Sunday, July 31, 2016

Start The #BEST.YEAR.EVER with help from the TPT Secondary ELA Sellers!



Can you believe that it's time for another school year to start? No matter if this is your first year or your twentieth year teaching, the Back to School rush can be chaotic and overwhelming. Let the TPT Secondary ELA Sellers help you have the #BEST.YEAR.EVER! Join us in celebrating the TPT Back to School Sale. Visit the stores below during the #BEST.YEAR.EVER! TPT Sitewide Sale to save up to 28% off of products on August 1st-2nd:


Saturday, July 30, 2016

Tips for the #BEST.YEAR.EVER and Giveaway from The Creative Classroom

Can you believe that it is already time for another school year to begin? It can be a time of great excitement with a little bit of chaos and overwhelming feelings, no matter how many years you have been teaching. Well, I'm here to help you jumpstart this new school year with some helpful tips and a fun giveaway to make this the #BEST.YEAR.EVER!



Enter The Creative Classroom's #BEST.YEAR.EVER Giveaway to win $10 TPT Gift Card, $10 Shopping Spree to The Creative Classroom, and a product of your choice from my store. The giveaway runs between now and ends on Monday, August 1st, 2016. Check out the Rafflecopter below to enter for your chance to win!





a Rafflecopter giveaway
Stay tuned for even more ways to make this the #BEST.YEAR.EVER in the coming days! :)

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Calming the Year End Chaos Tips for Success



If you are like me, the end of the school year can be a chaotic and energy-draining time period. There are so many things to get done-like paperwork, end of the quarter exams, keeping your students' focused and engaged. It can seem like a circus act to juggle all of these things at once. Sometimes it feels like it will never end, but the light at the end of the tunnel is oh-so close.

The end of the year for me has always been a time for self reflection of what worked and what didn't. This was especially true when I taught Literacy Enrichment, an elective class for students who scored below average on our state ELA assessments. There was no set curriculum so I created EVERYTHING that we did in our class for 6th-8th grade. It was easy for me to determine what I thought was successful or a great lesson, but what about my students' thoughts on the lessons and activities? Sure I had asked for feedback from them here or there, but did I really give them a chance to really reflect on the things that we did and what helped THEM? I sat down that afternoon and created an End of the Year Survey for my students' to complete. (Click here to download a FREE copy of this survey!)

 I had my students complete this activity during one of the last weeks of school and I was amazed at their view on the things we had done and the honest feedback that many of them gave. It was so nice to read about their favorite activities or short stories that we did (it was no surprise to me that Edgar Allan Poe's "The Tell-Tale Heart" and "The Black Cat" were among their favorites.). 

As I sat reading their comments, I began to think about how this would help me shape and revise my curriculum for the next school year. It was then that a light bulb went off in my head. If they were giving me such awesome feedback and advice, what type of advice would they give to future students who would be in their shoes next school year. Let's face it, we can give advice until we run out of things to say, but how powerful would it be for students to be the ones giving that advice on how to survive a new school year. I worked throughout the night developing a writing assignment that would allow my students' to take the life lessons that they had learned during our year together and share these experiences and advice with the future students who would be in my class. 


I introduced the Letter to a Future Student Activity to my classes during the final week of school. At first, they looked at me like I was crazy. Did I really expect them to write multiple paragraphs during the last week of school!?! That all changed once I explained WHY they would be writing these letters and that there was a real life purpose to this assignment. I let them know that my plan was to seal their letters in individual envelopes and that each of my new students would get one of their letters on the first day of the new school year. Even my most reluctant writers worked hard to create a multi-paragraph letter that contains tips, tricks, and helpful hints for making it through that next school year. Many of my students would call me over to check over their letters and give them some feedback. Some even asked if they could type their letters because they didn't want their messy handwriting to stop someone from being able to read their letters. I was so impressed with the level of thoughtfulness and hard work that they put in.

