December 2015 - Room 213

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TpT Sellers Are Giving Back

Once again, thanks to Nitty Gritty Science, a group of TpT sellers are donating all proceeds from their sales on December 13th to various charities.

My classes are collecting money to give to a local organization that is sponsoring one of the Syrian refugee families that will be joining us in the new year, and I will add 100% of today's sales to their collection. As an added bonus for you, everything in my store is on sale today!

If you'd like to do some shopping and help out some other charities, check out the other sellers who are participating today:


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The Literary League's 12 Days of Christmas includes 12+ seasonal and year round freebies for secondary English Language Arts teachers and a giveaway for a TPT gift certificate.

Thanks so much for the overwhelming response to the 12 Days of Giving hosted by the Literary League!  

To celebrate the season and our favorite fellow teachers (that’s you!), we’re all having a sale in our TpT shops today, Saturday, December 12th and tomorrow, Sunday, December 13th.  That’s right!  Pop over to each of our shops and you’ll find all of our resources at 20% off!


The Literary League's 12 Days of Christmas includes 12+ seasonal and year round freebies for secondary English Language Arts teachers and a giveaway for a TPT gift certificate.

Oh, and if you haven't entered for a chance to win the Teachers Pay Teacher gift card, you can do so below. Today is the last day to enter!

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Just in case you missed one of the featured freebies, click the links below.

The Creative Classroom - Two Column Notes Organizer
Perfetto Writing Room - SteadfastTin Soldier
Literary Sherri - Winter Poems - Poetry Analysis
Mrs. Spangler in the Middle - Christmas Zap Game
The Classroom Sparrow - Holiday Essay Outline
2 Peas and a Dog - Christmas Writing Prompts
Brain Waves Instruction - Endof Year Reflection and Infographic
The Daring English Teacher - WinterThemed Grammar Worksheets

From all of us Literary Leaguers, wishing you and yours the happiest of holidays!

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Surviving the Christmas Countdown!

Lessons and Activities for the Christmas Season
Oh, December. You're the darkest month of the year, but also the most sparkly. Our halls are decked, our lists are made, and our students are banging off the walls with excitement. 

High school students may not believe in the magic anymore, but they are just as unfocused and frenzied as the younger ones.  They don't want to be in class anymore, and they certainly don't want to do anymore work.  And guess what?  Neither do the teachers!

The problem with all this holiday hooplah is that immediately after we return, another countdown is happening: the one to final exams.  Because of this, we can't just pack it in during those last days before the holidays; in fact, many of us are frantically trying to get through the curriculum, knowing that there are only a few weeks left to get it all done.

So how do you get yourself and your students focused enough to finish the material? And, more importantly, how do you do so without becoming The Grinch who stole the holiday spirit?

1. Lighten up and negotiate:
It's ok to build some fun activities into your lessons, and it's doable, even when you're trying to get some work done.  You just need to take a careful look at how much you need to do before the end of term, and make a plan to get there.  Then, think about ways that you can build in some fun around the important stuff. Share that plan with your students and tell them that, like them, you want to have some holiday fun but the reality of exams is there and has to be faced.  Tell them that if they work hard and focus on what needs to be done, then you can build in some holiday activities as well.  Let them help you make a schedule, so they feel like they've had a say in the process.  My class has agreed that if we get through my teacher "wish list" we will have a class party and exchange gifts on the last day before the holidays.  We also play holiday music when students are doing their group activities.



2. Find ways to sneak holiday fun into the work:
My students are studying Animal Farm right now, and we focus a lot on the pigs' use of language and propaganda.  I want students to be able to recognize when they are being manipulated by leaders or advertisers, and I want them to learn rhetorical techniques that they can use in their own writing and speaking. The political climate is providing us lots of material these days, but the holiday season does as well.  We will look at holiday ads for propaganda, and students will give informal speeches around holiday themes, using their own rhetoric and propaganda .  I will also have them write Christmas wish lists or New Year's resolutions for the characters in the novella.  This activity requires that they illustrate their understanding of character and theme, but still allows them to have a little fun at the same time.

