Juggling ELA's Spooktacular Giveaway

Halloween is my favorite time of the year. In my classroom I start by teaching stories by Edgar Allan Poe ("The Tell-Tale Heart" is my favorite) and I end with my students using my Halloween Short Story Starters Task Cards to create their own scary stories. Sometimes I'll use other short stories like "The Monkey's Paw" or "The Bad Babysitter" as well.

Last month I reached 1000 followers on my Facebook page and to celebrate I decided to have this giveaway. Some of the fabulous English teachers from TpT have volunteered to donate Fall or Halloween themed prizes for this giveaway.

There will be two winners. One winner will win a $25 gift card to TpT. The second winner will receive a bundle of ELA resources from 17 different TpT stores.

Prizes include:

Halloween ELA Bundle

Poe's "The Cask of Amontillado" Activity Pack

Text Analysis - Outside the Box Project

Short Stories - Writing Activities Bundle

Halloween Career Project

Short Story Choice Board No Prep Use With Any Story

The Tell-Tale Heart, Poe - Close Reading Unit, Halloween Appropriate

Halloween Grammar Worksheets

Halloween Writing for Teens: Choice Menu with 40 Prompts

Tell-Tale Heart (test; essay questions; detailed answer key)

Halloween Writing

"The Tell-Tale Heart" by Edgar Allan Poe Task Cards

Halloween Zombies Ate My Teacher! Creative & Narrative Writing Scenarios

R.A.C.E Writing Strategy Interactive Flip Book: For Teachers and Students

Halloween Bell Ringers: Text-Based Conventions Practice

Nonfiction Close Reading - September 11 Memorial Museum

Halloween Activities for Secondary ELA

If you have any questions let me know. Good luck and may the odds be ever in your favor.

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The Literary League's Back 2 School Giveaway

The Literary League, a group of exceptional secondary English Language Arts teachers, is hosting a Back to School Give-Away. Enter to win a choice of gift cards, middle school and high school ELA resource bundles, and shopping sprees to middle and high school ELA TPT stores.

By the time I grab my books and I give myself a look I'm at the corner just in time to see the bus fly by. It's alright’ cause I'm saved by The Literary League! That’s right, we are at it again! It’s one of the biggest back-to-school give-aways courtesy of some of your favorite ELA sellers. 

We’re teachers too, so we know that feeling of going back to school.  Cure those back to school blues by entering this HUGE give-away. Not only multiple prize packs, but also multiple winners!

The give-away will run Monday 8/31 to Monday 9/14. You’ll see some familiar and maybe even some new faces, so follow our stores and our social media accounts, and stay updated with what’s new! Winners will be announced Tuesday 9/15.

The Literary League, a group of exceptional secondary English Language Arts teachers, is hosting a Back to School Give-Away. Enter to win a choice of gift cards, middle school and high school ELA resource bundles, and shopping sprees to middle and high school ELA TPT stores.

Prize # 1: Gift Card of Choice
Win a $50 gift card to Teachers Pay Teachers, Amazon, Staples or Target.

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Prize #2: Middle School Resources
Win all of the resources listed below for your middle school ELA classroom.
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Prize #3: High School Resources
Win all of the resources listed below for your high school ELA classroom.
Close Reading: Guide Your Students Through the Process
Interactive Notebook Bundle
Rhetoric: The Art of Persuasion
Common Core Literature Bell Ringers for Secondary English
Found Poetry Packet
Introduction to Close Reading for Middle and High School - Model and Practice
Critical Thinking: What is Textual Analysis #2
Fiction and Nonfiction Test Passages
Short Story Starters Task Cards 

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Prize # 4: Middle School TpT Store Shopping Spree 
Win a $10 shopping spree to one of the TpT Stores listed below.
2 Peas and a Dog
The Creative Classroom
Literary Sherri
Mrs. Spangler in the Middle
Darlene Anne
Fisher Reyna Education
Brain Waves Instruction
Stacey Lloyd
James Whitaker's Sophist Thoughts
Created by MrHughes
ELA Everyday

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Prize #5: High School TpT Store Shopping Spree  
Win a $10 shopping spree to one of the TpT Stores listed below.
Room 213
The Daring English Teacher
Making Meaning with Melissa
Linda Jennifer
Brynn Allison
Juggling ELA

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They're Heeere! Are you Ready?

