December 30, 2014

Meme Calendar Now Available!

You may recall earlier this school year when I talked about how I've been using memes in my classroom. This has honestly been one of the best things I've added to my daily routine because it brings SO MUCH JOY to my students! It's hilarious to watch them race to my classroom during a passing period, even if they don't have my class until much later in the day, because they want to be the first to read (and judge... because they do that too) the daily meme.

It's such a simple thing, but I really feel like it's helped me connect with my students. They're really into memes themselves and will sometimes create them in ways that are specifically related to our classroom, which I LOVE! It's also a way that I get to share a little of my personality with them without taking away from our learning time. 

When I finished my long-term position this year, my students BEGGED the classroom teacher to continue the memes. They even put it in writing when she gave them a survey about what they wanted to keep/change with her being back from her maternity leave.

I figured there must be some other teachers out there who would love to use memes in a similar way but maybe they don't have the time/desire to search through the endless memes out there to find ones that are school appropriate (which, let's face it, has been the biggest challenge in this task because the funniest memes are often inappropriate). 

So, I decided I'd go ahead and put together a file for this purpose.

What I've created is a January 2015 Meme Calendar that links to each day with a school-appropriate meme. The left side is fully editable so you can add your own daily agenda and bellringer tasks. 

My goal is to create a new calendar with a new theme and new memes for each month so be sure to follow my TPT store so you can be notified when the new calendars are posted.

December 15, 2014

IMWAYR & New Product Release

This isn't an apology. I've done that too many times to count. I've come to accept that the consistency of my blogging ebbs and flows like everything else in life, and I'm not going to make excuses for the times when I'm away. It's just part of life.

Today is Monday, which means I get to tell you about some things I've been reading. First up is Brandi Glanville from the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills with her newest book, Drinking & Dating: PS Social Media is Ruining Romance. I hadn't realized that Brandi perviously wrote a book, but I don't think mattered much that I read this one first. And to be honest, I probably won't go back and read her first one. My honest opinion about her book is probably skewed by the fact that she is a TERRIBLE reader. This becomes painfully obvious in her audiobook when she constantly trips over her own words - well.... at least they're supposed to be her own words. I'm not sure why production didn't make her go back and re-read many sections of this book because it was painfully obvious that she used a ghost writer because the language didn't flow naturally off her tongue. I like Brandi on RHOBH, but I would not waste my time reading another one of her books.

On a much happier note, I also started reading Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green (author of The Fault in Our Stars) and David Levithan (author of Every Day). I enjoyed both of these authors so much that I practically leapt for joy when I saw that they collaborated on this book. I was pretty much hooked on this book from the moment I reached Chapter 2. The book is written in alternating points of view, which I LOVE as a reader. Will Grayson and Will Grayson have very little in common except that they're both teenagers living in suburban Chicago (Yay! I love reading about places I know in real life!), but when they meet during a chance encounter in the city, their lives become very much entwined.

As I read through this book (I'm about halfway through it at this point), I keep finding awesome quotes I want to remember. Here are some of my favorites:

"You like someone who can't like you because unrequited love can be survived in a way that once-requited love cannot."

“When things break, it's not the actual breaking that prevents them from getting back together again. It's because a little piece gets lost - the two remaining ends couldn't fit together even if they wanted to. The whole shape has changed.” 

“this is why we call people exes, I guess - because the paths that cross in the middle end up separating at the end. it's too easy to see an X as a cross-out. it's not, because there's no way to cross out something like that. the X is a diagram of two paths.” 

“he is both the source of my happiness and the one i want to share it with.” 

“By saying you don’t care if the world falls apart, in some small way you’re saying you want it to stay together, on your own terms.” 

See what I mean?  Good stuff!

OK.. so now that I've updated you on my reading. I have an announcement!

I think we're all aware of how terrible I am about posting new products in my TPT store. I haven't done this is MONTHS. But... some of you will be proud to see that I have, in fact, posted a new product today. It's my Poetry Anthology Unit, which I've been working on since... oh... last February. Obviously, I took some breaks in there, but this was much harder for me than I anticipated. I've had an internal debate about how much I should share regarding this unit. Each year I've taught it, I've tweaked it a little more, and while I love how this unit works for me, I have to remember that everyone has a different teaching style. I have to "let it go" just a bit and expect that every user will do the same with my product to make it work for him or her. 

If you're in the market for a great, student-centered project that will easily keep your students engaged for a month's time, I hope you will consider my poetry anthology. I have seen mothers reduced to tears upon receiving these anthologies as Mother's Day gifts, and I've watched students pour their hearts and souls into this writing. I can also tell you that I contacted several former students to get examples of their poems to share in this product, and ALL OF THEM still had their anthologies. The students I asked are now seniors in high school or in college, and they STILL HAVE THEIR ANTHOLOGIES! This makes me SO PROUD!

December 1, 2014

Currently, IMWAYR, & a Freebie

I cheated a little bit this week by combining Farley's Currently with my Monday reading link-ups because I wanted to tell you guys that I finally finished reading Dark Places by Gillian Flynn. You may recall that I "lost possession" of this novel a few weeks back when my two week deadline passed. One of the nice things about OverDrive is that it remembered where I left off when I re-downloaded the book (after sitting on the waiting list for a while, of course). I had to rush through the reading so I wouldn't lose it again, and I'm glad I had the chance to finish it. Of her three books, I would rank this second, Gone Girl first, and Sharp Object last. I did enjoy all three stories, though.

I'm loving that our favorite Christmas tradition continues, as Joel and I have already been out to visit the Larsen Family's Christmas Light Display twice this season. This year, like last year, they have two different hour-long shows on alternating nights, and they added a few Frozen songs, which I LOVED! There's something so magical about this display that makes me content to sit in my car forever and watch! For those that aren't fortunate enough to see this in person, I'm including a video... but if you want to come watch, I'll totally be your tour guide!

I don't know about you, but I can't stop thinking about the impact of this Ferguson case. I heard on NPR today that there is talk in the white house about adding body cameras to some 50,000 officers to hopefully curb some of the mistrust, and while I agree that it's a step in the right direction for accountability, I'm just not sure it's the answer we need. Our nation is one where outright racism is intolerable yet a systematic racism is strongly in place everywhere. I, for one, am grateful for the conversations that are happening across the country. I'm glad this makes people uncomfortable because it should. We need a major change!

I want more art projects! I already shared that I did a wine and painting night the other week with some friends, and I loved it! I'm really feeling crafty these days and welcome any suggestions you have. I have this thing about creating my own art to decorate my home, so if it's something I can actually hang on my walls, you get extra credit for your suggestion!

What I need more than anything else right now are ideas for inexpensive winter activities. Joel really likes to be out and about rather than sitting at home, and we're both kinda at a loss for cold-weather options, which isn't good since we have a long winter ahead of us! We don't have any kids to entertain, but we are on a very strict (like nonexistent) budget. Any ideas are welcome!

I will give away a freebie TODAY ONLY! I just updated my Vocabulary Cartoon Activity to include three new pages, and I'd love to share it with my readers! Just leave me a comment below with a suggestion of a winter activity and/or an art project I can tackle at home! Please make sure you're not a no-reply commentator so I can email you my product!

Happy December!