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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Terra Cotta Pot Pen Holder

There is a battle going on in my brain. I am preparing to enter the world of student teaching. I have a bajillion things going on in my brain and so many questions. What should I bring? Can I bring decorative things? Should I bring my own pens, pencils and markers? Am I going to look crazy walking into school with an entire cardboard box of unit binders? Can I be too organized? What should I wear the first day of school? Do I have enough grading stickers? Are my pens going to be as useful as I think they’re going to be?

Well, now that you’ve seen a glimpse of the crazy in my brain: I bought myself pens, pencils, white board markers and good ole crayolas. I have my Groot,  Dumbledoore, and Flyers Gnome packed. I’m wearing an apple dress, yes it’s a thing. I DO have a box of 3 ring binders full of unit plans. I do have labeled binder clips that go with my matching accordion binder/file folder set. I have over 2,000 A+, Great Job!, 100% and apple stickers. My Ink Joy Pens are FREAKING AWESOME.

Walking around Michaels I wanted to bring something to store all of those pens, pencils, and markers that I had bought myself. I came across the terra cotta pot section. I found one on the small side, but it’s not very squat, it’s a bit on the tall and thin side, AKA, writing utensil sized. I stood staring at it for a moment as I thought about my pile of acrylic paints at home and how I could paint it and put it on my desk for myself. BOOM. With my coupon, I paid under $2 for the pot and the rest I already had sitting at home.

  1. I painted the entire pot a single color. I LOVE pink.   
  2. Using different sized widths of wash tape, I created a geometric spider web.     
  3. I then painted within the shapes randomly.       
  4. After allowing the paint to dry, I went through and painted some sparkle here and there. Life needs a little glitz.
  5. I was going to leave the inside but the terra cotta didn’t match so I went with a purple.   
  6. I went back through and touched up color here and there that had dried uneven etc and allowed it to dry. 
  7. I removed the washi tapes from all around the pot. I was left with a pretty neato pot as it was, but I can’t leave well enough alone. 
  8. Using a Sharpi, on the side that will face the class I am going to write,  “Miss Swenda.” On the side that will face me I will do “Called Equipped Prepared.” It has become my motivation, my mantra, and my constant reminder that if God has Called me, He has Equipped me, and He will  Prepare me. So when the days get tough, when nobody does their homework, when they’re too busy on their phones to listen, when I am swamped with grading and sleep deprived, I will be able to look up and remember that God has put me in this position for a purpose and with His strength I will be successful.

I now have a super cute, totally personalized, motivational and all around awesome piece to hold my junk! This would make a perfect teacher gift, and even with buying a few paints, it can easily cost under $10 to do a few of these guys! I plan on making another one for my binder clip collection!    

    

 

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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EC Teacher Planner Update

I LOVE MY ERIN CONDREN TEACHER PLANNER! Yes, I am obsessed. I love Erin Condren SO much I have now bought my best friend a Wedding Planner, there is a Life Planner in the mail on its way for another friend for Christmas and I bought my co-op teacher the Owl Lesson Planner Notepads!

Though I have the teacher planner, I am currently not in a classroom to need to use the lesson planning section on my students so I have been using it myself. Here are some pictures that show how I’ve turned my teacher planner into a student planner for the time being.

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I write in the lesson plan section left to right morning to evening. I use the last two columns to write out assignments that I need to do that day/evening. Work and classes fill up most of the other boxes.

I use the month view to keep track of my work schedule and write out when assignments are due. I also have breaks and visits listed.

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I LOVE the stickers that come with the planner and use them constantly. I have been cutting them in half to make them go farther and so they do not take up quite so much room in my little boxes and it has been working nicely. I have my classes, jobs and activities color coordinated as best as possible. It is not as pretty as some other planners I have seen, but I am working on it! My washi collection is slowly but surly growing!

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Ethan LOVES superheros so I was super excited when I found the onomatopoeia comic book tape I HAD to have it! Any visits to or from him are now denoted with the onomatopoeia tape! I can’t wait to grow my washi and sticker collection over the coming months to try and brighten and spruce up my planner!

To get a coupon for $10 off your own Erin Condren goodies, use this referral link! https://www.erincondren.com/referral/invite/annaswenda0116 

Check out my full planner review here, and my on-the-go notebook and calendar review here! Stay tuned for my Wedding and Life Planner reviews in the coming weeks!

Happy Planning!

EC Notebooks

I have a serious problem. My first EC On-The-Go Notebook isn’t even here yet and I’m already ordering a second one! This time, I’m making it more personal. Thus far, my teacher planner and notebook match. This one, I’m getting just for me. It has a lot of meaning to me for a number of reasons now.

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Between having an English Lit concentration and having just gotten back from Northern Ireland I can not wait to get this pretty new notebook! I am also getting a set of bands.

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They were perfect in my hair all week whether I was playing rugby, hockey, football or dancing around at vacation Bible school. Since I already have a pack each of the color sets, I wanted another pack of just the silver because the silver one is my favorite of my bunch!

EC still has the On-The-Go 18 month promotion running so I am getting ANOTHER one of those too! 😀 Now to decide who to share it with!

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Check out my other EC goodies at “The Package” and “New EC Notebook!

If you would like your own Erin Condren goodies AND a $10 off coupon on your purchase, click the link below! After signing up with the link, you will receive a $10 coupon code in a welcome email! 🙂

EC $10 Coupon!

ENJOY!

NEW EC Notebook!

At 1:37pm I received an email from Erin Condren! Their NEW On-The-Go Notesbooks are out! And for a limited time you can get a FREE 18 month calendar booklet!!! OF COURSE I had to get a notebook! AND I’m hooking my mother up with the 18 month calendar! WINNER!

