Step 1 – Intro the Course (Establish a Purpose)

Well, with this “polar vertex” we didn’t have much of a school week.

First, we were deprived our teacher work day.  Now, I love a snow day as much as the next guy, but everyone is excited to get out for the winter break. When you know you have that work day to plan and print information before the first day of the next semester… well, procrastination is just natural.  

Fortunately, I have this whole high-risk pregnancy going and I had the moment to print out the course syllabus and extra copies of the Scarlet Letter summer reading project for each of the students.  I also called home to make sure each parent knew about the assignment since only two students completed it or turned it in as expected, but out of an entire class, only three phone numbers were correct in the computer system.  (So if you are a parent, please make sure your child’s school has the right phone number in case there is an emergency.)

None the less, planning for the actual lessons was going to be a struggle since the PLC meeting was not going to happen.  We had to wing it based on the conversation we had in December about what we thought we were going to do in January.  And then we would use our planning time on the day back to finalize everything.  …But I HATE being a last minute planner!

For the first day, I started with the bell ringer structure of the Caught ‘Ya system. We have had such great success with this, and we have the files built since we used it last semester as well.  When students entered, there were two piles, the syllabus and summer reading assignment, for them to gather materials on the way in.  On the board, the Caught ‘Ya was displayed with directions for students to write the sentence as correctly as possible on a slice of paper.  (Use of the word slice just makes them smile for some reason.You should try it.)  From here we corrected the grammar together and moved into our daily vocabulary strategy.  Starting with content immediately sets a good tone for the course.  Plus it gives the teacher time to do attendance and make sure everything is ready for the day.  Next, I had key points from the syllabus on a PPT to review.  Before I went through my key points, I had students preview the page and ask if they had any questions based on what they read.  Then, I had questions for them to answer on the PPT.  If the answer was correct, I moved on. If not, I went over that part of information to make sure students know expectations.  Then, those questions turned into a syllabus/expectations quiz for the next day.  This is their first grade, but it lets them start out on a positive and holds them accountable for knowing what is expected.  And then you take away the victim-itis of “I didn’t know” in the near future.

After review of the syllabus, I tried to start a short discussion to let students bash American Literature for a moment.  They all claim to “hate” writings of “old, dead white guys” for various reasons, most of which they don’t seem to be able to explain.  I introduced the course-long essential question as well: What does it mean to be an American?  The idea here is to try to build a little patriotism in the study of the founding documents and to help them create their own identify as an American.  I want them to be able to do this on their own rather than just regurgitate someone’s ideas or believe every word they hear.  The first step was to have them create a definition for Americanism.  I gave them a moment to think and write, and then we shared out.  I was careful not to say anything to sway their ideas.  After they shared with a short discussion, we watched a video I created for the class (find it at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=75Ku4RhZwC0).  Students were given time to think and rewrite, and then since the bell was about to ring I had them submit their answers so I could read them.  I would say it was informative.  

A note on the video: Feel free to use this or create your own.  The beauty of this one is these heroes are all local, and the images of their families are people the students would have seen.  In particular, my brother is there as well.  Students will take a topic the way it is presented. They see it matters to me, and putting a face to an idea makes it more worthwhile.  So if you have access to these heroes in your area or students from your school, use that instead of this.  You can easily create a video with Windows Movie Maker (free program), .jpg images of your choice, and an overlay of patriotic songs.  

For here, we moved to our Common Core Workshop.  This is intended to introduce Common Core with specific attention to close reading as a process, text-dependent questions with REQUIRED answers WITH evidence, and writing with a focus on claim development.  This semester, we have to hit this even harder because they are taking the TN Writing Assessment on Feb. 4.  

If you are interested, you can find this file for FREE at http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/American-Literature-Common-Core-Workshop-Reading-Info-Text-and-Writing-Task-844323.  You will also be able to make changes as you see fit in order to help your students.

