Summer Reading



Since I am starting at a new school, I was unable to choose the books my students would be reading. I was given the list that my incoming 6th graders will be reading, and have already begun to read all the books on the list. I’ve heard of some of them, but not all. I am happy that I am being introduced to even more literature.

Book List:


The Summer of the Monkeys by Wilson Rawls

Students get to then select one of the following:

Elephant Run by Roland Smith

Under a War Torn Sky by L.M. Elliot

Gossamer by Lois Lowry

Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan

The Single Shard by Linda Sue Park

Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli

Of course, I will be reading all of the above. I’ve actually already read Under a War Torn Sky, Gossamer, Esperanza Rising, Maniac Magee, and I’m about halfway through with The Single Shard.

I will be doing my book movie trailer project with my students the first couple of weeks in school with these novels. They’ll work in groups. I’m pretty excited to see how it turns out. The books are fantastic, and I can foresee lots of wonderful things being turned in. I love being able to see what students put together, and letting their creative juices flow. It’ll also help me get to know them, and see how they work with one another.

Next year, I’ll get to do my own list, and I think I will be keeping some of the above novels on it. Does anyone else have any great novels they’ve enjoyed doing with their middle school students?



Interactive Journal


Another Pinterest find. This was posted as a Vocabulary Journal. I like the idea of this mixed with another website I found:

I have used interactive journals with social studies classes before, and I am not sure why i have never thought to use it with Language Arts. I might have to figure out exactly how I will be using it this coming year. I will be teaching 3 Grammar classes and 3 Literature. I am not sure if I want to do just one notebook for both classes, or if I want to split them up. Either way, it’s something I am at least interested in considering. My students all have laptops as well for notes. This is one thing that has me leaning against it. 

Book Movie Trailers

One of the wonderful appeals of my upcoming job at a private school, is the use of technology. Each middle school student is assigned an Apple Airbook to work with fully loaded with software and fun programs such as iMovie.

As I was thinking of fun ways to integrate technology in the upcoming year, I decided to search through Pinterest. I then stumbled upon the above video, and fell a little in love.

This summer I will create a rubric for students to create their own book movie trailer. I might even do this towards the beginning of the school year with their summer reading. This way students can work on this in small groups. We have the equipment at the school, and I think it’d be a lot of fun to see what they come up with.

If you have done this or something similar please feel free to leave me advice and/or suggestions.



As I am sure most of you know or at least have heard of Edmodo. Edmodo is a social media site with a format similar to Facebook. It is geared towards students and educators, and I absolutely love it! I have a friend that shared the site with me this past fall. I implemented it very soon afterwards, and my students seem to love it.

Edmodo is a wonderful way to upload and post hand outs and resources for students. If a student is absent, they are able to look for the date they were absent, and see what was done in class that day. I also love that students are unable to friend each other or send each other messages. I also am able to monitor what gets posted onto each class “wall.” The apps aren’t my favorite that are on there, but they do have things where students can review. I can also create quizzes that will get automatically grades if labeled multiple choice. It does make things a bit easier. I also enjoy that I can set things up by class period, as well as customize calendars per class.

It’s definitely a resource I would recommend for 5th grade and up. Most middle schoolers have computers at home, smart phones, and tablets with apps they are able to access the software.

Great entry that I couldn’t agree with more.

Balancing Act

As a 6th grade English teacher I spent the year trying to improve my students’ reading and writing skills, and instill a love of literature within them. Along the way, I hope I also taught them the following life lessons:

Focus on the Big Picture:

So you forgot your homework at home for once in your life. So you earned a mark or a detention. So you’re grounded for a couple weeks. So what? It’s not the end of the world. Life goes on, and in the grand scheme of things your detention won’t define who you are as a person. I know it’s hard to believe, but there is more to life than the short-lived wrath of a parent or teacher.

Work Well With Others: 

Whether you’re the slacker or the overachiever, group work never goes away. You will work on teams in middle school, in high school, in…

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One year down

I absolutely can’t believe it’s a few weeks into my summer break and my first year of teaching is over with.

I should’ve blogged more since I seemed to have fell off the face of the earth after September, but I lacked the motivation and frankly the time.

I feel as though this first year was so special to me, and so wonderful that it will truly be difficult to top it.

I’ve learned many lessons of what to do and not do. My incoming kids next year are going to have more rules than my students did this past year. I feel as though I have more control over things and I know what to expect.

I have way more ups than downs and I plan on chronicling what I remember from the past year so that I can blog about this summer now that I have the time.

My students voted and had our yearbook dedicated to me. It’s insane. There’s a picture and they wrote the sweetest description of me as a teacher. Again, I don’t know how I’ll be able to top this year.

So as I begin to go through pictures and lesson plans please bear with me. It was an incredible year and I plan on sharing it.

Week 5

I’m ready for this week to be over and it’s only a 4 day week, and day 2 of that week. I’m just so exhausted. It has been the week from hell thus far. As a new teacher and the youngest teacher by about 15-20 years at my school, I’m being volunteered for everything. I really don’t mind, but it’s definitely starting to get a little overwhelming. We had grades due today which had me freak out even more as I’ve devoted 90% of my days now to getting all these grades done and finally in!

I’m also starting up this Reading bowl at my school for the first time in 5 years, and I have about 50 forms for kids who are interested. We have our informational meeting tomorrow for both the kids and their parents, and to add onto my work for the week I’ve been working on my handouts for that. There are so many kids wanting to join and I can only take 10 to make a team. So that’ll be fun. It’s going to suck to cut 40 kids.

On top of grades, clubs, and other things I’m being volunteered for, I’m now in charge of our Language Arts field trip that we’re supposed to take. They want a price estimate within the next couple weeks.

In a totally off subject, I changed my hair color from blonde back to dark brown and my kids yesterday were all too honest. I got lots of “Ms. S, No offense, and I still love you, but I liked you better blonde.” Then I had to tell them that I’m not naturally blonde, which they didn’t believe, and trust me when I say I do NOT look like I could ever be a natural blonde. It was so funny. During homeroom I had kids coming in my room from all over as gossip “spread” about my hair and they wanted to see. They’re so cute. I love my kiddos even if they tend to drive me crazy sometimes.