Sunday, March 1, 2015

31 ELA Writing Activities - "March Maneuvers - Sprint Into Spring"

Mother Nature continues to imprison much of the country in her wintry grip on this first day of March. Teachers are desperate for a few academic ice picks that will chip away the, doldrums encasing their students' brains and freezing their motivation to learn. Thirty-one Common Core aligned writing activities aimed to tone up students’ - and teachers’ -  winter-weary brains will do the trick.  

31 ELA Writing Activities - "March Maneuvers - Sprint Into Spring"
Teachers, say, "Hello!" to March Maneuvers - Sprint into Spring -  just the chisels you need to engage, inspire and motivate your students during Mother Nature's, "Which Season Am I- Winter or Spring?" month.

What's Included
• Thirty-One writing activities with directions and writing requirements
• A March calendar of celebrations with at least 2 events per day for each day of the month.



5 Sample Activities
1. Choose one of the celebrations under today’s date. Even if you don’t know why this topic became a day of celebration, imagine a reason for its existence. Explain the: Who, what, where, when and why behind its formation. Also discuss any ways people celebrate this day.
2. Write a persuasive essay that supports either promoting or abolishing this celebration.
3. Research the real reason this day came to exist. Explain the: Who, what, where, when, why and how behind its formation. Also discuss any ways people celebrate this day.
4. Choose a character from the literature you are currently studying and show his/her opinion about this day. Be sure that you are writing from this character’s point of view and not your own. 
5. Compose a scene from a book that creates a word picture of a fervent follower of this holiday. 

*General Writing Activity Project
1. Following the teacher’s time-frame and specific requirements for this project, create an

Month of Holidays: MARCH
  advertising campaign for this holiday that includes newspaper/magazine, radio and television ads. 
2. *Create three recipes for this day to share on a Food Network show. They can be appetizers, snacks, main dishes, soups, salads, desserts or sides, but no more than two can be from the same category. See the complete list of activities (31) and a March calendar with over 135 Celebrations when you download this product from 
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Writing-Activities-March-Maneuvers-Sprint-into-Spring-584169.

Think warm breezes and sunny days with March Maneuvers - Sprint into Spring

Happy Teaching,




TEACH IT WRITE - BUILD POWERFUL ACADEMIC HOMES

Monday, February 23, 2015

TpT Teachers are HEROES Sale +The Best of Teacher Entrepreneurs Giveaways = a BIG WIN for Teachers

TpT "Teachers are Heroes" Sale
Thank you to Danielle Weinberg Knight http://studyallknight.blogspot.com for this incredible graphic
 showcasing some awesome Secondary Teachers.

Anyone who has spent any time in or around a classroom observing ALL that teachers do know that teachers are HEROES.  To show their appreciation for all that teachers leading classrooms do, TpT and their Sellers are joining in a site wide SALE on February 25, 2015.

Teachers who purchase my products at https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Connie will receive a 20% discount from me. Plus, buyers who use the promo code, HEROES, will receive an additional 10% off from TpT.

Be sure to make time to browse and buy on Wednesday, 2/25/2015.


Vicky Leon, the creator of The Best of Teacher Entrepreneurs and a top TpT Seller is holding THREE $100 GIVEAWAYS of TpT Gift Certificates  starting with this Sale  All three of the giveaways will begin on  Monday, February 23, 2015.
The FIRST $100 GIVEAWAY will end at 11:00 P.M. Pacific Time on Monday, March 16, 2015.  
The SECOND and THIRD $100 GIVEAWAYS will end at 11:00 P.M. on Monday, March 23, 2015.   

I would love it if you scrolled down to my quote and used my name (Connie Casserly) for your entry;
"TBOTEMC offers 
Collegiality
Lessons
Activities
Student Success
Seller Success
Because of TBOTEMC, I reached my $20,000.00 milestone on TpT much sooner than I expected. I first joined TBOTE to gain exposure for my TpT products and my bloghttp://teachitwrite.blogspot.com/ - which, I'm thrilled to say, definitely happened. The Social Media Partners concept is a win-win for TpT sellers and is a marketing treasure. Victoria Leon goes out of her way to help her members to increase their selling potential"
~Connie

  •  FIRST $100.00 GIVEAWAY- people who respond to this Rafflecopter giveaway may also earn an additional “entry” or “raffle ticket” if they visit a TBOTEMC member’s TpT stores and state the name of one of his or her TpT products.  The more TpT stores the potential buyer visits, the more chances the person will have to win the FIRST $100 GIVEAWAY. 

