Two for Tuesday!

I'm happy to join Chalk One Up for the Teacher for

I have been working on a new Back to School week of plans for those who teach Middle School like me!  I have finally finished and so I thought this would be perfect timing to offer it for Two for Tuesday's 50% off sale!

Back to School ~ Middle School Activities has 5 days of plans with active getting to know you games, stories for community building, and interactive notebook activities for both rules and "getting to know you"!  Plus it's only $2.50 for a limited time!

Back to School ~ The First week of lesson plans for Middle School also has 5 days of lesson plans but are a little more traditional with things like a BINGO game, a "guess who" craftivity and rules activities.  This is also only $2.50 for a limited time!

That's all for me but be sure to visit Chalk One Up for the Teacher to see what other great deals are going on for this Two for Tuesday!

Thanks for stopping by!

TpT Seller Challenge Week 3: Make Your Masterpiece!

It's already Week 3 of the TpT Seller Challenge that is sponsored by Teach Create Motivate, Third in Hollywood, Peppy Zesty Teacherista, and Sparkling in Second !

This week is all about making a new product.  It's great timing for
 me as that is what I have been working on!

I made this for my own middle school ELA classroom.  It is 5 days of plans for the first week of school that is focused on community building with active getting to know you games,

interactive notebook activities for things like rules and procedures,

And some great activities with stories like Stone Soup that can do double duty by serving as a mentor text for theme and an inspiration for a great interactive notebook getting to know you activity!

Each day has a specific plan chock full of activities - probably more than can be done is a week but I always say that it's better to have too much than too little when it comes to lesson plans!

I understand that this challenge is a week and a half because we are meant to have a challenge friend edit our product.  So...anyone want to swap with me?

Thanks for stopping by!

TpT Seller Challenge Week 2: Dare to Dream

I am "all in" with the TpT Seller Challenge that is sponsored by Teach Create Motivate, Third in Hollywood, Peppy Zesty Teacherista, and Sparkling in Second.

This week is all about my goals for my TpT store.  When I first started this journey, I just wanted some extra money so that things weren't so tight and so that our boys could participate in extra sports activities without us having to rob Peter to pay Paul.

Now with this challenge, I stopped and talked to my husband.  He's supporting me in going to Vegas because we have dreams of making this little store grow.  Why?

1.  Full-time TPT:

I have been teaching for 21 years now so I know my favorite parts of teaching are creating and implementing.  I would love to work for myself doing what I love - creating!  Plus I could make my own evaluation systems for myself and I can tell you that they'd have much more than numbers!

2.  Debt

Remember up above when I talked about robbing Peter to pay Paul?  Well, I still have a lot of paying back Peter to do.  That debt was mainly accrued when I left the public school system to teach in the private sector.  While I enjoyed it from a professional perspective, economically our ship was sinking.  That's when I went back to public school and not too long after, I began blogging and finding out the potential that TpT offered.  

3.  Retirement

Although I look young (ha!), I do have to think about retirement.  I have a state retirement with 15 years in the system and some pittance from the private school.  I know this is not enough.  When I get that debt down, then I can put more into this department and then use the rest for things like a bigger, nicer house where we can entertain or maybe traveling overseas with our boys.  
(I really want to see the world with them.)

Well, there you have it - my dreams for my little TpT store!  I am so ready for Vegas so I can put this plan to work!

Thanks for stopping by! 

Reflect and Refresh ~ Part 1 Looking Back

I know I'm a bit late - but every summer my family and I begin our time off with a trip to the beach to decompress and then we're off to Gator football camp for my son!   

During that time, I do have a lot running around in my brain from school.  So I can relax, I write all these things down in lists.  That way, I don't have to keep thinking about it to remember it, it's safely stored in my notebook.  :)

Now my thoughts can also be safely stored here which is why
this fabulous link-up from Mrs. D's Corner is perfect for me!

We are getting a new principal this fall.  We don't yet know who that person will be either.  Since I teach both Special Needs and ELA, I do not know what the new principal will want me to teach. That makes it hard for me to do any real planning but I still think about it and lay out my ideas for whatever may come.

  • I did well with the weekly e-mail newsletters.  I need to remember to keep them short and simple.
  • Edmodo and Remind:  I need to make these a bigger part of my classes.  In fact, I think I'll devote a class day to taking all my classes to the computers and getting them all to sign up right then and there!
  • Organization is my nemesis but this year, using a drawer for each day's materials helped - well.... as long as I used the drawers.  
  • I had one place for all papers for each class to be turned in and one place for all papers that I had graded.  This helped A LOT.  I will definitely be keeping this system.
  • Tickets:  this is what I used for my behavior/reward system.  It took me all year, but I finally got it down to a science!  
I give out tickets to students for correct answers, 100% on work (2 tickets), 90% or better (1 ticket), good behavior and other positive actions.  Students put their name on the tickets and then placed them in their class' bucket.

Then on Friday, I do a drawing.  The students can take the "sure thing" - a piece of candy from my jar - or they can try their luck with one of my 3 boxes.

2 boxes had "good" prizes like a bag of chips or a full-size candy bar, but 1 box always had a "zonker" - a school supply like a pencil or eraser.

How many tickets do I draw, you ask?  That's the beauty part that took me all year to tweak!  What I do is keep a tally for each class.  As a class, if they are cooperative, I add a tally mark.  If they are uncooperative, I put one on "my" side.

On Friday, I calculate the difference between the sides and that is the number of tickets I draw!  So in the picture above, Period 1 will get one ticket draw.  

