Author Archives: krystalmills

The Write Genre: Activities and Mini-Lessons to Promote Writing

If you want help with organizing your writing program and teaching genres of writing more effectively, I HIGHLY recommend,Write Genre, The: Classroom Activities and Mini-Lessons That Promote Writing with Clarity, Style, and Flashes of Brilliance. I WISH that I had found it at the beginning of last year, as improving writing instruction in my classroom was something that I actively worked on. Better late than never, I suppose!

I love this book for a few reasons:

1.  Very readable and practical with lessons that I can take and use NOW

2. Suggestions are provided for assessment (6 Traits of writing)

3. It covers Personal Memoir, Fictional Narrative, Informational Writing, Opinion Pieces, Procedural Writing, Poetry and Multi-Genre chapters – basically everything I need to teach in Grade 7 LA! 

It’s a perfect fit for me, and the curriculum that I am expected to teach. Although I really like our relatively new resources in Grade 7 for Language Arts, I find that they do lack in writing, which is why I was working more on it last year (and why I wish I had found this book LAST summer – would have saved me bunches of time)!

If you have been looking for help with teaching writing, I strongly suggest having a look at this resource! I am so lucky to have such a great staff – someone recommended it and we were even able to purchase multiple copies for other staff who were interested (that’s how I ended up finding the book- lucky, I know).

Do you have any titles or websites to share that assist with writing in the classroom? I’m always looking for great mentor texts (of what to do or what not to do in a piece) and student samples! Please comment if you have some to share!

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LOVE These Clips! A Simple Way to Organize Your Papers

Just bought these for next year at Scholar’s Choice and even though I probably overpaid, these clips are exactly what I’ve been looking for to organize my paperwork. My desk is not always the neatest, and I really think that these fancy shmancy clips may do the trick! I know how crafty some of you are and it would be so simple to “bedazzle” a couple of plain clips for your own needs. I bought 2 sets of 2″ clips, but I think I’ll try giving some of my plain clips a facelift with some snazzy new labels – for classes/subject/permission slips etc. I also think that the “To Be Filed” clip may be a little dangerous for me… Again, showing my nerdiness to be excited about binder clips (in July, no less) but I have never seen these before and I think that they just may save my organizational life :)

Organizing papers

My first Back to School Purchase! Too early? Naaaa!

What’s your favorite way to keep your desk tidy? jamberry nails giveaway

Yay! More Math!

It’s the little things that make you happy – and also make you realize confirm that you are a bit of a nerd. I get to take on more math next year, having grade 7 and 8 math classes as well as being a support person in one of those classrooms. To have this new curriculum guide and text home with me this summer just makes me smile (I will also continue to teach LA, as well).

math rocks

Math is my favorite and always has been, and so I’m very excited to think about how I may engage and teach my students – the students that I just said good-bye to in grade 7. Won’t they be surprised to see me, again! Hopefully it will be a happy surprise! What I am most excited about, is the fact that there is a new project coming into place in September for grade 7 and 8 math. It includes a “boot camp” package of materials and a lot of emphasis is put on having basic numeracy skills before getting started with the actual grade level curriculum. Every year kids come in who don’t yet know how to multiply or divide, don’t understand place value or fractions etc. This boot camp should help to fill some of those gaps with direct instruction on these skills and so I’m excited that it’s actually built in to our year plan! A pacing guide was given to us as well, and an example of one of four formative assessments that we will have access to next year to make sure that our students are grasping the foundational learnings that have been identified as most important for the grade level. It just all seems so organized and I love the sound of anything that may work better than what I did the previous year, so I’m in!

I say again, Yay! More Math!

How do you feel about your assignment for next year? Or, are you still waiting?

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Surviving the Chaos Blog Hop

Keeping students engaged (especially middle school students) can be a challenge to say the least. Here’s a no prep idea that you can try in that last month, or on those last few days of school to tame the chaos!

Have your students write a letter to themselves in the future – for their “high school graduation”. What would they say to themselves? What advice would they give themselves? What do they imagine themselves doing? What are the next steps that they are about to take in their lives? What challenges could they remind themselves of (things they’ve already persevered through) or fun times that they’ve had, but may not have thought about in years? What inspirational words would they share?

As an extension, students could also create a collage or piece of artwork of what they hope for themselves in the future.

If you’re in a situation where it would be possible to actually give these letters back to students on their grade 12 graduation night, how cool would that be? 

letter to grad

 

Thanks for stopping by! Have fun with the rest of the hop!

 

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And the Winner Is…

#43 Beth Foose ~ Congratulations!

 

marble blue

Beth’s Choice ~ Marble Me Blue

If you would like to give Jamberry a try or just want to see what’s available – check out my link: http://krystalmills.jamberrynails.net/ 

Thanks for playing, everyone!

