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Showing posts from June, 2020

CHAMPS: The First Champions of Classroom Management

Picture this: classroom number one has students entering the room, checking the board or screen as they walk in, put their backpacks away, get out their materials, and begin to work on the bell ringer, with some quiet talking and joking around - this is a middle school classroom after all, but mostly quiet engagement, all without the teacher being INSIDE the classroom. She is out in the middle of the hall monitoring students during the passing period. Next door, in classroom number two, students are chasing each other around, hitting one another, yelling, throwing textbooks, and the teacher is doing his best impersonation of Mr. Hand..."Class. Class. Sit down now, class." Unheard by anyone until he finally yells. Why? 
Classroom management or the lack thereof. Ms. Sanchez has her classroom management systems in place before the doors open on the first day of school, while Mr. Franks is still trying to figure out which class period Jose is supposed to be in his room during - a…

Announcing $2 Tuesdays on Amped Up Learning!

#Tacoboutadeal!On Tuesday, June 30th, Amped Up Learning is having their first $2 Tuesday sale! What makes this one different from other sales you've seen is that: Not every teacher-author contributor to AUL is participating; and, Not every product from participating contributors will be on sale!Gregg Williams, head historian at AUL, asked each contributor who wishes to participate to provide him with 2 of their favorite resources from their stores to be included in a special section on the Amped Up storefront. So what we have are a collection of fantastic resources that span the grades and curriculum, each for $2 for one day only! Here are a few of the highlights:
ELA in Middle School will be offering our Dominoes! Reviewing Parts of Speech: Noun Functions, and Myths2Movies: Moving from Mythology to Pop Culture Co-operative Research Project for this event. The Dominoes is an ELA take on the classic game, where players connect the noun function on one "tile" - Subject, Dire…

Great Getaways are Essential to Good Health

ELA in Middle School – Ain’t No Cure for the Summertime BluesSo, I generally prefer The Beach Boys version, but with Covid on a comeback, all the versions of the song work. Now that the States that rushed to reopen are slamming the gates shut again, we are even more uncertain of what the next school year will look like…but that’s enough about quarantine life!As you know, Suzanne’s family has suffered a lot of loss this spring, with both of her parents passing in April and May. And as we are still in Tennessee, I decided she needed a bit of a get-away this last week. So, we went to Chattanooga, TN for a couple of days in the mid-week! Now, for those who don’t know, Chattanooga is the fourth largest city in Tennessee, but, as much as I love Nashville, I have to say that the Choo-Choo is the cleanest and prettiest in the State! It was also the most deserted major city I have ever seen. Oh, there were people around, some on bikes, some pedestrians, and some driving, but by and far, the st…

Becoming a Teacher-Author Entrepreneur - Stem 18 Building Your Mailing Lists

Constant Contact. Mail Chimp. Mail Gun. Pepipost. And, oh, so many more! Or just good old gmail or hotmail...
I have no idea what each of the mass email services offer, their costs, or even all of their services. The good thing is, I don't need to for this post! That's because this post is about building your customer lists and how to make contact, not the service you should select to make contact with! In fact, Suzanne and I are still using gmail.com for all of our ELA in Middle School correspondence, although I think we are soon approaching the point where we will have to start looking into one of these services. I am open to recommendations! Why Build a Customer ListWell, the first reason is that it allows you to contact your customers with updates, product release announcements, and specials and sales! I also send coupon codes, personal thank you notes, and other announcements my customers may like to know about. 
Second you can easily track what your customers are purchasing…

Becoming a Teacher-Author Entrepreneur Step 17 - The Lure of Free Stuff!

In step 16, I discussed the importance of having freebies in your store for customers, why they need to be QUALITY free resources, and "Free for Feedback" threads. I also discussed the struggles with feedback - getting any, and how to respond. But there is another type of "Freebie" or two not to be overlooked - the lure of unexpected free stuff. I am talking about raffles, giveaways, and just plain, "here, give this a try" deals. Think about it. What could you do with an extra 100 followers? An extra 500 (no joke!) email address of people who WANT your resources? That's today's focus.First, The WHY of the GiveawayThis should be an obvious answer. It builds followers and your customer base. Now, we are not talking about doing this for other Teacher-Author Entrepreneurs here, we are talking about the great number of teachers and home school parents and organizations that need our resources! You know, our targeted customer base!
Yes, I hear you. "…

Raffles and Giveaways!

I love free stuff! But, I can only use so much of it, and then it clutters my desktop, virtual and physical! But here are a few different raffles that are happening this weekend and into next week that you may want to take part in!
First, there's the one that we are running ourselves through our Facebook page! This one is for the year's worth of 5th-8th grade ELA Bell Work, Focus on Grammar! The entire year is mapped out! We will be giving away 5 sets of the Bundles on Tuesday, June 23. To enter, simply follow the link, like our page and the post, and tag two teachers on Facebook who you think may be interested in the Bundle as well!
We also have a "pick your prize" giveaway going on over at Amber DeLong's Facebook page, Miss DeLong's Shop. Simply visit Amber's for Middle and High School Math resources, like the page and post, and tag two math teachers. Then, Sunday, June 21st, Amber will be selecting 4 lucky recipients at 7 PM, and these folks will have th…

Focus on Grammar - The Bundle Raffle Giveaway!

We are having a Raffle Giveaway! The entire year's worth of Bell Work or Bell Ringers, suitable for grades 5 through 8, all in one place!
To enter, simply follow the link to our Facebook Page, like the page, scroll down to the post with Albert making a prediction, like the post, and tag two teachers or home school parents in the comments! 
The drawing will be held on Tuesday, June 23!