 Please stay tuned for the next entry on the Common Core Workshop, how it is implemented, and how it helps student achievement.  Have questions, comments, or ideas I should try? Let me know.  You and I actually play on the same team in educating our future.

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I’m BACK!

I have abandoned you for a while. I have no excuse… I had to let something drop and this was the one thing with the least effect on anything else pertaining to the school year. It was a new curriculum to plan and teach, and in many ways I had to master it myself because I haven’t experienced American Literature like this since college.

But now I’m ready.

I have studied, learned, tried, failed, revisited, succeeded, tweaked, and survived. Now we are moving on to the second semester, and I feel more like I can keep up the blog to network with other teachers and get ideas or feedback or whatever you have to offer me.

So, that said, I’m back.

Peace out, Britain. It’s over. (or The Declaration of Independence for teenagers)

It was inevitable that the time from the start of the semester to the Declaration of Independence would fly by and be here before I had the students feeling the same excitement for the drama in our country at the time. So I had to think outside of the box to get the buy in and support from the students perspective. Also, I felt an incredible pressure because I’m forced to bounce through literally the beginnings to 1800 in only 4 1/2 short weeks… which simply does NOT leave time for all of the highlights of American Literature. And – as much as I cannot believe I’m saying it – the literature really is way better with the historical hindsight!

I started class by asking students to use their breakdown strategies to predict, based on the title, what the text might be about. It is amazing that they are so used to the opinion-based questioning from before Common Core that they really struggled to figure out what it was. Eventually, with guided questioning, we got it.
Because we read Henry and Franklin, students were able to generalize why we left. I used the Shoulder Partner A/Partner B technique to review the history and their arguments before playing a video to set the tone. Every step should have a student task, so as students watched the video I had them track reasons it was too late to apologize. (You can find the video free on youtube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uZfRaWAtBVg.) They LOVED this video!

Each lesson comes with some degree of student notes. For this one, notes fell in two parts.
a. We completed a short rhetoric review to build on previous lessons and review rhetorical appeals before the module assessment. Basically, I broke it down by revealing text and asking students to label them by technical name. This worked because students were expected to identify and evaluate them in the text (adding to sentence breakdown strategy).
b. We did a mini-lesson on unwrapping diction in which students took notes on denotation and connotation to think about the specific word choice in seminal documents and evaluate their use in terms of the rhetoric and effectiveness. Students are often able to recognize the power of words, and a few of them asked about the word choice in Henry’s speech so this was a natural progression. I found it more about teaching the academic vocabulary of diction, denotation, and connotation than about teaching them the skill itself.

To start the reading, I reviewed the process of close reading by having students explain it to me. Once again, I knew I needed to model and I wanted to break down the process into manageable chunks for student mastery and repetition of the process on this text and throughout the remainder of the course.

Reviewing “Break Down Complex Sentences”
Modeling Steps:
1. Read the sentences while annotating what stands out.
2. Identify the who/what of the sentence.
3. Identify the action in the sentence.
4. Paraphrase what is happening. If this sentences was easy, lump it with the next sentence.

Next, we evaluated the rhetorical appeals. This was the new learning of this section of text, so I needed to go back and model how to identify the appeals and how to think through their effectiveness. I decided in my own reading I asked myself how people who agree and people who do not agree would take the comment, then I move into whether or not it might be effective at changing anyone’s mind. So I followed those steps with the students.

Building in “Evaluating Appeals”
Steps in the Model:
1. Does this feel like ethic/credibility? Logic? Heart strings? What words do you notice to guide the appeal?
2. How would people who agree feel about this comment?
3. How would people who disagree feel about this comment?
4. Would this statement change someone’s mind? Why?

Alas, we made it through the text and students seemed to get rhetoric a little more. I think we still need to look at rhetoric throughout the semester, but for now I’m (we’re) glad to be moving into the closure of Module 1 so we can look at some texts which fall under “Literature” over “Informational” to support engagement.

On to planning the end of the module synthesis essay. Go me. Go us. Go Common Core.

