Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!!!!!!

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6--Merry CHRISTMAS

Monday, November 29, 2010

More Vocabulary: Quizlet

I've just start using this site with my school. It's pretty cool. Students can create flash cards, play games, and take quizzes.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Vocabulary is the the foundation for reading comprehension. It is an integral part of my classroom.

I'd like to share some activies with you that I have found successful.

1. Vocabulary List- I give my students a weekly vocabulary list. We DO NOT, I repeat We DO NOT have vocabulary quiz every week. I don't want my students to memorize a list of words and forget them.

I incorporate the vocabulary words into my lessons (see below) on a daily basis. Also, I constantly "recycle" words on my vocabulary lists, so that they are constantly interacting with the words. I also use the words when I am talking with my students. I might say, "You guys look lethargic today."

I give students a test every grading period on words about 20 of the words that I know that we have gone over many times to access there knowledge.

2. Wordmaps- Students complete a wordmap for each word. Each wordmap includes the following:

A. The definition in your own words

B. A sentence of your own

C. A picture

Wordmaps can be either done with paper and pencil/pen or they can be done using software like PowerPoint, Keynote, or MS Word.

Note: For "paper and pencil" word maps, students can usually fit all 15 on one piece of paper. The wordmaps do not have to be large.

3. Vocabulary Stories

4. Bell Ringer- I use the words from the week's vocabulary list in my bell ringer.

5. Free Rice- This is a great site for practicing vocabulary.

These activities were taken from my website,

Monday, September 6, 2010

Diamante Poem

Creating a diamonte poem is really cool because the students type in certain words, and the computer generates a poem. It's also cool because it helps them to review adjectives.

I created a worksheet to go along with it. Click here for worksheet.

Click here for more poetry activities.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Vocabulary and Grammar Activities for

Free Rice is a cool website that allows students to test their skills in the following disciplines: art, chemistry, English (grammar and vocab), languages (such as french and spanish), and math.

The cool thing about this website is that for each correct answer, 10 grains of rice are donated to the "World Food Programme" to help end hunger.

I use it it my classroom as a grammar/vocabulary review and a friendly competion.

1. Students are given twelve minutes to complete as much grammar or vocabulary as possible. The student with the most points receives a "prize" i.e. five extra points on their next quiz. (This can be done weekly or biweekly)

2. Students are given a chart in which they track their progress. "Prizes" can also be awarded to students who show the greatest achievement from week to week.

Note: Students are encouraged to ask questions when they are unsure as to why they got an answer wrong. One of my students was convinced that the "game was wrong" until I explained to him why he was wrong. It was a great teachable moment.

Also note: The chart that I created has a place for level, so that as students master one level, they will go to the next.

My students were very engaged in this activity, and I hope that yours will be too!

I am a Teacher Essay

I just read this essay by a Florida teacher that has gone viral. It made me want to cry...