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Time to Pamper Yourself! Jamberry Nail Wraps Giveaway!

jamberry nails giveaway

Have a special occasion coming up? Or maybe your daughter has prom this year!

Do you smell that? Take a deep breath….Ahhh…..Yep, that’s the smell of summer. Well – the smell of “almost-summer”. The school year is winding down, we’re thinking about how we’ll be spending those glorious summer months with our family and friends – it’s a thing of beauty! You’ve done so much work this year – heck we all have! And we deserve some TLC, for sure! In the spirit of all things “summer” to come, I’ve put together a little “Teacher Appreciation” giveaway, if you will. Of course, this one’s just for the ladies (sorry guys, although you should enter for that special lady in your life).  

I just became an Independent Consultant with Jamberry Nails (super simple to do, by the way). Jamberry Nail wraps  come in 350+ designs – I’m sure you’ve seen them come across your feeds already! Just to be clear – they’re not false or press-on nails, nor are they nail stickers. They are vinyl nail wraps that adhere to your nail when heat is applied. The best part? They last 1 – 2 weeks on your fingers and up to 6 weeks on your toes and they don’t chip like nail polish does. 

So with the summer season fast approaching, upcoming events like weddings, family reunions, and manys-a-day lounging on the beach (a major job perk) why wouldn’t you want to take a few minutes for a little pampering, after the year you’ve put in! Think of it as a well-deserved pat on the back just from me :)   

So, on to the giveaway!

Click here to enter to win your own set of Jamberry Nail Wraps!

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Almost time to kick back and really relax!

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It’ll soon be time to kick those shoes off! Don’t you want your toes to be pretty?

 

Good luck everyone and happy pampering!jamberry nails giveaway

 

 

5 Top Educational Apps For Middle School Teachers

We all know how important it is to integrate technology into our classrooms when we can. That’s why I’m so happy to have George Campbell, a freelance writer specializing in various topics including education, to supply me with a helpful blog post on 5 TOP apps for middle school teachers! Please be sure to add your own favourites by commenting on this post!

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1- Science Glossary (Free)

Science Glossary is an app which offers students a comprehensive glossary of scientific terms, as well as a collection of succinct biographies of famous scientists. Simply enter a scientific term and the app provides an easy to understand definition as well as additional scientific terms related to the topic which was searched. Teachers and students can also use the app to connect with the educational website; Vision Learning. The website promotes itself as a “free digital resource for teaching and learning science”, so all you need to get started is an Internet connection! This combination of the Science Glossary app and the Vision Learning website enables both teachers and students to access detailed science learning modules in order to further supplement studies and stimulate scientific curiosity!

  top educational apps for middle school teachers                     

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2- GoSkyWatch Planetarium – the astronomy star guide ($3.99)

With the GoSkyWatch app students can explore the universe from the palm of their hand! This app presents over 200 high resolution images of planets and deep sky objects in day, sidereal and time lapse animation. Students can immerse themselves within images of constellations, boundaries and star patterns as well as comprehensive information on the various planets, stars, comets, constellations, galaxies and DSO ephemeris data. This app also informs students of the current moon phase calendar as well as sunrise and sunset times, enabling them to extensively expand their knowledge of the universe.

 

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3-Mental Maths (Free)

Mental Maths is an app is created by educational agency Maths Doctor. They provide a series of educational resources which are centered around the principle that; “every leaner is an individual with their own needs, abilities, strengths and weaknesses”. Subsequently, both their website and app endeavour to offer children multiple methods through which they can enjoy expanding their mathematical knowledge. To use the Mental Maths app, students simply select a maths topic and are presented with a related question. There is no time limit whilst they work out the solution in their head, then swipe the screen to reveal the answer. If students get the answer wrong, they are able to try again as many times as they wish until they confidently understand the mathematical principle. What’s more, the app hosts a built-in percentage tracker so that teachers can monitor their students’ progress and challenge their newly developed knowledge with an end of topic test. As a result, this simple yet creative app offers a fun and interactive medium through which your students can overcome any mathematical obstacles!

 top educational apps for middle school teachers

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4-History: Maps of the World (Free)

History: Maps of the World provides a great resource for developing your students’ historical and geographical knowledge. Using the app, you can gain exclusive access to 178 historical maps from across the world, all of which display the source of each map as well as highlighting any geopolitical and geographical shifts which have occurred over time. Within the app, maps are grouped by category or era, or alternatively can be located via a keyword search. Each map is accompanied by a wealth of information which details its rich historical significance. This facilitates an innovatively visual method through which you can educate your students about major historical, social and regional changes.