P.S. I feel like I spend a tremendous amount of time trying to get the perfect product and revising the parts I would change before uploading it, and that means I am backlogged in drafts I have not published. I’ve decided to go on and publish the blogs even without the files uploaded… at least temporarily. I plan to use Fall Break to upload the file and then I will edit to include the links.

Transitioning to the American Revolution: Patrick Henry and Ben Franklin

As we move toward the close of the module, we find ourselves looking to the birth of the new nation. For this, we needed to set the stage of the historical settings, so we worked to make it fit.

1. Speech(es) to the (Virginia) Convention and a look at rhetoric.
To start this lesson, students were given a short historical hindsight lesson (notes) with a focus on rhetorical appeal. We reviewed them quickly and I realized students were able to define the appeals without fail but the recognition of them in text was something we would work on throughout the day. Additionally, I wanted them to start evaluating the rhetoric from both perspectives – those who would agree and those who would disagree – and make a call as to whether or not the rhetoric was effective overall.

I modeled this process with the first two sentences from each text.

For this task, the class was divided in to teams. One team focused on Henry’s Speech to the Convention while the other focused on Franklin’s Speech to the Virginia Convention. This worked well to make sure students were an expert on the first text. The neat thing was how the teams were decided…

First, we took a private notecard vote on whether to fight for independence or to try to just get along. Those who voted to get along were assigned to read Henry. Those who wanted to fight were assigned to Franklin.

Once the texts were assigned, the students were given their reading guide. (Find a free copy of the reading guide at http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/HenryFranklin-Speech-to-the-ConventionVirginia-Convention-Reading-Guide-877412)

Students progressed through the reading guide at their own pace and then moved to partner with a person on the opposite text. In the end, student discussion was guided by an author comparison section of the handout right before completion of the writing prompt on comparing author ideas. This wasn’t intended to be a formal essay, but more of a constructed response as we are working hard on developing paragraphs with cited evidence from the text.

Alas, let me know your thoughts so I can work to improve this lesson before the next implementation. It felt a little slighted because there was so much I wanted to get into with the text (and limiting the teacher-talk on such an amazing series of texts was really challenging!).

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Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God

Here’s the news flash – students just don’t care for Puritan Plain Style.

For today’s lesson, I started out with reading the text several times and thinking about what it is that makes his sermon effective. Once again, I wanted to reiterate the elements of breaking down complex sentences, but then I wanted to bring in the rhetoric used in the lesson. I decided to model it after my thinking and have students look at the complex sentences before thinking about the rhetoric which makes the sentence matter.

For modeling, my questions became:
1. What is he saying?
2. How is he saying it?
3. Is he effective in getting his message across?
4. What is it that makes it effective?

For skills, I wanted to look at rhetorical devices, but the first step was looking quickly at ethos, logos, and pathos. I was quite fortunate in that the majority of my students were able to look at a blank triangle and put in the terms. I asked to students to tell me what they remembered, and I didn’t have to go into the detailed lessons reteaching the basic appeals.

At this point, I followed the suggestion of the text and looked at specific rhetorical elements of metaphor, simile, imagery, appeal to fear, and antithesis.

Here, I moved directly through the reading of the text and had students complete the reading guide.

At the end of the lesson, I wanted students to be able to identify and evaluate rhetorical elements in a speech in terms of what the speaker is saying, what he means, and how he wants it to affect the audience. In the end, I’m not sure students were able to get antithesis and implied metaphor.

Fortunately, these skills can be revisited as we move on through the next few readings so the students will be ready for the module assessment in two weeks.

Also, I will post the reading guide and a link asap. It will probably be free and just the reading guide because I’m not ready to post the PPT as I feel it needs some revision. (Link: http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Sinners-in-the-Hands-of-an-Angry-God-Text-Dependent-Questions-Reading-Guide-875141)

Suggestions? Let me know.