For this second Entry, I'd appreciate it is you went to my Rafflecopter entry:

Visit Connie Casserly's TpT Store

Visit Connie Casserly'sTpT Store at [https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Connie]

To earn one entry, write the name of one of Connie Casserly's TpT products.

 
The Best of Teacher Entrepreneurs Marketing Cooperative
Interested in The Best of Teacher Entrepreneurs Marketing Cooperative? 
I hope that the three The Best of Teacher Entrepreneurs Giveaways has served as an appetizer and has enticed you to join so you can appreciate what TBOTE membership will do for you and your products.
Purchase an annual TBOTEMC membership for the first time at
State my name as the referring person -Connie Casserly - and my TpT Store’s URL address -https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Connie in the space provided on The Best of Teacher Entrepreneurs Marketing Cooperative’s Registration Form. 



Why join The Best of Teacher Entrepreneurs Marketing Cooperative? 
For the magic of TBOTEMC

1. Once a day you will be able to publish a post on your designated TBOTE blog (The Best of Teacher Entrepreneurs, The Best of Teacher Entrepreneurs II, The Best of Teacher Entrepreneurs III, etc.) - http://www.thebestofteacherentrepreneurs.net/2015/02/free-lessons-priced-lessons-best-of.html and http://www.thebestofteacherentrepreneurs.com/2015/02/15-free-lessons-click-on-links-below-to.html.  Your TpT products will have page views all over the Internet. 

2. After you join, you will be spending your time wisely if you decide to become Social Media Partners and add your name to the Google doc at the TBOTEMC website at CRTeacher2.com.  You will be collaborating with other TBOTEMC members and use your social media sites to market your TpT products...AND... help repin our TBOTEMC links at thttps://www.pinterest.com/TheBestofTPT/the-best-of-teacher-entrepreneurs-free-lessons-pri/.  


3. Vicky has been working on the new WordPress blog, The Best of Teacher Entrepreneurs Marketing Cooperative at http://thebestofteacherentrepreneursmarketingcooperative.net/.  The best part about this new WordPress blog is that all of the TBOTEMC members will be able to post on this one blog. More on this after she completes a a few more details to the site.

Questions or Concerns About TBOTEMC?
If you have any questions, please email me, Connie Casserly, at conniecasserly@gmail.com 

Enjoy the TpT HEROES sale and the TBOTE Giveaways.

Happy Teaching,








TEACH IT WRITE - BUILD POWERFUL ACADEMIC HOMES









Wednesday, February 18, 2015

English Language Arts Lessons – “Dystopian Novel Teaching Ideas”

Dystopian Novel Teaching Ideas
Good can come from dystopian cultures, well, from the study of dystopian novels, anyway. This 10-page product for Middle and High School ELA teachers, Dystopian Novels Generate a Teacher Utopia
16+ Teaching Ideas offers 16+ lessons for the study of dystopian books.

Although the directions and descriptions for each lesson reference Aldous Huxley's "Brave New World," I use these details to add clarification- and to offer more lessons for my Brave New World" Unit Planhttps://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Brave-New-World-Unit-Plan-5021, which was my initial goal.  When I realized the universality of these newly created lessons, I decided to offer suggestions on how teachers could adapt these activities to fit any dystopian novel - or any novel - for that matter.



Issues, Issues, These are the IssuesAfter detailing 3 Novel Preview Lesson Ideas, this packet includes 12 lessons that will develop the topic, "Novel Study Lesson Ideas: Exploring the Elements of Literature."  For the lesson on Setting, I even developed a handout with two activities for Issues, Issues, These are the Issues.

Under the Extended Study- And Then There was More  heading, I suggest 16 utopian/dystopian novels -some classics taught in many schools- for independent reading, small group or whole class study. Next, teachers will find links to two products that tie into the study of dystopian literature and propaganda: Writing and Thinking Activity-Unconventional Inventionshttps://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Writing-Thinking-Activity-Unconventional-Inventions-18339($) and Thinking/Writing Activities 'Utopian and Dystopian Society Novel Projects’https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/ThinkingWriting-Activities-Utopian-and-Dystopian-Society-Novel-Projects-1124376($).

As a plug for all of my TpT Seller colleagues, I follow these suggestions by mentioning that ELA teachers will find lessons, activities and unit plans for 12 out of the 16 novels that I name here on TpT. I hope that this mention will send you all some sales!

Teacher Notes
I close the packet with a Parent Permission Slip since many of these novels reveal controversial issues and may be restricted in some school districts for various reasons. As with the majority of my products, I include a detailed Teacher Notes page complete with CSS Anchor Standards and Bloom's Taxonomy suggestions.

