I'm A Working Mom

9:00 AM Sarah Koves 4 Comments

Today I am being featured on Teaching Sam and Scout, one of my favorite blogs to read, in her month-long series on working moms.  You really should read all the posts when you have time because we are not in this alone.

I think I have a wide range of experience as a mom; I am a stepmom to Red, 17.  I was a single mom with Potumus, 13, and my husband and I have Shmurtz, 6, together.  We are a blended family at its finest.

First I was a single mom:

I had Potumus while I was still in college.  I would never go back and undo that, but it was a challenge.  I never would have survived without the help of my roommate, friends, sorority sisters, and family. I managed to finish on time with honors, work part-time, and complete my internship with flying colors.  I lived with my parents during the summer.  It is tough to be alone, but I had to learn quickly to ask others to help out.  I want all the single mothers out there to learn that they are not alone, and you will survive the sleepless nights and temper-tantrums in the stores.  My dear teenage daughter is one of the kindest, sweetest, most hard-working people that I know, and that is because of me.  I know I could have done a lot of things better, but she is an AMAZING kid.

Then I was a stepmom:

This one was tough at first.  As a step-parent, you are new to the scene and have to tread lightly at first.  Red was in second grade when her dad and I got married.  There was quite a bit of adult drama in the early years.  I read books on how to parent with an ex (I have a great relationship with Potumus' dad's family) when it is hard to get along.  It also wasn't easy to form a relationship with someone that you only saw for a few hours every other week.  I think it has gotten easier as Red has gotten older.  She is graduating from high school in the spring, and we are hoping that means she will spend some real-time with us.  Stepmoms have a very very hard job, so props to all of you.

Finally, I was a mom with my husband:

I remember someone once telling me that a wife only gets epic vassal status once when she is pregnant because then her husband figures out she can do stuff while pregnant, and it isn't such a big deal the second time around.  I never got that because my husband had already been through a pregnancy with his ex-wife, and I was single when Potumus was born.  My little Shmurtz was a welcome addition to our family.  We knew we didn't want to wait too long to have a baby together because our girls were already getting older.  The hardest part about going from a single mom to sharing the responsibilities with my dear hubby was just that, sharing the responsibilities with my husband.  It was no longer the mom show, but the mom and dad show.  I had to learn to consult him on issues and back him up, so what we say goes.  This little girl is my nighttime challenge; she gives us both a run for our money in the evening at bedtime; she really should go to law school (not that I advocate that career) because she is a master negotiator.

My thoughts about being a working mom:

When I was a single mom, I never imagined being a SAHM, but when Shmurtz was born, I developed major mom guilt.  I think that was just my age and experience.  

Last school year was a very work-oriented year for me with lots of extra work (and extra money to go with it) and duties put on my plate, but dear hubby and I made the choice for me to take this on because of what it would mean for us financially and career-wise.  I have recently had a rejuvenation of having to put my kids and home first.  I take sick days when one of them is ill; I don't work crazy hours at home, and I try to maximize my time at school more efficiently.

I think I am pretty good at some things as a working mom: meals are one of those things.  I make it a point to plan our dinners out for the week on Sunday.  I have even started blogging on my menu each week.  I think I am also pretty organized: I organize chores every day of the week so that I can make small dents in the chores instead of slaving away for hours on Saturday and Sunday.

I do, however, have room to grow in other areas.  I really wish I spent more time one-on-one with my girls as they are growing up so fast.  I pride myself on having a fairly picked-up home, which sometimes takes over the few hours I have at home, so I could probably let things go a little more.   This usually results in me staying up later than usual.  We also let our girls have more tech time than we should; we know it, but there are nights when we don't have the energy to fight.

My biggest guilty pleasure as a working mom is a day home alone.  I feel bad about wanting that as my mother's day and birthday gift (this is literally what I ask dear hubby for), but I am a better mom when I have time for myself too.

Stay strong MOMS!

Wordless Wednesday: School Supplies Comedy 10/22

6:00 AM Sarah Koves 3 Comments

Time for another Wordless Wednesday with Miss DeCarbo at Sugar and Spice.

