1,000 Follower Giveaway!

Oh Happy Day! To celebrate my latest milestone of reaching 1,000 Teachers Pay Teachers followers, I'm hosting a giveaway as a way of saying thank you!

The Prize Package:
$50 TpT Gift Card
$10 Shopping Spree at Brynn Allison, The Literary Maven's store!
$10 Shopping Spree at Darlene Anne's store!
100 Journal Prompts on Task Cards (Aligned with the CCSS for grades 5-12)
Back to School / Beginning of the Year - 12 Activities for Tweens and Teens
Current Events News Assignment
End of year High School Self Reflection Cube Activity
English Standardized Test Powerpoint
Essay Writing Scavenger Hunt
GAME: Make Your Verbs Sweat! Vocabulary Booster with Activities Grade 7 - 12
Greek & Roman Mythology Interactive Pop-Ups and Research Analysis Cards
Inference : Inferring : Explicit and Implicit Textual Elements
Language Arts Daily Dose Bundle #1 {Weeks 1-16}
Parts of Speech Board Game
Parts of Speech - Grammar Units: Identify, Diagram, Review, and Test
Research Paper Complete Unit
Sentence Building Activities for Struggling Writers
Sentence Variety Using Mentor Sentences for Middle and High School
The Complete High School English Rubric Bundle
Quoting, Paraphrasing, & Summarizing - The Difference Between Each
Ultimate Social Media Exit Tickets: cell phone style, 8 types of social media
Writing a Research Paper PORTFOLIO: Grades 8-12

Thank you to these wonderful stores for contributing to the giveaway.

No purchase necessary. Giveaway winner will be chosen randomly by Rafflecopter. This sweepstakes is open to all teachers. Winners need to be an educator to accept the prize package. 

Building Your Classroom Library Easily and Affordably

Whether you just signed your first teaching contract, are a seasoned educator, or are still working toward your teaching license, it is never too early (or late) to start building your classroom library. In fact, the earlier you start building your classroom library, the easier the task will be.

I believe that classroom libraries are an essential part of every single secondary classroom, whether you teach English language arts or not. Teenagers need to have easy access quality, interesting books: books that they will actually want to read. Even if you don’t have an independent reading program attached to your curriculum, it is important for your students to know you value reading and that you have a plethora of books just waiting for them.

While the easiest way to build a classroom library would simply be to buy every.single.title.available, that isn’t the most economic way to start your collection, especially if you are just starting your teaching career.

Five simple ways to easily and affordably 
build your classroom library:

Donate your old books
As teachers, we are naturally readers. We can’t help it; we enjoy reading. And most likely, as teachers, we have stacks of books just taking up space in our house. This is perhaps the easiest and cheapest way to add books to your classroom library (and also de-clutter your house). Just make sure that the books you take to school are appropriate .

Check your local thrift store
The majority of my books came from thrift stores. The summer before I started my very first teaching assignment, I scoured almost every single thrift store in a thirty-mile radius of my house. My favorite store is the Goodwill Bookstore. Yes! There is an entire Goodwill store dedicated to just books! It’s a book lover’s paradise. I found some great books: Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys, Goosebumps, books by Sarah Dessen, books by John Green, the Harry Potter series, the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, and the Twilight series. As I continued my thrift store search throughout the years, I’ve been able to add the Divergent series and the Mockingbird trilogy.

All of these books were pretty inexpensive. Some books were just a dime! At that price, I don’t really mind if a student (accidentally) loses the book.

Include a variety of books (genres, as well as reading levels)
Reading for fun should be just that –fun! Students get enough academic reading during their school day. Classroom libraries need to foster the idea that reading is fun. And for that reason, classroom libraries need to include a variety. There should be a good mix of genres as well as reading levels. Sure that Guinness Book of World Records isn’t written at the collegiate, or even high school, level, but your students are guaranteed to be interested in the fun and gross records. And guess what? They will have fun reading. Isn’t that the goal anyways?

When purchasing and collecting books, try to keep all of your students and their interests in mind. Try to find books that speak to specific interests: technology, science fiction, realistic fiction, memoirs, sports, health, war, celebrities, food, nature, horses, extreme sports, fashion, etc. The more variety you have, the more likely you are to help a student find something he or she is interested in. Even magazines and old comic books make great additions to classroom libraries. They goal is to get students reading.
Sometimes Target carries abridged versions in its dollar section!

 Ask for donations
In the beginning of the school year, send a letter home with your students informing their parents and guardians that you are building up your classroom library. Explain why you like to provide books to your students, and that you would happily accept any used book donations. This is a good way to get books that you know your students will be interested in!

Just in case the letter doesn’t make it home, it is also a wise idea to include a request for donations slide/handout in your Back to School Night presentation to parents.  This way parents are guaranteed to get the information, and they can also see your growing classroom library!

Ask Retiring Teachers
We teachers tend to accumulate a lot of junk educational resources throughout our teaching careers. Some of these supplies include dozens and dozens of books. Chances are, retiring teachers won’t want all of these books taking up space in their homes. Ask retiring teachers for their classroom libraries (and other supplies, too. I’m currently on the “waiting list” for a podium. I should get it in about 7-10 years). You might luck out and a retiring teacher could just give you their entire library!

Garage Sales and Craigslist
Scour the newspaper ads and Craigslist listings. Sometimes people will list that they are selling a large quantity of books at a garage sale. The good thing about garage sales is what you can bargain a little. People are much more willing to lower the price of some books if they know a teacher plans on using them for a classroom library!

Craigslist is also a great place to find used book collections for sale; however, I’ve noticed that the books on Craigslist are a bit more expensive than thrift shops and garage sales.

With these suggestions, you should easily and affordably be able to start building your classroom library.

End of the Year Activities for the Secondary Classroom

School is almost out for summer! But before you release your students, be sure to have a little reflective fun with them. Here are two easy ideas that will engage your students as they pause and reflect about what they learned this school year.

Letter to Next Year’s Class
After spending an entire year in your classroom, your students know the classroom rules, policies, and procedures like clockwork (even if they fail to show it). Your students also know what they need to do in order to do well and success in your classroom. The end of the school year is the perfect time to have your students practice their formal letter writing skills by writing a letter to the students who will fill their seats next year. It is best if they write their letter using the proper business letter format (then, you can use these letters next year to introduce the skill).

When I have my students write a letter to the incoming class, there are several suggestions I give to my students, especially if they are struggling.

1.   Students can include advice about how to succeed. This can be anything from succeeding behaviorally or academically.
2.   Students can explain why the class is important.
3.   Students can write about a favorite novel or unit of study.

Create a Bulletin Board Together
The beginning of the year can be stressful. Between in-service training days, running copies of your syllabus, and getting your room ready, sometimes there just isn’t enough time. That is why I like to have my students help me create a bulletin board at the end of the year for next year’s students. 

To create the bulletin board with my students, I first prep the area. I usually have the background and the border in place. Then, I come up with a theme. Finally, I give my students brightly colored paper, markers, craft scissors, and other craft supplies. From there, my students make the majority of the bulletin board by decorating their piece of paper and completing the thematic prompt.
Possible Themes:
  • My favorite thing about this class...
  • One thing I learned...
  • Advice for next year...
  • If I could do it all over again...

When the next school year starts, you will already have a colorful, engaging bulletin board that welcomes and advises your students. Your new students will enjoy reading all of the advice from the classroom vets, you will enjoy completing one less task, and your administrators will think you are a genius!

End of the year assignments:

How to Save Money on Quality Teaching Resources

One thing I love is scoring a great deal! When my husband and I moved into our first house, I was able to purchase the Dyson Animal vacuum for mere dollars out of pocket by shopping a sale and using Best Buy gift cards that DirecTV gave us for setting up service.

Teachers love scoring great deals too. And in honor of Teacher’s Appreciation Day, I am going to let you in on three little (maybe not so secret) ways to save money on quality teaching resources.

If you haven’t visited Teachers Pay Teacher yet, you should definitely bookmark this site. You will be able to find quality, engaging teacher-created resources that are far better than resources regurgitated by big textbook publishing companies.

Here are three tried and true ways to save money and get great teaching resources that will help you win at teaching.

1. Follow Sellers
Follow sellers you like on multiple sites. On TpT, you will see a green star that is clickable. Click that green star to follow that teacher. Many times sellers send out sale notices. Some even provide new listings for 50% off for up to the first 48 hours it is listed! Following your favorite teachers’ stores will allow you to receive all of their upcoming sale and new product information. However, it doesn’t stop there. Many sellers are on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and more. If you find a seller you love, be sure to follow them on as many sites as you can. That way you never miss a sale, giveaway, or promotion.

2. Buy in Bundles
So many sellers sell their best-selling or related teaching resources in bundles. Yes, you may fork out a little extra cash upfront, but the savings is worth it. Not only will you get quality resources that you can use in one unit, or even for the entire year, you will also spend less on a bundle than you would if you purchased each product individually. Usually, most sellers discount the items in their bundles by at least 20%.

Here is a listing of all of my current bundles:

3. Provide Feedback
Did you know that you could earn TpT credit by providing feedback for purchased resources? It’s true! Providing feedback earns you TpT credit that you can apply toward future purchases. According to the TpT website, the program is retroactive all the way back to August 1, 2011! If you haven’t left feedback on your purchases, do so now! You could earn several dollars worth of credit!

To leave feedback, go to "My Purchases" from the My TpT menu:

Then, select "Paid Purchases."

From there, click on the resource. Scroll to the bottom of the page and fill out the feedback form. Scoring a resource with an A provides a 4.0 rating.

You can check your TpT credit balance by selecting "TpT Credit Balance" from the "My TpT" menu.

From there, you can look up the credit you've earned and the credits you've used.

Apple Clip Art By: Audrey Matheney