Sunday, May 17, 2015

Sailing Into Summer: End -of-Year Secrets and Tips

      1. One final exam tip – If you haven't yet found the teacher gift from the heavens also known as Zipgrade, then this is a must for final exam day. I kissed our fickle scantron machine (and the long teacher lines that go with it) goodbye about a month after downloading this app, and I haven't looked back since. First off, instead having to leave your classroom to grade exams (or worse yet, grade them by hand- gasp!), you can grade from the comfort of your classroom while students are working on the essay portion of the test (though I have to admit I never give essay portions on finals). This is a nice perk to the app, but the real benefit comes from the data analysis function. Within seconds you can analyze which questions were most frequently missed and thus know what to improve on next year. 

     2. One thing I want to do again next year—One of my goals this year was to add more movement in my classroom. My classes are 90 minutes long, my school starts at 7:30, and my high school students just can't stay awake. There’s nothing worse than looking up from reading a section of text to find that half of the class is either asleep or zoned out. Here are some things I did to add movement:
       * Informational Text Triangle Meetup: Every time we read informational articles, I make sure to have 3 different texts pertaining to the same theme.I put students in groups of 3 and give each one a different article. They read silently for 10 minutes then meet at their “point” of the triangle to discuss with those who read the same article. After a quick discussion, they move back to their original group and pass the articles to repeat the process.  

 *Literary Yoga. I got this idea during a morning workout, and it has been an absolute hit. I use parts or all of it when students need an energizing moment. It can be used with practically any piece of literature and can also serve as a no-prep way to review before literature tests. 

Read a blog post on how I use yoga in the classroom here: Yoga in the classroom 

 3. One thing I want to change next year- Honestly, I could think of about 10 things I need to change for next year, but I will stick with just one---GRAMMAR. Oh dear. I think that I've changed the way I teach grammar every single year (7 years now!).  I haven’t liked a single strategy well enough to keep doing it. Sigh. One idea I had mid-year that I will for sure try next year is to make a grammar tutorial and Google doc quiz to add as my “Quickmarks” on Turnitin. That way, I can give my students individualized grammar help AND assess their improvement. If your school doesn't provide Turnitin for you, read this post to find out why you should beg and plead for this service! Do you have a really awesome way of teaching grammar??? Please share in the comment section!! 

  4.  One gift idea. I'm the girl who brings a veggie tray to a party….there I said it. However, I think people really appreciate having healthy options. That’s why I try to put a healthy twist on the gifts I give. Check out this free Gift Tag I made to attach to smoothie cafe gift cards! 

  5. One classroom organization tip. This isn't really an organization tip per say, but I've been on a major decluttering phase for the past 2 years in my personal life and those strategies have spilled over to my classroom as well. My husband and I have this dream of living in a mortgage-free tiny house, and I've been paring down month after month in our current 1,092 square foot house in order to fit into one-half its size one day. As far as my classroom goes, I finally gave up all of the teaching material that came with my room when I moved in--all of that stuff I “might use one day.” If I haven't used that stack of crap yet, then I'm never going to. Among the stuff I donated or threw out, I found a flute (no idea), old school projector transparencies, and countless VHS tapes of educational shows that had been recorded at home. I let it goooooooooo. I feel so free! On a related note, this is one of the HUGE benefits of Teachers Pay Teachers. Experienced, master teachers can share their best work in a meaningful way---not by leaving it boxed up for the next teacher to attempt to weed through then feel guilty for eventually throwing most of it out.
    Happy Summer, xoxo, 
    B's Book Love 

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Be sure to continue this hop for TONS more end-of-year tips! 


  1. I agree 110% about letting stuff go. If I did not use it this year I am going to recycle it. With Teachers Pay Teachers I can find new and better looking stuff than the stuff I inherited as well with my various classrooms.

  2. I need to check out the zipgrade thing! I'd love that!

  3. Let it go has been my mantra this year, too. Clutter takes up so much mental space, not to mention physical space. It feels good to be rid of it.
    I like your triangle meeting idea, too. I think I'll have to give it a try :)

  4. I added your yoga activity to my wish list and I LOVE the smoothie gift tag idea! Thank for joining us!
    - Julie

  5. I haven't tried zipgrade yet, but now I am very interested for next year :)

  6. After the start of the new putting in year, everyone talks about it. I didn't much envision from this site is a light of the fact that the past spending plan was so wrong and this time they furthermore announce a comparable kind of spending plan.


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