Teaching with Themes in the Middle School ELA Classroom

As you know, I teach Middle School ELA. Here's a couple things about my teaching styles that you won't know about me unless you work with me. 
First; I hate being told what I have to teach. Absolutely HATE it! Give me the standards you want my kids to master, and give me the dates you need checkpoints in by (ok, local and district assessments), but don't tell me what materials I have to use, or worse, what materials I CANNOT use! Now, don't misunderstand. I will be happy to plan with my team, and use the same materials as they, but don't limit us or expect us to present it the same way. We are professional, individual, teachers - so let us teach!
The other thing I hate, although not nearly as much, is the mandatory use of a textbook. I feel that it limits choice, usually, and the selections are usually ones that the students don't like. Except Edgar Allen Poe, Langston Hughes, and a VERY few others.
Fortunately, I am blessed, and I know it. My administration team …

Columbia Space Shuttle Disaster - Texas History with a World Wide Twist

I have seen a lot in my near 6 decades on this great ball we call Earth, but there are only a few "Where were you when" moments that I remember. Of course, one of the big ones Alan Jackson sings of, but 9/11 was only one of them. I don't mean the personal tragedies, although each one is personal to someone, but those that make an impact on our societal, and often global, consciousness. 
The first one that I vividly remember was that "one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." It was the first time I was allowed to stay up late. I remember delivering the paper the morning that we learned "The King" was dead - still, they say he is in residence at Graceland. Challenger. I was in Belgium then. The Wall fell - okay, it was shredded and torn apart and we all celebrated! The crash of the KC-135 at Dyess in 1989; I was part of the recovery team. Columbine and Sandy Hook.  And then, ColumbiaHow do you effectively teach about such a tragedy as a space …

Reading and Lit Circles for Reading Interventions

It probably comes as no surprise to you that I love reading. After all, I am an English Language Arts teacher. Although, come to think about it, I have known some ELA teachers who hated reading, and others who hated writing! And next year, I am being challenged by my Principal to really extend instilling that love of reading in a different group of students. I will be embarking on a new adventure as a Reading Interventionist for my 8th grade students who struggle with becoming scholars.
Now, I will admit that I am both excited and nervous about this adventure! The only other "reading intervention" that I have officially done was when I was taking my Foundations of Education at MTSU over a decade ago! Fortunately, I found that Lit Circles were definitely a great way to get reluctant readers into a GREAT book that interested them. Of course, I was only working with one group of 5 college students at the time, but Dean Koontz's Odd Thomas became the first book any of them ha…

We're Having a Raffle Giveaway! BOOM! Cards (TM)

Okay, Cortney made me a believer! So, we're going to try this whole raffle thing out. Follow the link to our Facebook page. Like and follow us there. Click on the tab that says "Survey" on the left side of the page. Complete the survey, and see if you win the Bundle of Boom! Cards! Don't forget in question two to input your Facebook id so we can contact you if you win, and tag two friends!

How Giveaways Build a Business - A Guest Posting by Cortney Gaynes

A Note from Matthew:This post was penned by teacher-author entrepreneur Cortney Gaynes. Cortney's is an amazing story of entrepreneurial growth and success! She first came to my attention by way of our mutual friend and business partner, Gregg Williams, co-founder and CEO of Amped Up Learning. Gregg kept talking to us about the phenomenal success Cortney was having with her store on AUL, TeacherSorce. (Not a typo this time! Its a PUN!)  I had to learn more, so I reached out to her. I asked her if she has a blog, and she said no, she has Palmer, her nine month old daughter, instead! I expected her success to be all social media based, which I am not the best at. According to Cortney, she places the credit on adaptability, building a lemonade stand when the world was handed a bunch of lemons in the form of Covid-19, and - at the heart of it - giveaways. Let me allow her to explain. Cortney's Biography
My name is Cortney Gaynes, and I am a third grade teacher from the suburbs of Ch…

Becoming a Teacher-Author Entrepreneur Step 16: The Importance of Freebies in a Free Market

I can hear you now. "Wait a minute. I thought the whole idea of having a storefront and creating resources was to make money. I've been reading this series to learn how to MAKE MONEY, not toss it away! And now you're telling me to GIVE THINGS AWAY FOR FREE? What are you, crazy or something?"
Obviously. I teach Middle School. Being crazy is a requirement and a defense mechanism. That said, there is a valid reason for GIVING PRODUCTS AWAY from time to time. Why You Should ALWAYS Give Away Some Milk - but Not the Whole CowI want you to do me quick favor. Follow this link to Amped Up Learning's customer store front. This is the General Store foyer, or the Mall of the Americas Atrium, if you will. On the left you will see a drop down selection. Click on "Teacher Contributor Stores", then select "All Content Teachers", and THEN select one at random. Obviously, I have no idea what store you selected. Once there, you can select from a drop down to show …

Quizizz: Providing Data to Inform Instruction in a Manner Students LOVE!

Note from Matthew at ELA in Middle SchoolThis post was written by Sarah Renish, Teacher and Teacher-Author Entrepreneur. Sarah is the owner of Ratelis Science, which has a storefront on BOOM!Learning (SM), Amped Up Learning and TpT. Sarah is no stranger to our regular readers, as she authored the posts "Adding BOOM! Cards (TM) to Your Toolbox" and "Using Edpuzzles". 
Sarah's BiographyI am a 6-12 science teacher in Wisconsin that has over 20 years of teaching experience working with students from diverse backgrounds, including at-risk, ELL, SPED, and Gifted & Talented students. I am actively involved in developing and teaching professional development opportunities related to science instructional best practices. In addition to my regular work for district curriculum committees and numerous professional development sessions, I have taught for the past 18 years in Kenosha Unified School District.
Part of the work I do at my school includes duties as a vertical …