situation with my classes.

1st Period: 34 total students -- with 7 leaving at the end of the period

2nd Period: 27 total students staying in the room -- with 13 students coming in.  (Yep...  you added them up right total of 40 kids with my TA that I am training with the madness.)

3rd period: 27 students leave -- 13 stay and then I add another 12 (very very very low) come in.

The volume level increases as the periods roll in and out.  I've been kicking them out for the break and making them walk in silently.  I've been making the stay room silent read too.  They work, but it's all just exhausting.

2.  Keep Moving Forward:



I feel tired just looking at this.  UGH!  Now, I noticed that I don't have anything for 9/11 on Wednesday.  I'll have to think about if I can squeeze something in that day.

3.  Read the Lottery:

I'm excited that we are going to start off the Hunger Games by reading The Lottery by Shirley Jackson on Monday and Tuesday.  Such a good story and what a great tie-in to the Hunger Games!

4.  WRITE:

My students looked at me like I had grown a second head last week when I made them write an essay.  Five paragraphs?  Hook?  Whaaaaaaaaaaa?  I was ready to tear my hair out!  (I also mentally cursed a few 6th grade teachers that only taught from the book and liked to read newspapers during class.  GR!)  So, I'm starting Writing Wednesday.  Hopefully, it will help some of my struggling students.  I haven't graded their essays this week - I'm scared people.

I know that I have some other home life stuff going on, but it's nothing fascinating...  Laundry (boo).  Reading Logs (boo).  I'm really waiting for all the good TV shows to come back on.

Also, my 2nd blogging anniversary is coming up.  I know that I have a few bloggers lined up for a giveaway, but email me (freelauren21@gmail.com) if you wanna participate.  It's always good for getting new and exciting people to visit your blog!




Monday, August 26, 2013

A Peek at My Week Linky!

Thanks to Middle School OCD, I discovered this fun linky!  It's hosted by Jennifer of Mrs. Laffin's Laughings and encourages you to share your plans for this upcoming week.


This week marks the end of our third week of school.  It feels like four because we had a mini week to start the year.  Am I insane that I feel like I'm behind ALREADY?!  Is it possible?  I'm trying to train these guys and move through plans and activities but I feel like I'm moving at a snail's pace.

1.  Finish the Fall of Ancient Rome

I have to finish up this chapter if I want to hit the Renaissance at the end of the year!  Sometimes, I drag on the first real social studies unit and this year I promised myself that I would take it easy.  Practice learning the note taking routines, doing actual work, etc.  Keep any "Projects" to a minimum.

2.  Finish Rikki Tikki Tavi and create a comic strip!

Again, I have to start closing out my smaller stories if I want to hit The Hunger Games in a week.  We have to finish reading Rikki Tikki together, discuss Plot Elements and then we are creating a comic book strip to help everyone retell the most important plot points.  For middle schoolers, they want to retell EVERYTHING and I have to train them to give me the highlights only!!

I use my Story Map/Plot Chart for teaching them Plot Elements.  I really like it because it hits all the important ideas in one page AND gives them their plot chart and summary section on the back.

3.  Create Sub Plans

I hate hate hate writing the first sub plans of the year.  You never know how it's going to go and how fast they will finish the work.

4.  Nurse my hubby back to health!

My husband will be going into get his deviated septum fixed on Wednesday and I'm taking off two days as his official "caregiver."  I'm more nervous about the surgery than he is!!  He has had his deviated septum forever from breaking his nose as a kid and seriously, the guy can hardly breathe.  He can't even get a decent nights sleep anymore.  I hope that everything goes well and... well... at least I can get 5-7 hours of quiet grading time in at the hospital, right?  (So horrible of me!)

Wish me luck!  Apparently, Kaiser has free wi-fi so maybe I'll even get in a blog post about my ISN's or my Roman Tweets activity.  We shall see!




Sunday, August 25, 2013

Common Core Standards Kit

A few weeks ago, I was contacted by Carson-Dellosa to test out their Complete Common Core Standards kit for Language Arts.  I love testing new items, so I jumped at the chance to try a set.

Here is a video that explains all about the product!



My set came in the mail yesterday and it was a really great experience unboxing and checking out the materials.


I like that everything is clearly labeled in this set.  All the pocket chart cards are divided into each of the standards.

On one side - the standard is written and labeled for the teacher.  Which is a smart idea.  I always have to double check the original text of the standard to make sure I don't "miss" anything when I'm using the "I Can" Statements.


On the other side, the standard is written into kid-friendly "I Can" statements.  Love it!


The set comes in a case that houses all your standards.  Inside the case, the standards are split by blue dividers, which make it very easy and convenient for the teacher to find exactly the standard they need!


I think this is a great product to have in your classroom for Common Core.  However, I only have one issue.  The pocket chart cards are the smaller version.  These are not the long version, the cards measure 12 inches long by 2 1/4 inches tall.  These cards will not be seen across the room if you post them on the wall.  It's not a bad thing, I think their primary function would be in a small group setting.  The publisher, Carson-Dellosa recommends on the box to use the Daily Standards Pocket Chart.



All in all, I'm excited that Carson-Dellosa has created this product and I think it will enhance the learning of my students!!


Disclaimer:  This post is a review post of the product.  I only post about and review items that I would use in my own classroom and feel would enhance the teaching of my readers. The only compensation I have received was the original product that I used in my review.


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