Secondary Style - B's Book Love
       I happened upon this Teachers Pay Teachers author today and was super impressed by how ridiculously good-looking her resources are, so I thought I'd share. A short while ago, I dared everyone to consider getting rid of the chevron and frames, creating images that feel modern like secondary-level kiddos, and letting our images and words breath with some white space around them. I want to share someone who's doing it right.
       Meet B's Book Love. And check out her Teachers Pay Teachers store!!!

       Here's a screenshot of her storefront.
       So let's look at a few images up close and discuss.
  • The title is clear and large enough.
  • The title is in a font that feels Native American-ish (don't yell at me for stereotyping) :)
  • There is a logical flow for us to "read" the image. Let me try to predict how you "read" this image ... (1) You looked at the title. (2) You looked at the headdress. (3) You looked at the feathers on one of the arrows and followed them in to the 3 lines of text. ... This is very very strategic, sparse, attractive, effective, and gives the feels.
  • The background is totally unique to the feeling of this unit. Chevron and frames are usually a waste because they do nothing to get your shopper to "feel" anything.
  •  Notice how this image feels different from the first one. It's got an old style to it. Loving the old portrait style with the faded outline around the dude.
  • The direction of his look is inward to the right, leading us to "read" the image up the hearts and to the "Romantic or Realist."
  • The Romantic and Realist have fonts that represent the feelings of those words. Good stuff. Borderline too many fonts here with 3 different ones (title, Romantic, Realist), but I think this works this time.
  • And she avoided the temptation to fill in the white space in the corners. It lets it breathe.
  • I'm totally loving the feeling of this. Lamb to the Slaughter all over this image.
  • The font is pretty rugged for this kind of a story.
  • I love the ribbon concept.
  • Love the Red Riding Hood figure in the background with the white space inside.
  • The colors are solidly used.
  • Things I might suggest for improve...I can't really tell what the thing is between the two story titles. And I think it's eating up some valuable white space on this image. The blood splatters are great, but I think they would pop even more with a little less clutter up in the titles. This is a small thing because this is still a solid representation of what compels the modern secondary world.
  • This is so simple and simply great. 
  • The title even gives me the feeling of flies. I think it's something about the empty space between the letters. Normally, hollowed-out letters fall a bit flat on covers, but this time it works fantastic.
  • Love the tape marks across the corners.
  • Love the simple island with the soft edges that don't feel like a stock photo pasted on the grungy white paper. The photo feels a part of the scrapbook. Good stuff.
       Hopefully, some of these thoughts spark some image soul searching for y'all out there and lead to some effective product cover revisions. These are, of course, just our thoughts. But we thought we'd share them for anyone who's looking for some new thoughts on the secondary cover mindset.
       Go check out B's Book Love and her Teachers Pay Teachers store!!!
       Keep on being awesome!

How Children Succeed
       I'm reading a fascinating book right now on education called HOW CHILDREN SUCCEED. Through the results of a whole slew of research studies in classrooms and labs, they've honed in the qualities of successful people (and kids).
       Shocker... doesn't have to do with test scores.
       It has to do with these 7 character attributes:
                     1. Grit
                     2. Self-control
                     3. Zest
                     4. Social Intelligence
                     5. Gratitude
                     6. Optimism
                     7. Curiosity

      The question I'm thinking about as I listen to the rest of the book is ... how can we design classroom assignments and experiences to encourage, nurture, and ACTUALLY TEACH these qualities?
       I'll touch back with you when I finish reading. Any thoughts so far? What's your experience with these learned traits?

 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

TpT Super Secondary Sellers - Wednesday, February 25, 2015 Promo Code: HEROES

Super Secondary Celebrates! Teachers are Heroes!

TpT is having a site wide sale. Make your wish lists and empty your carts on Wednesday, February 25, 2015. Most stores are discounted up to 28%. Promo code is HEROES. Link up with us if your store will be on sale!

Teacherpreneur Spotlight: Secondary Sara
       This has been a long time in the brain and the first time on "paper," so let's get right into our first-ever Teacherpreneur Spotlight where we get to know a friend of ours:  
Secondary Sara!!!
What levels and subjects do you teach and what's a little bit of your teaching journey?
I started out teaching test prep classes to high school students for a company; then I student taught in urban and suburban high schools before getting my first full-time job as a middle school literacy specialist, and now finally as a 7th and 8th grade ELA teacher. I still tutor high school students 3-5 days a week, which is great to not only keep my feet in both worlds, but to also make sure I know what the local high schools are doing and how to best prepare my 8th graders to become freshmen.
How'd you get started on TeachersPayTeachers?
A coteacher of mine was a TpT seller, and one day she looked at the debate unit I was teaching and said, "You should put this on Teachers Pay Teachers!" Her encouragement was what gave me the confidence to upload more of my materials and take my store seriously.
What aspect of teaching really gets you fired up?
I get fired up about a lot of topics in ELA, but the top three would probably be grammar, technology, and writing. Most of my students come to me as great readers already, so I spend a lot of time on different genres of writing, making grammar less painful, and using Google Classroom and Drive for the drafting and feedback processes in writing. I also love flipping the classroom, whether I have made the videos or my students do peer instruction with ones they've made! For example, my Grammar Video project is an 8th grade tradition now, and their videos become the basis for my whole year of flipped grammar.
What's the funniest/weirdest memory you have from middle or high school?
I had some zany, amazing teachers in middle school who did silly things like draw faces on hands, teach math angles on the basketball court, make us read The Diary of Anne Frank underneath desks to make us cramped, and do other fun techniques to make us learn. Most of my fun memories come from them, so I've tried to think about that while planning units that would create experiences.
Which of your resources do you enjoy teaching the most?
I probably enjoy teaching my "15 Minutes of Fame" or my "Narratives about Literature" projects the most! It's a close tie because the "15 minutes" speeches are hilarious and can be graded in class (which is a huge bonus), but my kids do an amazing job writing deleted scenes and alternate endings from books, so I actually enjoy grading them. (I know how unlikely that sounds, but those narratives have caused me to laugh out loud and cry real tears at home. It feels like I'm getting bonus chapters of a fantastic novel!)
Who are some other TpT teacher/authors you think people should know about and check out?
At the risk of forgetting someone, I know I've used lessons from Teaching FUNdamentals, Created for Learning, Brain Waves Instruction, Julie Faulkner, Mixed-Up Files, Presto Plans, Danielle Knight, and Tracee Orman before, and I've got a lot of other sellers on my Wish List or my to-teach list!
What are your non-teaching hobbies?
I'm a concert percussionist and a marching snare drummer, so I keep African drums in my classroom for kids to occasionally play with. I'm also involved with a co-ed subsection of Boy Scouts called Venturing, and I'm a merit badge counselor for many of my students who are in Scouting.
What are some quirky details about yourself?
I love golden retrievers, Diet Coke, trivia games, Scrabble, talking with my hands, Ohio State football (O-H!), and telling stories.

        Sara, thanks so much for stopping by to let us get to know you better! We're not sure if this Ohio State fangirlness is acceptable (War Eagle!), but everything else is entirely made of awesome!
Connect up with
Secondary Sara!!!
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