I also have a lesson that has students compare O. Henry's "The Gift of the Magi" with Guy de Maupassant's "The Necklace". It's a lesson plan full of rigorous activities that are perfect for the season of giving. You can check it out here.

So, go ahead. Celebrate the season and prepare your students for their final assessments. Most importantly, enjoy the ride and the last few weeks of the semester with your students.

Note: it's important to be aware of your class composition. Not everyone celebrates Christmas, of course. I use this as an opportunity to have a class discussion about the fact that our society inundates everyone with Christmas and that we need to be more aware of the other holidays celebrated by our students. It's the perfect time for a debate and/or a research project. 


If you'd like more activities that allow you to focus on ELA skills and have some holiday fun, check out my Christmas and Winter Holiday Activities Pack , Short Writing Activities for the Christmas & Winter Season and my Christmas Coffee House freebie.


Do you have any great ideas for surviving the countdown to the holiday? Let us know about them in the comments!









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The Literary League's 12 Days of Giving: Day 2


Welcome to day two of the Literary League's 12 Days of Christmas Blog Hop! We know that the holiday season is busy for both teachers and students. You want to make learning fun, yet still meaningful while attempting to channel some of your students' energy and excitement about the upcoming holidays and days off from school. Today you'll find two seasonal resources that will help you do just that.

From Room 213: Christmas Coffee House
The last few days before the holidays are difficult for everyone. The students don’t want to focus, but you need to keep teaching. You could resort to showing Elf again, or you could get their creative juices flowing while they practice important ELA skills like writing, speaking and listening. This freebie shows you how to turn your classroom into a coffee house and provides ideas for students to use when they write their poetry.

I love incorporating themed grammar exercises in my classroom. It is a fun way to get students to practice and master basic grammatical skills. There are four different worksheets in this download: pronoun identification, subject & predicate identification, subject verb agreement, and homophones. These Winter Themed Grammar Worksheets are great because they can be used throughout a few months in the year, they make a great last-minute sub plan, and they also can be used individually when you have about ten minutes left of class.

And if you haven't already, enter to win the Teachers Pay Teachers gift certificate below. The winner will be notified on December 13th.


Visit Brain Waves Instruction and Secondary Sara tomorrow for Day 3 of the Literary League's 12 Days of Christmas Blog Hop. Look for a special surprise coming on Day 12!








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The Literary League Kicks off Twelve Days of Christmas for Secondary Teachers

The Literary League's 12 Days of Christmas includes 12+ seasonal and year round freebies for secondary English Language Arts teachers and a giveaway for a TPT gift certificate. Enter December 1st - December 12th.
Literary Leaguers are in the holiday spirit and we’re hosting 
12 Days of Giving!
We’re super excited to share some of our favorite freebies (both seasonal and all-year-round resources) with you and give you the chance to win a Teachers Pay Teachers gift certificate!  The 12 Days of Giving runs Tuesday, December 1st – Saturday, December 12th.
The Literary League's 12 Days of Christmas includes 12+ seasonal and year round freebies for secondary English Language Arts teachers and a giveaway for a TPT gift certificate. Enter December 1st - December 12th.
Here’s how it works…
Day 1 of Giving:  Enter to win the Teachers Pay Teachers gift certificate at any of the participating Literary Leaguers’ blogs.
The Literary League's 12 Days of Christmas includes 12+ seasonal and year round freebies for secondary English Language Arts teachers and a giveaway for a TPT gift certificate. Enter December 1st - December 12th.
Days 2-11 of Giving:  Stop by each of these blogs for links to favorite English Language Arts freebies.  Hint:  Follow each of the blogs via email or Bloglovin' so that you don't miss out on the updates. You can even get the Bloglovin' app for your phone and read all your favorite bloggers in one feed!
Day 9 - Novelle

We have a feeling that you’ll love the seasonal and all-year-round resources! 

Day 12 of Giving:  We have something fun in the works for you on the 12th Day of Giving! Stop back at any of the participating blogs on December 12th to find out what we have in store for you!

Get started...

Enter to win the Teachers Pay Teachers gift certificate below.   The winner will be notified on December 13th.

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