I am a teacher with ten years of experience in the middle school classroom. I have a passion for teaching writing and watching kids become better communicators. My current role is teaching 6th, 7th, and 8th grade English. I have a bachelor's degree in Middle Grades Education, a master's degree in Library Media, and a Rank 1 degree in Reading and Writing Specialist.I am blessed with two beautiful children, Jeremiah and Jasmine, and have been married to my soul mate, Andy, for 7 years.
I teach: English
To ages: 11 to 14
Spelling is one of those subjects that tends to lose its interest after the primary years, but still needs to be taught. I started using spellingcity.com with my middle school students last year. They love the fact that they can key in their spelling words then access various free games and other activities that let them practice the words' spellings. There is even a test version where the words and their definitions are read by the computer program. Students then type the words and see how prepared they are for Friday's spelling quizzes. This free useful tool has helped improve my students' spelling. There is a premium version that has even more features, but I can only speak for the high quality of the free one!
This web site is wonderful for helping to teach some of the word process standards that are present in the ELA Common Core…. Younger students (grades 4 and 5) love to work on their typing skills and this web site presents the ability to practice in a fun, attractive format.
Best of all, this web site is free! Students can blast through outer space, hop across the pond, or various other activities that will have them learning their keystrokes and typing full sentences with enough practice!
Discovery Education (formerly United Streaming) is like having thousands of videos available at your fingertips! This web site is rich in content videos that connect to virtually any subject. I have used the web site to stream videos on my TV, smartboard, and screen (depending on the classroom).
Some of the videos have handouts and other printables that are free to access. Others have pre-viewing, during viewing, and post-viewing assessment activitites.
I have used this web site in English, Social Studies, Computer, and Library classes. When I get on there looking for a video, it is rarely that I am disappointed!
I have gone to this web site a few times looking for that perfect resource, but it usually left me disappointed and still searching. I find the organization of the web site to be a bit frustrating, distracting, and overwhelming all at the same time. In general, the URL leads one to believe that you are about to stumble upon lesson plans, printables, and other activities that are in final form and ready to be used, but instead it is more of a "how to" approach. There are tips that educators can use to create their own materials, but the ease of use just is not there.
My frustration with this web site has made it one that I will not choose to click on in a search results page, except as a last resort!
This web site is wonderful for those students that are fast workers and say "what do I do now?" Many love the ability to compete with the game so to speak and test their smarts! Students love the fact that their work or play (depending on how you look at it) is helping others through the "free rice" donations!
I use the computer lab often for drafting, revising, and editing full length composition pieces, so this web site is a great filler that is not just a waste of time and resources!
Microsoft Excel is a great tool for creating spreadsheets! Not only that, but for those of us that are less than mathematical, this program can calculate averages, etc. It is useful for analyzing student data, etc.
While teaching computer classes, I have shown students how to track their daily caloric intake and how to create charts that can be convereted to graphs. While many students find Word easier to use, they are excited to take on the role of learning a new software program. Most learn to navigate it, and the mathematicians are very into the ability to produce various calculations with the click of a few buttons.
Pinterest is a wonderful tool for collecting ideas, organizing work, and seeing what great resources are available. I started using this web site just a few months ago, but quickly became a fan. Often times, my craftiness ends before it ever begins, but this web site has enabled me to find some simple crafts that I can do in my classroom that do not make me feel unskilled in the area.
In addition, to finding craft ideas, this useful site is also great for seeing how others approach various lessons, assessments, and other areas of curriculum.
While I have not used this web site with students, I think it would be beneficial in a health class to have them "pin" favorite ways to burn energy, create healthy menus, or other such activities!
I love writing, but not bibliographies! Easy Bib makes bibliographies less of a headache, so that authors can concentrate on their writing, not their referencing. By imputting a resource's information, the web site is able to generate the reference type needed (APA, MLA, Chicago, etc.)
Last year, I started using Easy Bib while my eigth grade students and I were composing a heavily researched argumentative piece. The students seemed to be losing their references, almost as soon as they could find them. This web site was wonderful for keeping track of their researched sites and other resources.
This web site will benefit students and adults throughout their middle, high, collegitate, and professional years!
Quizlet is every English teacher's friend! It has wonderful resources that can be accessed in the classroom, at home, or even on the go, using its mobile app. I have used this web site to compile spelling lists for my students, as well as to show them how to make flash cards for studying. I also really love the fact that it has automatically graded quizzes and games that can be played for some friendly competition!
Google Earth is one of those cross-curricullar tools that can be embedded into science, social studies, and even english classes. The students love the ability to zone in on various locations around the globe. I personally have used this software in socail studies classes. It is especially useful when discussing places that are on the other side of the globe and is able to maintain the students' attention moreso than just showing them a map or a video that also references locations.
Although this program is a bit difficult to use at first and does occasionally lock up computers (requiring re-starts), it is worth the effort!