Download this packet with enough Common Core and Bloom’s Taxonomy aligned activities to fill more than a month of lessons from https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Teacher-Resource-Dystopian-Novels-Generate-a-Teacher-Utopia-1502333 ($).

Many teens and preteens love reading dystopian literature. These lessons will engage them and will hook those students who need a lift onto the I Love Reading Express.

Happy Teaching,





TEACH IT WRITE - BUILD POWERFUL ACADEMIC HOMES



Saturday, February 14, 2015

Secondary Smorgasbord - February Funnies Hop!


Thanks to Darlene Anne Curran  http://meatballsinthemiddle.blogspot.com/  and Pamela Kranz http://desktoplearningadventures.blogspot.com/ for another awesome Secondary Smorgasbord topic: February Funnies.


I chalk up one of my most embarrassing "You Didn't do THAT" classroom moments to Teaching Perils. Tripping on backpacks, becoming tangled in the legs of desks and falling into students, and being so focused on the lesson that you can't see floating balloons are three of these menaces.

Once upon a dreary late February morning, Mother Nature's waffled over blanketing us with yet another day of gloom and grayness or teasing us with slivers of spring breezes wafting from puffy clouds back-lit by the sun, My 4th period seniors, pushing for spring and spring break, decided to play volleyball with a bright blue balloon while I affirmed, enthusiastically I thought, the importance of the sun in Albert Camus' The Stranger.

More concerned about turning my students' attitudes from tepid to hot, my brain didn't even register the volleyball balloon game until the blue orb floated into my peripheral vision. Suddenly, I found myself airborne, my body totally parallel to the  floor, and my arms stretched into a Save position that would have made US Women's Volleyball Olympians, Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings, cheer.

During my nano-second flight, I honed in on 26 faces staring at me, mouths agape and eyes as wide as Frisbees. The last sound I heard was Total. Silence.

As my black slacks and lime-green and black Chico's clad body splatted onto the tiled concrete floor dusted with the grit from 54 feet, my hands slid under the balloon in perfect timing, and I propelled it over my students heads as I gasped, "I had to save it, didn't I?"

Too stunned to move, every last one of those teenagers, all of them lusting after sand, surf and beach volleyball, let.the.balloon.hit.the.floor.

And I tore the right knee of my all-time favorite black slacks.

After struggling to my feet up as gracefully as my aging body allowed, I brushed away as much floor grime as my screaming in pain muscles could take and said, "Okay kids, jot down as many references to the sun and its effect on Meursault as you can in five minutes." 

As I slowly slid into my red and black tweed desk chair, I grinned and said, "You have to admit - that was a great save!"

Only then did we all break into laughter.  "That was awesome, Mrs. C," Justin said as he erupted into guffaws once again.

That day, my students came up with some of their best analytic thoughts. 

Was my pride wounded?  No. After twenty-some years in the classroom, my pride could live through another embarrassing moment scar.

Do I recommend this as a way to dissolve student apathy?  Not unless your body can take it.

Happy Teaching,







Enjoy some more"What happened in my class" anecdotes.


Sunday, February 8, 2015

Valentine's Day Blog Hop 2015 - Teens are the Best Part of Teaching



Valentine's Day Blog Hop 2015

Thank you to Julie Faulkner, http://faulknersfastfive.blogspot.com/ Lauralee Moss http://languageartsclassroom.com/, and Brynn Allison http://brynnallison.blogspot.com/ for creating  this Feeling the Love Blog Hop. I love settling into my chair and reading colleagues teaching stories.  Checking out their engaging activities is a win-win, too. 

Because this is February and love abounds-at least it should- I want to share why teenagers are the best part of teaching. And then, so you can offer some no calorie but high energy love to your students scholastic diets, I'm including three Valentine's Day activities.

Why I Love Teenagers
One day in a February past, as I plunked my basket stacked with a gallon of milk, some boneless chicken breasts, a bunch of romaine lettuce and numerous other items onto the end of the conveyer belt at the grocery store, I was greeted by the mother of one of my students. We chatted happily about her son and school happenings. When I reached the front of the line, the checkout woman smiled and cooed, "Ooh, are you a teacher?"

"Yes," I said, grinning widely.

"What grade do you teach?"

"Seniors for English, but grades nine through twelve for journalism and creative writing."

Immediately, she backed away from me and locked her arms across her chest as if to ward off any stray adolescent cooties that might be clinging to my clothes. Her voice dropped the saccharine tone, and she adopted a sneer as she stated, "Oh. How do you stand them?"