I saw this online last night and it made me laugh.  Mine would also need wine if that was allowed at school!  I have coffee, chocolate, and ibuprofen in my emergency bins at school.

Here some other pictures of what I keep in the closet for me.

What are your must-have items  for you in your desk or cabinet at school?

Check out the other Wordless Wednesday Posts.

Menu Monday 10/20

7:46 PM Sarah Koves 4 Comments

I'm getting Menu Monday out a little late AGAIN this week.  My excuses aren't near as good this week as last.  I have to try and be better about posting...especially my series.
I am loving the the Working Moms series over on Teaching Sam and Scout, so let this be my contribution to the working moms this week.  We have to help each other out, right?

My husband is a chef, so I often steal and borrow from his skills to enhance my cooking, so it should be good stuff.  Pick up a new dinner idea!

Sunday: I actually was checking my Time Hop app on Sunday morning and saw that last year on Sunday I was making corn chowder and bread, so I figured I should continue the tradition.  I made some roll dough in the bread maker (I don't ever bake it right in the bread maker, but I always mix my roll, bread, and pizza dough up in it), which I can set and forget.  Hubby was a dear and rolled them out while I went into school for few hours.

The corn chowder is all mine.  I used a box of vegetable stock, pepper, parsley, and garlic.  I chopped an onion, three potatoes, five mini peppers (I love the bags from the store), and some stray mini carrots leftover from lunches.  I added two cans of corn, but you can use frozen.  I let that go most of the day.
I added to that about a 1/4 cup of corn starch mixed with milk and some chunk cheese i had leftover too.  That cooked down on high for another hour until it was thick.

Monday: Pizza night.  Yes, we eat pizza frequently, but I love having leftovers for lunches.  I used a new Pillsbury thin crust dough, but I didn't notice any difference.  It turned out pretty good.  It was simple with pre-made crust, jar sauce, shredded cheese, and pepperoni for the girls.

Tuesday: Meatloaf.  I adore meatloaf and haven't had it in forever.  I buy the bag and season to cook it in and spice it up.  To the glorious beef that we purchased last month I also add some breadcrumbs, an egg, and a diced onion.  That all gets mixed with the seasoning packet and baked in the special bag.  I will be adding to that baked potatoes, which I now do in the cockpot, and roasted brussel sprouts.

A side note on brussel sprouts: I use to hate them, but I think that was because my mother would steam or boil them to mush.  My hubby the chef showed me how to roast them with olive oil and they are much better.

Wednesday: The ever-famous leftover night.  I really recommend planning this night after a few days of cooking.  It will ease your dinner rush and use up what is in the fridge.

Thursday:  Whatever fast food the kids want.  The girls have dance at 4, so I play delivery mom while they are in class.

Friday: The girls and I are headed North to my parents' house for the weekend, and that means we will probably eat on the road.

Saturday:  I have no idea what my mother has in store, but maybe burgers at my favorite place up there: Moose Jaw Junction.

I would love your feedback on this new weekly post: do you like it? What else would you like to see in this? 

Follow me on Instagram for pictures of my meals throughout the week. 

Sunday Scoop 10/19

9:56 AM Sarah Koves 3 Comments

We had so much fun out with friends last night for grown-ups night out.  We had Indian food.  As a result I am late getting up and getting going today. 

1) All the kids stayed at our house last night while the grown ups were out, so I need to run the vacuum and broom this morning to finalize the clean up.
2) Mail and homework from the week has been piling up on the table, so I need to deal with that stuff today or we may not be able to get to it for meals soon.
3) I refuse to put laundry on my list yet again this week, so I want to get out decorations out, so we can enjoy them a little before the end of the month. Plus the girls like getting all the fun stuff out.

1) My post on journals last week was fairly well-received, so I am hoping to get another such post up.
2) I always have grading to do and since hubby is home, I can drive the three blocks to the school and sit in my classroom to be productive.  I just don't have the same productivity at home.

1) We didn't have many nights at home this past week, so I have stuff to catch up on.  I have also starting watching Gilmore Girls on Netflix.

