Save Your Sanity at the Holidays: 12 Days of Christmas- Day 3


The stretch from Thanksgiving to Chrismas is bittersweet for me.  I love the holidays, but I am always in a mad dash to exams and vacation.  I don't know about you, but I need all the help I can get to save my sanity in the next couple weeks;  This is why twenty-four teacher bloggers have gotten together to give you tips to save your sanity, some freebies, and a great giveaway.


Save Your Sanity: Plan Now

The biggest saver of my sanity during the holiday season is to sit down and plan all six classes for the last fifteen days of the semester.  I know you are busy and some of you might only be staying a day or two ahead of your students this time of year, but invest the time now to save your sanity later.

It took me about  two hours to plan our the last fifteen days before exams.  That was simply finding the new ideas to add to the stand-by activities and writing the actual lesson plans.  It seems like a lot of time with everything else going on in our lives, but once it is done, you can auto-pilot a lot until vacation.


The second part of my sanity-saving plan is to then print my lesson plans, pull EVERYTHING (every warm up, notes sheet, question, etc) I need to copy, schedule all the online assignments in Google Classroom, and head to the copy machine.  This took about two planning periods to complete.  

The first day I pulled everything and put a dot next to it on the printed lesson plan, so I knew I had it.  This part didn't take too long since I did a lot of this while I was writing the lesson plans.


Then I sat down to schedule all my Google Classroom posts for the last fifteen days.  It is nice to be able to post to all three of my English 11 classes at once.   This probably took the longest of all the items in the second part of my plan, but it is so nice to have it all automated.

Lastly, I grabbed my lesson plan, the stack of items to copy, and some binder clips to head down to the copy room.  I was totally that teacher running both machines at once, but I don't feel bad about in since not a single other teacher came in (they must not be on this sanity-saving plan).

This four-hour strategy will save your sanity.
Tweet: This four-hour strategy will save your sanity. http://ctt.ec/eI43E+ @kovescence #teacherproblems #iteachtoo #teachersfollowteachers

This sanity-saving plan has made my week so much easier.  I wasn't fighting the copy machine, running around trying to find the right handout, or worried when my youngest caused me to run late because she couldn't find the right shoes.  

Now I can spend my evenings and weekends getting ready for and enjoying the holidays because I KNOW I am ready for students.



The Freebie

Even with all the planning in my sanity-saving plan, there might be a time when you are gone (those nasty winter colds) or when your best-laid plans go awry.  I have a perfect solution for these moments:


This is series of questions for the informational article “One Bad Tweet can be Costly to a Student Athlete” by Gannett from December 30, 2014.   It contains 11 questions connected to the Common Core Standards for informational reading at the secondary level.
It is the perfect item to add to your copy pile because it is a self-contained reading lesson good for one class period.  It also makes a fabulous early finishers activity for those who get done before class is.

Be sure to grab One Bad Tweet today before the freebie goes away.

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Now for the giveaway!

Today's prize is $5 to Starbucks, Post-Its, and a Desktop Weekly Planner


Be sure to check out all of the stores on sale on December 12th.


Be sure to visit The 12 of December Homepage 

And

Today's Other Post from The Bespoke ELA Classroom



What is the Teacher Reading? December 2016

I did some serious reading on my fall vacation to Maui and over Thanksgiving Vacation: The Secret Healer by Ellin Carsta, Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult, Up to this Pointe by Jennifer Longo, Who We Were Before by Leah Mercer, and Me Before You by Jojo Moyes were all devoured in the past month.


This post contains affiliate links, and I will be compensated by the company at no cost to you if you purchase through my links.

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The Secret Healer by Ellin Carsta


The Secret Healer is one of my favorite reads of this fall.  This period piece novel was unpredictable, which is often hard to do with me reading.  The Secret Healer is an English translation.  This story of a lay midwife being accused of working with the devil and committing murder kept me up late several nights reading.



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Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult


I loved the nonfiction book Columbine, so when I read the preview of this book, I knew it was a must-read.  Not only is this story of a fictional school shooting based upon real events across our nation, it lays out the stories by going backward and forwards in time with the characters.  While I guessed at the ending fairly early on, there were enough twists and turns to keep me entertained and unsure if I was correct.


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Up to this Pointe by Jennifer Longo 


Up to this Pointe is a young adult novel like no other I have picked up.  Anything with dancers strikes an interest with me as both my daughters dance.  Up to this Pointe follows Harper from her dance audition to Antarctica and through the harsh winter at the South Pole.  It is a real coming-of-age novel about discovering what your own destiny.


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Who We Were Before by Leah Mercer


Who We Were Before follows a couple on the brink of divorce after losing their child.  Leah Mercer keeps you in suspense about both the cause of death of the little boy and the future of the marriage through the whole novel.  I cannot imagine what it would be like to loose a child, which made this novel even more gripping.