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Huswifery – A Brain Break with a Poetic Discussion

So far we have spent a solid two days on everything we have read. There is no way we can legitimately cover all of the biggies from American Literature in one tiny little semester. Such a tragedy in trying to narrow through the texts to find the biggest bang for the bucks. As an added bonus, if we skip too much time we have to teach students about the historical gaps because they don’t have the background needed to really comprehend the literature and the affect of the literature without a idea of the historical standpoint. Of course, I’m not sure I would have had all I needed to know either at that point in my educational journey, but at least we had a year to get through the curriculum.

Alas, if a module is 4 1/2 weeks, we are only a week behind. That can be justified since we did a Common Core Workshop during the first week to really take time to introduce expectations to the students (materials are free at http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/American-Literature-Common-Core-Workshop-Reading-Info-Text-and-Writing-Task-844323; the blog entry is found at https://kirkscorner4commoncore.com/2013/08/24/english-iii-hybrid-tn-eocccss-course-what-is-it-to-be-american/).

So, we decided the students needed a break with a short task which could be accomplished in one day’s lesson. As an added bonus, we needed another practice with Accountable Talk stems. Huswifery, as old as it may be, provided exactly what we needed. What, then, did I do to prepare and how did it go?

First, I read the text and made notes. In my notes I noticed I was paraphrasing each part, so that became the reading skill for the students. This lesson was based on Accountable Talk, so I only needed to provide a quick reading support to build content knowledge and then scaffold a discussion. Just in case the conversation lulled, I knew I needed to have some discussion questions. Since I also want students to build critical thinking and self-directed, high-level questioning, I wanted them to created questions as well.

At first, students read the poem and took notes on what it made them think of and what they thought it was about. Next, I had them watch a video with a few images and the text of the poem. Here lies one thing I would change: If I were to do it again, between the individual reading and the video I would have the students share out with a shoulder partner to build knowledge and confidence. But the imagery served the purpose just as well. (You can find the video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HIod7xpO7jc.) After reading, paraphrasing the first stanza was modeled. Then, students were asked to summarize the paraphrase to get the main idea of the text. As a “We Do” the class was guided through the paraphrase process through questioning before completing the stanza summary. Students independently paraphrased and summarized the final stanza. To verify their thinking, I had students share out their ideas and then synthesize the point of the poem as a whole. From here, each student was given a post-it to create a short answer question pertaining to the text.

I collected all post-its and secretly pulled out the weak ones and added in a few I prepared in advance. All students were then given a post-it to start the discussion. I put Accountable Talk Stems on the board and set a timer for thirty minutes. From there, we had a great conversation about the text. A few students were taking notes on the poem, and I need to find a way to make more students do that.

After our discussion, we reviewed the process of close reading and paraphrasing/summarizing stanzas only to lead into a short answer writing question pertaining to the poem: What does Huswifery tell you about life during the time period? Apply what you know from previous readings to this response.

Nice.

So how did the answers turn out? I think I need to do a short lesson on how to formulate a constructed response this week. Oh… And we are going to focus on support and elaboration for the writing aspect.

If you replicate this process, please let me know how it goes for you!

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Of Plymouth Plantation… and the inner city attention span

plymouth 1

As we gear up for the new week, the students gear down because they cannot be less interested in Of Plymouth Plantation. Well, they do have one question they seek to answer: What is Americanism? What does it mean to be American? So as they formulate their ideas, we study American Literature. And, this week, we transition from Pilgrims and an active, benevolent God to Sinners and an Angry God. Boy… I can feel the good vibes now!

Since the students completed the Common Core Workshop successfully, I feel confident in their ability to closely read a text, and, thanks to my intense written feedback, the quality of their text-evidence in response to TDQs has increased tremendously. In fact, for many of them, the reading guide worksheet isn’t enough room and they are writing their answers on another page.

