LAST Post for this blog

Don't worry! It won't be the last post for ME!  I've decided for branding purposes to continue my blogging journey through my new blog .

I hope you all can join me there! Ciao!

First Days of English Blog Hop + Giveaway!

I have come together with the amazing Ms. F and eleven other secondary ELA teachers to bring you what  we teach in the first few days of ELA instruction. This post is going to be SUPER bittersweet because it will be my LAST post as a secondary English teacher. :( and :)  I will be back in first grade next year, and I am so excited and happy about the transition. But, before I get into that, I want to discuss my first few days of instruction as an ELA teacher.

This past year I was teaching secondary English and ESL to students that were reading at a 3rd-5th grade level.  I know! It is sad and kind of crazy! What happened at school, at home, in their lives so that my students are only reading at an elementary school level?

I was in for an even more rude awakening. I realized that I had 18 year olds in anticipation to teach the most beautiful curriculum from Facing History for the novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, but my students weren't able to read the literature! How could I teach high school ELA?! Well, I took a couple of cues from Ms. Erin Gruwell and decided to get to know my students on a more personal level via writing.

So, as my wonderful students shook my hand, gave me a high five, or waved at me to get into the door, I gave them a "Do it Now" activity right as they walked in.  They were to walk in and write a letter to me and explain who they were.

They had something to do as I got myself adjusted in class, and I also got what I wanted from them.  This letter alone was the best thing I did because my students shared the most amazing things to me. I didn't have to poke and prod.  They told me who they were, where they were from, what they liked/didn't like, their dreams, aspirations, and goals. It felt as if they had been waiting this whole time to be asked to just write about themselves.

The crafty teacher that I am, I also used these as their writing samples. I was able to hone in on their writing strengths and weaknesses as I was reading and jotting down notes. My elementary school training helped me identify those teaching points and create mini-lessons that helped my students become better readers and writers.

If you are interested in getting this lovely printable, you can find it in my Back to School Fun Activities for Secondary from my TPT store.

Now, don't think that you're done with me just yet. Back to school ELA is my favorite because there is so much that can be done! I already explained my number 1 item on list, but the second one might be even more exciting! If you think I only like creating goals for myself, then you are mistaken! I love to bring the idea of goals to my students' attention from day 1! This one is going to be highly loved because it is a FREEBIE! Yes, you read right!

I love writing, but sometimes I like to have my students do something interactive.  This flip book is great for my students because they get to have fun with five of their goals.  Creating and planning for goals is not the easiest thing, but this activity breaks it down for the students.

On each page of the flip book, the students are asked to answer the following questions. What is their goal, how do they plan on achieving their goal, and how long will it take?  My students loved it, and I did too! After those two activities, I was truly able to understand who my students were and how I could reach them! I had my work cut out for me, but MY goal was to get my students' reading level to improve.  :) If you're interested in this FREEBIE then you can snatch it from here!

Now, for the fun stuff:

Enter to win a MEGA BUNDLE of awesome ELA and back to school materials.  Here's what you'll receive:

From Reflecting Mrs. Liana "Back to School Activities and Resources!"

From Brain Leaders and Learners' Ellen Weber "50 MI Task Cards- The Fault in Our Stars !"
From B's Book Love "Comparison of Lamb to Slaughter and Little Red Riding Hood by Roald Dahl!"
From the Creative English Classroom "Greek and Latin Roots Scrapbook with Examples & Definitions" AND ""Editable Bokeh Binder Covers and Spines!
From Brynn at The Literary Maven a $10 shopping spree to her store!
From Jackie at Real Learning in Room 213 her "ELA Poster Bundle!"
From Kim at OCBeachTeacher her " American Voices Through Art:  Reading & Creating Non-Print Text! "
From Kovescence of the Mind her "Parts of Speech- Grammar Units: Identify, Diagram, Review, and Test!"
From The Daring English Teacher a $10 shopping spree in her store!
From Melissa at Making Meaning with Melissa "Sassy Sentences: Sentence Variety Using Mentor Sentences!"
From Lauralee at The Language Arts Classroom " Bell Ringers and Grammar Errors for August"
From me at Ms. Fuller's Teaching Adventures my "Back to School Bundle!"

Making Meaning with Melissa, B's Book Love, Kovescence of the Mind, and I have also teamed up with Ms. F to give away a $25 gift card to Teachers Pay Teachers! Get in on this awesomness! (I know...totally not a word...humor me) #schoolgetsmeexcited

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Go ahead and read other amazing teachers' first lesson adventures!

To a happy, new school year!

Here is the script for blogger blogs for the link up:

Back to School Summer Snapshot Ellison Education

Hey hey everybody! Happy Monday! You probably didn't know, but I have been blogging for Ellison Education for a couple of months now.  I know! So exciting! I love their All Star Die Machine and all of their dies! I feel so blessed to be given the opportunity to do this for them!

Well, today I am blogging over at the Ellison Education Blog . I was able to create an awesome Back to School Bulletin Board activity with their dies, and I wrote out a tutorial on how to accomplish it! Check it out, and don't forget to send your love by commenting!

End of Year Reflections + TEACHER GIVEAWAY

It's been too long! The end of the semester is always a busy time with all the last minute assessments, CAHSEE testing, STAR testing, helping seniors complete their portfolios, graduation, and so many more! It's  been such an awesome experience for me because it is the first graduation I will be attending and helping with at my current school. That's probably why it's such a busy time for me because I'm learning the ropes at the new school I am at.  Thankfully, I have an amazing teaching staff that supports their new teachers.

As I write this, I am filled with such an overwhelming expansion in my heart because I am so pleased with how spectacular this year has gone by.  When I was teaching elementary, it was great and all, but seeing my CAHSEE prep students pass their CAHSEE and be eligible to graduate high school has been the absolute best feeling.  They've come up to me saying that they had been taking the CAHSEE for years, and my class was what helped them get through. As a teacher, I know that students can achieve anything when they put their heart to it.  That is why I believe that my students did all the work.

