Look At Me! I’m Organized!

STUDENT TEACHING HAS STARTED! Last week I got into my classroom for the semester. I have my own little desk, book-case and corner that’s ALL MINE! I can’t even begin to tell you all how excited I am and what it has taken to get here. Everything the last 4 years has led to this! I am in a wonderful school district, with a co-op that I LOVE.

Yesterday was my first day, and I finished moving in. Here is what my little corner looks like thus far.

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The front of my desk is rocking bead buddies and stained glass projects my summer school kids did this summer. If you can’t tell, the stained glasses are Beauty and the Beast themed.

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Recognize that pot? See how I made it HERE! Miss Swenda is written and facing front towards the students. “Called Equipped Prepared” is a reminder just for me! Cinderella’s glass slipper and the Disney princess cup are from a bridal shower I was at a few weeks ago.

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I am really proud of these drawers. Yes, I have an entire drawer of snacks. I have a schedule that gives me the ability to snack every few periods. I regret nothing. My other drawer holds my tea, binder clip collection, stationary, and other rando things.

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I have a nice little bookshelf to keep all of my stuff. Obviously, it’s full of classics and the majority of the Folger Shakespeare Library collection. My brother hooked me up with Dancing Groot and Albus Dumbledore and I certainly couldn’t leave them at home! Bob my Philadelphia Flyers Gnome has a place of love as well. One of the best things I learned from my previous co-op was unit binders. You can see the stack of them to the right of the above picture. For each unit, I have created a binder. Over the years I have and will continue to collect handouts, projects and general things to go with the different units. IMG_7189

The cool part of having a mom that has been working in schools for so long, is that she has some pretty fun decorations and ideas. Ma hooked me up with these cute little fall leaves. Together, we came up with “What Miss Swenda is reading…” The top leaf has the name of the book. The bottom leaf lists the author, genre, number of pages and style. I am currently reading Dracula by Bram Stoker. It falls into sci-fi/fiction/historical, has 414 pages and is written like diary/journal entries, letters and newspaper clippings. For different holidays/months I will have different shapes to show my what I’m reading. As an English teacher, I feel it’s important to show the kids not only that I am reading, but also give them a glimpse of who I am through my reading.

We have some awesome projects planned for the kids this year- I can’t wait to share some of them right here! 🙂

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Spare Time Writers

I am SO excited to finally be student teaching in the fall. I was blessed to have an incredible field experience teacher who let me teach a unit on my own. That alone is an experience most students do not have before their student teaching. Another blessing that is coming with student teaching in the fall is that I have the entire summer to prep. I have already met with my co-op and she is in the same hallways as my field experience co-op so we already know each other!

I will be teaching 9th and 10th grade honors. When I first started college, I thought that I wanted to be a college professor. I wanted to run to that position as fast as humanly possible. Then I got into a classroom. I was spoiled with an amazing group of 9th graders, and I fell in love.

Writing can be a struggle and at times very boring, especially for high schoolers. Unlike elementary ed, secondary teachers usually don’t walk away with baskets of goodies at the end of their student teaching…or holidays…or at all really. I have come up with a way to get both.

I scoured pinterest, blogs, books and the internet for pictures and writing prompts. Some of the writing prompts are as simple as captioning a picture. Some are personal, asking the students to write about a mentor or a favorite book. Others require the students to write a scene or short story using a provided sentence, setting, character or phrase. Some are silly while others are serious and heartfelt.

I am going to be putting these prompts in a bucket. Students will be able to grab one if there is time at the end of class, if they need/want writing inspiration-whenever. They then write and return both the prompt and their writing to a bin. If there is time at the end of class, I will open the floor for students to share what they have written through the week, if they so choose. I will collect their writings throughout my 16 weeks of student teaching in a binder as my keepsake and memento of my time with them.

You can use these writing prompts for your own creative writing to aid writers block. You can use them in a classroom. I have done the work and I am now sharing it with the world, because, sharing is caring.