The first step in planning this lesson was to think about anticipated difficulties. Thanks to the first sentence, I didn’t have to think very hard. The Puritan Plain Style might have been easy to Puritans, but thanks to the evolutionary writing style of a few hundred years’ writings, those complex sentences even gave me a headache! I began planning with the idea that if the students could break down the complicated structures of the key parts of the paragraphs (or sections), maybe they could understand enough to work through answering some of the text-dependent questions. However… I needed to model this one for the students too.

Thus, a reading guide was created and designed to focus on breaking down complex sentences in terms of 1. Who? What? 2. Action. Then, I divided the excerpts into major sections and created TDQs for those sections. This made the reading guide look long (5 pages), but I wanted each section to have a visual separation from the other sections and then I needed to add some pretty visuals to keep the students happy. You’d be surprised how happy a different font, cute clip art, or shaded boxes can make the students when they are looking at a complex text they wouldn’t have been interested in otherwise.

From there, I created a reading quiz modeled after the FEW samples of multiple choice PARCC questions that have been released. This is a pretty important step because my students are used to teachers giving completion credit rather than accuracy credit. Also, apparently in some classes if most of the students don’t do the work the teacher makes it extra credit for those who did it and does not penalize those who don’t do it. To combat that, mean as it may be, I have the homework for grading and the reading quiz for grading. Students can retake any reading quiz after scoring a perfect score on the homework if they so desire, but this technique has shown students I’m serious about them completing some work outside of class. After all, my job is to prepare them for college.

If you are interested, you may find this lesson plan bundle at http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Common-Core-Of-Plymouth-Plantation-Lesson-Plan-Reading-Guide-PPT-with-KEY-844835

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English III Hybrid TN EOC/CCSS Course: What is it to be American?

cc workshop 1

Ah. The hybrid year. Last year we piloted all that is Common Core while being assess by the TN EOC. Alas, this year we implement Common Core while being assessed by both the TN EOC (with a few supposedly dropped SPIs) and PARCC. Add in that the PARCC assessments are on a yearlong plan while our course is a semester and you have a world of differentiation and 80 hour work weeks. But me… I honestly did not get into teaching to get rich. I got into teaching so I could make a difference and do my part to make the world a better place. So I’ll take it: 80 hour work weeks, Common Core, EOCs, TRIPOD, TVAAS, and whatever else you throw at me. But I’m going to help my students get it even if there is no 15-16 year old of the inner city volunteering to read these texts.

So what’s the spin for buy in? Well, the essential question becomes “What does it mean to be an American?” Now, this isn’t so far fetched – we are American and they call out their freedoms on a regular basis. So I tied in a personal stake: I know a true American.

1. After the boring syllabus review and all that jazz, we watched a video to spark a conversation. (Find this video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=75Ku4RhZwC0&list=UUTCWtGoGyBSUHzI9dTw3Q1w) Students felt a connection because I’m not the only teacher at the school with a loved one who died in a very public service-related situation, and they saw those families. Then, we invited them to bring in the picture of anyone they knew who was willing to defend what it meant to be American. From there, a living bulletin board was created.

2. We built in a Common Core Workshop using Prothero’s “Introduction” from his text “The American Bible.” We actually used only an excerpt, but the idea worked very well to introduce students to the power of words. We spent a week with this text, thoroughly modeling the process of close reading, text-dependent questions, and the dreaded writing task. In all, the point was modeling the process, and I gave a tremendous amount of written feedback to each student for every single question. Amazingly the students thought they would get credit if they just wrote something in the answer slots. Amazing. Apparently some teachers do that so often the students expect it as the norm and were genuinely surprised by their grades and the feedback. They could not believe I read, scored, and responded to every single question for every single student. Once I realized they were not used to teachers carefully reading and grading, I intentionally went overboard in providing feedback. I plan to do this intensively for a bit here – as long as I can practically keep it up – until I have them well trained. I can understand having some completion grades, but these guys make it seem as if that was all they ever had for “practice” category work. Unreal.

You can find the PPT and student documents at http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/American-Literature-Common-Core-Workshop-Reading-Info-Text-and-Writing-Task-844323

Interestingly, I found where someone has posted the Introduction for free on scribed. You may access that file at http://www.scribd.com/doc/95184410/American-Bible-Intro-Excerpt.