Edmodo is amazingly useful! With students' strong desire to be part of social networking, this web site brings that to them on an education level. It allows the teacher to set various levels regarding posting by students, turning in assignments, and various other users. Many see it as a "facebook" for the classroom. Students love the ability to turn in assignments that can be typed without the worry or frustration of handwriting pages that may inevitably get lost.
Additionally, Edmodo is great for the retrieval of various websites, documents, videos, and quizzes.
One of the greatest things about Edmodo beyond its organizational outreach is that it is FREE!
Microsoft Word is very useful to me as an educator. Not only do I use it for my professional word processing needs, but it is very useful for students. We often use Word as we work our way through the writing process. Students are able to complete prewriting using the traditional paper and pencil approach, but then draft using Microsoft Word. Due to its ease of use, they are able to important pictures, creative attractive layouts, and include bulleted and numbered lists.
Easy retrieval of student files is easy for me and them! They are also able to easily revise and their changes can be tracked as they revise and edit during these stages of the writing process.
I will never again ask students to fully draft a short story, feature article, or other lengthy composition outside of Word…it saves time and is motivational for students.
I have used dictionary.com for the past couple years in my middle school english class. It is a quick activity to help students look up the meanings of words that they do not know. It is also useful for vocabulary lessons, spelling assignments, and their word of the day is extremely useful. The word of the day allows users to see a word and its various meanings. Often times, I show this word of the day to classes as a bell ringer to help them get focused upon entering class. They use the word of the day to compose a sentence, thus hopefully expanding their vocabulary through this user-friendly, easy to access web site.
I used Teacher Tube last year while doing speeches with my middle school english students. It was great to show students examples of speeche that other students had done. We were able to view some that were great, others that needed some TLC…
The students loved viewing these, and I loved the delivery ease!
Hopefully, I can use this in my own classroom to have students post their speeches this spring if they feel comfortable.
It is a great web site where students can see other kids, without the humilation of it being kids they know or can critique in the hallway!
Teachers Pay Teachers is a great way to make a little extra money for materials that are original to you. I started uploading files on Teachers Pay Teachers last August and have added to my collection since then. I still only have about 30 files posted, but have sold about $200 in digital goods since then. The email that says, "You have sold a product" always makes me smile because I feel like someone else can benefit from my lesson planning and creation of materials, while giving me a little financial backing for that.
All materials can be uploaded for free or a purchase price can be set. After that, it is as easy as choosing the content areas, appropriate grades, providing a brief summary, and then uploading the files.
Users can rank the materials they purchase, leaving feedback for others that may look to purchase the same items!
BrainPop and BrainPop Jr. are both wonderful additions to the classroom. They work well when classroom instruction needs a slight boost or you have ten extra minutes of time at the end of class. The videos are always lively, enthusiastic, and make even middle school students giggle. I also love the quizzes that are available with each video. These can be printed, shown on-screen but taken individually on paper, or used as a review quiz with the entire class. I wish there were even more videos on those Writing topics, as they are the best!
I absolutely love PowerPoint! As someone who loves the ability to color code writing samples, provide samples with annotations, and give students notes all in the same file, PowerPoint has made this doable. My students love it when I ask them to create PowerPoint presentations related to topics of study. The advanced features allow for individuality and self-expression while delivering content in the classroom!
At least one time throughout the year, I have students create a PowerPoint presentation. Then, we are able to view the entire classes' presentations, thus reinforcing the content. Each student's PowerPoint is unqiue enough that the students do not lose interest, even after hearing the content 5, 10, or even 20 times.
I purchased a subscription to Prezi over the summer in hopes of revitalizing PowerPoint presentations. Boy, was I wrong….it is difficult to use and doesn't really produce the "pop" effect that I expected when showing the demonstration. In my opinion, it was a waste of time and money. I will probably try it again since I have the subscription, but I would not attempt to have my middle school students create a Prezi.
Wordle is a creative way to help students in noticing how redundant they are using in their word choice. The program allows users to copy/paste text into the web site. After that, an image is generated based on the words contained in the passage. Words that are used the most frequently are larger than those that appear less frequently. As an English teacher, I like this program because it allows students to revise their word choice, based on their findings.
Dropbox is a great way to transport files from home to the classroom or vice versa. It saves the frustration of realizing that you left your jump drive in computer at the other place. Dropbox is accessible anywhere that you have Internet access and allows for quick sharing of files from different users, making collaborative work a breeze and insures that the latest, most up-to-date file is being used between collaborators.
EdHelper is every busy educator's dream! It has so many worksheets, printables, and activities all organized in an easy to find format.
One of my favorite things is the organization of the web site. It is so easy to click on the subject, grade, and other specifics related to what one needs and find it quickly. I never feel like my time is wasted as I navigate around the web site.
I have used this web site to print poetry examples for my writing classes, spelling lists and worksheets for spelling lessons, and various other english/ reading related lessons.