This was absolutely the best end of the year activity that I have ever done. I loved being able to give these letters to each new group of students, especially my new 6th graders who were terrified on that first day of their middle school experience. It helped to calm some nerves and also led to some laughs from the humorous stories that my former students had told in their letters. Below is one of my favorite letters from one of my former students:


Without a doubt involving my students' in these two activities helped give me some valuable feedback and information to use as I worked towards planning a new school year out. It also allowed me to show my students how much I valued their thoughts and opinions. This helped cut down on the normal end of the year behaviors and helped end our year on a positive note. 

I hope that you found these two tips helpful in calming the overwhelming chaos that occurs at the end of the year. The end is oh-so near so make every moment with your students count! You've got this, teachers! I hope that you have a GREAT rest of the school year, whether that be days or weeks left and that you have a restful and relaxing summer vacation! :)



More End of the Year Survival Tips
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Monday, May 2, 2016

The Creative Classroom Celebrates Teacher Appreciation Week!

You work hard each and every day to teach and educate the students in your classroom. You spend countless hours planning lessons that are engaging, rigorous, and fun that also meets the diverse needs of your students. You give up afternoons, nights, and weekends to grade assignments and plan your next steps. You put in an incredible effort to not only teach your students the curriculum, but to teach them life lessons and create a learning community in your classroom. You inspire your students to be the best version of themselves and encourage them to take risks. You do all of these things with limited resources, ever-changing expectations and mandates, a ton of extra responsibilities, and many other obstacles in your way. Thank you for being there for your students. You truly make a difference each day even if you don’t always see it. 

As a way of showing my thanks to all of the AMAZING teachers out there, I am hosting a week long celebration of flash freebies on my Facebook page. Each day a different product from my store will be free for one hour. Check out the image below to see the products that will be featured each day. 



The Flash Freebies will happen any time between 4:00-8:00 PM CST. I will post an announcement with the product being offered and the link to grab your copy. Be sure that you are following my Facebook page and have your notifications turned on so that you get the notifications for the Flash Freebie. 




In addition to the Flash Freebies, I will be hosting a giveaway where one winner will win a custom hand painted pencil from Creative Spice Designs. This pencil will be hand painted with either a quote, saying, or your name. Be sure to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway below for your chance to win. There are multiple ways that you can earn entries.The giveaway winner will be announced on Saturday, May 7th.
a Rafflecopter giveaway





The final way that I will be celebrating Teacher Appreciation Week is by participating the TPT Site Wide Sale on May 2nd-3rd. All of my products will be 28% off during this sale. All you have to do is fill up your cart and use the promo code CELEBRATE when you check-out. This is a great time to stock up on bundles and End of the Year Products. 

Click here to start shopping -> https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/The-Creative-Classroom

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week, y'all! 

Monday, February 29, 2016

The Creative Classroom Leaps into Literature

Looking for new ways to engage your students in literature, especially with classics that might seem old and outdated? In this secondary English Language Arts blog hop, the Literary League showcases resources that can be used with any literary text, time after time, year after year.
Here at the Literary League, we’re a group of English teachers who truly love literature (we bet you already figured that part out). Given free time, we can all agree that there’s nothing better than leaping into a good book. But, even as avid readers, we have to admit that those spare minutes tend to be few and far between, especially during the school year, and there are times that we just have to …

  • leap into a book recommended by a friend, a colleague, or especially a student, who is anxiously awaiting our review
  • leap into a new novel we’re teaching, whether or not we’ve had time to fully prepare a complete unit
  • leap into a classic, maybe not one of our favorites, but something we know students need to sit with in order to grow as a reader

For those instances, the Literary League is teaming up to share some of our favorite resources to help you Leap into Literature. These are resources that are not tied to a particular book, but ones that can be used over and over again, both with your favorite novels, as well as with new texts or classic pieces you’re trying to breathe new life into.

A favorite resource I use to engage my students in literature is my Holy Task Cards! 28 Tasks for any Short Story. These task cards offer a variety of ways to get my students interacting with fiction texts. I love that they offer choice and a different approach for students to show their understanding of the story. Not only can students demonstrate mastery of story elements and Common Core standards, but they are also able to write creative writing compositions and create real world projects. 