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Me Before You by Jojo Moyes


Always the skeptic of big name novels, I was slow to pick up Me Before You.  It was our One Book, One County book a few years ago, but I didn't engage.  The love story intertwined with current medical and ethical questions made it an interesting read.  I was pleasantly surprised.
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What are you currently reading?



Teacher Holiday Gift Roundup and Giveaway

Teacher gifts are a big deal in my house. As a teacher myself, I understand how much these tokens can mean to both the teacher and the family. However, nobody wants another coffee mug, Christmas tree ornament, or desk knickknack, so I have put together a list of my four favorite teacher gift to receive and to give.



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!  

Be sure to stay tuned for the big giveaway at the end.

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A Stitch Fix Gift Card


Stitch Fix gift cards are my favorite gift to receive.  I also love sharing this style service with my friends, family, and coworkers.  Who doesn't love getting new clothes?

What is Stitch Fix?
Stitch Fix is a styling service that for $20 (which gets credited towards any items you keep) sends you five items hand-selected for you by a stylist.  You fill out a style profile and link a Pinterest board, so your stylists know what you like. 

As an over two-year-subscriber to Stitch Fix, I am a living testament to what it can do for your wardrobe and self-confidence.  I look better and feel better when I head out the door and into the classroom.

Teachers spend much of their time and money giving to others, so a Stitch Fix gift card will give the teacher in your life the chance to focus on her.


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Nature Box

Food a great gift for teachers anyone.  Nature Box sends a box of five snacks that are ready to eat (although I also adore their oatmeal).  At my house, since I usually get the mail, I get first dibs on what we get each month (I usually pick a few of our favorites and a surprise snack of two).  Then I stash them in my school bag to keep in my desk at school.  Every teacher needs a treat now and then, and Nature Box is guilt free.



Everyone will love NatureBox gifts, such as unique flavor combinations, no artificial colors, flavors or sweeteners.



Nature Box has three great ready-to-ship gift boxes.
Sweets and Treats - $39.95
Seasonal favorites perfect to get you in the holiday spirit. This box is for the sweet tooth who loves holiday treats. It includes 10 full-size snacks (ranging from 3 to 6 ounces each).

The Nice List - $39.95
Give the very best of NatureBox. This box contains savory and sweet nuts, chips, fruit, cookies, and popcorn. It includes 10 full-size snacks (ranging from 3 to 5 ounces each).

Easy Entertaining - $69.95
Perfect for the party planner with great taste. This is a mix of our all-time bestsellers and our seasonal favorites. It includes 20 full-size snacks (ranging from 3 to 6 ounces each).


I also have an exclusive offer for you, my blog readers.  When you use the special promo code GIFTBOX, you can save up to $10.

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An Emily Ley Planner


Teachers are planners by nature.  Our jobs require us to be very organized and well-planned.  This is an impossible task without the right planner, and Christmas is the perfect time to receive a new planner in preparation for the new year.



Emily Ley Planners are perfect for the teacher you love.  My favorite is the calendar daily simplified planner, which is designed minimally on purpose, its open pages serve as a fresh start every day. One of my favorite features is the gold spiral bound that allows the planner to lie flat. 
Each Emily Ley Planner Includes:
  •   
  •   Space for schedule, to-do, notes and dinner
  •   One day per page and shared weekend pages
  •   Hourly schedule spots from 6am - 9pm
  •   Full month views
  •   Inspirational quotes throughout
  •   Gold colored, sturdy wire-o binding
  •   Hard, coated cover with gold foil detailing
  •   Protective gold corners
  •   Pocket inside the front cover
  •   Colorful, sturdy mylar tabs
  •   Navy + gold keepsake box

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A Cents of Style Necklace


A little bling never hurt anyone.  Cents of Style state and tribe necklaces are pieces in my jewelry box that always get compliments, and they make wonderful gifts.

IMAGE: Holiday State Necklace Gifts

The state necklaces are a great way to display your pride for where you are from or for where you live.  Any teacher would be lucky to have one to wear.


My personal favorite is Make History


As a high school teacher, making history is my goal.  I want my students to make history, I want to make students understand history, and I want to be part of my students’ history.  
Every year that I enter the classroom, I strive to make history interesting and fun.  We build castles, become the jury in treason cases, and investigate history’s mysteries.  We learn from the past to make the future better.  This is how I make history.

My students are the future- They will make the history of tomorrow.  I am tasked with the important job of helping students prepare to make history.  They won’t all go on to renowned achievements, but they will all go on to do great things and change the world.  This is how I make history.

Not everyone can say they will be remembered by thousands of people when they are gone, that it is my goal as an educator.  I want the thousands of students I have had contact with to remember me and remember me fondly.  For an educator, nothing is more satisfying that having a student come back after a year or two and thank you for what you taught and did for them.  This is how I make history.





