True Confessions of a TpT Teacher-Author - Ellen Weber



The True Confessions Series continues with one of my favorite TpT teacher-authors, Ellen Weber.  I've been fortunate enough to collaborate with her and meet her in person.  She's kind, creative, and inspiring.  If you don't already know and love what she's up to on TpT, then you've got to meet...


Keep reading to learn even more about Ellen...


I started my TpT store...
because senior high and college faculty were constantly telling me that there were too few tools available to foster ACTIVE learning for older students.  And because teens agree that PLAY is often the highest form of LEARNING.  

I named my store Ellen Weber - Brain Based Tasks for Upper Grades because...
I've spent 35+ years tipping scales to stop older brains from stalling and learning from brilliant innovators in higher grades.


My store is filled with...
fun whole brain tasks that add adventure to learning.  Tasks that woo students into teacher roles at times - and woo faculty into learner roles at times.

My favorite part about creating resources is...
the delight of sharing them with fellow faculty - and the sheer pleasure of working with creative masters like you, Mary Beth, who make a difference other there and who teach me daily how to do the same.  (Editor's note:  Awww...thanks Ellen!)


Where in the world do you live now?  Have you ever lived anywhere else?  If so, where?
I like to literally live in the countries where I work - so that I can integrate my Mita approach with local approaches.  When I taught for McGill University, I lived in the High Arctic (northern tip of Baffin Island).  Two years of no light in winter, no trees, no cars, climate dips of 80 degrees below zero, and the Inuktitut language.  Loved the Inuit people.  Laughed and learned more from them than I taught them!


After someone meets you, what do you hope they say about you once you leave the room?
"She's funny, loves people, and stays curious enough to play with her toddler grandchildren."



If you had a day completely free of obligations, what would you do?
Golf and then share dinner and wine in the clubhouse with a good friend!  Hand me such a day...

Describe the worst haircut or outfit of your life.
Before the arctic trip I bought boots with big spaces for air that left my already big feet planting Sasquatch-like prints in never before trodden arctic snow.

If you had to enter a talent contest, what talent would you showcase?
Crazy as it sounds, my ability to draw out and celebrate hidden and unused talents from any audience.


Name two things on your bucket list.
1. Travel to Australia and New Zealand (Had to cancel an invite to do brain-based work there once and sadly the invite never returned.)
2.  Create 3-D versions of my Namungo (original elf-like creatures that illustrate cool brain parts learners care about)


What do you want to be when you grow up?
I want to be far better at instigating original games that expand minds - help people laugh more and delight the players.



Most Popular
Multiple Intelligence Novel Study Tasks for Upper Grades

Most Awesome Freebie
10 Secret Tips to Boost Teacher Brainpower

Most Likely to Save a Teacher's Day
Disagree Without Bullying

Best Couple
Brain Culture One Game or Active Task at a Time + Back to School Toolkit


That's it from Ellen today!  I hope you got a glimpse of her happy, curious spirit.  She's doing amazing, original work...go check it all out here.

P.S.  If you're a TpT teacher-author and you're ready to share your true confessions email me at brainwavesinstruction@gmail.com.

Epic ELA Giveaway!

What happens when 17 extraordinary secondary TpT sellers get together and contribute their favorite classroom resources?  An EPIC ELA GIVEAWAY, of course!

Designed by Room 213

I'm so excited to announce this giveaway that Jackie from Room 213 and I have teamed up to offer to one lucky winner.  With the kindness and generosity of some of our favorite TpT all-stars, we've assembled a super-sweet package of products.  The collection of resources are purposefully universal so that any ELA teacher, anywhere can utilize the bounty of resources in his/her classroom.  The prize is filled with non-text specific units and resources geared to a wide range of activities and genres...and that's not all, the resources also cover a range of critical ELA skills inducing reading, writing, researching, poetry, speech writing, media literacy, and more --- pretty exciting, right?  

Designed by Room 213



Check out exactly what you can win (or download a clickable PDF of each seller's entry HERE)...


The Daring English Teacher: Editable English Tests
Presto Plans: Grammar Resource Bundle
The Language Arts Classroom: Write a Tabloid for a Mobile Device
The OCBeach Teacher: Reading Strategies for any Text
The ELA Buffet: Poetry Close Reading
Secondary Sara: Movie v Text Bundle

I haven't even gotten to the best part yet!  You get up to 50 chances to win!  Just follow each seller on TpT, Facebook, and her blog.  Every click gives you a chance to win the amazing bundle of prizes!

The winner (AKA envy of ELA teachers everywhere) will be announced on Sunday, February 7th at 5 PM Eastern time.

What are you waiting for?  Get following and entering!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Homework Twists - Part One

Homework?!  Why does it have to be such a hassle?  Who knew that assigning, grading, and managing homework would be so time consuming?  In fact, I’ve found that one of the most tedious tasks is tracking down students with missing assignments and managing makeup work.  

This homework chase got me thinking...