Full text of Jamee Miller’s “I Am a Teacher” essay:
I am a teacher in Florida.
I rise before dawn each day and find myself nestled in my classroom hours before the morning commute is in full swing in downtown Orlando. I scour the web along with countless other resources to create meaningful learning experiences for my 24 students each day. I reflect on the successes of lessons taught and re-work ideas until I feel confident that they will meet the needs of my diverse learners. I have finished my third cup of coffee in my classroom before the business world has stirred. My contracted hours begin at 7:30 and end at 3:00. As the sun sets around me and people are beginning to enjoy their dinner, I lock my classroom door, having worked 4 hours unpaid.
I am a teacher in Florida.
I greet the smiling faces of my students and am reminded anew of their challenges, struggles, successes, failures, quirks, and needs. I review their 504s, their IEPs, their PMPs, their histories trying to reach them from every angle possible. They come in hungry—I feed them. They come in angry—I counsel them. They come in defeated—I encourage them. And this is all before the bell rings.
I am a teacher in Florida.
I am told that every student in my realm must score on or above grade level on the FCAT each year. Never mind their learning discrepancies, their unstable home lives, their prior learning experiences. In the spring, they are all assessed with one measure and if they don’t fit, I have failed. Students walk through my doors reading at a second grade level and by year’s end can independently read and comprehend early 4th grade texts, but this is no matter. One of my students has already missed 30 school days this year, but that is overlooked. If they don’t perform well on this ONE test in early March, their learning gains are irrelevant. They didn’t learn enough. They didn’t grow enough. I failed them. In the three months that remain in the school year after this test, I am expected to begin teaching 5th grade curriculum to my 4th grade students so that they are prepared for next year’s test.
I am a teacher in Florida.
I am expected to create a culture of students who will go on to become the leaders of our world. When they exit my classroom, they should be fully equipped to compete academically on a global scale. They must be exposed to different worldviews and diverse perspectives, and yet, most of my students have never left Sanford, Florida. Field trips are now frivolous. I must provide new learning opportunities for them without leaving the four walls of our classroom. So I plan. I generate new ways to expose them to life beyond their neighborhoods through online exploration and digital field trips. I stay up past The Tonight Show to put together a unit that will allow them to experience St. Augustine without getting on a bus. I spend weekends taking pictures and creating a virtual world for them to experience, since the State has determined it is no longer worthwhile for them to explore reality. Yes. My students must be prepared to work within diverse communities, and yet they are not afforded the right to ever experience life beyond their own town.
I am a teacher in Florida.
I accepted a lower salary with the promise of a small increase for every year taught. I watched my friends with less education than me sign on for six figure jobs while I embraced my $28k starting salary. I was assured as I signed my contract that although it was meager to start, my salary would consistently grow each year. That promise has been broken. I’m still working with a meager salary, and the steps that were contracted to me when I accepted a lower salary are now deemed “unnecessary.”
I am a teacher in Florida.
I spent $2500 in my first year alone to outfit an empty room so that it would promote creative thinking and a desire to learn and explore. I now average between $1000-2000 that I pay personally to supplement the learning experiences that take place in my classroom. I print at home on my personal printer and have burned through 12 ink cartridges this school year alone. I purchase the school supplies my students do not have. I buy authentic literature so my students can be exposed to authors and worlds beyond their textbooks. I am required to teach Social Studies and Writing without any curriculum/materials provided, so I purchase them myself. I am required to conduct Science lab without Science materials, so I buy those, too. The budgeting process has determined that copies of classroom materials are too costly, so I resort to paying for my copies at Staples, refusing to compromise my students’ education because high-ranking officials are making inappropriate cuts. It is February, and my entire class is out of glue sticks. Since I have already spent the $74 allotted to me for warehouse supplies, if I don’t buy more, we will not have glue for the remainder of the year. The projects I dream up are limited by the incomprehensible lack of financial support. I am expected to inspire my students to become lifelong learners, and yet we don’t have the resources needed to nurture their natural sense of wonder if I don’t purchase them myself. My meager earning is now pathetic after the expenses that come with teaching effectively.
I am a teacher in Florida.
The government has scolded me for failing to prepare my students to compete in thistechnologically driven world. Students in Japan are much more equipped to think progressively with regards to technology. Each day, I turn on the two computers afforded me and pray for a miracle. I apply for grants to gain new access to technology and compete with thousands of other teachers who are hoping for the same opportunity. I battle for the right to use the computer lab and feel fortunate if my students get to see it once a week. Why don’t they know how to use technology? The system’s budget refuses to include adequate technology in classrooms; instead, we are continually told that dry erase boards and overhead projectors are more than enough.
I am a teacher in Florida.
I am expected to differentiate my instruction to meet the needs of my 24 learners. Their IQs span 65 points, and I must account for every shade of gray. I must challenge those above grade level, and I must remediate those below. I am but one person within the classroom, but I must meet the needs of every learner. I generate alternate assessments to accommodate for these differences. My higher math students receive challenge work, and my lower math students receive one-on-one instruction. I create most of these resources myself, after-hours and on weekends. I print these resources so that every child in my room has access to the same knowledge, delivered at their specific level. Yesterday, the school printer that I share with another teacher ran out of ink. Now I must either purchase a new ink cartridge for $120, or I cannot print anything from my computer for the remainder of the year. What choice am I left with?
I am a teacher in Florida.
I went to school at one of the best universities in the country and completed undergraduate and graduate programs in Education. I am a master of my craft. I know what effective teaching entails, and I know how to manage the curriculum and needs of the diverse learners in my full inclusion classroom. I graduated at the top of my class and entered my first year of teaching confident and equipped to teach effectively. Sadly, I am now being micro-managed, with my instruction dictated to me. I am expected to mold “out-of-the-box” thinkers while I am forced to stay within the lines of the instructional plans mandated by policy-makers. I am told what I am to teach and when, regardless of the makeup of my students, by decision-makers far away from my classroom or even my school. The message comes in loud and clear that a group of people in business suits can more effectively determine how to provide exemplary instruction than I can. My expertise is waved away, disregarded, and overlooked. I am treated like a day-laborer, required to follow the steps mapped out for me, rather than blaze a trail that I deem more appropriate and effective for my students—students these decision-makers have never met.
I am a teacher in Florida.
I am overworked, underpaid, and unappreciated by most. I spend my weekends, my vacations, and my summers preparing for school, and I constantly work to improve my teaching to meet the needs of my students. I am being required to do more and more, and I’m being compensated less and less.
I am a teacher in Florida, not for the pay or the hardships, the disregard or the disrespect; I am a teacher in Florida because I am given the chance to change lives for the good, to educate and elevate the minds and hearts of my students, and to show them that success comes in all shapes and sizes, both in the classroom and in the community.
I am a teacher in Florida today, but as I watch many of my incredible, devoted coworkers being forced out of the profession as a matter of survival, I wonder: How long will I be able to remain a teacher in Florida?