The kids love this system and love seeing who gets "zonked"!  Definitely a great strategy for me!

  • We use the SpringBoard curriculum with all our Language Arts classes.  I have definitely learned a lot about it and want to see if I can build on it with writing centers - which is also my Big Summer Project...
There are so many writing skills that I teach with INB and I thought, "Why not try making centers to practice these skills for Middle School?"  So that's what I am going to do!  That should keep me busy, eh?  :)

Thanks for stopping by!

TpT Seller Challenge Week 1: Makeover Madness!

Many thanks to the lovely bloggers who set up this great challenge!

I am excited to participate because I am focused on improvement this summer and hope to learn as much as I can through the challenge and at #TpTVegas15.

This is week one and the challenge is to give a product a makeover!  

Back in the "old days", I had a little website where I sold my card games as hard goods.  Then I found out about this website called Teachers Pay Teachers.  I started listing my games and then TpT was sold.  Not terribly long after, it was re-acquired so I finished posting my games.  I didn't pay much attention to TpT and earned maybe $40 a quarter.  

Then, almost 2 years ago, I began blogging and found new friends, new ideas and new potential in my games!  I had no idea what being a TpT seller could really mean.  It took me a year of getting my blogging feet wet before I became a premium seller.  In fact, July 4th will mark one year for me as a premium seller.  So if you can believe it, the above was a re-vamp about a year or so ago from what I had originally posted back in the day!

Needless to say, I have been learning A LOT - about product creation, collaboration, marketing and the like.  I hope my after picture at least shows some of that.

I know there's still a lot to learn and that's why I've joined the challenge and am going to Vegas!

Thanks for stopping by!

Weekly Summer Link-up ~ My Teaching Quirk + Mentor Text

I am happy to join Miss Monica at I Heart Grade 3 for

If you were to ask my middle students to tell you how I am peculiar, they'd tell you I am a big nerd.


Well, my facilitator teacher told my students one day that they were lucky to have me.  He said that I bounce around all smiley and happy and have silly little sayings about "elbow grease" and such but that I am a great teacher.  That I am very patient with them - perhaps too patient, he thought out loud - but that they should appreciate the time I take to break things down for them and pay more careful attention.

The students all laughed nervously because he had obviously hit the nail on the head, but I already knew that my quirk was being a super patient (and nerdy) person.

My husband says I am inhumanly patient.

But this helps me, especially when I work with Special Needs students.  And did I tell you that I seem to be a Person with Special Needs Whisperer?

No matter where we go, people with special needs come up to me and talk to me like they have known me all their life.  Usually, their caregivers gape in horror but then I tell them I am a teacher and they generally relax.

One thing that I do that adds to my quirkiness is to use picture books in my class.  
You might think middle schoolers are too old for picture books, (and some students always point this out the first time I bring one out) but I love them because they make learning a skill seem easier. 
Once I tell the nay-sayers that the picture book is like a warm-up for the skill we're working on to help them apply it to more difficult text, they seem to like the idea too. 
To me, this creates a great common frame of reference for the entire year which is one definition of Mentor Text.

The first book I plan to read with my students next year is "Stone Soup" by Marcia Brown.

This is a great book to discuss theme because this book has a great one!  The idea is that if all the people (students) contribute some of their best "stuff" (i.e. talents & skills), together the class can make something great!

I think this will get our year started off rather well even if it is a bit quirky.  :)

Thanks for stopping by!

Mrs. Spangler in the Middle Looks Ahead

Yay!  It's summer!  That means it's time to rest, relax, and plan for next year!

I always try to take what I have done this year and reflect on how I could improve it for next year.  So as I begin the new school year, I want to make sure my students do more reflecting too!  My idea is having students complete mind-mapping reflection on file folders.

This is just an example of what I will show to my students.  I think we will start this process by working on mind-mapping together at the end of a lesson.  You can see that one thing my students will be reflecting on is what they have learned about writing!

So my "must have" product is PROS to teach the parts of essays with a visual organizer!

What does PROS stand for, you ask?

Each essay part is broken down into manageable pieces that you hang up as you teach them thus creating a great visual display!

This is a "must have" because being the best writers we can be is  our focus all year long in Language Arts class. 

It also comes with a matching flipbook for students' notebooks, so they have a kind of portable version.

You can find out more about this product by clicking {here}!

Now take a moment and see what other bloggers are doing to look ahead!

An InLinkz Link-­up

Thanks for stopping by!

The Literary League Button photo literary_blog_button_zpswp49sxwq.png

Top 3 Pins for Summer Fun

Many thanks to Pawsitively Teaching and Inspired Owl's Corner for hosting this linky!

Today is my last day with students so I thought this linky was perfect timing for me to share my Top 3 Pins for Summer Fun!

I like to travel in the summer and I like to look for more historic places to visit and stay.  This place looks perfect!

Pin source
This is actually a hotel in Columbia.  We'll be doing some traveling, but Columbia is not on the list this year.   This looks like the kind of place where new adventures are born ~almost like being in an Indiana Jones movie!  Places like this fascinate me and jumpstart my creativity!

My son will be attending University of Florida's Junior Football Camp and later he'll be playing Pop Warner.  I have decided I either need this exact shirt or I need to make one:

Pin source
I do tend to yell loudly - I just get excited and then I can't contain my enthusiasm.  :)

Last, but not least, I like to spend my summer doing things that make me happy.  Not just surface happy, but deep soul-filling happy.  This pin gently points in the right directions.  :)

Pin source

Get some more inspiration below!

Thanks for stopping by!