One of my students' favorite tasks is Task #22- Comic Book, where students are able to turn the short story they have just read into a comic book. This requires students to really understand the setting and important plot points to be able to transform the story off the page. It is always amazing to see how the students bring the words to life through colorful and interesting illustrations. This is a great way to get your artistic students excited about literature.

My personal favorite task is Task #2- Rewrite. This task requires students to rewrite the ending to the story or continue from where the story ended. This works best with stories that have sudden or cliffhanger endings like "The Tell-Tale Heart" by Edgar Allan Poe or "Monkey's Paw" by W.W. Jacobs. It is always so interesting to see what the students think happened to the characters next. The best part is that this assignment requires students to use what they have learned from the text and make inferences on where the story goes.


You can read about other engaging literature resources from the other Literary Leaguers linked up below and also enter in the rafflecopter below for a chance to win them all.


Saturday, December 12, 2015

The Literary League 12 Days of Giving Freebie Round`Up & Sale

The Literary League's 12 Days of Christmas includes 12+ seasonal and year round freebies for secondary English Language Arts teachers and a giveaway for a TPT gift certificate.

Thanks so much for the overwhelming response to the 12 Days of Giving hosted by the Literary League!  

To celebrate the season and our favorite fellow teachers (that’s you!), we’re all having a sale in our TpT shops today, Saturday, December 12th and tomorrow, Sunday, December 13th.  That’s right!  Pop over to each of our shops and you’ll find all of our resources at 20% off!


The Literary League's 12 Days of Christmas includes 12+ seasonal and year round freebies for secondary English Language Arts teachers and a giveaway for a TPT gift certificate.

Oh, and if you haven't entered for a chance to win the Teachers Pay Teacher gift card, you can do so below. Today is the last day to enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Just in case you missed one of the featured freebies, click the links below.

The Creative Classroom - Two Column Notes Organizer
Perfetto Writing Room - SteadfastTin Soldier
Literary Sherri - Winter Poems - Poetry Analysis
Mrs. Spangler in the Middle - Christmas Zap Game
The Classroom Sparrow - Holiday Essay Outline
2 Peas and a Dog - Christmas Writing Prompts
Brain Waves Instruction - Endof Year Reflection and Infographic
The Daring English Teacher - WinterThemed Grammar Worksheets

From all of us Literary Leaguers, wishing you and yours the happiest of holidays!


Thursday, December 10, 2015

The Literary League's 12 Days of Giving: Day 10


Welcome to Day 10 of the Literary League's 12 Days of Christmas Blog Hop! We know that the holiday season is busy for both teachers and students, and it never seems to slow down after that. To help you make it through the rest of the year, you need a stock pile of lessons that can be easily implemented at any time. Today you'll find a resource that you can use any time of year in your classroom.

From The Creative Classroom: Two Column Notes Organizer: Identifying Main Ideas and Supporting Details
The Two Column Notes Organizer was a game changer in my classroom! My students struggled to identify the relevant text evidence in both fiction and nonfiction texts. Many didn’t know where to begin or how to figure out what the main points of the text were. The Two Column Notes Organizer allowed me to create a simple way for my students, especially my struggling readers, to interact with complex texts. One of the most critical attributes of this organizer is chunking whatever text you are reading into smaller and more manageable sections of text. This allowed my struggling readers to focus on only a small section of the text at a time instead of the entire text. In addition, this also allowed me to create a focused guiding question that would help students have a clear purpose for reading each section of text. I saw better annotations, stronger written answers, and deeper student understanding after the first time that I implemented this strategy into my classroom! This strategy has been an essential component of my classroom instruction since that day. If you are looking for a simple yet effective close reading strategy that produces student growth, then the Two Column Notes Organizer is definitely for you!

And if you haven't already, enter to win the Teachers Pay Teachers gift certificate below. The winner will be notified on December 13th.


Visit Making Meaning With Melissa tomorrow for Day 11 of the Literary League's 12 Days of Christmas Blog Hop. Look for a special surprise coming on Day 12!