Wordless Wednesday 2/20: Movie Notes

Wordless Wednesday is a quick post with just a picture from my classroom, a short explanation, and a question for you, my readers.
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There are often times that I show videos or movies in my social studies classes. However, many of the really good history movies and videos do not have readily available questions or quizzes for teachers.



When I do not have a special handout for the video, we cite it and analyze the argument. This time I did not even have a handout. I simply wrote on the board and away we went.




What is your go-to activity for movie or video viewing?

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Saturday Morning Coffee: All My Favorite Printables

Saturday mornings are the only quiet time I get to myself most weeks, and I save all the interesting reads that I find online for that time.  Today I wanted to share some of my favorite free printables that I have discovered.  I hope that you find something that will help make your day more enjoyable and your week more organized.

This post contains affiliate links, and I will be compensated by the company at no cost to you if you purchase through my links. The opinions here are 100% mine! 

1. Getting Organized for School from Samisill Cop.
This whole post is full of ideas to get everything organized for your kids.  I wish I would have done this years ago.  My favorite printable is the monthly calendars with the lines at the bottom.


2.  Printable Library from Emily Ley
Pretty much everything made by Emily Ley is AMAZING.  I have several of her pens and paperclips, which I love.  Her printable library does require that you sign up with an email, but it is worth it because she has so many checklists; my favorite is the spring cleaning one.  I suggest you check out her planners while you are there.





Academic Agenda, Daily or Weekly by Emily Ley

3.  Lesson Plan Template from Mrs. Jones' Creation Station
This is an adorable lesson plan template that you can type into.  Again, you have to have an email to get the printable.  I always like experimenting with new lesson plan templates, especially when I can type into them.

4.  Teacher Self Care from Sweet Sweet Primary
Sweet Sweet Primary created a calendar for teacher self-care.  Now it is decorated for October, but the list of self-care items on it is ALWAYS important and a good checklist for anyone.

5.  Downloads from Inkwell Press Productivity Co.
Inkwell Press' collection of printables is one of my favorites.  They have a packing list, a road trip list, a goal setting sheet, and a list of chores.  You will also need an email to sign up, but that is pretty standard.  They also have a 5 Minutes to Peak Productivity printable available through their podcast.

6.  Erin Condren Cards
Valentine's Day, Christmas, Mother's Day, Easter, and Father's Day cards all for free on the Erin Condren website.  My girls loved the coloring pages sampler too.

7.  Daily To-Do List from Simple as That
I should have had this one-pager for every one of those eleven snow days I had in January and early February because I probably would have felt much more productive.  There are spots for your top priorities, your events, and your meals.

8.  Banner Letters from Shanty-2-Chic
Each letter is a separate page, so no having to find the page number to print just the letters that you want.  I used this several years ago for family pictures.  You can also print them on colored paper or cardstock for an added brightness.


9.  Weekly Meal Planner from Neat House Sweet Home
When my girls start complaining that I am not cooking enough, I print a couple of these and create a plan for the following weeks.  With our busy schedules, take-out can sometimes become a staple.  This printable (which does require an email to access) has not only a meal plan but also a shopping list, which is handy if you are like me and always forget that one ingredient you do no have on hand.

10.  Yearly Calendar from Calendarpedia
Print this poster size on several sheets of cardstock using Adobe and you can plan anything for the whole year at once.  The rainbow colors and layout are perfect for year-long planning.  My office has one for my blog and my classroom has one for each class.

Do you have any go-to sites for printables that you love?




Wordless Wednesday 2/13: Living History

Wordless Wednesday is a quick post with just a picture from my classroom, a short explanation, and a question for you, my readers.
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I am a history major and a part-time history teacher, so I relish museum visits. However, it is the history on my bucketlist that makes me really happy.



I remember watching the Berlin Wall fall as a child on TV. I have always wanted to see a piece of it, but I had no idea there was one so close at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum in Grand Rapids.


Someday I will travel to New York City to see the 9/11 Museum and all the other historical sites, but for now, I am content to know that I saw a remnant of the World Trade Center.





Do you have a favorite museum or piece of history that you want to see?

This post contains affiliate links, and I will be compensated by the company at no cost to you if you purchase through my links. The opinions here are 100% mine!




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The Best Books I Read in 2018


I didn’t meet my reading goal in 2018, but I got pretty close. In 2017 I set a goal to read an average of a book a week, and I surpassed that and was very proud of myself; plus it gave me great bragging rights.  2018 did not start out as a reading year.  I did not read as much during the spring semester or summer as I would have hoped, but I made up for during the fall.   This is especially interesting because I started a new teaching position in the fall.  My books ranged from romance to engaging nonfiction.  I think the reason I did not read as much as I did in the past during the first half of 2018 is that I was under a lot of work stress, had established classroom reading routines with my students, and did not set a reading goal as a resolution for 2018.  It was not until I got to Halloween that I realized how close I was to have read a book a week, so I pushed ahead and make it more of a priority for what I had left of the year.  In addition, I saw a few breaks coming up and having to establish reading routines in my second-trimester classes would help me continue at the pace I had established.