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This is what I got!

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Instead of my name, I got “It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.” with William Shakespeare underneath. I also made my accent color Baby Blue, just like my planner.

This SEEMS like your average notebook, but it’s not! The cover is interchangeable (AWESOME). It comes with lots of goodies too!

130 lined pages and 20 blank “doodle” pages. If you’re not counting, thats 150 full sized pages! There is also a “keep it together” folder just like in the teacher planner. Also like the teacher planner, there is a zip lock pocket that includes 12 gift labels (6 of which are PERSONALIZED and designed to match your cover) for gift giving on the go, “let’s get together” cards and 120 repositionable colorful stickers. MORE STICKERS!

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I got the regular shipping, 8-12 business days because I don’t NEED this stuff, but it will still be here in time for school to start. I got a third pack of the markers to give to one of my other teacher friends. They are seriously THE BOMB! I can’t wait for my new goodies to come in AND for school to start to really get to use off of this! 😀

*All pictures are from Erin Condren.

For $10 off of your purchase, use this code! You will receive an email with a coupon code you can apply at check out! It does not work if you do not click the following link! https://www.erincondren.com/referral/invite/annaswenda0116

 

Of Mice and Men- John Steinbeck

Of Mice and Men was probably one of the shortest books you ever read in high school. You are probably reading this for one of 3 reasons. 1. You are a fan and like to see how other people feel about the book. 2. You are getting ready to reread it after a span of time since you read it in high school. 3. You have never read the book because you are either still in high school or went to a high school with a poor English department. Yes, those are fightin’ words. No student should make it through high school without reading this book.

It’s literally about 100 pages and takes a few hours to read. I read this my Sophomore year of high school and loved it then. My English teacher Mr. K was so excited to have a student that would debate and argue with him. I was in a basic, college prep class so participation was usually on the lower end. I, just the year before had had to go through the trauma of putting down our beloved English Springer Spaniel Ashley because she was suffering from stomach cancer. The theme of euthanasia is the hardest theme of the book to grasp. To come to terms with. Other themes like friendship, fraternity, and the American dream also permeate through the pages.

This past semester in my Secondary English Curriculum class we had to do unit plans. These unit plans were on Of Mice and Men. I also had to do one for The Canterbury Tales in my Writing Process class. The picture below does not quite do this unit plan justice. The unit handout gives you an idea of what all I had to create as far as extra handouts and the lesson plans themselves. It was longer than the book itself- honest to goodness.

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Obviously, I myself had to reread the book for this class. I had to look at it from a different perspective. I had to ask myself teacher questions like “What could be focused on in this section?” “What is the importance of this quote?” “How would students react to this part?” Catch my drift?

I put a TON of work into this project. I also reread the book twice while working on it. I thoroughly enjoy this book. This time period of American history is one of my favorites. Also, that English teacher that I mentioned above- he presented it in a way that made me LOVE IT. I wanted to learn, I wanted to read, and he inspired me to write a unit plan that gave my students the chance to interact and get as much out of those 107 pages as I had as a student.

To speak to those 3 kinds of people I referenced towards the beginning:

1. I’m not a huge fan of John Steinbeck. I’m sorry. Grapes of Wrath is still sitting on my self not even a quarter of the way read. BUT, he captured a moment in time, and addressed some very real issues in America then and issues that still drip through society today. I enjoy this book for so many reasons. One of them is that though it is short, it can pack a serious punch depending on who and how it is being read.

2. Students and adults alike could get something out of this book. It’s one of those books where, if read more than once with a few years in-between, each time it is read, new lessons and things stick out. For example, when I read it in high school, the big deal was euthanasia. As a college student reading it, I pay more attention to the relationships and interpersonal interactions that take place on the ranch. As a teacher I see how it all can be relative in the past, in the present and in the future.

3. If you are still in high school and just getting ready to begin- I know assigned books are a drag. I spent most of my high school and collegiate career putting assigned readings and books on the back burner because they are NEVER really that good. This one is, trust me. It’s all in what you make of it. See point #2 above. If you have graduated and STILL have not read this book. I am sorry. Truly, I am. If you were forced to read something like Huckleberry Finn but NOT Of Mice and Men at some point in your academic career, that is the fault of the department. Again, I will reference point 2 above.

Yes, this was the third time since February that I have read Of Mice and Men this year. It is my fourth time over all. It takes me about 2 hours to knock out depending on how in-depth I am reading and what I am expecting to get out of it this time around. Part of my unit plan was giving the students made up scenarios that people at that time may have faced. These ranged from farmers, single guys with no prospects, families on the coast wanting a new life, and one very similar to the situation of George and Lenny. The purpose of the exercise is to engage the students in the emotion. To get their wheels turning.

What would I do? What would I have done? I ask myself these questions a number of times throughout the reading. What would I have done had someone’s aunt asked me to take care of their mentally handicapped nephew? What would I do if my dreams suddenly had the potential to actually come to fruition after years of hardship and thinking it would only ever be a dream? What would I have done if I was in Lenny’s position? Candy? Slim? Curly’s wife?

Regardless of whether you are a 1, 2 or 3, I challenge you to really READ Of Mice and Men. Don’t just let the words and sentences float by. Stop now and again and answer those questions. Do some research into the time period. If you were placed in the same situation today would you make the same choices as the characters in the book? If you were placed in the same situation during the same time period of the book, do you think you would make the same choices then?

American literature classic. Everyone should read this book at least once, if not twice in their life time.

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If you would like more info on my Unit Plan: Handouts, Worksheets, ETC feel free to ask!