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A Back to School Resource Linky: Secondary Edition!

It's almost time to meet and greet your classes for the new school year, and the Secondary Sellers of TeachersPayTeachers would like to help you be prepared!  
Jump through this linky to find our best selling resources and our prize picks to help you start off the school year with the perfect tools in your teacher tool box.
At my store, Michele Luck's Social Studies, you can find everything you need for the Middle or High School Social Studies Classroom.  And my latest products are quickly becoming my best sellers, helping you tackle PRIMARY SOURCES in your classroom.  Bundles are available for World History, to discover the Supreme Court Cases, to evaluate the Legislative changes, for Early American History, and the decades of Modern U.S. History.
More importantly, you need to be prepared for the school year with a lesson and unit planning template that will help you organize, meet the standards, and be ready to engage your students throughout the year.

Now take a look at other great resources from the Secondary Sellers of TpT!  I'm sure you'll find great ideas and resources to set your year off on the right foot.

appy Teaching!

TeachersPayTeachers Back to School Sale Secondary Seller Link-up

It's time for the TeachersPayTeachers Back to School Sale!  Sellers participating are offering a set percentage of up to 20% off of select products, and with the TpT Coupon Code BTS15, you can save an additional 10% your total purchase. 

The sale will run August 3rd - 4th, so be sure to shop for all your back to school resources before the sale is over!

Start shopping with the participating sellers linked up below:

Top Secondary Teachers on TpT Back to School Sale!

We love back to school time here in SECONDARY! Join us to celebrate with the TpT Sale, August 3rd - 4th and get those lessons you need for up to 28% off! 
Check out the top secondary teachers below for some great deals!

Monday Mapping: Digging Up History

You are now challenged to teach students the Common Core Standards, yet you have the same resources you've always had while your students are drastically different than those of the past.  What do you do?

In today's classroom, it is absolutely key that your lessons be engaging.  Students can no longer sit still for an hour (or more) listening to teacher-directed instruction.  They must be involved.  They must be moving.  They must be drawn to participate!

One thing a teacher must remember is that your students are still kids.  Elementary, middle or high, they are all still kids, who just love to play.  I can't tell you how many high school football players I have heard squeal with joy when they saw I planned to read to them at my carpet time station or when they realized we were doing "one of those things you do" in my class that day.

So here's my fun and engaging idea of the day:

 Transform your classroom into an Archeological Dig!  This can be used in ANY classroom with any subject area.  Create the dig, design (or purchase) activity cards, bury the cards, and let the activity begin.  What could be better for a cross-discipline lesson?  Just think about the possibilities!
  1. Create a square frame in your classroom or outside.  Use wood, cardboard, or any materials available that will hold the structure.  Make the frame as large as you desire, based on the number of students you will have digging at a time.
  2. Fill the frame with dig material.  I often used shredded paper I collected from the Guidance Office shredder!  You could use sand if you are really daring, but I would suggest something more long-lasting and reusable.  Another easy use item is (uncooked) beans or rice.  Scoop it all up at the end and place it all in a big crate for the next time you dig!
  3. Quadrant off the dig site.  You could have this step complete before the activity, or make it a math lesson for students to complete.
  4. Assign your students to teams and provide directions for the activity.  It is a really good idea to reinforce your classroom rules at this point, reminding students about safety and fair play.
  5. Allow students to dig!  Use dig cards that provide information or pose problems for students to solve.  Encourage students to work together in their assigned teams to complete task cards or to discuss the information they gather.  
  6. Wrap-up the activity by reviewing the content and asking appropriate questions for content analysis and evaluation.
  7. Clean up!  Involve your students in this step.  Its a valuable lessons all students should learn before they go off to college!  :)
Chinese Dynasties Archeological Dig Product Link
American Colonies Archeological Dig Product Link

Easy, Content-filled, and ENGAGING!   What could be better for a spring activity?!

Happy Teaching!

Monday Mapping: Getting Back in the Routine to Work

Summer vacation was wonderful! We traveled the U.S. and Europe, and wrapped it up with a super visit with my daughter and grandbaby! But now, it's time to get back to work.

Now, take into consideration that I always think about my teaching and lessons through my vacations. Each location we visited gives me new ideas for the classroom, and sparks of lessons come to me frequently as we drive from interstate to interstate in the "Great American Heat Wave!" Yet, as I sit down to begin planning for the school year, I am at a complete loss.  For. A. Moment!

Where do I start? What do I need to do? Where in the world will I find the time to get everything done before the school year begins?

Don't Panic! Don't Stress! I know the answers to these questions!

While I could go back and take a refresher course on preparing for the school year from my book, A Lesson Plan for Teachers, I think instead I will just wing it from memory!

1. Get my work space organized. This will not include the desperately needed dusting of the work space (having been gone for 31 days!), but I have moved everything I need to one area. In my swivel desk chair I can rotate to find books, resources, and anything else that I should require for my planning.

2. Clean out my email. One of my greatest distractions is my email. I cannot stand to see that little "new mail" icon pop up on my laptop without having to check it immediately. Seriously, it could be something important! So, clean out the email and take away the distraction!

3. Set up my curriculum maps where I can easily see them. This is vital to keep me on task and focused on the classes I want to tackle. More detailed information on curriculum mapping can be found in my older blogs, and I have a great template on Tpt for those just starting this process. It is an ABSOLUTE MUST before any other planning can take place!