Then, I remembered that there are two assignments that 100% of my students complete every year.  Yes, ALL of my students, even the ones who never complete homework, hand in these assignments.  One assignment is when they bring in song lyrics and the other is when they write a poem and then completely dirty it up.  I love those days.  My students are practically giddy coming into the classroom and begging to share their work.  Now...the other 180 days of the year...I was lucky to get 3/4 of the class to hand in their work.  I knew I needed to switch things up in the homework department, so I started infusing some homework twists into regular homework assignments.  Here are 3 homework twists that have worked for me...and the results...well, there’s nothing like a room full of students proud and excited about HOMEWORK!




Homework Motivator #1:  Break all the homework rules and tell students that instead of perfect, neat assignments, you want them to bring in the dirtiest and messiest homework ever.  Tell students that they can run over their work with their bikes, soak it in ketchup, or tear it into bits.  They just have to bring it in sealed in a plastic bag.  Also, have them create a clean version that you can actually grade.  Yes, that means that they do their homework twice (very tricky), but they don’t care. They all try to outdo each other in dirtiness.  It’s so fun!





Homework Motivator #2:  Tell your students that they don’t have to do their homework.  All they have to do is find someone else to do it for them.  It could be their parent, sibling, friend or neighbor.  Then, all they have to do is grade the homework (which means that they actually have to do the work to get the correct answers - sneaky, right?).  The next day they should hand in the homework already graded.  Super motivating!




Homework Motivator #3:  Have students answer their homework in a secret code.  The secret code can be something you create - like assigning numbers to letters or pig-Latin or you can have students create their own code and provide a code-cracking key.  You could even have students write all their answers backwards. This is a super fun and engaging way to get students motivated about doing their homework.
Each of these ideas have truly helped increase the homework completion in my classroom. It's amazing what a little novelty can do. They even inspired this resource!  It's filled with 25 Homework Task Cards that you just staple to any ordinary assignment.  


So easy!  So fun!




Student Teaching Blunders (and how to avoid them)


Student teaching is NOT for the faint of heart.  In fact, it can be one of the most emotionally intensive times in our teaching careers.  There are great successes, epic failures, and constant rounds of trial and error...and since it's all so new, it's very easy to make mistakes.  That's why I'm highlighting some common student teaching blunders and sharing tips on how to avoid making each of them.  

BLUNDER:

Try this instead:

It's very likely that you will spend the early days of your student teaching assignment observing your supervising teacher.  This does not mean that during his/her instruction you should become just another student in the classroom.  Instead, get up and rotate around the classroom, help students, offer to assist the teacher, take a very active role.  This will help you build rapport with students and your supervising teacher.

BLUNDER:

Try this instead:

If you want to show your commitment to your student teaching assignment, then it's crucial that you arrive to school early to organize for the day and stay late to set up the classroom for the next day.  Just being on time and leaving when seasoned teachers in the building leave won't cut it.

BLUNDER:

Try this instead:

It's a good idea to err on the side of dressing too formally each day.  Even if you see that the school has a relaxed dress code, you should restrain from casual dress.  Dressing professionally will set you apart and gain you the respect of students, other teachers and professionals, and parents.

BLUNDER:

Try this instead:

 Remember that student teaching is like an extended job interview.  While you may never become employed at the school you are student teaching in, it is important to conduct yourself in a professional manner at all times.  Therefore, refrain from complaining, making negative comments, or gossiping.  Speaking poorly about staff, students, administration, or parents is a definite no!

BLUNDER:

Try this instead:

Network with teachers, staff, parents, and the school community while you're student teaching.  Create units that allow you to collaborate with others.  Working cooperatively with others to help your students be more successful will definitely set you apart!

BLUNDER:

Try this instead:

 There's a very important line between building positive teacher-student relationships with students and building inappropriate personal relationships with students.  That's why you'll want to be careful with how much you reveal about your own life.  Remember that you are the teacher in the classroom, not a peer.

BLUNDER:

Try this instead: 

Don't wait for your supervising teacher to ask you to do something.  Instead, show initiative.  Get busy helping to improve the classroom.  If that means creating a new bulletin board, grading papers, organizing bookshelves, writing a letter to parents, then get busy doing it.  And don't forget to make helping students your priority.  Oh, and put away the phone!

BLUNDER:

Try this instead:

 You'll be getting a lot of feedback while student teaching - some good, some not so good.  Don't let criticism or advice crush you.  Instead, listen openly to the words of other professionals.  Student teaching is all about learning and improving.

BLUNDER:

Try this instead:

Student teaching is the perfect time to transition your social media posts and content to a more professional representation of you.  Don't use social media to vent about your student teaching experience.  In addition, refrain from making or accepting contacts with students on social media. 

BLUNDER:

Try this instead:

Rather than just planning for each lesson, you should over-plan.  You can't be too prepared to teach. Spend time creating the most engaging and educational lessons for students.  Consider the expression, "if you fail to plan, plan to fail."  

