Win a Classroom Set of Novels

        Recently, a teacher commented that they would love to use one of our Complete Novel Units, but they didn't have a classroom set of books to use with the students.         This got me, Lisa, thinking about how I would love to be like Oprah or Ellen and give away classroom sets of books.  "A classroom set for you! A classroom set for you!"

        We checked our budget and decided it would be really fun to give away one classroom set. Thanks for understanding that we lack the sponsors of the aforementioned talk-show hosts.         With February, Black History Month, coming close, we thought we'd offer a way to win a classroom set of novels (up to 35 books) for either Watsons Go to Birmingham-1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis or Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor.        If you, or someone you know, has wanted to teach one of these novels in their class, we are providing one possible way to get the books needed to make it happen.  

a Rafflecopter giveaway

HOMESCHOOL PARENTS we haven't forgotten about you!
You can win up to 3 books.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Make sure you read the giveaway Terms and Conditions in the Rafflecopter. They include:
The winner must choose between **Watsons Go to Birmingham - 1963** or **Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry**. 
The winner of the classroom book set must be a classroom teacher and provide us with their school address in order for us to mail the books to that address.  
Five (5) runner-ups will win a complete novel unit of their choice from our store.
All winners will need to be willing to communicate through email in order to receive their winnings.  
The winner is responsible for checking with their school and/or district to ensure they are allowed to use the novel choice in their classroom.

We are not responsible if the winnings get lost in the mail or any other situation beyond our control.  If you win, we will buy you the books and use the address you provide us for the mailing address.

Episode 2: Moving Students from What to Think ... to How to Think
          Today, we're talking about one of our core beliefs about thinking: that a teacher's role today has moved from teaching students to learn "what" to think ... to teaching them "how" to think. Hop on over and share your thoughts in the conversation.

 FREE Universal Book Report Teaching Resource ... sign up for our Email Newsletter! Graphic organizers and analysis activities for any novel. Perfect for reading groups or literature circles! Get it Now! >>> #litcircles #readinggroups #readingcircles #bookreports

Episode 1: Priming, Classroom Testing, and The Voice
*cue fancy announcement trumpets*

Our first vlog post ... in which we discuss the psychology of priming, how that affects student testing results, and why that might be giving some of The Voice coaches a winning advantage. Can't wait to hear your experiences in your classroom on this topic!

In the vlog, we mention a book called Blink by Malcolm Gladwell, one of my favorite non-fiction writers. Check out here to learn more about this phenomenon
or watch here to learn more by hearing Gladwell talk.

 FREE Universal Book Report Teaching Resource ... sign up for our Email Newsletter! Graphic organizers and analysis activities for any novel. Perfect for reading groups or literature circles! Get it Now! >>> #litcircles #readinggroups #readingcircles #bookreports

How 9/11 Changed My 2nd Day of Teaching . . . Ever.

"Never forget" is a mantra easier said than done. Because the world just marches on, doesn't it? Our lives just keep happening. Unless we purposefully carve out moments to remember important things, we won't. It's just the way we are. The events of September 11th were markedly terrible for the history of our nation and the world. The largest foreign attack on U.S. soil? Terrorism had crossed the seas.
       Here's what I remember of that day:
       I began my teaching career on September 10th, 2001. My first day teaching I had 7th, 9th, and 11th grade English classes, a 9th grade Bible class, a study hall, and some other class I can't remember. That first day was exhausting and overwhelming, especially for a 22-year-old kid who didn't even have his teaching credential yet. Heck, I was only 4 years older than a couple of my students! I went to bed that night, zonked out, then was awakened the next morning to a rude reality.
       At that time, I was not yet engaged to my now-wife and was still living at home. I remember the knock at my bedroom door at around 5am, my father opening my door, and him saying,
       "Hey, Son, I know you're sleepy, but I think you should come see this."
       I interrogated him a bit (because doggonit, I was not ready to slither out of bed yet), and he convinced me to come see for myself.
       I sprawled groggily on the couch and stared at the television. A building I'd never been aware of before was on fire. That morning, I would learn about the World Trade Center in New York, that there were two towers, and that they were an important center of trade.
       We, like much of America, sat there watching the building smoke and burn, learning about the airplane and the ideas behind it, as a second plane crashed into the other tower.
       We were stunned. I called my sleep-coma'd girlfriend (now wife) and said, "I think something important is happening. You're going to want to wake up and turn on the T.V."
       I and my dad and my girlfriend over the phone sat there processing and panicking a little and prognosticating about future attacks.
       Dad said we still had to get ready to go to school. "The world isn't going to just stop because of this. I've gotta go be principal, and you've gotta go teach."
       So I went to my classroom, and students arrived, and the day was a blur of learning mixed with new and scary discussions, and occasionally we were interrupted by someone making an announcement of the Pentagon getting attacked and Flight 93 going down in a field. We prayed. We learned. We went on.
       And here we are, 14 years later, living in a totally different world than existed the day I started teaching.
       It's safer ... and more dangerous.
       It's more informed ... and more confusing.
       It's more connected ... and more segregated.
       It's more divided ... and more unified.
       It's global ... and more national.
       It's more aware ... and more ignorant.
       It's faster ... just faster.
       And every year a new set of students to teach about now and the past, about what their world is like because of events like this one 14 years ago when evil attacked and so many people responded by making inspiring sacrifices for people they didn't even know. We should never forget because when we forget what has happened, we can't make sense of what is happening.
       Teach on.

3 Ideas to Make Your First Day of School Memorable

They're here! Students with their shiny new backpacks ... or maybe they're grungy new or all safety-pinned and patched with buttons new or already Sharpied all over by BFFs new. Or maybe they're too cool for backpacks and are rolling with the single binder folder with nothing written on it at all.
       And you're there, Starbucks guzzled and waiting to impact their lives for all eternity (aka survive until wine time this evening).
       I've had 14 first days of school as a teacher, so here are just a few ideas to help make this first day memorable.
       Watch the YouTube video of all 13 Secrets here >>>
       Smile. A lot. Maybe you've heard those teachers who say, "Don't let them see you smiling until Christmas." Then they go on to rant about students getting all out of control if you don't come across as this all-powerful authoritarian. Well, I'm crying foul on that belief. I'm firmly convinced that classroom management isn't about locking down the fort until Christmas then hoping it doesn't go to chaos too quickly before summer. Sure, we've gotta enforce the rules, but we don't have to be boring, stodgy jerkfaces to do that. Smile and get those relationships growing. Laugh on the first day. Laugh at yourself. Laugh with them. Get them laughing and smiling. You'll love how it helps your classroom management later in the year.
       Don't go over your classroom rules. Yet. Not today. Save that for day 2. If a kid breaks one of the rules, point them to the poster on your wall (you do have your rules displayed, right?!), and kindly tell them they need to follow the rules and that you'll go over them more tomorrow.
       Get them thinking and discussing. Set the precedent that in your classroom, they're going to think. And they're going to like it. So help them like it. Choose a topic they'll love. Be an engaging discussion moderator. Give them time to say hi to the kids around them before they talk in groups about the topic. Find a way to share their ideas without having to stand in front of the class (yet). And through it all, respect their answers. Thank them for participating. Laugh with any of their silliness. Set up a personable but academic mood. They'll love it. And so will you.
       Hop on over to watch the video and share your thoughts in the conversation.
       Got any other ideas to make the first day of school memorable? Share them in the comments section. :)

NOTE: The Wall-E school photo image in the header is used with permission by Meddy Garnet.
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