• academics,  back to school,  classroom,  classroom management,  classroom procedures,  expectations,  new job,  new teacher,  new year,  procedures,  teacher,  teaching

    It’s a Teacher Thing: Setting High Expectations From The Start

    We’re into Week 2 of my new, purposeful blog posting. Last week, everything focused on gearing up for your new classroom through buying supplies and physical materials necessary for success. This week, I’m going to be focusing everything on establishing your expectations and procedures at the start. It is incredibly important to establish high expectations and clear procedures from Day 1. Now, while I don’t necessarily believe in “don’t smile until Christmas” – mostly because I have a really bad poker face – I do believe in the advice that you can always get easier but you can’t get harder. It’s a good idea to go into the year with…

  • beta club,  books,  classroom,  literacy,  new books,  reading,  school,  students,  teacher,  teachers,  teaching,  teaching books,  Uncategorized

    For the Love of a Book, Week 16

    My “For the Love of a Book” series is back!! Mostly because I’m back. I still don’t think many are reading my blog (and that’s a crying shame because it’s awesome) but I’m going to keep resolutely pushing forward! I’ve been doing a lot of reading this summer and so today I am going to recommend an author, rather than one particular book. I don’t know how I missed this author and his books but I read one this summer and fell.in.love! Then I read his other four books in like a week. They are that good. His name is Alan Gratz. You may already be familiar with his work…

  • back to school,  classroom,  new job,  new teacher,  new year,  teacher,  teaching

    It’s a Teacher Thing: Gearing Up for the New School Year

    I know I’ve been away from the blog for a while. To be honest, I went to a writer’s conference in Kentucky and kind of got depressed afterwards so I haven’t done much writing. Then, my father passed away and that has kind of taken up a lot of my time and energy so I just haven’t really been focusing on the blog or book much at all. Today, that is going to change. I am “re-starting” my blog and jumping straight into my new goal – helping new teachers. Each week, the blog will focus on a teacher tip (called It’s a Teacher Thing) to help new and relatively…

  • school,  students,  teacher,  teaching,  throwback thursday,  velociraptor

    Throwback Thursday

    For today’s blog post, I’m going to do something a little different. I’ve been working on editing various chapters of my teacher book – since I’m going to a writer’s conference next week – and came across a gem of a chapter (well, okay, gem might be stretching it) that I haven’t looked at in years. And, yes, I know it still needs some editing. It was probably the very first chapter I wrote when I began this process. So today, I am going to share this very first chapter with you. It’s a throwback to when I started this project and a throwback to my first year of teaching,…

  • #starringthesixers,  academics,  classroom,  mdidle ages,  projects,  sixth grade,  student engagement,  students,  teacher,  teaching

    Monitor and Adjust!

    As teachers, we are always having to monitor and adjust. Sometimes, you have to change your lesson plan from one class to the next and sometimes you have to totally scrap an idea and go with something totally different. And, of course, there’s always that day when all technology fails and you have to resort to worksheets and textbooks. You always have to be ready to change on a moment’s notice! Sometimes, a brilliant idea turns out to be not so brilliant and you monitor and adjust for next year. This is what happened to me these past couple of weeks. I planned an awesome project for the Middle Ages. Students…

  • #starringthesixers,  back to school,  books,  classroom,  librarian,  literacy,  marshall,  marshall university,  media specialist,  reading,  teacher,  teaching

    Looking Ahead to Next Stages

    I think that, in life, it’s important to find your passion. It just doesn’t make sense to me to go through life doing something you don’t enjoy. Why be miserable when you can be happy? Now, I do understand that some people, through circumstances or choices or whatever, are not able to live their passion in their job but I have always thought that it is important to be happy at what you do. I enjoy my job (most days). I love who I work with and I love who I work for. On most days, I even love every single one of my students, except maybe when they’re screaming…

  • #starringthesixers,  classroom,  sick day,  sixth grade,  students,  substitute,  substitute teacher,  teacher,  teaching

    Sick Days are Never Just Sick Days

    There are very few times when I’m envious of a cubicle, 9-to-5 job. One of those times is the ability to use the bathroom whenever you want. There’s nothing like being halfway through a class period, facing a bunch of sixth graders, and having to go to the bathroom like nobody’s business. No amount of thinking “you don’t really have to go, it’s just 30 more minutes, you can do it” can stem that tide. Wouldn’t it be nice to just be able to pop up from your desk when Nature calls and go to the bathroom? Ah…office job perks.The one other major time that I wish for that office…

  • #starringthesixers,  bad kids,  classroom,  classroom management,  classroom procedures,  procedures,  sixth grade,  student discipline,  students,  teacher,  teaching

    Positive Training

    I have been struggling for some time with my fourth-period class in particular. Their behavior is usually awful, they’re chatty, and they don’t seem to care one iota about consequences. Lately, it seems like every time I turn my back to advance the PowerPoint slide or grab the worksheets or whatever, at least half the class starts to chat.So last Tuesday, instead of doing the regular “if I write your name down that’s a warning and if you get a check that’s a consequence” I decided to reward the good kids. At the start of the period, I wrote everyone’s name on the board. Throughout the period, I drew blue…

  • #starringthesixers,  classroom,  emotional,  new teacher,  students,  teacher,  teaching

    Did You Know You Were a Ringmaster?

    So you’re a teacher, right? (Hopefully you are, if you’re reading this blog). When you went into teaching, did you know that you’d be required to wear many hats and juggle many things? Or did you, as most of us do, think that your job was to get up in front of the students and teach your content, maybe throw a band-aid on a skinned knee every now and then, and give out some hugs? I’m sure you know better now. If you’re a good teacher, then you probably wear many hats at school. You may teach seventh grade ELA but you may also advise the yearbook. Perhaps you’re also the…

  • #starringthesixers,  beta,  beta club,  beta convention,  books,  brandon mull,  fablehaven,  reading,  students,  teacher,  teaching

    For the Love of a Book, Week 15

    The only problem with these “For the Love of a Book” weekly posts is that I tend to re-read books I like and so I am having trouble coming up with books that I haven’t done yet! Solution? Read new books! I am going to have to get on that… For this week, I am going to show how a book can come to life! This whole week has been dedicated to blog posts about the Beta Convention and today is no different. One of the competitions we look forward to the most is Living Literature, where students recreate a scene from a book. Last year, we did The Lion,…