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First Day of School Activities

It's almost that time again! Here are two activities that I use on the first day of school: 1. Summer Vacation Poem and 2.Student Questionnaire:

Click Here to download

Monday, August 9, 2010

Metaphors and Similes Worksheet

 Follow me on Facebook:

I searched and I searched and I couldn't find a simple worksheet on metaphors and similes, so I created one. I hope this is what you are looking for!

Metaphors and Similes Worksheet

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

I Remember and I Miss: Poetry Activity

Here's a poetry activity you can try:

Have students to write a poem in which they use imagery to describe a place.

For the prewrite, students can write down the familiar smells, sights, tastes, and sounds of a particular place.

Click here for an example poem


Here's a new poster I created.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Tomorrow Will Be Better- Poster

Whenever I have a crazy day or what I deem as an unproductive day, I always tell myself: Tomorrow will be better.
The hope of tomorrow is a powerful thing.

Flying Home from Chicago: A moment in time poetry activity

Here's a poem I wrote about a turbulent flight that I experienced some years ago. The poem only describes about a minute of that flight.

This poem encourages student to think of a brief moment in their lives and write a poem about it.

Click here for poem:

Click here for other poetry activities:

Thursday, June 10, 2010

A Beautiful Man: A story about teen domestic violence

Click Here To Download Story

This is a narrative about a young woman who becomes aware that her best male friend abuses his girlfriend.

I was inspired to publish this when one of my female students declared that Rhianna must have done something to make Chris Brown mad. Needless to say, I was dumbfounded. How do you rationalize this with a 14 year old child?

This is definately a discussion that needs to be had. It also comes with a great variety of questions: literary analysis, literary terms, character analysis, and personal response.

This is not the the final draft so be ware of TYPO's. You can use this as an EDITING lesson as well.

I hope this sparks a meaningful discussion between you and your students.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

All My Single Teachers: Have a Great Summer

Five Ways for Single Teachers to Have a Great Summer!

As teachers, we all look forward to hearing that last bell of the year. There is a certain euphoria as we lock up our classrooms and say goodbye for the summer. However, as a single person, if you don’t have a plan, then that euphoria can soon turn into boredom and depression.
There are several reasons why the summer can be challenging for single teachers:
1. During the school year, you are crazy busy, and you don’t even have time to think about certain issues or problems. So during the summer, when you have more down time, you are forced to deal with certain issues, such as sick parent, an alienated sibling, or a break up. During the school year, we are so busy that we can avoid dealing with these issues by throwing ourselves into our work.
2. You are used to being needed, in demand. Even though we complain that we are being pulled in 100 different directions during the school year, when that demand for our attention suddenly stops, we may feel like we don’t have a purpose, that we aren’t needed.
3. You’re on vacation, but your friends and family are not. Suddenly, you’re free to travel, shop, and go to the movies, but you look around and your friends and family are working. They may not want to hang out late with you because they have to get up and go to work. And, even if you have teacher friends, if they are married, they will have family obligations.

So how can you ensure that you have a great summer and come back in the fall happy and refreshed? Well I’m glad you asked.
1. Decide on at least two projects that you will complete by the end of the summer.
For example, I am determined to have a body like Rhiana by August, so I hired a personal trainer. I am also writing short stories and working on my blog.
You may consider publishing a workbook, an educational book, or a novel. Check out this blog on self-publishing:
2. Make sure that you have a plan for each day. I try to write down at least five things that I intend to accomplish each day. I also set my alarm clock for 8:00 a.m. each morning. (I am not saying I don’t hit the snooze button 5 times, but it’s a start.)
3. Volunteer This is a great way to learn new skills and meet new people. I found the following sight to be helpful:
4. Set up lunch lunch dates with your family and friends who are not on vacation. It is a great way to reconnect.
5. If you are dating someone, don’t be clingy because you are not working. It is easy to ruin a relationship (especially a new one) if you are constantly calling your significant other and expecting him/her to entertain you. Continue to be the strong independent woman (or man) that he/she fell in love with. And if you just got out of an unhealthy relationship, avoid contacting him/her just because you are bored or lonely.

The bottom line is RELAX and ENJOY your summer. The fall will be here before you know it!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The beauty of the vocabulary story!

This for all of my fellow English teachers. If you are like most English teachers, you give out a weekly vocabulary list. The vocabulary story is a great activity that you can do, and it takes no planning on your part. It's also a great activity that the students can do with a sub if you ever need emergency lesson plans.