Which saying would you love to give?

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Now I have a gift for you- the chance to win a $1000 Stitch Fix Gift Card.  This is the gift that keeps on giving for months to come with Stitch Fix.

A huge thanks to Maria from Crazy Together and Stitch Fix for organizing the giveaway.




A Teachers Pay Teachers Wishlist and Giveaway

Yesterday I looked at the calendar and realized that I have only three, yes 3, weeks of school until first semester exams.  Then it will be CHRISTMAS VACATION!  That means two full weeks of family, food, and fun.  It will also mean prepping for our new J-Term classes and second semester.  All that prep is a little overwhelming, but thankfully, Teachers Pay Teachers is having their Cyber Monday Sale this week.  I put together a list of my top wish listed items for you to peruse in your PJs.  I'm also giving away two TPT gift cards during the sale.


Be sure to scroll all the way to check out my giveaway and the hop to 12 other giveaways.

Also, Monday and Tuesday, my entire store will be 20% off, so you can save up to 28% on the products you need for winter.

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Not only is my budget unit my top wish-listed item, but it is also my top seller.  This unit takes students through pricing items for living on their own such as groceries, furniture, and a car.  It can also be used for the younger grade levels too with parental support.

The Teacher Team did a great review of this product this past February.  Check out their REVIEW


These little mailing label rubrics have been a time saver for me over the last two years.  I love printing, grading, and going with them.  I have a whole post on how I use them.


The last of my top wish-listed items is my Autobiography Unit.  This unit takes students through writing their autobiography; it can be used as a whole or broken down and used as individual segments.

The Purple Teacher did a great review of the Autobiography Unit.
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Be sure to check out all the other great wishlists on Daisy Designs.
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I hope you enjoy the Cyber Monday Sale and get stocked up for the end of 2016 and the start of 2017.


What the Teacher is Thankful for


It is November.  This means I am in the depths of first semester, which can be a struggle some days.  I am so glad that Cents of Style has provided me an opportunity to reflect on what I am thankful for in my classroom. Even when I arrive at school in the dark, and the students are struggling, I have a few items the teacher in me is thankful for.  


 I received a complimentary shirt for this post; these words and opinions here are 100% mine!  
This post contains affiliate links.

Here are five things that I am thankful for in my classroom and profession.  They might seem simple to the outsider, but teachers know the value of these types of items as they work to survive DEVOLSON.  Also, be sure to check out the great deal on the perfect shirt I have for this season.

Great Pens

I believe that a teacher's choice of writing implements is very important and makes our work much more pleasant.  I prefer grading essays with purple or orange instead of black...the colors make grading a more pleasant experience, which is awesome for me and better for my students.

Check out my post on My Favorite Pens and Pencils

Comfy Shoes

Oh the shoe conundrum for teachers.  Teachers spend a good part of the day on their feet and need quality socks and shoes to prevent aches, pains, and damage to their feet and legs. I have some new favorites and old standbys.  When my feet don't hurt at the end of the day, I consider that a win.

Check out my post on Socks and Shoes for Teachers

Perfect Bag

A teacher's bag like her pens and shoes defines her and supports her superhero task.  I have had many teacher bags over the years.  However, I now have one favorite; I own three of them in different patterns. I know that it helps keep me organized and functioning during this crazy time.

Check out my post on What is in my Teacher Bag


Grammarly

I have never been the best speller, and, yes, I do teach high school English.  I embrace and share this weakness with my students; call it humanizing myself or building relationships, but I am living example that your weaknesses don't define you.


Standard spell check programs are fine, but I now have something better that works across platforms and all online sites: GRAMMARLY.  This allows me to have my emails, social media posts, and documents edited in one simple format.

Be sure to check out my Ultimate Guide to Grammarly

Jean Friday

We are blessed to have jean day every Friday.  Today I am sporting a great shirt with my jeans: The NEW Thankful. Grateful. Blessed. Graphic T-Shirt from Cents of Style.  I am thankful for being able to be comfortable and casual once a week in my classroom; jean Fridays with a witty shirt help me move through transition from fall to winter a little easier.

You can get this great shirt for free today!


The code is THANKFUL1 and it will make each t-shirt FREE with any $25 purchase, + FREE SHIPPING! Anything on our site is fair game - any purchase that totals $25 qualifies for the free t-shirt. 

Here are steps for purchase:

1- Find products you love (jewelry, clothes, shoes, whatever you have to have) and add it to your cart.

2- When the cart totals $25, add the Thankful Grateful Blessed shirt from our Fashion Friday page to the cart.

3- Hit Checkout.

4- Put the code THANKFUL1 in the "Gift Card or Discount Code" Box to make your t-shirt FREE! 






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