This post contains affiliate links, and I will be compensated by the company at no cost to you if you purchase through my links. The opinions here are 100% mine! 

I only read four-four books in 2018.  Now, in the past, I would normally consider this a lofty accomplishment, but I did not for two reasons:
1) I have confidence I can do an average of a book a week
2) I now work with another teacher who reads significantly more than a book a week
My average for 2018 was about three-quarters of a book a week.  Now, I am aware that I could consider the book length and readability, but I focus on numbers.  I know that I can get closer to that goal in 2019.  As far as my new coworker, I was shocked when my students informed me how much she reads.  She has a very impressive classroom library although mine is quickly catching up thanks to a friend who moved from middle school to elementary.  I will probably not read as many books as this new coworker considering she does not work a second job or children, but it gives me something to aim for.

I really enjoyed both the shortest (What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast) and longest (The Lost Order) books that I read last year.  

Quick reads are always my go-to for breaks and long-weekends.  I have been listening to The Best of Both Worlds podcast by Laura since its inception, so it was exciting to finally pick up one of her books.  The time research that Laura does is so detailed, and she gives some great strategies for being more productive and successful.  Now, I am not a morning person, and I am not sure that ever will be, but it was a great read, regardless.

The Cotton Malone series by Steve Berry has been a favorite of mine for several years.  I am completely caught up on all the books currently published in the series, but I was excited to be approved to receive a preview copy of the next one.  These are very reminiscent of the Dan Brown books.  If anyone knows of a similar series, I am ready to engage in a new historical adventure.


On occasion, I will choose books by their popularity, but that does not happen that often.

The most popular book that I read in 2018 was A Walk to Remember. I watch this movie every time that it is on television, but the book is infinitely better (Is that not always the case?), and I was glad I finally picked it up.  It is classic Nicholas Sparks taking you on an emotional journey.

The least popular book I read was Where are my Children?  This one ended up on my list after reading Not Without My Daughter back in 2003 when I was student teaching.  Then I got a job in a town mentioned in that book, and I then had a wonderful friend get me a signed copy of the book by the daughter.  As a result, I wanted to learn more about international, parental kidnapping and stumbled upon Cassie‘s book.


Last, but not least, is the highest rated book I read: More Teacher Misery.  This is just a fun read if you are at each.  The author has collected outrageous stories from educators around the globe into this collection.  This is her second collection of such stories, and after the year that 2017-2018, I always appreciate a good laugh.

Other favorites from 2018 include:



Currently, I am reading Rise of Rocket Girls and it is taking me a little longer to get through than a normal book.  I am not sure if that is because I am tired this time of year (winter blues and all) or if it is because all the science and math technical information takes a lot of energy.  I know that I have fallen down quite a few Wikipedia rabbit holes while looking up background information.


What are you currently reading?



Wordless Wednesday 2/6: Planning for the Week

Wordless Wednesday is a quick post with just a picture from my classroom, a short explanation, and a question for you, my readers.
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Between work and school, my weeks are very busy. I always try and take a few minutes on Sunday to lay out the week ahead. This week's Wordless Wednesday picture is my plan (and special notepad) from a week last month.



I got this great pad free (plus shipping) from Shutterfly through a rewards program I am a part of at a local craft store. When my youngest was in elementary, I would order them for her teachers each year. I adore the color, the layout, and the size.



How do you get ready for the week ahead?

This post contains affiliate links, and I will be compensated by the company at no cost to you if you purchase through my links. The opinions here are 100% mine!




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Wordless Wednesday: 1/30: Article Response

Wordless Wednesday is a quick post with just a picture from my classroom, a short explanation, and a question for you, my readers.
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Using current events and short articles is a strong instructional strategy no matter the content area or grade level. There are also numerous sites for teachers to use, but sometimes they do not have what you are looking for. I am a huge fan of Common Lit, but they are still building up their library of articles, so on occassion, I have to come up with my own.



Normally students have a choice of three to five articles that I have selected based on our current content. Under no circumstances do I want to read ten summaries of the same article, so I have a specific set of directions that avoid summary.

Here is the anchor chart posted to help us all remember the format.



How do you use articles and current events in your classroom?

This post contains affiliate links, and I will be compensated by the company at no cost to you if you purchase through my links. The opinions here are 100% mine!




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Wordless Wednesday 1/23: Taking Notes

Wordless Wednesday is a quick post with just a picture from my classroom, a short explanation, and a question for you, my readers.
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I am using a new world history book this year. Yes, I am blessed to have updated materials, but the supplements that come with it are already available to students online. With one quick Google search, students can find the answers to most of the questions, reading guides, and section reviews.


My social studies students have kept notebooks many years in government, civics, economics, women's studies, psychology, U.S. history, and world history. I also prefer to avoid making copies as it is a lot of paper and always seems to take forever.

Every couple of days I like to have the students take their own notes from whatever reading we are doing. Just about every time, we use a two-column notes format.




A couple of psychology examples.


This was a recent layout for two pages on The French Revolution.




Do you have a preferred notes format?

This post contains affiliate links, and I will be compensated by the company at no cost to you if you purchase through my links. The opinions here are 100% mine!




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