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Five Friday on Saturday 10/18

10:40 AM Sarah Koves 4 Comments

It has been almost a month since I last linked up with Doodlebugs Teaching for Five for Friday.

My first thing from this week is this article that I came across:

I shared it with my principal, and we had a great conversation about classroom design (we passed a bond in the spring), technology, and homework.  I really want to try and be at the forefront of these types of changes at our school.

My first Ipsy bag arrived this week.  I have been getting Birchbox for moths now and love it.  When I found out that Ipsy does a similar thing and includes a bag, I jumped on board.  $10 a month and I get some great samples.
I tried all these samples.  The lotion was great as was the eye liner and mask.  I let my little one have the lip gloss, which I don't wear, but I did try it.  My older one got the facewash.  All three of us walked away happy.

I got some serious grading on Thursday while the girls were at dance class.  I got lesson plans done too.  I am not caught up, but I am getting there.  Hopefully a few hours on Sunday will make it happen.

We didn't have students on Monday because there were parent teacher conferences in the morning and we got to leave at noon!  I only had about five parents show, but I got a bulletin board changed out.

AP literature terms on the left and American founding documents and Washington, D.C. pictures on the right.

My 11th grade DOL book finally gave in this week.  I knew it was happening, so I ordered a legal binder.  I took the book apart ,and our librarian laminated all the pages for me.  I had some trouble punching the pages, and it isn't perfect yet as it doesn't flip nicely, but I can tweak it.  I supposed I might just have to buy a new one as the binder is a lot bulkier than the book...I don't know.


6:58 PM Sarah Koves 1 Comments

I think this was one of the first draft posts I started back in July.  I am just now putting the finishing touches on it and sharing it with all of you.

I believe in writing every day in order to get better at it.  Writing Next said 70% of students are low-achieving writers.  We need our students to be writing all kinds of writing more often with different purposes. One way that I accomplish this is through daily journal writing in my English classes. 

Here is my system:

I buy the .10 single subject college-ruled notebooks in August when they appear in bulk at my local retailer.  This year I bought two colors for each class period, so I could easily tell 4th hour from 7th hour.

I begin on the first day of school (always a Tuesday here in Michigan) by having students grab a notebook as they enter the room.  At the start of the first class, the question is always the same: Why do we have to study English in school if it is our native language?  I don't give a length or anything the first day, but it is an important question and routine to establish.  We have a short discussion about this on day one!

I go on to lay out my expectations for daily journal writing:

-20 lines every day Monday-Thursday
-They must address the topic I give them
-Once they address my topic, they may start a new paragraph with some other topic.
-I grade this on content and completeness

I also follow a set pattern for my topics:

Monday: Highs and lows of the last week- I think it is important to evaluate our lives on a regular basis to determine what we have to be thankful for and what we need or want to change to make it better.
Tuesday: Creative Writing-I like love this site for picture prompts and creative writing ideas.  I usually work through them in order over the course of the year.  These things get the juices flowing.
Wednesday: Persuasive/Argumentative writing.  The New York Times has a great list.  The ACT is part of our state assessment (at least until Common Core takes over), so students need repeated practice with this type of writing.  I also have them go back through their journals to find these writings to choose from for their full-length researched papers.
Thursday: Freewrite- The students can write about whatever moves them.  Some love this while others need me to give them a topic, and I always say the first word that comes to mind...usually an animal or food to be honest.

Other ideas I have tried are Pinterest pictures from my writing board and songs.  I have also done some mimicking of other author's styles.

By this point you are probably asking about Friday.  I do something a little bit different on Friday.  I ask them to revise and edit their entries from the previous week in a different color (I set out colored pencils for this task).  I refer them to the anchor chart above my board where the topic is written for the day.

 The original came from 3rd Grade Thoughts.  I created mine on Staples.com

I collect these every other Friday and score two weeks at a time.  I have my grades set with category weights, and journals are 10% of a student's grade.  I do this for several reasons: it makes scoring them easier on me and it motivates them enough to get them done.  

