Giveaway and Book Promotion: Sinners and Saints

10:24 AM Sarah Koves 0 Comments

Sinners & Saints : A Patriot's Manifesto
by Kristina Garlick

My name is Zoey Major and I live in Fort Star, New Jersey. I am also a survivor in the zombie apocalypse. Seems very cut and dry but I have been hiding something- like really huge. My secret is game changing. I am not like the others... I know, what a surprise twist! Unfortunately, I can’t tell you why I am different. If you really want to know, you have to figure it out. Hey, even in these dark times, a girl needs her secrets.

This post contains affiliate links.

Eventually, I found my way into the Oval Office. The famous Resolute Desk was there and luckily not a scratch on it. I approach the desk, touching it almost gingerly for fear of even a chance of marring its beauty. Next, I pick up the chair that laid on the floor next to the desk and I brush it off. I sat down at the desk and for a moment I thought everything would be okay. Then I saw a zombie walk pass the doorway. I began shouting and cursing at the damn zombie but it doesn’t hear me.

In utter despair, I began to cleaning the Oval Office. I hated to see it in such disrepair and besides I had no place to go or anything to do. I was a castaway person looking for a world that no longer existed. When I picked up the slightly torn and dirty American flag off of the floor I began to cry. Like a security blanket, I wrap the flag around me. Feeling like I truly had hit rock bottom, I collapse on the floor in front of the Resolute Desk. If a miracle was going to happen, I needed it to occur now.

Suddenly, I hear rapid gun fire coming from somewhere outside of the office. Or maybe it wasn’t that sudden and I had just lost track of time. Somehow I snapped out of my PTSD type fog and realized I needed to hide in case whoever was coming my way was not friendly. Plus, while I was immune to zombie sight and sound, I was pretty sure I could still die by a bullet.

  AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Kristina Garlick lives in Warren County, New Jersey. She holds a Masters in Parks & Resource Management from Slippery Rock University. While she loves the outdoors and has many hobbies such as soap making, writing has always been her passion. Kristina wrote her first full length fantasy story at ten and had her first book published when she was fourteen. She has a unique style of writing, which she calls Diary-Play format. Kristina is also available for book signings, panels, discussion groups and other special functions.

Website: (Where you can buy Kristina’s Books)
Twitter: @KristinaGarlick

Kristina will be awarding a $15 azon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Advice on Classroom Management and Procedures

10:58 AM Sarah Koves 0 Comments

September's topic is all about improving on our classroom management and procedures.  We have been in school for a few weeks now, but I am still training my students on our procedures and adding new ones as they come up.  Classroom management, I believe, is an on-going process that must be nurtured all year long.

We have several new teachers in our building this year. Being a new teacher has its own set of struggles on top of those that all teachers face.  Because of these newbies, I wanted to collect and share advice on a variety of topics relating to teaching for all of us,  new or veteran, to learn from.


Use humor in the classroom! It works for engagement, lesson buy-in, and tension reduction. Check out her post on humor in the classroom. -Cheryl from Language Arts for Middle School

Always have some sort of assignment or task on the board for when students come in. While you take attendance, they have something to do! -Carrie from The Tightwad Teacher

Consistency, consistency, consistency!!! Chaos reigns without consistency! -April from Cullom Corner

Be consistent with your routines and procedures. Practice them regularly. Do not give up, they will work eventually. Find more classroom management ideas on her blog. -Kristy from 2 Peas and a Dog

I like to train students to work independently or together before turning to me for help. It forces them to listen to directions if they know that I'm not going to repeat myself. My tip is to set a timer for 7 min. at the beginning of work time, and let them know that you won't answer any questions until the timer goes off. At first, they'll act frustrated, but then their drive to "figure it out" will set in and they'll work together to solve their problems. Gradually increase the time until students can work alone or in pairs for an entire class period. This is when you'll have your one-on-one conferences about writing and reading. -Danielle from Teach Nouvelle

Be Yourself, Everyone Else is Taken .  See her post on being true to her teacher self.

When dealing with any classroom management issues, my biggest piece of advice is to STAY CALM. If you aren't in control of your emotions, the students will control them. If you're calm, you can think clearly and make rational decisions. Before you take any action, take at least two long, deep breaths, quiet your mind, and relax your jaw. -Karrie from Mrs. E Teaches Math

There are many, many tips in this category, but I'm going to say, CONNECT with each student everyday– simple, yet difficult to do. We stay busy managing "the class" and can sort of loose "the student." Personal, daily connection doesn't just help with management, but leads to student growth and learning in both academics and social behavior. One way to connect each day– greet each student at the door while you are SEATED, especially if you teach lower elementary. Sit down to look students in the eye, at their level, so they are not always looking up. -Kathleen from Kidpeople Classroom


I have two tips for classroom management for you.