And with that, it was time to begin the textbook selections.

Welcome to Module 1: Early America to 1800.

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English III: Early American Origin Myths

Native myths 1

Our class text is Prentice Hall’s Literature: The American Experience edition. After having outdated texts for a rather long time, it is exciting to have texts which are actually designed with Common Core in mind. Unfortunately, there is just not enough time in the semester to read and discuss every text, so we have to sort of pick and choose the highlights of each period which make it into the 18 weeks.

{Now, if you are interested in the outline, you can find the outline of the course modules in my TPT store at http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Stephanie-Kirk-11}

Alas, the first experience our students had with the text was Native American Origin Myths. We spent a total of two days on this task, spending about 75 minutes a day. We are just coming out of an entire week on an informational text in which we painfully modeled every detail of close reading, answering text-dependent questions with evidence, and completion of a writing task, so I wanted to do something to make the lesson as engaging as possible.

Myths covered:
1. On Turtle’s Back
2. When Grizzlies Walked Upright
3. Navajo Origin Myth
4. Cherokee Origin of Fire (not in the textbook but included because this is used for modeling)

What do I want students to know and be able to do at the end of the lesson?
1. Explain the point of an origin myth.
2. Retell the origin myth.
3. Know what archetype is, identify it in text, and compare it across multiple texts.
4. Know what theme is, identify it in text, and compare it across multiple texts.

How will we get there?
We started out the lesson by reviewing common skills of archetypes, theme, and traits of origin myths. Fortunately I built the PPT in a way that if a student could tell me what it was I didn’t have to go in detail about it, but when they couldn’t remember archetypes I had that built in as well. Overplanning for anticipated difficulties is ALWAYS a good practice because it is better to have a plan for if something does not work than to allow instruction to fall apart because the students just didn’t have the knowledge you thought they should have coming into the lesson.
Anyway, I knew having the students all read every myth was going to be dreadful and boring, and there was no way to make sure that fit in the pacing. So I modified and divided the class in three groups to study an origin myth, draft it as a play, perform it, and discuss archetypes and themes across multiple texts. Students also were assigned homework to complete the reading guide and text-dependent questions, and students were held accountable for this with the included reading quiz for the second day.
Before reading I did a short story preview and vocabulary preview activity in which students reviewed the material and told me what they thought about the selection. This is such a change from when the teacher used to tell the students all about what they were going to read before reading it. By doing a story preview in this manner, curiosity increased and I think buy in and participation was enhanced.
While day one was mostly skills and notes to intro the period, we did have time for every student to complete his/her first reading of the text. The way I assigned the texts was in looking at the student lexile with some thought into the text lexile and the layers of complexity of the story. I printed the reading guides and wrote the students’ names on the page. Students were not given any sign of who their group might be until the second day. To round out the first part of the lesson, I had a canned closer of using a post-it note to create a Facebook status or Tweet based on the assigned story. To review the skill itself, I had students use an index card to write a note to an absent classmate to explain the skills reviewed/learned for the day. As I type this it occurs to me I should do that every day and post the best summary as a sort of learning wall in the room. I’ll get on that Monday.
Back to the lesson… students were to complete the next reading of the text and answer the text-dependent questions on the reading guide. To help them remember and hold them accountable I sent a Remind101 message to all parents and students in the class.
On day two, I reviewed what we had done and where we were going to go next. I created a model of exactly what I expected them to do using a new myth. Considering skills I had them tell me what the elements of drama were and what goes on a script. I showed them the myth and my script. Then I used students to help me act out the skit for the class. This was great because it allowed me to show my expectations and it allowed us to discuss the role of performer and observer in the room. I gave the students time and materials, and then they produced a script and acted out the plays. After each presentation, I used questioning to get the students to think through the patterns, characters, and symbols which repeated throughout multiple texts. As an exit ticket, I had the students use constructed response and text evidence from each myth to argue a theme in all texts.