Often students ask if I read their journals, and I do, but I tell them that I don't read them like a book where I want to follow every detail and event.  I more skim-read to get the gist, make a comment on something, and see that it is complete.  I try and make one comment in each students' notebook each time I read them, but sometimes I get in a groove and forget.

The points are easy: one point for every line and five points per journal for editing and revising.  Students often forget the revision part (even after a lengthy discussion the first few times and an anchor chart).  Each day is worth 25 points, and two weeks is usually 200  (if we have class each day).  That massive amount of points is part of the reason I have to do weighted categories.  I just don't want to work harder than I have to in order to calculate grades. 

I don't count the lines as I have developed a sophisticated system: a piece of college-ruled paper folded over and numbered.  I line it up and total!  The one on the right is a wide-ruled one just in case.  They are kind of gross after years of my dirty hands on them...ewww.

I am working on getting every day for the year put into a Google Slides presentation to make my life easier.

Check out some more anchor charts

Menu Monday 10/13

2:37 PM Sarah Koves 0 Comments

I'm getting Menu Monday out a little late this week.  I slacked off on Sunday becauase we only had A.M. parent teacher conferences today and no students.
This menu plan is something I do every week for my family.  It keeps hubby and I on the same page and forces me to use the produce and leftovers. 

Remember that having a plan does not mean that you have to adhere to it regardless of what happens.  We all have nights were the meeting went late or you are just too tired, so go ahead and have a frozen pizza that night or switch leftover night.

Here is what I am planning on this week.

Sunday: We had panini sandwiches last night made by dear hubby and personalized.  Shmurtz likes hers with just orange and white cheese. Potumus likes hers with ham, cheese, and tomato.  Mine was chicken, tomato, cheeses, and grainy mustard.  

Monday: Left over night for the week.  It is just Shmurtz and I home tonight, so we are eating some sloppy joes, soup, and fish that are in our fridge.  Hubby brought home some good bits from work on Saturday.  Basically, we are eating up what is left.

Tuesday: Pasta.  I have already set the burger out to thaw.  I'll cook that off with garlic and onion.  Add a jar of pre-made sauce or homemade (I have both).  Boil off your favorite pasta.  I always have bread sticks or garlic bread in the freezer to add to it.  We will also make a big salad.  Potumus and I will have leftovers for lunches the next day.

Wednesday: Taco Pie.  I actually got this one from Potumus' dad's mother years ago.  Line a pie plate (the deeper the better) with a can of refrigerator biscuits.  Cook off your burger with onions and taco seasoning (I have made my own for years).  Use a slotted spoon (I avoid the grease) to spoon taco meat into pie plate.  Top with cheese.  Bake until biscuits are cooked (about 35 mins at 350).  Slice as pie.  I serve with cilantro, tomato, salsa, and sour cream.  Another great dish leftover.

Thursday:  Whatever fast food the kids want.  The girls have dance at 4, so I play delivery mom while they are in class.

Friday: Potumus has another cross country meet out of town after school, so I want something easy to come home to afterwards.  Perhaps BBQ pork sliders in the crockpot with coleslaw.  I love throwing a small pork roast in the crockpot to shred into sliders.  Or maybe we will add pickles and mustard for Cubans.  Either way, my favorite kitchen appliance is coming out.

Saturday:  Indian Restaurant night.  We are finally getting to go out with some wonderful friends for Indian food.  The kids will have pizza or mac and cheese before we go.  I hope it is good because I am super nervous.

I would love your feedback on this new weekly post: do you like it? What else would you like to see in this? 

Follow me on Instagram for pictures of my meals throughout the week. 

Sunday Scoop 10/12

9:20 AM Sarah Koves 5 Comments

Where did the weekend go? 

1) I went shopping yesterday and got home really late, so everything got dumped into the house.  Of course that was great last night, but now I have to get t all put away.  Not to mention two Amazon packages came.
2) Shmurtz stayed with my mom last night who was watching my nephews, so I will be picking her up this afternoon and bringing her home.  Not a long drive; just an adventure out.
3) I am starting to think that laundry is on this post every week...I guess it is a battle I will never win.