1) Get the book CHAMPS and use it.  I love the clip charts to show students what you expect of them in terms of volume, help, and movement during different types of activities.

2) Create a seating chart.  I print two sets of these Rainbow Desk Labels: one to tape to the desks and another to hand out to students.  We use them all year for grouping up.

Student learn their groups and partners during the first weeks, which helps make transitions to groups discussion or partner tests smooth all year.


What is your best classroom management or procedure tip?


Do you want to be feature on next month's post?

October's topic is Team Building and Collaboration

Email me your tip at

Eat Write Teach Guest Post

11:34 PM Sarah Koves 0 Comments

This post was originally posted on Eat.Write.Teach.

My husband, a chef, walked into the kitchen at work- a local college- and stepped into a conversation among his coworkers about teachers.  The others were commenting on how overpaid teachers are for the few hours they work a day; 8-3: what kind of work day is that?  He waited to see what would happen, but when the conversation continued down that path, he stepped in.  “My wife is a teacher, and I can tell you that she works more hours that we do.”  Silence fell upon the kitchen.  Not only were they slightly embarrassed for the conversation they were having in front of a teacher’s spouse, but they were shocked.  My wonderful husband went on to fill his coworkers in on all the work I do outside of the school day.
During Winter and Spring Break

Professional Reading

I am an English teacher, so it is no surprise that I adore books.  I often feel guilty reading books for pleasure during the school year (something I need to work on), so I devour them during breaks.  It is not unusual for me to go through an entire series during winter and spring break.  However, I do make it a goal to read one professional book during each of those breaks.  I find that it helps me reignite my fire while recharging my batteries.  Some of my favorite include Teach Smarter, not Harder and The Together Teacher.  

However, my professional reading also takes the form of reading and organizing all the saved digital articles and blog posts that I keep during the school year.  When I am scrolling through Facebook and find posts that I want to read, I save them for later.  During my breaks, I go back, read them, and organize them (usually on my Pinterest Boards).  While this may not seem like a huge deal, it is how I stay current on education tends and pendulum swings and how I find new activities and resources for my classroom.


I make every attempt to avoid assigning work to my students during vacations nor do I want lingering papers and projects waiting for our return after a week or two off.  My students need a brain break, so I give them one.  This means that tests, papers, and projects are due before break, which results in me having stacks to grade during vacations.  Now, grading falls right behind staff meetings and office paperwork on my list of things I don’t love about my job, but I will grade over break because I believe it is what is best for my students.

Those research papers can take some time to grade, so I have to set a schedule for grading.  I either plan an hour or two a day over the break to work on grading, or I drive to school for a full day; it depends on upon what my family’s schedule looks like for vacation.  I purposefully plan my grading time, so the rest of vacation can be spent relaxing, enjoying family, or doing what I want.


Planning takes many forms over breaks:
*Discovering new ideas online
*Revising unit plans for the rest of the semester
*Writing daily lesson plans

It is necessary for me to have at least two weeks worth of lesson plans done when vacation is over.  If I don’t do this work while on vacation, I am scrambling the first days back, and my students are missing out on learning opportunities.  Plus, coming back from a holiday can be hard on the body and mind, so any prep that I can do to make the transition easier for myself is worth the time.
During the Summer

Professional Learning

Each summer I work to hone my craft.  I do this not only for my students but myself as I have goals and dreams that I am working towards.   I use books, Facebook groups like the one I run for journalism teachers, free online courses, and conferences/trainings.  

Right now I am reading Unshakable and participating in the Facebook Book Study.  I just finished a free online course in blogging, which I intend to use with my senior portfolios in the fall.  I have also attended an online training on the new grade book in Power School.  I have several more trainings planned for the month of August.

Summer School

I have taught summer school every summer except one since I started at my current school in 2009.  I spend two weeks with the struggling students of our school getting them caught up on learning and credits.  

I spend five hours a day for eight days in June teaching four classes in one room to students who couldn’t pass them the first time around.  This is a thankless job, but it is incredibly rewarding to have students walk out of my summer school classroom back on track to graduate.

Technology Support

I run our district’s student information system, Power School.  That means that I spend time in the summer setting up the most important technology application in our district for the next year.  This includes schedules for four buildings, inputting the calendar, and backing up data from the previous year.  I put in enough hours one summer to take a week off during the school year for a family emergency.  

I also am currently working on my Google Trainer Certification and on building a new school website from scratch on Google Sites.  
Check out my post on Using Summer Productively to see how I balance my summer fun and work to be accomplished

Next year we are moving towards a balanced calendar, so who knows what the days, weeks, and months of the year will hold for me.

Check out how I Teach 365 during the school year on my blog.

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