4. Access my standards and assessments. Despite my confidence that I know these to the tee and can recite them in my sleep, it is still important to make sure I have them on hand to check myself in the planning process. Use them as a checklist and make sure you are hitting the mark with your great ideas.

5. Plan. Just do it. I like to start with my unit plan template, counting out the allotted days for the content to be covered. I also check my school calendar for any possible interruptions, and then I jump into the daily organization and the creative aspect of my planning. At this point, if you have set yourself up well, it will just flow. Before you know it, you will have a unit on your desk, filled with great daily lessons and activities for your students.

In the end, the task is not as overwhelming as it seems. It just takes the initiative to jump from that plateau of fear and intimidation and to tackle the tasks you know you must do to make your school year a great one!

We are just weeks away... Here We go!

Happy Planning!

Bright Ideas Blog Hop: Who Do You Know?

Years ago, new teachers could walk into a school building and begin teaching on the first day of school without any assistance or introduction. All that has changed!

With the ever changing requirements for teaching and the increasing demands for teachers to include a variety of teaching styles and methods, you now need to know your school and your co-workers before that first day. It is, therefore, vital for you new teachers (or those new to buildings) to get there NOW and begin networking.

So, who do you need to know?

1. Find your MEDIA/TECHNOLOGY COORDINATOR. This person will be your best friend if you have incorporated technology into your lessons (YES- There should be technology in your lessons!). The building tech person will have your gradebook access information, your access to the projectors, dvd players, mobile labs, etc. They will also be the one you call for HELP when you are in the middle of a lesson and the whole system goes down. It happens!

2. Meet your SECRETARY/BOOKKEEPER/RECEPTIONIST. You may have the idea that this person is not important in your life, but that is a very bad assumption. They are your lifeline to resources, classroom materials, club schedules, and parents! Your office staff will help you when no one else is available and they will always be there with a kind smile to help you get through the toughest of days.

3. Beg for time with your ASSISTANT PRINCIPALS or CURRICULUM FACILITATORS. These roles are sometimes new in the buildings these days, but they are vital and often overwhelming (my husband was an assistant principal and was always running!). In the old days, the principal took care of everything between the Central Office and the classroom teachers. Now, the principals pass those obligations down to their assistants. So for curriculum or discipline questions, these are your "go to" people. Make them your friends and allies!

4. Know and love your CUSTODIANS. If you've ever watched The Breakfast Club, you know that the custodians are the eyes and ears of the building. They know everything. More importantly, they take care of your classroom. I very much appreciate my custodians and the work they do. It is an incredible job, and I try to do all I can to make sure they are not stressed with extra messes and mishaps. One simple practice - make sure your last class picks up anything from the floor and deposits it in the trash can on the way out the door. Simple, but significant!

From The Breakfast Club - a great movie to watch as you prepare for the new year!
5. Collaborate with your COUNTERPARTS. Find the other teachers in the building that teach the same students. Work together to create interdisciplinary lessons and talk with one another to share effective strategies in classroom management for your "challenging" students. More importantly, these teachers will know and understand your specific stresses like no other in the building. Be each others' sounding board for ideas, and share each others' stresses to make your year go by without a serious catch!

Finally, find other NEW TEACHERS. If your school does not have a new teacher co-hort or mentoring program, create your own. You need to work with one another and share the stress of being a newbie! But don't be the downer in the group. Just remember - your first year (or first year in a new building) is temporary. Next year, it will be your second, and by then, you will be an old pro!

If you like these ideas, you might love my products!  Please follow me on TeachersPayTeachers, Pinterest, and Twitter! For more bright ideas for other bloggers, please browse through the link-up below for those in your subject and grade level!  Thanks for visiting!

Happy Teaching!

Go to the bathroom first!

Ok, so I really could have titled this more appropriately as "They really do appreciate you!" or something else sentimental, but the bathroom part is what I'm sure I will remember as 
I laugh about the encounter years from now...

Recently, I went back to my old neighborhood. My husband and I were taking our evening walk, and I desperately needed to use the restroom (those of you over 40 may understand this!). We had picked up the pace, and were power walking back toward the house where we were staying. Then... with no warning, she came at me!

One of my former students was out in her front year with her boyfriend. Before I knew it, she was leaping at me and throwing her arms around me in a giant bear hug. This was followed by her pulling and tugging on me to show me to her boyfriend as her "favorite teacher!"

Now, don't misunderstand. I loved every minute of this encounter. She went on to tell me how much she loved my class and my teaching and how I impacted her life! She called out her mother, and we all had a wonderful conversation for the next 30 minutes until we realized the sun was setting and we had to get back.

But... I desperately had to go to the restroom! So, after our wonderful meeting, I almost ran back to the house with my husband trailing behind, laughing at me the whole way.

Now, my sentimental side sees so much more to this. She really appreciated all I did to reach her and teach her and push her! She is headed to a wonderful college and she feels prepared because of me! She was a wonderful student, yet of all the teachers she had in her academic career, she places me at the top! I am so lucky to have had such a wonderful student. I am so lucky to be in a profession where I will continue to teach and reach, and hopefully inspire, my students each year! I am appreciated! I am valued!

But still, my humorous side says, "Wow! I really needed to go to the bathroom! And there were a few moments there where I almost thought I would... right then!" :) Oh, the perils of teaching!

Happy Teaching!