All in all, this was a fun lesson with the students. It was hard letting go of control but the bottom line was that this lesson was probably the first time since I can’t remember when that I didn’t feel I was the hardest working person in the room. I built in character and team building, behavior expectations, and tiered accountability. If I had it to do over again, I would have revised pacing to include a more thorough discussion of theme of each myth and had some sort of reporting out format for the groups to engage the audience in talking about archetypes and themes rather than having to lead it myself. But, judging by the output, the students are good with being able to give a theme. Finding the evidence is something I need to build in future lessons for additional modeling and practice.

From American Literature Module 1: Beginnings to 1800 as featured in my English III course. The text referenced is Prentice Hall’s Literature: American Experience Edition.
If you are interested, these documents can be found at http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Native-American-Myths-Prentice-Halls-Literature-American-Lit-EDITABLEKEYS-843374

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Staying Organized!

Teacher binder 1

Alas, summer has come to an end and it is time to start the new semester!

When I created my first “To Do” list, I realized much of it was paperwork I needed to do and keep in an organized fashion. This included student rosters, data, IEPs/504s, and class documents such as planning, powerpoints, student worksheets, and assessments.

For that reason, I created a cute organization tool (http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Organization-Tool-Chevron-Teacher-Binder-with-Sub-Folder-Edit-in-Word-815564). This includes editable pages for you to use to make the binder your own. Better yet, if you want it a customized cover, send me an email and I will do it and send it back to you with the cute font I have.

For my use, I have a 3-inch teacher binder and a 3-prong substitute folder I keep in the back pocket for ease of use.
If you are going to create your own teacher binder, consider including a few of these:

INCLUDES:
1. Cover Pages: Front and Back
2. Outline: Includes suggestions for each section of the binder.
3. School Information
4. Security and Emergency Divider (include directions based on school/district policy)
5. Class Roster Divider
6. Seating Chart Divider
7. Class Procedures Divider ~ Includes editable “User’s Guide” for my class in case you are interested in using this valuable management strategy.
8. Behavior Notes Divider
9. Accommodations Divider
10. Lesson Plans Divider ~ For this, I track my lesson plans and print out my PPTs. You can add the file names to the footer of the file so you will never forget where to find a document again!
11. Standards and Objectives Divider ~ Here I have both Common Core and Tennessee State SPIs in a checklist form.
12. Curriculum Map Divider
13. Student Data Divider
14. Parent Contact Divider
15. Meeting Notes Divider
16. Calendar Divider
17. Pacing Guide Divider
18. Gradebook Divider
19. Evaluations Divider
20. Professional Development Divider

Next, I have a substitute folder ready to use in the event of a last minute absence. To create one for yourself, include:
1. Substitute Folder Cover Page
2. School Information Divider
3. Security and Emergency Divider (include directions based on school/district policy)
4. Class Information/At-a-Glance Daily Schedule Divider
5. Class Roster Divider
6. Seating Chart Divider
7. Class Procedures Divider ~ Include your classroom rules and any important schoolwide rules and policies
8. Behavior Notes Divider
9. Lesson Plan Divider
10. Completed Assignments Divider

Another item I have created but not yet finalized it the outline of the modules for English III American Literature. I plan to post this WORK IN PROGRESS for free in my TPT store at http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Stephanie-Kirk-11. I have not yet decided what I will do with my weekly lesson plans at this point because they are so details. I wish I could just post the file to my blog for the few readers I do have.
This new content is going to be a huge struggle for me as I am re-learning this material as I teach it. To be honest, I’m about a week ahead right now but I plan to spend my weekends really marking up the texts and making sure I am prepared to teach it. I promise to post my files and lesson plans as I get them together and implement them in the classroom. I say all of that to say I may do much of my updating over the weekend, but I promise to regularly post my implementation process through the semester.

It is a work in progress. Any ideas? I’m open to suggestions.

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