I bit my tongue from lashing out, "I sure hope you don't have any kids, honey, if that's your attitude," since I didn't want to wear the cherry pie she was scanning.

Why is it that so many people view teenagers as creatures from a two o'clock in the morning nightmare? Is it the barrage of totally unrealistic movies from Hollywood? The way the print and broadcast news media plaster the newspapers and airways with stories about the gangstas, the druggies and the dropouts? Is it their frustration dealing with their own children at the age where all adolescents, to some degree, catch the crazies as they embody walking, talking hormones?

High School Newspaper Editor
The people who think adolescents should be neither seen nor heard until they are twenty-one should be required to visit the nearest middle or high school and enjoy the trophies for sports, ROTC, band, science fairs, and music, art and drama competitions- to name only a few - shimmering proudly on the glass shelves.

Then they must peruse the list of clubs and activities students populate covering every topic from Amnesty International to SAGA (Students Against Global Abuse), to tutoring, to various honor societies. They need to read the school's teen-written and run newspapers and literary magazines for more enlightenment on the lives of Real vs. Hollywood-inspired teenagers, and to chat with the school’s staff and faculty.

After they leave the school, they need to talk to the teenaged wait staff at their favorite restaurants, the baggers at the grocery store, the ticket sellers at the cinemas, the girls who clean their offices, the guys who wash their cars, or to any teens they encounter who make their adult lives a little bit easier. 

Many of these kids work 20-30 hours a week to help their families pay for rent, food, and other necessities as well as to save for college; not to pay for fancy cars, to party and to buy the latest fashions. The latter are gross misconceptions.

Adolescents always leave me shaking my head in awe. Behind their carefully constructed facades of boredom, hipness and insouciance dwell young adults who are exhausted, scared, compassionate and courageous. Some face an ugly side of life that I truly can’t even imagine. I mean who leaves school to work two jobs and to watch over younger siblings, just to stumble home at two AM to complete some homework, sleep for a very few hours, get to school on time every day and earn a 3.0 GPA? That was the life of one of girls I had the privilege of teaching a few years ago. And she was not alone in her struggle to juggle school, work and family matters.

Classrooms everywhere are filled with students who survive similar lives. And that’s not to mention those adolescents whose personal and family lives endure serious health and economic issues, but who desperately depend on their school’s academic, extracurricular and social outlets to keep them putting on foot in front of the other every single day.
 
Can teens be irritating? Just ask my hair stylist who makes my gray hair disappear.

Can teens make me gnash my teeth at yet another excuse for not having an assignment done? Ask my dentist.

Can teens make me wish for a magic spell to freeze their eyes into permanent eye roll positions even though my optometrist said this was not probable?

Yes, yes, and yes.

But do these young adults make me laugh when I am so frustrated with life I wanted to crawl under my computer table? Or do they make me question my own thoughts with their pointed questions during book discussions? Do they challenge me to see life from their side of the desk? Yes, yes and yes.

Do they deserve our respect and admiration? They most assuredly do.

Teenagers and Teaching form a treasured duet.

Lesson Love
Here are three priced activities for you to share with your teenage students.  Although they aren't chocolate, pizza or sodas, they are sure to make their brains sizzle and fizz with reading comprehension, great thinking and creative responses.

Valentine's Day Comprehension Activity: You Sent What??? Cards

Valentine's Day Comprehension Activity: Matchmaker, Matchmaker, Make Me a Match

LOVE NOTES - 6 Activities to show, “I love you,” or “I love you not”


Teacher Love
For all of my colleagues leading classrooms, I'm sending hearts filled with chocolates and dozens of digital red roses.



Happy Teaching,






Now that you've Felt the Love from this blog, read more secondary sellers here:

http://languageartsclassroom.com/2014/02/valentines-day-blog-hop-2015.html













Sunday, February 1, 2015

English Language Arts Lessons - "FEBRUARY FLAIR Acrostic"

February Flair Blog Blast

If April is the "cruelest month" as William Shakespeare said, then February is the most exasperating. Dawn might slide out from behind clouds at a chilly 34 degrees, warm to a brisk temperature of 52 by two in the afternoon, but then plummet to the frigid mark of 20  on the forehead of a Polar Vortex by midnight. Once, yet again, a wintry mix is forecast for much of the nation.

Teachers toss and turn throughout the night, wondering how to adapt yet another lesson plan to fit their school district's possible Inclement Weather Decree at 5:00 A.M.