1) I have a social studies binder project I am working on: trying to get rid of the 6 tubs of binders in my shed from my middle school social studies job over five years ago.  I hope to get two more cleaned today...again this week.
2) I have been planning a blog post on the journals that I do with my juniors as well as a freebie product to go with it, but I need to sit down and finish it...maybe today is the day.  I haven't posted about school stuff in a long while.

1) Part of my shopping extravaganza was to get new curtains for the bedroom.  Hubby is excited because they are light blocking.  Of course this means I have to hang them, which isn't a major issue, but it will force me to switch out the air conditioner in the window for a fan.

Check out more:

Throwback Thursday 10/8 The Together Teacher

2:18 PM Sarah Koves 1 Comments

Throwback Thursday to my chapter of The Together Teacher in honor of the end of our book study along with the giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Here is the original post:

We are in week seven of our book study of The Together Teacher by Maia Heyck-Merlin.

I have to say that this should be a MUST read for all new teachers, but even me, after ten and a half years of teaching, I am learning some amazing new tricks.

Our goals are to:
1) prepare for the week to come
2) create AM and PM habits at school
3) plan our planning periods

We already have set up our calendar, to-do lists, thought catchers, PD/meeting notes, and weekly worksheet.

This week is all about keeping our system going.  We have to establish habits of our organization system.  Also, you may be to make adjustments to your tools and systems because if they aren't working for you, you won't keep doing them. (This is why my process for handling late work changes almost every year)  Teachers need to find the sweet spot for routines and organization.

Goal 1: Prepare for the week to come

The first step is to go through what Maia calls The Weekly Round-Up.  This is where we plan for the week ahead.  We teachers know all about planning....we do those lesson plan thingys all the time.  During this Round-Up, we take all of our tools and put everything together, so you can be the best for your students, family, and self.

1) Identify your personal and professional priorities including calendar events, to-dos you want to accomplish, and work responsibilities.

2) Create a schedule using calendar events, ideal week, rest/relaxation and priorities, but be sure to leave some room for the unexpected.

3) Decide what to-dos you need to and/or would like to complete this week.

4) Review your thought catchers to take care of anything that needs to be dealt with this week

5) Review Meeting/PD Notes to determine what you need to scan, add to calendar, or updated in to-do lists

6) Review loose scraps of paper...we all have that rouge sticky notes

7) Do you have any other papers to deal with: calendars, memos, data, etc

8) Review any communications that need to be scheduled into the week: long emails or phone calls?

Maia recommends doing this at some point on Friday.  I personally like to do it Sunday morning, so I do deviate from her plan on that point.  I actually have a version of this on my refrigerator for my whole family.  I updated it on Sunday to show everyone's commitments for the week.  I also write our dinner plans on it, so I don't have to think about it.  This is one from summer, so it is fairly open:

Goal Two: AM and PM habits at school

Maia declares that teachers need habits for the morning when we arrive at school and for the afternoon before we go home.

AM habits might include email, copies, staff meetings, etc.  I usually unpack my bag, check email, change date and journal topic on the board, and lay out my class materials for the whole day.  I try to avoid making copies because the machine always has a line.  I also prefer to keep to myself in the morning because I am not usually fully awake.  I am not a morning person.  Maia gives separate examples of AM routines for both morning people and those of us who are not.

PM habits could be cleaning up, copies, chatting with co-workers, staff meetings, or planning.  I was always that person who let those PM minutes get away from me.  Potumus has practices after school, so I usually have until at least 4 every day, but I always seem to get so little done.  

This part of the book really helped me.  I now have a list taped to my desk of what I need to do each day: get a drink or a snack, check materials for tomorrow, answer at least 5 emails from the school day, pick up stray items in my room, put materials away from today, and clear off my desk.  The last item is probably the most helpful and important to me; coming in to a clean work service is priceless.

Goal Three: Plan our Planning Period

Much like the after school part of my day, my prep, when I had one first semester last year, would get away from me.  I would get pulled into technology issues by others (I am our building rep) and get none of my work done.  I now have a spot at the top of my lesson plans to note what I want to accomplish each day.  I even give myself one day to just have nothing to do except check in with others.

