Juggling ELA Goes Back To School

I have some new followers on this blog so I thought I'd give you guys a little bit of a background. My name is Tammy and I have 15 years of teaching experience. I have taught both middle school and high school in NYC. I have taught a variety of grade levels and various levels within each grade. For a few years I taught a speech elective (public speaking) and for about five years I taught a creative writing elective. Unfortunately the powers that be decided to do away with those electives to have more Regents prep classes (NY state exam). Most of my experience is on the high school level. I taught AP literature one year and I'm hoping to get that class again this year. This upcoming year will be my 3rd year as an adviser for an after school cooking program. I love to cook and I can basically make anything if I set my mind to it.

I love to read. That's part of the reason why I became an ELA teacher. I'll give anything a chance but I really enjoy reading horror novels. I have a hard time picking one book and saying that it's my favorite. I will say that my favorite author is Stephen King. I like most of his books. One of my favorite books to teach is Hamlet because even though it was written roughly 400 years ago I still think that kids today can relate to it. I try to put my students in Hamlet's shoes. I ask them if they've ever been mad at their parents (come on who hasn't?). Even though I teach in an urban setting I teach Shakespeare in a way that makes the kids think that this could be them. It takes a lot of time to teach Hamlet because we read it in class and for many of my students it's their first exposure to Shakespeare. I don't think that a student should graduate high school without having read at least one Shakespearean play.
The beginning of the year is always tough for teachers and students alike. If you've been in your school for a few years you might get some repeat students or siblings of students you've had in the past. I have a hard time with names in the beginning of the school year so I like to play a lot of ice breakers the first week or so. I have two FREE (who doesn't love free stuff?) products in my TpT store that are perfect for the first week of school. The first is Introduction of a Friend Mini Speech which can be used in a regular ELA classroom or in a public speaking class. I also have The First Week of School-Forms/Handouts which includes my classroom contract, a reading and writing survey and a getting to know you activity. Both of this items are forever freebies in my TpT store and they will be beneficial to teachers in many different grade levels. I hope everyone has a wonderful start to the school year.





16 comments:

  1. I have yet to read Hamlet! I guess I better add that to my list!

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    1. Wow I can't believe you've never read Hamlet. He is the original Angry Young Man (I love that song by Billy Joel.)

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  2. I love that you said Hamlet is your fave. Macbeth is mine. I lOVE teaching it!

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    1. I love Macbeth too because of the whole supernatural aspect but I think the kids really get into Hamlet which makes it more enjoyable to teach.

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  3. Thanks for sharing this; I downloaded your Introduction to a Friend resource and I love it; what a great way to get students interacting with each other in those early days. I was listening to a TED talk by Dave Isay the other day (who won the TED prize this year), and his wish is that everyone would have the opportunity to record an interview with another person, at least one time in their life - it is such a meaningful and engaging experience. Thanks for sharing Tammy.

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    1. You're welcome. I'm glad you like the activity. I think it's very important for students to do public speaking. A lot of them are shy so I try to get them in front of the room with either a partner or a group.

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  4. I like the idea of a contract - it sets an important tone. Your after school cooking club sounds great! Do you reverse engineer dishes? I'd love to know how to make those Red Lobster biscuits... :)

    -Lisa
    Mrs. Spangler in the Middle

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    1. No we tend to cook from different cultures. Each week we learn about a different culture and cook a dish from that country.

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  5. Always fun to learn more about other teachers! Thanks for sharing your ideas. WAHOO!
    Have an awesome school year.

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    1. Thanks. I hope you have a great school year as well.

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  6. I know exactly what you mean when yo say that it is hard to pick just one favorite book! It is so difficult to pick just one and fully commit to it being your favorite one! I have not read Hamlet since high school, but I would love to sit in our classes while you teach it because I know that you use your love of reading and passion to teach this play to your students!

    Have a great new school year!
    Stephanie

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    1. I hope you have a great school year as well.I think I would be very nervous if you watched me teach.

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  7. Thank you for sharing! You have such a cool list of teaching experiences. Your students are lucky to have you!

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  8. Thank you for sharing these great resources! Since you love horror novels, have you read The Strain? There is a TV show now that is based off of the trilogy.

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    1. No I haven't but you're the second person to tell me to watch the show. I'll have to check it out.

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