And, if you're looking for more ways to have a successful student teaching experience, you might want to check out this resource...
CLICK HERE


Thanks for stopping by,


Pinterest Pin Credit  


  



Out of the Deep Freeze

Today, I'm linking up with the Secondary Smorgasbord hosted by ELA Buffet and Desktop Learning Adventures.



Unfortunately, winter colds, stuffy noses, achy bodies, and fevers are headed to a classroom near you...that's why I'm pulling this resource out of the deep freeze.  It's my Substitute Teacher Toolkit Resource, and I've filled it with everything a teacher (like you) might need to set up your students AND the substitute for success in your absence. 



The materials in the resource are meant to be assembled in a 3-ring binder (of course, other systems will totally work).  Included in each section of the resource is detailed information for the classroom teacher on how to prepare the toolkit.  Then, there's all the goodies to include in the binder for the substitute teacher...

Background Information
This section provides the substitute with all the classroom, student and school information he/she will need to have a safe and productive day.  It includes a welcome letter, about the class, emergency procedures, classroom procedures, important places, and a feedback report.



Classroom Management
Since good classroom management is at the core of a great lesson, the Substitute Toolkit includes several classroom management activities that the substitute can easily implement while teaching your classes.  With a bit of set up, you can fill the classroom management section of the toolkit with a classroom attendance tracker, student name tags, homework passes, positive behavior tracking cards, and 8 prize cards.


Lesson Extensions
Even when teachers leave great lesson plans for a sub, there's a chance the lesson will end early. That's why there are 3 different lesson extenders in the Substitute Toolkit.  These include a marooned writing prompt, a chore writing prompt, and several lesson extender games/activities.



We all know that teaching is one of the few professions where it is more difficult to be out of work than it is to just show up to work.  I hope this resource makes it a little easier on you...I mean, come on, the flu is bad enough!

You can find everything you need to set up your own Substitute Teacher Toolkit here:



Or, this resource has everything for the Sub Toolkit AND 3 DAYS of Emergency Substitute Plans:






True Confessions of a TpT Teacher-Author - Literary Sherri


I'm super excited to be sharing Literary Sherri's true confessions with you.  I have a feeling you're going to love her!  

Let's get the confessions started...






I started my TpT store...
at the tail-end of 2012, although I didn't really know what I was doing until halfway through 2013!  

I named my store Literary Sherri because...
I'm passionate about all things literacy-related, especially inspiring students to fall in love with reading!


My store is filled with...
print-and-go resources for Middle School ELA teachers, as well as a number of classroom management resources that work well for all teachers in grades 6-12!

My favorite part about creating resources is...
imagining the time it will save other teachers - time they can spend enjoying their students on school days and their families in the evenings and on weekends.

In terms of TpT, I'll never forget when...
when I started getting meaningful feedback from buyers.  It still makes my heart jump for joy every time buyers share how one of my resources is helping them or their students!




Where in the world do you live now?  Have you ever lived anywhere else?  If so, where?
I currently live in beautiful Western, New York, and I absolutely love it - it's one of the most beautiful places on this globe!  I've also lived in Southern California, Indiana, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, and colorful Colorado!

Breathtaking Upstate New York!

After someone meets you, what do you hope they say about you once you leave the room?
"That's one of the kindest and most thoughtful people I've ever met."

If you had a day completely free of obligations, what would you do?
Take a day trip to some place fun and funky, like the Jello Museum, or to a place with a bit of historical significance, such as the Harriet Tubman house.  Read a book just because I'm interested in it.  Meet friends for a delicious dinner and a good after-dinner cocktail!

Describe the worst haircut or outfit of your life.
The time I asked for chin-length hair, layered and stacked in the back and I walked away with 1"-2" tufts of hair sticking out all over my head.  Think Tootles in Hook, who is looking for his marbles.  There's a couple of photos floating around, but you'll never catch me sharing them!

If you had to enter a talent contest, what talent would you showcase?
Of the two things I can do expertly - parallel park and make spaghetti sauce - I'd be more likely to enter my spaghetti-sauce-making-skills in a talent contest.  What judge could resist the aroma of that garlicky-oniony-tomatoey goodness filling the room?!?

Name two things on your bucket list.
1. See the aurora borealis from somewhere in Alaska (or Greenland...or Iceland)!
2.  Enjoy a leisurely, off-the-beaten-path tour of Western Europe

What do you want to be when you grow up?
Betty White I want to be the kind of person others want to spend time with...the kind of person who other walk away from saying, "I feel so inspired, so joyful, and so energetic every time I chat with her!"


Most Popular
The Outsiders - Unit Plan

Most Awesome Freebie
FREE!

Most Likely to Save a Teacher's Day
Tools for Positive Behavior Management


Best Couple - Brain Waves Instruction Product + Literary Sherri Product
Literacy Strategies + Reading Comprehension Skills Bundle

See?  Isn't she great?  I hope you enjoyed learning a bit more about Literary Sherri, now get out of here and check out her shop.

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