This year my planning period is sixth hour of a seven hour day.  This means I am tired by the time it gets here.  I write my lesson plans the week before, and I mark things I need to make or copy with a colored pen.  This makes my prep planning a little easier. My week's worth of planning periods looks like this:

Monday-Just check in with people and make sure I have everything.
Tuesday-Grade papers
Wednesday-Grade Papers
Thursday- Plan lessons for next week
Friday-Make all copies for next week

What are you waiting for? Get started on your NEXT STEPS:

1) prepare for the week to come
2) create AM and PM habits at school
3) plan our planning periods

Check out the other Throwbacks:

Wordless Wednesday 10/7

7:00 AM Sarah Koves 4 Comments

Time for another Wordless Wednesday with Miss DeCarbo at Sugar and Spice.

This is the wall under my front board.  As part of my first week in AP Psychology, I had students describe their personalities on these puzzle pieces that I got from Oriental Trading Company.  It made an awesome decoration on the front wall.  I used hot glue to stick them up....last weekend.  Yes, it took me almost a month to get them put up.

What unfinished projects do you have at school?

Check out the other Wordless Wednesday Posts.

Menu Monday 10/6

7:00 AM Sarah Koves 0 Comments

It is time again for Menu Monday
Remember that having a plan does not mean that you have to adhere to it regardless of what happens.  We all have nights were the meeting went late or you are just too tired, so go ahead and have a frozen pizza that night or switch leftover night.

Here is what I am planning on this week.

Sunday: I roasted a chicken that I bought yesterday.  I love that our local supermarket discounts meat on its sell-by date.  I can get items at a discount, and they are fine if I immediately cook or freeze them.  My plan was to use the chicken for other meals this week, but my sister-in-law and nephews came over, so we will have one more meal with the chicken.  I try and always make Sunday a time-consuming meal that I can use for leftovers.  We added mashed potatoes and a salad.  It was super-tasty!

I also made a batch of blueberry muffins from a recipe on Sally's Baking Addiction.  I don't like the one in my Betty Crocker Cookbook and wanted to try something new.

Monday: Left over night for the week.  I have a meeting, and Mondays exhaust us.  I love not having to worry about the leftovers in my fridge getting eaten.  I think we have some soup and steak as well as chicken from Sunday.

Tuesday: Pasties.  We have a bunch of leftover steak from Saturday's grill, so our plan is to dice that up with some parsnips, carrots, potatoes, onions, and turnips that we have after a great produce shopping trip.  I bought two packages of pie crust to bake them in.  You could add gravy if you are into that.  I am hoping to have  few left over for lunches.  (fajitas could also work with the left over steak)

Wednesday: Chicken noodle soup.  I use the crockpot.  Carrots, celery, onions, parsley, the chicken from Sunday.  I add that to two boxes of vegetable broth, two tablespoons of fresh garlic, a couple grinds of pepper.  Cook it on low all day.  I then add a half a bag of frozen egg noodles (the frozen ones are way better than the dried ones).

Thursday:  This is our cheat night.  The girls have dance at 4, and I have parent-teacher conferences, so hubby is in charge of dinner.  I am sure he will get them each exactly what they want.

Friday: Potumus has a cross country meet out of town after school, so I am leaving Friday open.  If we see something yummy on the way home, we may stop.  Otherwise it will be pizza.  Yes, we often eat pizza on Friday.

Saturday:  I am hoping there will be some chicken soup left from Wednesday to thicken and bake into a pot pie for Saturday.  Once again I try to cook just a few nights and reuse and re-purpose.  I simply cook down the stock and add some thickener (cornstarch or flour and fat).  I don't make my own pie crust, so another box of pie crusts was purchased for this dinner.

I would love your feedback on this new weekly post: do you like it? What else would you like to see in this?  

Sunday Scoop 10/5

9:01 AM Sarah Koves 0 Comments

Where did the weekend go?  It has been dreary here in Michigan, so I didn't get much outside time.

