Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Sometimes, life gets in the way!

Every summer, I spend hours and hours collecting new ideas, preparing new lessons, and prepping my classroom for the new school year.  Every fall, I get sucked into the crazy day-to-day life of keeping up with the challenges of new students, cheer team practices, football games, and my three boys. You know what they say about the "best laid plans...". Sometimes, life just gets in the way of our plans!

I had so many ideas that I wanted to implement this year, some I've done, some I haven't. Thankfully, every day is a new beginning, and I have the opportunity to make a fresh start.

Check back weekly for new blog posts about what's happening in Room 123!

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Guest Blogger--Haylee L.

Sometimes life gets twisted and tangled around us and we don't know how to react or if we should react. A Work in Progress has many inspirational and motivating sentences on every page that make you feel good about life and yourself.

Connor Franta weaves the story of his life together through the ages. This book has a little foul language every now and then. The tips and stories he tells are important, awkward, funny, sad, relatable, and helpful. If you are depressed, confused hating life at the moment, or you just want something good to read, I would definitely recommend this book.

Connor starts out the story talking about his family. His mom, dad, and brothers are all runners, and Connor is not into running and exercise. Instead, he take photos of nature and loved talking to people. Soon, he became a YouTuber. Then life got harder for Connor; he moved schools and was interacting with bad kids. Soon, this smart, nice, bubbly teenager started to break rules, cuss, make bad grades. You know, the usual. Well, he soon got a smack in the face by common sense. He then decided that being himself was fine and went back to “Connor Franta Average Teen.”  He hates having all the attention, but he was very popular.

Best friends and dating became very hard for Connor. He couldn’t find out how to find a “real” friend. He easily could tell who was his best friend, friend, buddy, and associates. Since, he was so popular, girls started to like him, He had his first kiss by his 1st grade best friend by a dumpster. He had a ton of relationships with a lot of girls, but he never felt the connection, and every time he kissed one of them he just wanted it to stop.  All his relationships were cut short.

As Connor developed into a grown man, people on YouTube were calling him “gay” and assuming he was. They sent hateful comments to him. So, he posted a video with the actual title being “ I AM NOT GAY.”  Later, he became very sad, stayed up all night thinking and never real talked to people for a short period in time, which he called “the worst period of his life.” He kept asking himself if he really was gay. After a lot of thinking he soon said, “I am gay.” Well, he said it to himself in the bathroom mirror, then he smiled and actually felt confident with himself. He told a couple of friends, then family, then more friends, then YouTube.

The ending is very heartwarming. It tells how people should love you just the way you are. His life had a ton of ups, downs, loopty loops, you know, a rollercoaster. But, he was happy in the end and became who he is today.  

Friday, April 20, 2018

Guest Blogger--Candon S.

I am reading Between Shades of Gray By Ruta Sepetys. This story is about a girl, her mom, and her brother. They get taken by the Soviets and have to work for them. Luckily, the mom is very smart and, before any of this had happened, she sewed gold and diamond necklaces into her coat lining so they could trade for things that they needed. The girl also thinks back in time to remember things about her father who had just disappeared when they first got taken. They must work for survival. They will do any thing to survive!

Friday, March 9, 2018

Guest Blogger--Natalie D.

The Hate U Give is an outstanding book. The book is about a girl, Starr, who has witnessed her best friend, Kahlil, get murdered. Starr is stuck on what to do; should she should speak out or keep quiet? Starr’s fight for justice is difficult and emotionally hard for her to deal with. In the book, you get to meet amazing characters, a great portrayal of society today, and even some Tupac references. You also get to learn about the long backstory of Starr. You even get to see the “Garden Heights” Starr and the “Williamson” Starr. As the story goes on, you know which characters to love and what characters to hate. Reading this book is like a mirror in the sense that you not only assume what some characters have been doing or how they may act. Like when you meet Chris, Starr’s white, rich boyfriend, and you see he doesn’t act how you think he would for an average rich white boy. Not only does this book make you laugh, but it talks about issues in today’s society that otherwise wouldn’t get talk about. If you are thinking about reading this book, you should and I tremendously recommend that you do. 

Friday, February 23, 2018

Sit back, relax, and enjoy a good book!

If you walk by Rm. 123, you might be surprised at what you see! Over the year, we have gradually made the transition to flexible seating as part of our normal, everyday life. It is my firm belief that students who are comfortable will be happier. Happier students will be more engaged. My goal this year was to create an environment in which my students felt safe, comfortable, and happy. Flexible seating has helped create this.

Last summer, while on vacation in Las Vegas, we met an old friend at a local coffee shop. As we sat there talking, I was looking around at the crowd. The shop was packed, and it was Vegas, so it was a little warm; however, no one seemed cranky or irritated with the heat or the crowd. In fact, there were people sitting at tables studying alone or with a partner, there were groups crowded around one table having an in-depth conversation, and there were people like us were were sitting back, comfortably relaxing. Everyone was doing something a little different, but the comfortable shop with various seating provided the perfect atmosphere for such random purposes. Dim lights and soft music just added to the ambiance. It dawned on me that just maybe, my students would enjoy reading more if they could be a little more comfortable than the hard, straight-backed desks that they currently had to use.