I suggest printing these spare time writers, cutting them, and pasting them on index cards for extra strength. To really make them last, laminating them might not be a bad idea either!

Happy Writing!

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And So It Begins

Tonight, I sat down with my measly little washi tape collection and began filling in some of my planner! 😀 Before I begin, I would like to say that I am a SENIOR and have one last round of field experience before I enter into the world of student teaching. I am using the month view to keep track of my every-day stuff. Classes, office hours, work, nannying, work outs, payments, pay days etc are all visible on my month view. Once I get into student teaching I won’t have as much personal stuff in the monthly view because I won’t have classes!

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I am awaiting my school’s website to update so that I can put in my personal assignments. THAT will be the biggest task when they come through. I went through and started finding birthdays, end of quarters, college breaks, special dates, wedding countdown, and high school dates. Keeping track of high school in-service days, and “holidays” as well as my own breaks is interesting. Thanksgiving is the only break that actually kind of lines up with the high school I am doing my field experience and student teaching at.

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August is a bit more on the sparse side being that school hasn’t started for ANYBODY yet. The best part of August is pre-planning my tomato sauce making day with my new mason jar washi tape! It’s so stinking cute and absolutely PERFECT! I like to plan my sauce days as far in advance as I can because sauce making day takes ALL DAY LONG. Especially this year with double the number of plants we had last year! This also helps me remember WHEN I made the different batches. They’ll last for a few years in the jars but I just like to keep track of when and how much I make. 🙂 I am also using my library stickers to help me remember when my library books are due, not just when I will be in the library with my high school students.

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I am using my washi tape in the month view to block out my schedule. Monday and Friday I am nannying so they get the fun colored strip. The pink zigzag denotes when I will be at the high school for field experience. I LOVE my cooperating teacher. She is the kind of teacher that when I jokingly said I would teach the Romeo and Juliet unit to the freshmen said “Ok. If you want to do it sure. I’ll just fill in on days when you’re not here.” I taught a whole unit in my first field experience. Basically, SHE’S AWESOME! Highlight of my week for sure! The yellow tape denotes my classes. Thankfully I only have those Tuesdays and Thursdays this semester. The blue is for my work out time after classes. EW. I am super excited to rock my EC bands to workout in though! I left space in-between to write in my office hours. I am a professors assistant at school. The man is a genius and teaches Theology, Philosophy, Fine Arts and a few other classes that make my brain hurt. I left space to the right of my tape for any extra notes or things that pop up. I am also taking online classes this semester. The blue stripes on Monday and Wednesday are dedicated online class time and homework time. Saturday and Sunday are empty so I can write in my work schedule for my retail job. Yay….

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One of my super friends picked me up a few packs of Sharpies last week when they had the “glitch” for the packs at $1.50. She ended up getting them for $1.05 because she had some extra coupon. In the meantime my mommy let me borrow her stash to write on my tape. They just show up a bit more vibrant and better than the EC markers. I still love them for regular writing in the planner and am stoked to use them for grading! The stickers are also definitely removable and adjustable. THANK GOODNESS!

It’s not a stupendous as some other EC planners out there, but baby steps right!?

For more info on my planner check out The Package. To get your own planner and get $10 off use this referral URL.

The Package

Everyone LOVES getting mail. Who doesn’t? It’s even more spectacular when it’s a WHOLE BOX OF GOODIES! Really, how much more exciting could that be? I must say, I watched the FedEx tracker like my Springer/Beagle on the scent of a bunny in our backyard. I texted my mother from work this afternoon about every hour asking her if it had arrived yet. And finally, it happened. I got the text. “Your package arrived.” And what was in this glorious little package I had been waiting for so impatiently!? My new Erin Condren Teacher Planner.

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It arrived in a pretty box, and was wrapped so gingerly in bubble wrap and matching purple tissue paper. Pealing away the paper revealed my pack of goodies!