1) I am super excited about my new weekly Monday Menu posts.  Check out my new series with my weekly menu plan.  I would love some feedback.
2) I left my desk in a mess on Friday, so I will need to drive the three blocks to school and spend an hour or two this afternoon cleaning and prepping.
3) I just got scolded for not having any clean work pants for dear hubby to wear to work; even though he did the laundry yesterday.

1) I have a social studies binder project I am working on: trying to get rid of the 6 tubs of binders in my shed from my middle school social studies job over five years ago.  I hope to get two more cleaned today.
2) I have two books Gone Girl and This is Where I Leave You that I want to read, but I haven't gotten far in either.

1) Both my girls are home all day today, so we will hang out. Maybe bake something.  Our cat Shadow disappeared on Thursday night during a storm and returned yesterday, so he and Twitch are getting extra loving today on the sofa.

Check out more:

Currently October

7:50 AM Sarah Koves 2 Comments

I am not sure how this month got away from me, but here is my currently post for October.  Thanks Farley for the great linky and template!

Smurtz got up with me this morning, and she is hard at work with her Minecraft.  The dishwasher is also running the remains of our first steak dinner from our 1/4 side of beef that came.  It was AMAZING!

I am loving that fall tv is back on.  I certainly missed The Big Bang Theory and Grey's Anatomy.

I actually have a few moments this morning, so I am going to get at least three more posts going for this week including my new series Menu Monday.  Please stop by and check out last Monday because I would love the feedback.

I don't know what Smurtz is going to be yet, but Potumus wants to be a car hop girl.  I need to get those costume pieces ordered (what I don't make), so they are ready for the 25th party at Grandma's house.  I am also trying to convince my hubby that a pair of Tieks is in order for me...still working on that one.

All I have to say is two day weekends are NOT long enough, especially after homecoming week.

Treats...always...I have a terrible sweet tooth.

Throwback Thursday 10/2: AP Psychology Vocabulary

7:00 AM Sarah Koves 0 Comments

Here is my Throwback Thursday from  Sunday, August 17, 2014

Check out other throwbacks.

AP Psychology is vocabulary heavy.  If the students can learn the vocabulary, they can be fairly successful on the exam.   I have been teaching this class for the last three years, and I think this past year I finally found a way to make vocabulary work for this class.

Each unit the students get a vocabulary list, and these lists are pretty long due to the content.  I check their list for completeness of definitions.  There is also a matching quiz towards the end of each unit.  Students were struggling with the vocabulary and with working on it a little bit at a time; they wanted to simply cram the night before, and this was causing them to be unsuccessful, so I needed a way to force them into breaking it down.

I actually borrowed much of this from a past coworker, Emily, who did this with her English classes.

Here is what I came up with:

I set my quiz date.  I then divide the list of terms by the number of days; it usually worked out to 3-6 words a day for the unit because the number of terms was proportional to the length of the unit.  The first day I hand out the vocabulary list and share the daily division of the list.

The next day the students have to know the first day's words (3-6 terms).  These 3-6 terms and definitions go into my container.  I then give them 1/4 sheets of paper (I cut up stuff from the recycle box) and draw three terms.  I read only the definition; they write the term.

This is the container that I use.  I wanted something that could sit on my desk and was solely used for this purpose.  I actually got it from our Vista rep. I believe it had candy or cookies in it originally.

The next day we leave the first set of terms in the container and add the next group.  This means that sometimes they get the same terms several times in the unit, which they think is funny.

I total these daily quizzes up over the unit for one final daily vocabulary grade.  This then goes in the gradebook and can be compared to the final vocabulary quiz for growth.

I have stored each unit's terms in a ziplock bag labeled with the unit.  This way I am not recreating these each year.  Here is the bag for the biology unit.

This year I had 91% of my students pass the AP Psychology exam and most of those were 4s and 5s.  This was the first year that I used this vocabulary method, and I only started it part way through the year.

I would say it was successful.

I am making one small change to this for next year.  For the first three units we will be doing a specific vocabulary method: list and define; flash cards; is/isn't.  Then, after the students have tried all three methods, I will let them choose for the rest of the year.  This way they can hopefully find what works for them.  They have to do something, but I am not as concerned as to what that something is.

How do you teach vocabulary?

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