Well here it is, simple and to the point:

1. You must use ten vocabulary words.
2. You must underline the words.
3. Your story must have at least FOUR paragraphs.
4. You must include: (place literary term here) (This step is optional. If you are working on a particular literary term or concept, you can ask the students to include it in the story. For example: dynamic character, static character, verbal irony etc.

Hope this makes your life a little easier. Happy Lesson Planning!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter

Here are the lyrics to my favorite Easter song:

Go ahead drive the nails in My hands, Laugh at Me where you stand. Go ahead, and say it isn't Me, The day will come when you will see,
'Cause I'll rise again. There's no pow'r on earth can tie Me down. Yes, I'll rise again, Death can't keep Me in the ground.
Go ahead mock My name, My love for you is still the same. Go ahead and bury Me, But very soon I will be free.
'Cause I'll rise again. There's no pow'r on earth can tie Me down. Yes, I'll rise again, Death can't keep Me in the ground.
Go ahead, and say I'm dead and gone, But you will see that you were wrong. Go ahead, and try to hide the Son, But all will see that I'm the One.
"Cause I'll come again. There's no pow'r on earth can keep it back. Yes, I'll come again; Come to take My people back Yes I'll come again; Come to take My people back.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Spring Break Poem

Hope you had or are having a wonderful spring break! Here's a poem for YOU and YOUR STUDENTS to complete when you get back.
I suggest you do one as an example, and then have the kids do them. For some reason, kids like hearing about their teacher's lives outside of the's like that can't quite fathom that you actually have a life (such that it is in my case LOL) outside of school.
Anyway, here's the activity-- Spring Break Poem

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Scholarship Recommendation Letter Template

It's that time of year. Kids will be asking.....

Check out this article that I wrote for EHOW; it includes a template too!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Would you eat School Lunch??

When I think of cafeteria food, I think of pizza squares and chocolate milk. Or BBQ sandwiches(people from the south know what I'm talking about) and chocolate milk. OR hot dogs with thick cold chili and of course chocolate milk.

I wonder why they serve everything with milk? I mean where else except at school, would you ever eat a hamburger and milk. Okay, I am going to stop rambling and get to the point. And there is a point!

There is this teacher who decided to eat school lunch for a whole year in order to bring attention to the unhealthy food that our children are eating. You should check out her blog:

Saturday, February 27, 2010

I really need some counseling!

This is a true story. At the end of a long day, I walked into the guidance counselor's office, plopped down in a chair and said, (jokingly ), "I really need some counseling," and she replied, "Me too, let's go together."

Friday, February 12, 2010

Looking for Change

As my second period (9th grade) class came in, I was digging in my purse looking for some change for a Diet Coke. I desperately wanted a soda, but I was coming up about 50 cents short. As my students came in, they seemed shocked that I was looking for change. They seemed shock that I was human.

I looked up to see about three or four of them gathered around my desk in amazement. One of the students declared Ms. Scott’s looking for money. Then they started talking amongst themselves (you know like they do in a Broadway play.) They were “singing” “Ms. Scott’s looking for money. Ms. Scott’s looking for Money. Ms. Scott’s looking for money.”

The next thing I knew, Janene, an adorable curly haired almond colored girl, (who I always thought couldn’t care whether I lived or died) threw two shiny quarters on my desk.

I really really wanted to take the money, and for a split second I thought about taking it. However, I smiled and said, “Thank you sweetheart, but I don’t take money from students. But that is so kind of you.” I then gave her a red Starburst.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

What Does Diligent Mean?

A few years ago, I was passing out progress reports in my 11th grade English class. When I gave Dallas his progress report, I commented that he was doing a good job. Dallas is a good ole country boy who has good higher-order thinking skills; he has the common sense and quickness of a hunter. Dallas, who has a syrupy-thick Tennessee accent, has the type of intelligence that can often be overlooked in the traditional classroom.

Teacher: Dallas you are doing a really good job in class.

Dallas: Can you call my daddy and tell him I’m a, uh, diligent worker. Cause one time Mrs. Jackson called my daddy and told him I was a diligent worker. I don’t know what diligent means, but when Mrs. Jackson told my daddy that, it made him real happy. (Pauses for a moment) What does diligent mean?

Monday, February 1, 2010

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Addition Workbook

Addition Workbook

This addition workbook includes worksheets for addition facts 0-9, as well as flashcards and a hundred board.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

$25 Restaurant Gift Certificate for $8.00

I recently got this offer in my email because I signed up for a Borders Reward Card (It's absolutely free to sign up.)

Anyway, it looks like a pretty good deal. Borders also has other perks like discounts on movies and clothes!

Check it out: