Keeping Your Sanity Heading into the Holidays

Thanks for checking in for another stop on our 12 Days of Christmas blog hop! Today, Nouvelle ELA and I are offering up some suggestions for how to stay sane with the holidays happening!

It's that time of year again: the holiday season. As this time of year rolls around, I know that our schedule starts to get a little crazy, and our students start feeling a little restless.

Teach Box for ELA

Do you like subscription boxes like birchbox, ipsy, barkbox, or others? Do you teach English? If your answer to these two questions is yes then you're going to LOVE teach box! When this picture pops up in your inbox, you know it's going to be a good day!

Teach Box is a subscription based "box" that is curated for English teachers, and it's awesome! These are the lessons that you wish you were using when your administration walks in for an observation visit.

Interactive Notebooks: Writing

Interactive Notebooks for High School English has been a labor of love. There is so much information to share, and sometimes I get so wrapped up in actually using our interactive notebook that I forget to share the values and challenges with you. Sorry.

I know you've been waiting a while, so here it is: the writing section of our interactive notebook. This is a dark place that I once dared not to tread. :( I'm going to be honest; teaching writing isn't my strong point. I spend a lot of time researching and trying new ways of teaching writing. So, be forewarned that this section isn't as pretty or manicured or "perfected" (not that any of the other sections are); this section is a messy work in progress.

5 Books that you won't want to put down

Do you ever experience book hangover? You know what I mean: when you finish a book and realize that you're left feeling empty because there isn't a sequel (or it hasn't been released yet). I've got a serious case of book hangover right now. Because I know that everyone enjoys a good book hangover ;) and is continually expanded their "to read" lists, I'm going to share what I've been reading lately.

Interactive Notebooks: Literature

Y'all week one was TOUGH for me. I'm sorry that I didn't get this posted sooner, but I've been riding the struggle bus for about two weeks now. Ok, I'm done with my excuses, here's the content. :)

Back to Interactive Notebooks for High School English. Five down, four to go. We've looked at the person, skills, content, informational texts (article of the week), and reading response sections. The next section up is literature. This section really is the meat of our notebook.

Interactive Notebooks: Reading Response

We're on to the next section of Interactive Notebooks for High School English.

So this is how reading responses usually go....student "reads" the book, student looks up summary on amazon or sparknotes, student "borrows" that information to write a summary, and student hand in the "summary". Y'all, if I never saw another book "summary" for independent reading it would be too soon.

I hated reading them. That's honesty y'all. Hated. It. 1. I had either already read the book and knew what happened. 2. I had been wanting to read the book, and now it was ruined. 3. I didn't want to read the book, but could have gotten the same summary that they submitted from an online source if I wanted to. Ick.

Interactive Notebooks: Informational Texts

Today in Interactive Notebooks for High School English, we're looking at informational texts.

One of the biggest struggles in Literacy classrooms can sometimes be incorporating informational texts into literary units. Another struggle, getting students to read on level. Another struggle, getting students to respond to what they read. The list goes on. I know that each specific content area has its struggles.

Something that I do to combat these issues is to have my student read about and respond to an article about a current event. How do I do this without driving myself bonkers trying to find appropriate current events articles? Kelly Gallagher is the answer.

Interactive Notebooks: Content

Woohoo! This is one of my favorite sections! I love, love, love teaching and reviewing literary content. I'm such a nerd. And...I'm loving my new dividers for next year's interactive notebook!

Anyway, let's jump right in! This section is full of fun foldables and great content! This is the place to keep all of the information and content specific to your subject (that doesn't fit into a different category). Now that I'm trying to explain what goes in this category, I'm kind of struggling. I say "content", but everything in the notebook is probably specific to your content. Ok, the best thing to do is just show you what I put in our content section.

Interactive Notebooks: Skills

Before anything else, please allow me to apologize profusely. My plan for this series was to publish one post per week. However, I've only had intermittent internet for about two and a half months now. (Like 2 weeks worth of days out of two and a half months.) So, I'm going to try to do some catching up this week.

This particular section is super useful and a little tricky. What goes here? How do my students utilize this information? Why is it called skills?

This sections houses all of those awesome skills and strategies you have shared with your students: annotating, close reading, notice and note reading, research methods, and more. This is all literary for me because that's what I teach, but if you taught your students how to solve multistep equations, you can put it here. If you teach your students correct lab procedures, you guessed it, put it here.

Interactive Notebooks: The Personal Section

This post in the series will cover the first section of our notebook: personal.

This is one of the nine tabs in our notebook. This section is approximately 7 pages long. The “personal” tab is attached to the front of page three. You can let your student decorate this page, provide a pre-printed divider for the page, or leave it blank. However, I choose not to put any assignments/information on my divider pages.

Interactive Notebooks: Tips and Tricks

Today, I want to share with you some of the tips and tricks to use interactive notebooks in your classroom.

I learn something new every year, so I'm going to impart that knowledge to you.  I've got ten suggestions that will help you out, so let's get started.

Interactive Notebooks: Setup

Can I just say how much I love interactive notebooks? If you haven't jumped on the bandwagon, you're missing out! There are so many positives to interactive notebooks: it's a student portfolio, it's perfect for parent teacher conferences, it's engaging, it becomes a big personalized reference book, no need to hand back loose papers that end up in the floor, assignments don't get lost, and so on and so on. I could go on for days.

Our interactive notebooks are divided into 9 sections: personal, skills, content, article of the week, reading responses, literature, writing, vocabulary, and grammar. I know that seems like a lot, but after using theses notebooks for three years, this is what works best for me and my students. We set these up on the first day of school, but there's a lot of work that I have to get done before these are ready for my students.