In a Dark, Dark Wood Book Review



Welcome to my first book talk of the month! This section separates itself from my student book talks. These books will be for my pleasure and knowledge. As a teacher it can be difficult to find the time to read, let alone waste time on a book that didn’t hold your interest to begin with. During these monthly book talks I will discuss fiction and nonfiction books of my choosing or books I’ve read based on other suggestions. Unlike my student book talks, I will not spoil any parts of the book because these entries will serve as suggested/ or not suggested readings. Keep in mind these are my personal joys within the genres I chose.


5 Ways Teachers Can Wind Down During Summer


The last bell rings on the final day and just like that it’s summer! I looked forward to this day when I was a student, but as a teacher, it is a whole new feeling! Summer is a time where I get to unwind and rejuvenate for the following year. We give are all everyday of the school year and then some. Summer is needed!

So what do you do during the summer?

I focus on relaxing, enjoying the hobbies I lose track of, and think about me again. There are multiple ways to do this, but each teacher must take the time to wind down because we deserve it!

If you’re anything like me though, I after a school year of constant movement, I struggle going from 100 mph to 0. Therefore, I find activities that I find relaxing yet keep me active and engaged.

Getting Student Buy-In with Difficult Text: Jason’s Gold

Cross legged, I sit on the couch cozy in blankets next to a warm fire with some hot cocoa. Christmas break arrived and I am snuggled up relaxing with a book in my hand. Well..somewhat relaxing. The book, of course, is Jason’s Gold, the next novel I must teach my squirrely sixth graders. Every ELA teacher has come to this point, excited to read, but secretly wishing they could read for pleasure.

I know my students share similar experiences when I pass out the next class novel. That’s why they get an ample amount of time to read books of their own choice and I introduce the text before passing it out. However, we still have to get through the required classics, so I sit back, relax as much as possible and get lost in the…Klondike Gold Rush?!

Book Talk: The Dead Girls of Hysteria Hall

As I make my way through many different genres, I find it difficult to find good mysteries that are age appropriate for my readers. I want my students to get lost in a page-turner, never wanting to put it down, and carry the book wherever they might go. Katie Alender accomplishes this
difficult task in
The Dead Girls of Hysteria Hall. In a world where teens love video games and instant gratification, Alender keeps the interest of her readers with a cliffhanger at every chapter and a transparent narrator.

Adding Student Goals to Class Routine

Student goals: the good, the bad, and the ugly. Student goals have made their way in and out of my classroom, and then in and out again. Sometimes they make it in and just stay there, but linger in the background as the everyday reminder that I haven’t done anything with

We know how important goals are to student success, but with all the other standards and non-negotiables, how do we possibly find the time? Not only do goals need to be written, but they need to be reflected on and changed, taking up even more of our already lost time.

Book Talk for RULES by Cynthia Lord

When I first started teaching I had high hopes in building a classroom library. I went to every garage sale I came across, checked out used book stores, and surfed craigslist. My students loved the new class library!  However, doing it quickly did not allow me to get a thorough understanding of my library and what books it held. Because reading nearly 150+ books seemed overwhelming, I could not suggest books to specific kids. Yea, you can read the back and use genre to guide you, but students trust your judgement and that can make or break a reader.

With all the other demands in teaching, it’s a limited possibility to read
all the books you hope to suggest and encourage your students to read

That’s where my book talks come in. I can not read nearly enough, but I will start slowly on sharing what books interest me and my students. For every book I read on my shelf, or not on my shelf, I will give a detailed
description of what the book is about, reading level, and who may enjoy it. With this, you can have thorough conversations with your students and suggest books they may enjoy! Maybe, you will even learn of a book to enjoy for yourself.  🙂

Within this post I am going to discuss Rules by Cynthia Lord.


How Grading on Google Classroom Saved my Sanity

It’s 9pm and I am only on my 10th essay. I have been grading since dinner ended at 6:30, and  I have about 120 more essays to go. As my hand automatically makes the corrections, my pen begins to run out of ink. I’m uncomfortable sitting at this desk and I just want to relax!

I’m sure every ELA teacher has had these moments more than they’d like. However, we have so many resources at our hands, but they always sit there, just out of reach. Why? Teachers don’t like change? We can’t book the computer lab? There is just something about holding that pen and paper?

I know what you mean. I have been there, too. I’ve heard it all and I’ve felt it all. But I am here to tell you, switching from grading printed essays to Google Classroom is SO worth it.

Google Classroom: A Teacher’s Saving Grace

Although I am someone who is not technologically savvy, I must stand at the top of the tallest tower and shout, “USE GOOGLE CLASSROOM!” I cannot believe the difference it has made in my students. Truly, it’s unbelieveable. Not to mention, this is a plus, too, the difference it has made in MY life. Phew, what a breeze grading is with this wonderful, FREE resource. Check out how grading on Google Classroom saved my sanity, and my hand muscles.

Fears: Why I didn’t start immediately

This came as a slow process for me because I was nervous to use an online
source. I didn’t know how to properly use Google Classroom and I struggled to get all my students logged on correctly. Not to mention, I had no idea how to constantly check out
the computer lab when I needed it. These worries kept me from thinking it was even possible.

Well, once I finally took the plunge, I realized how necessary it was to convert as many assignments as I could to Google Classroom. As I realized this, I made ways for the above obstacles to disappear. Once you get onto Google Classroom, it’s actually really easy to use, like super easy. My fears were worse than the reality.