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My markers, head/planner bands and thank you stickers were right on top! Though I love these, the real treasure was underneath.

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This is my cover and inside flap. I won a gift card and had the extra few bucks to add that little personal detail. Picture by the wonderful Kimberly Kunda. She is Eric’s cousin so we’re slightly biased. ANYWHO! The covers a super thick and sturdy. I have no doubt that they will last dragging it around to college, high school, my house and Eric’s over the coming year.

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Here are some better pictures of my add on goodies. I was able to get 2 packs, one for me and one for my cooperating teacher. They are bright, fine tipped and don’t bleed. PERFECT for grading! The planner/head bands are AWESOME! They will be great to wear running around and working out!

Now for the nitty-gritty!

The planner opens with a page for personal information, classroom info, Holidays & Dates to Remember, Birthday Pages to keep track of student Birthdays, pages to keep track of absences and missed work, and graph paper.

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There is a year at a glance section where you can write things in like breaks, quarter endings, conferences, testing etc.

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Each month has a pretty cover, month over-view, and note pages. The month overviews have circles for you to manually enter the date. Kind of a pain in the butt, but I understand the purpose of it. There is also a nice quote that is relative to teaching at the top of each month over-view.

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After the monthly views, there are the lesson plan sheets! There is room for 7 classes and the 5 days of the week. I know that I am not teaching 7 solid classes, and actually will be teaching the same lesson multiple times in most cases. I am using at least 2 columns for my own personal classes. Thank goodness I am ALMOST DONE with school myself!

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There is the equivalent of an old-school grade-book. Being that I’ll just be student teaching, this will be more than enough room for what I’d be using it for. You do have the option to have extra of these pages added when buying. As a future high school teacher, we don’t have quite as many grades as, say an elementary school teacher.

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The planner came with 4 sticker pages. The stickers read as follows: Reminder, Progress reports due, Benchmark, Testing, Computer Lab, Conferences, Library, First Day, Last Day, Emergency Drill, Field Trip, Observation, Assembly @_____, IEP, Duty, Staff Meeting @_____, furlough, and Holiday. There are then 2 full pages of blank stickers to fulfill any other sticker needs you may require. Below, you can see the stickers that I created separately.

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After the sticker pages is a 2 sided folder. Tucked in this folder was my personalized stickers. My stickers read as follows: Test, Quiz, Payments, Spirit Week, Finals Week, Observation, Movie and First Day HS. Because I am still in school, I will have additional observations throughout my last field experience and student teaching. Both the high school and college have spirit weeks. OBVIOUSLY these are extremely important. Dressing up for 80s day is a MUST!

After the folder there is 3 awesome things. The first is a heavy duty, clear sheet protector. Perfect place for important school and emergency phone numbers/phone lists. The next awesome thing is a clear zip pouch. This hold paperclips, pens, stickers, what ever floats your boat. It is not removable so I would be careful keeping pens/pencils so as to not have bumps writing in the planner. Inside the pouch there were personalized stickers with my name on them already with blank To: and From: stickers. The third awesome thing is a 2 year calendar over-view. Awesome because you have to manually enter the dates in the month over-views, and also just nice to be able to look at it all laid out.

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There were 2 unexpected surprises with this purchase. The first was a $10 EC GC as a Thank You/Welcome gift! The second was a sample pack of gift stickers that say “Enjoy-Anna, Just a little something from Anna.” There are a few variations and they come in multiple Erin Condren patterns. As per all of the planners, teacher or life, it came with a ruler that is great as a place holder for what page you are on/using.

I have already started entering some little things into my planner. Stay tuned for more decorating and organizing as I begin to use the planner in earnest and begin both my last year of college and continue my trek to becoming a high school English teacher! I am obsessed with this line and all of Erin Condren’s great products. By using this link, you can get $10 off of your own EC Planner! I’m sure you will see more posts on new goodies coming to me in the near future as well!