One of the huge benefits I have seen with our flexible seating is how easy it is to group students. If they are working with a partner, they just pull their seats close together or huddle up in a corner. If we are doing whole-group read-alouds, we all grab something comfortable and gather around one of our large carpets.  If I need them to spread out for an assessment, they grab their seats and go to a space away from everyone else. There is more room for me to move freely around the classroom so that I can help students one-on-one easily. I strongly believe that when students are more comfortable, they are not as easily distracted and better able to stay on-task.

After some research, I decided to jump in with both feet. Because I truly believe, as one study showed, that "comfortable classrooms—physically and psychologically— promote a sense of well-being, keep minds focused, and limit distractions." ("Rethinking the Classroom") 

Spending most of my President's Day vacation to rearrange my classroom, I was so excited for my students to see the changes that were waiting for them! Once again, I was reminded why I am a teacher. My students were overjoyed with the classroom. They were excited. They WANTED to be in my room. I've been doing this a long time, so I'm not naive enough to believe that I have won the war, but I have definitely won this battle. If kids want to be in a room, that is the first huge hurdle to overcome in education. 

I am so appreciative of the donations we have received from our parents and grandparents. My students and I are looking forward to enjoying the rest of the year in Rm. 123.


“Flexible Seating and Student-Centered Classroom Redesign.” Edutopia,

Klein, Erin. “10 Tips for Using Brain-Based Methods to Redesign Your Classroom - EdSurge News.” EdSurge, EdSurge, 10 July 2016,

“Rethinking the Classroom.” Herman Miller,

Monday, February 19, 2018

On My Shelf...

Dear Martin  by Nic Stone
Justyce is at the top of his class and headed for the Ivy League after high school, but that doesn't matter to the policeman who throws Justyce down and handcuffs him late one night.  As Justyce deals with the aftermath of the incident, he becomes more aware of the world around him.  In an effort to handle things appropriately, Justyce begins writing letters to the late Martin Luther King, Jr.  He admires Dr. King, and wants to learn from him and handle this situation in his mature and non-violent manner.  Unfortunately, Justyce learns the hard lesson that sometimes, no matter how hard you try to avoid it, tragedy can still happen.  As he is caught in a firestorm of media attention after his friend is shot by an off-duty police officer, Justyce struggles with stereotypes, preconceived ideas, and misleading press coverage.

You Will Be Mine  by Natasha Preston
Lylah and her friends are getting ready for a night out to relax and enjoy themselves when a mysterious letter addressed to Sonny shows up on their doorstep. After reading the message that is delivered with cut-out magazine letters, they all are a little shook up, but head out for their night of fun anyway.  The next morning, they discover that Sonny is missing and a new note arrives: "You are next." A killer is on the loose, the police are not doing a good job of protecting them, and Lylah knows she is the real target. As her friends disappear one-by-one, Lylah is willing to do whatever it takes to make it all stop.

Long Way Down   by Jason Reynolds
Fifteen-year-old Will watches his brother get gunned down, and now he's on a mission to follow the rules: (1) no cryin', (2) no snitchin', and (3) get revenge. The first two are easy; it's the last one that is more difficult. He knows where his brother Shawn had a hidden gun, so he grabs it and sneaks out of the house. Getting on the elevator (7th floor), Will know who he's after, but when the elevator stops on the 6th floor, Buck joins him and tells him to check to see if the gun is even loaded. Upon closer inspection, Will discovers that a bullet is missing, and the only person who could have shot it was his brother Shawn. How could Buck have known that? The problem is, Buck is DEAD. As they go down each floor, someone else who was connected to Shawn joins them on the ride. Will is learning how one decision creates a chain-reaction, and it will continue if Will gets off this elevator.

Click on the book covers to read more about them on Amazon. 

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Deals of the Day on Amazon

I try to watch for good books that are on sale in the Kindle store on Amazon.  These are books that some of my students have expressed an interest in, so now would be a good time to grab them! is the true story of an Olympic who became an airman during World War II. After his plane crashes into the Pacific Ocean, Louis Zamperini faces many trials and tribulations in order to survive. Beginning with the shark infested waters and then as a POW, survival was possible only by his pure will and determination. Today it is $2.99 on Kindle! in first person point-of-view, Purple Hibiscus tells the story of Kambili and her brother Jaja who live a privileged life in Enugu, Nigeria. While well-respected in the community, her father is a different man in their home, overbearing and controlling. When a military coup upsets their country, Kambili and Jaja are sent away to live with their aunt, where they discover a whole new life. Unfortunately, they must return home, and Kambili must learn how to help her family live in peace and love. Today it is $1.20 on Kindle! Torrez and Rufus Emeterio find out, just after midnight, that they are both going to die today.  After they receive the news from Death-Cast, they both set out to make a new friend. Thankfully, there's an app to help people meet up on their End Day. In They Both Die in the End, Mateo and Rufus set off together to live a lifetime in their last unforgettable day. Today, it is $1.99 on Kindle!

Click on the books to take you to the page on Amazon to order! Remember, you can read Kindle books on any device with the free Kindle app!