Fret no more, my classroom colleagues because this FEBRUARY FLAIR Acrostic has you covered for the next 28 days- and probably through March- with over four dozen activities, 3 novel unit plans  (each  one with 10-14 activities plus projects), 2 PowerPoints and even Bulletin Board ideas.

Check out this list of English Language Arts Lessons – FEBRUARY FLAIR Acrostic
* Lesson is FREE.   The others are priced.

F
E
B
R
U
A
R
Y
F
L
A 
I
R
February Frenzy- Fabulous Five Packet      To start the month with a bang and not a whimper - thank you for your words T.S. Eliot (The Hollow Men), the February Frenzy - Fabulous Five Packet offers 5 activities but dozens of writing topics!  

Each of these activities will rouse students from the gray days of this month  and encourage them to develop reading comprehension, writing and higher level thinking skills.

What is Included?
Reading Comprehension
1. This is What I’m Hungry For! offers students 30 elements of literature discussion and writing topics to coordinate with the text that they are studying.
2. Friend or Foe? For this activity, each student chooses which character in the story he/she would befriend on a social media site as well as the one he/she would ignore.
Writing and Higher Level Thinking Skills
1. In the Then and Now Prewriting Activity, students explore their memory banks to fill in the information to show the person each one was at age six. After that, evaluate the person each one is now.
2. For the Playing With Color Worksheet, students fill in the given categories as specifically as possible for the color marker each one is given. 
3. With Brain Bumps:Twenty Writing Suggestions to End Idea Vacuums, students should use these suggestions to bounce their brain into inspiration mode when they are stuck in an idea vacuum.

Teachers, you choose when each of these activities, unit plans and PowerPoints will enhance your lesson content and will develop reading comprehension as well as writing and higher level thinking skills. Use them to encourage students to exhibit their range of thinking skills from knowledge through evaluation, both orally and in writing. 

Happy Teaching,




Teach it Write - Build Powerful Academic homes




Thursday, January 22, 2015

Journalism Lesson - “Analyzing Front Page Stories”

Newspaper Front Page
Before Middle and High School journalism students write their first news, feature, sports story or editorial...
Before Middle and High School journalism students even write a lead...
Before Middle and High School journalism students compose that mind-catching headline, they need to understand what they need to know to compose an effective news story.

The 6 Primary Points of Journalism Stories form the foundation of any journalism piece and are the bait that hooks readers.  They are
Location –where the story takes place
Timeliness - the relevance of the story to its publication date
Notable People/Places – the people/place(s) that make the story newsworthy
Conflict - the issues that make the story newsworthy
Extraordinary Elements – the details that make the story Front Page worthy
Arouses Emotions - the details that hook people into reading the story

No matter how powerful, how evocative a story might be, though, readers will ignore it if the newspaper editorial staff didn't pay attention to what their readers want. The how and why newspaper editors choose the stories that they print along with the 6 Primary Points of Journalism Stories create a winning newspaper that keeps people reading and asking, "More, please".

Analyzing Front Page Stories cover
This 6-page activity for Middle and High School journalism students, Journalism - Analyzing Front Page Stories speaks to both of these concerns.An essential for beginning journalism students, it also makes an excellent reinforcement tool for advanced journalism students.

These budding journalists will use the Front Pages section found on the Newseum site http://www.newseum.org/todaysfrontpages/ to choose front pages of newspapers from around the United States to analyze.

Here are the directions for the students
Activity Directions
  1. To begin this activity, go to http://www.newseum.org/ and then scroll down the main page to Today's Front Pages and click on VIEW ALL. You should be on http://www.newseum.org/todaysfrontpages/.
  2. Under Gallery – go to Sort by Region, and then click on USA.
  3. Choose five Front Pages from newspaper around the country.  Select newspapers from a variety of states and from places of different sizes. 
  4. Complete one numbered Analyzing Front Page Stories Outline for each Front Page headlined story.
  5. For the Notes section under each Headline, just include the Basic: Who, What, Where and When information.  Because only the Front Page for each newspaper is shown and not complete stories, these notes will be brief.
  6. NOTE- space for 5 Headlines is included. Depending on the newspaper, anywhere from 3 to 5 headlines will be present.
  7. Each of you will share your headlines with the class.
  8. Closure, analyze your findings and summarize them in the What Does This Mean? space.

Analyzing Front Page Stories student handout
This activity encourages students to explore what stories newspapers choose for the Front Page and why. Also, students will develop their analytic and critical thinking skills which are essential in both print and broadcast journalism.

Download this 6-page activity that includes detailed Teacher Notes and the necessaryhandouts for the students from https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Journalism-Analyzing-Front-Page-Stories-1663001.



Happy Teaching,