Monday, June 23, 2014


Over Spring Break, I went to Washington DC for 4 days and NYC for about a day and a half with 16 eighth graders from my school, and 22 eighth graders from two other local middle schools.  We were up before 6am every day, and did not return to the hotel until about 9:30 each night.  To say we were exhausted at the end of each day is an understatement.  But, we saw amazing things, had a lot of fun, (some) experienced snow for the first time, and we walked a total of 42.42 miles in total.  I live tweeted the experience, which you can see below!.  It was strong in the beginning, but then in the middle I had no time, and then at the end I tweeted more.  You can clearly see as we were getting closer to leaving, I was getting annoyed with things that were not annoying me in the beginning of the trip haha. All in all, it was something I'll never forget.  I am so glad I was afforded the opportunity to go and it was great to be able to bond even more with some of my incredible students.

Monday, June 16, 2014

On Getting Back on the Horse

I haven't blogged in a really long time.  The last half of the year was insane. I had things I wanted to blog about and didn't have the time to give it the attention it deserved, so I put it off.  Then more and more things happened that I wanted to blog about and I started to feel buried by all of these blog posts I hadn't written.  I decided to just take one thing at a time and decide not to care if it isn't in chronological order.  So, here we go...

It's summer break, but I haven't really started yet.  School got out on June 6th and I haven't stopped working.  I've had Common Core workshops and now I'm in an AVID Critical Reading workshop.  However, after tomorrow, I will be officially on break! Whatever that means.  I'm still going to spend the summer writing lessons, reading novels for class, and figuring out Unit Plans.  And writing grants so I can get much needed things for my classroom.  A teacher's work is never done.  Speaking of which, I came across this cool article on Facebook and it could not be more on point.

The point of this post was not to talk about summer.  The point was to talk about the class gift I gave to my 8th grade AVID students.  I wish I could have done this for every single one of my students, but it would have taken me more time and cost more money than I had.  So, I did this for the 8th grade AVID kids because we were are an #AVIDfamily.

I printed out a list of every single kid in the class and made enough copies so that everyone in the class had one.  They were tasked to think long and hard about everyone in our #AVID family and write down two words/phrases to describe each person.  I collected the lists and then typed each student's words into a site similar to Wordle, but compatible with Mac.  (For those of you who don't know, Wordle is a word-cloud generator. )  The words that appear most frequently, are shown the biggest.  So, in order to get the kid's name to appear really large in the middle, I had to type their name and then copy and paste it a few zillion times.

I printed each word cloud in color and framed it.  (8.5x11 frames at the Dollar Tree! Holla!).  On the last day, I handed them out.  The kids were genuinely touched and appreciative of their gifts, but I felt that it in no way showed my gratitude for everything they had given me that year.  It was truly the best year of my teaching career and I will never forget that #AVIDfamily and all of the memories we shared.

Here is what the word clouds looked like:

And, the best #AVIDfamily ever:

I did not realize that the kid in front (who I have in Leadership class) snuck into the front, holding up his yearbook.  Lol.
Also, if you need proof that my 8th grade AVID kids are the best on the planet, check out this AVID Recruitment Video they made.