Where did July go? Before you know it another school year will be here. In fact I heard that some schools have already started. Monday, August 3rd and Tuesday, August 4th TpT is having a site wide sale. You will get 10% off when you checkout using the promo code BTS15. Many sellers are also having additional sales in their stores. I'm having 20% off of my entire store: Juggling ELA

The following is a list of amazing secondary ELA teachers who are participating in this sale. We call ourselves The Literary League. These men and women are some of the most creative teachers I've ever met. Check out their stores.

Danielle Knight (Study All Knight)
Darlene Anne- ELA Buffet
Mrs. Spangler in the Middle
Created by MrHughes
The Classroom Sparrow
The Daring English Teacher
ELA Everyday
Juggling ELA
Literary Sherri
Making Meaning with Melissa
2 Peas and a Dog
Secondary Solutions-Simply Novel
Addie Williams
Linda Jennifer
Fisher Reyna Education
The Creative Classroom
Stacey Lloyd
Room 213
Brynn Allison
Open Classroom
Perfetto Writing Room
Secondary Sara
Tracee Orman
James Whitaker
The Superhero Teacher
Created for Learning
Brain Waves Instruction

I hope you have a wonderful school year.

Juggling ELA Goes Back To School

I have some new followers on this blog so I thought I'd give you guys a little bit of a background. My name is Tammy and I have 15 years of teaching experience. I have taught both middle school and high school in NYC. I have taught a variety of grade levels and various levels within each grade. For a few years I taught a speech elective (public speaking) and for about five years I taught a creative writing elective. Unfortunately the powers that be decided to do away with those electives to have more Regents prep classes (NY state exam). Most of my experience is on the high school level. I taught AP literature one year and I'm hoping to get that class again this year. This upcoming year will be my 3rd year as an adviser for an after school cooking program. I love to cook and I can basically make anything if I set my mind to it.

I love to read. That's part of the reason why I became an ELA teacher. I'll give anything a chance but I really enjoy reading horror novels. I have a hard time picking one book and saying that it's my favorite. I will say that my favorite author is Stephen King. I like most of his books. One of my favorite books to teach is Hamlet because even though it was written roughly 400 years ago I still think that kids today can relate to it. I try to put my students in Hamlet's shoes. I ask them if they've ever been mad at their parents (come on who hasn't?). Even though I teach in an urban setting I teach Shakespeare in a way that makes the kids think that this could be them. It takes a lot of time to teach Hamlet because we read it in class and for many of my students it's their first exposure to Shakespeare. I don't think that a student should graduate high school without having read at least one Shakespearean play.
The beginning of the year is always tough for teachers and students alike. If you've been in your school for a few years you might get some repeat students or siblings of students you've had in the past. I have a hard time with names in the beginning of the school year so I like to play a lot of ice breakers the first week or so. I have two FREE (who doesn't love free stuff?) products in my TpT store that are perfect for the first week of school. The first is Introduction of a Friend Mini Speech which can be used in a regular ELA classroom or in a public speaking class. I also have The First Week of School-Forms/Handouts which includes my classroom contract, a reading and writing survey and a getting to know you activity. Both of this items are forever freebies in my TpT store and they will be beneficial to teachers in many different grade levels. I hope everyone has a wonderful start to the school year.

English Teachers on TpT Come Together for American Author, Harper Lee

I've always loved reading. I have had a lifelong love affair with the written word. Whenever I read a new author and I like his/her book I look for other books that they've written. I remember when my 10th grade English teacher gave us the novel To Kill a Mockingbird to read as a class. I immediately fell in the love with the book and I was so disappointed when I found out that Harper Lee only had one novel. I've read it several times over the years and I've taught it once myself. I still think it's a classic and one of the best American novels. I even toyed with the idea of being a lawyer because I loved Atticus Finch so much.

A few months ago I saw an article online about a sequel by Harper Lee and I thought it was online gossip. I looked for more articles and I saw several on reputable sites so I got very excited. I have the book pre-ordered for my Nook and I can't wait to read it.

Several English teachers on TpT have decided to throw a collaborative sale. You can save up to 20% tomorrow 7/14/15 in honor of Harper Lee's new book Go Set a Watchman.

My entire store will be 20% off for one day only. Follow this link to my store: Juggling ELA

For a list of other stores participating in this one day sale please go to this link: Study All Knight's Blog

Juggling ELA Looks Ahead

I still have a few more weeks of teaching but even though the year isn't over I can't help but think about next year. In my mind I have a checklist already. As I count down the days left of this school year, I count the items I want to change from this year and the items I want to replicate next year.

One of my big issues this school year was the upkeep of my assessment folders. My school requires us to have an assessment folder for every student. I spent countless hours filing papers until I gave up on them. Next year I need to have students help me with this tedious task. Also some assessment folders were overflowing with work while others had one or two items in them. I have decided that I should place a blank copy of each assessment (quiz, test, essay prompt, etc) in the folders of students who are absent and I'll write absent on them. I can have a student do this for me to save me some time. I'll have to find one or two responsible students in each of my classes to help me with tasks like this.

Another thing that I need to work on is grading in a timely manner. In my opinion grading is the worst part of teaching. I love the kids and I enjoy writing lesson plans. When I think about grading papers I get exhausted just thinking about it. I often find myself leaving piles and piles of papers until the end of the marking period. This is way too stressful. I've decided that next year I'm going to stay late at work once a week just for grading. I'm also going to collect less papers. My school uses Skedula (an online grade book) and a couple of months ago I was notified about a Skedula app. I now use my iPad and I grade all classwork and homework right away. In the past I collected everything and it piled up like crazy. This has saved me a lot of time. Staying after school one day a week to grade assessments will hopefully solve my grading dilemma.

This was my 15th year of teaching and I think I finally know how I want to have my room arranged. Here are a few pics of my classroom. Who said that high school classrooms can't be colorful?

Student work displayed in my room. I don't have a bulletin board so I put bulletin board paper on the side chalkboard. The chalkboard was so scratched up that I couldn't really use it anyway.

The papers that are taped down to the tables are rubrics that we use often. I had a ton of anchor charts in my room. I'll write a separate blog about those at some point this summer.

My classroom library. We did independent reading one day a week.

I want my room next year to look similar to my room this year. I loved how colorful it was and I loved having all of my anchor charts on the back wall for reference.

Although I'm really looking forward to my summer vacation (June 27th where are you?), I know that my job is always in the back of my mind. I'm not saying I won't have fun but in the summer I always make lists and organize files (electronic and paper).

In case you're already planning for next year you should check out this free product for the first week of school in my TpT store:

 The First Week of School Forms/Handouts

An InLinkz Link-up

Analyzing Poetry

If your students are anything like mine a lot of them don't like poetry. Many of my students get confused by poetry and they give up too easily. Unfortunately there is always a poem on our state exam. After many years of dealing with kids saying "I hate poetry" I decided to think outside the box. I love mnemonic devices and I use them quite often in my classroom. For poetry I use the mnemonic device SIFT.

Summary (2-3 sentences describing what the poem is about)
Imagery (Pictures formed in your mind from the author’s words)
Figurative Language (Other literary devices used such as metaphor, simile, etc.)
Theme (What is the author’s message to the reader?)

This week in my classroom I'm having students work in small groups (2-4) analyzing different poems using the SIFT method. First I model for them with this poem that I found online.


One day they disappear
into their rooms.
Doors and lips shut
and we become strangers
in our own home.

I pace the hall, hear whispers, 
a code I knew but can't remember, 
mouthed by mouths I taught to speak.

Years later the door opens.
I see faces I once held,
open as sunflowers in my hands.  I see 
familiar skin now stretched on long bodies 
that move past me 
glowing almost like pearls.

  — Pat Mora 

SUMMARY: A parent is talking about her teenaged children and thinking about what life used to be like when they were small children. She talks about how much the teenagers have changed over the years and she wishes that she was as class as they used to be.

IMAGERY: When I was reading the poem I could picture in my mind a mother standing outside of a closed door. I also could envision the teenagers inside of their rooms on the telephone with their friends.

FIGURATIVE LANGUAGE: Flashback – The mother is remembering her teenaged children when they were smaller. (Second stanza “mouthed by mouths I taught to speak”) Simile – In the third stanza – “I see faces I once held, / open as sunflowers in my hands,” The mother is comparing her child’s face to an open sunflower.

THEME: Children grow up and often distance themselves from their parents during their teenaged years.

After I model for them they get into their groups and analyze their poetry. I'll give them chart paper and markers so we can display their work. Sometimes I'll have each group present their poems. I explained this method in video format here: Using the Mnemonic Device SIFT to Analyze Poetry Video and PowerPoint Lesson. Let me know if this method works for you.

Happy Birthday To Me

Today is my 37th birthday (I make 37 look like 32) and I decided to throw a one day 20% off sale in honor of my birthday. Enjoy!


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