They come into my class broken from the outside world.  Their babies have been sick, they have been homeless, their Probation Officer's been on their case, they haven't been able to see their doctor due to no insurance.  The problems are plentiful, but when they walk into class, their world changes. They want to learn, want to succeed, and want to go on to the next step.  This is what makes my job so special.

Since I am filled with so much joy, I wanted to share it with the world with a giveaway! The lucky winner will be receiving the contents of the May Very Busy Box by Blair Turner Paper and a $20 TPT gift card.  The winner will be announced in 10 Days on the blog and Instagram.
The May Very Busy Box includes a gold facet box from creative co-op, brass turtle desk clip from oh, hello friend, gift bows from merci merci, screen wipes from well-kept, page dots from girl of all work, adhesive point tabs from girl of all work, paper goods from blair turner paper, all out of groceries pad from knock knock, and a buaggu 3D zip

What's in my Teacher's Bag + Teacher Talk Youtube Video

Hi everybody!

We are 27 days away from the semester ending at our school.  It's been a pretty stressful time, with all the testing, wrapping up, and getting the seniors ready for graduation.  I decided to make a silly, fun video for my youtube channel this time. That is why I went with a What's in my Teacher's Bag video.  I had a lot of fun making it!   Let me know how it is. :)

Older Kids End of Year Classroom Awards: FIRST 24 HOURS FREEBIE

It is almost the end of the year! Can you believe it?! This transition from elementary to high school has been one of the most amazing experiences, and I can't wait until next year.  But, before I tell you about my amazing plans for next year, I wanted to send out a FREEBIE to all my wonderful readers. It's only going to be a freebie for the first 24 hours, so make sure you get it in time! I would also love to get any feedback and comments on the TPT website! :)

I wanted to create classroom awards that I could hand out to my high school students, but many of the awards I found on TPT were too whimsical. I was afraid my students would think they were too childish, so I created some that they would enjoy receiving.  I made the awards appropriate, so they could even put it on their resumes.  :)

Teacher Blues: Just One of Those Days

If you're a teacher, then you know that teaching is one of the most gratifying positions in the world. In this position you get to teach lessons, but most importantly, you get to inspire, encourage, and illuminate.

Unfortunately, every day is not like that.  Sometimes, you have days that are days that should be reserved for the worst people in the world.  To go further, it might even be just one hour or one period that makes that day horrible.  I am writing this from experience from TODAY!  Usually, my days are wonderful! Today, was a little different though.

It was my last period of the whole week, and my students were already fighting with one another with their voices raised even before I stepped into the room.  They were so heated that I couldn't separate them.  Immediately, I rushed to get someone that could help me, but that one period will always stay with me forever. Everyone eventually did their work, made up, and went home.

Everyone but me! I still felt really bad.  I needed to figure out how to calm down from all the excitement, so I decided to make a  list of things that I could do to help me get through this type of day.  Of course, I love sharing with all of you, so you get the list as well! I hope it helps, and let me know if you had any crazy periods/days like the one I just had.
1. Reflect, reflect, and reflect. If you don't already have a journal, then get one because it is so important to jot down things that happen in the classroom. When you separate yourself from the classroom, your perspectives also shift.

2.  Know that you are not a horrible teacher because you had a horrible day.  It can't always be daisies and sunshine! A wonderful colleague told me that you can't have a rainbow without some rain.

3. Create a list of community building activities for that particular class for next week.

4.  Speak to another teacher and get some strategies of how you could have dealt with the situation differently or prevented it entirely.

Until next time! xoxox

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Hi everybody!  I have finally posted my capitalization review packet on TPT.  It's going to be a FREEBIE for the next 24 hour! Get it and let me know how it works for your classroom!

I used it every day for the first 10 minutes of class. It has truly helped my students improve on their sentences.  I was getting some pretty interesting sentences without any capitals or all capitals, and I was getting pretty frustrated.  I couldn't just use random worksheets I found because the worksheets were either not all-inclusive, or they were not well-suited for the students I teach. I teach 18-25 years old that have not graduated yet.  They are adults, so they don't enjoy seeing little kid graphics on their papers.  That is why I created this packet!  It worked so well!

Making Algebra Fun: What is a function Video?

Math is one of those things that some people either really love or really hate.  This is very unfortunate, because some of those people are also teachers.

Thankfully, my wonderful colleague, Dayonna Patterson, a high school math teacher in Los Angeles, has made it a little bit easier for us teachers. She has created a video that goes over the question, "What is a function."

Let me tell you! This has made my life so my easier! Going from teaching first grade to teaching high school wasn't easy, but this video is one of those gems that I refer to when my students have problems with functions.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I have!

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Educator's Review: Math App OctoPlus

This post brought to you by . The content and opinions expressed below are that of Reflecting Mrs Liana.

I have recently come across OctoPlus, a math app, and I am so glad I did! I was having trouble with a few students in my all-inclusive math class. The students were either on 504 plans or had an IEP, and the computer program that I was using for my class wasn't working for them.

This app was just what I needed! They enjoyed learning on the game, but that wasn't the best part. They were starting to succeed with the standards I was teaching. The app is directly aligned with the Common Core Standards, and the game-like software taught the students math skills based on their own individual ability. The range of topics includes Common Core math State Standards in Operations and Algebraic Thinking.

Overall, OctoPlus kept my students engaged, and they loved that they could use this technology at home as well.

Get the app, and I hope your students enjoy it as much as my students did! Visit the Apple App Store for more information.

I have come across the greatest thing on this planet for teachers!  I had heard about the not for profit organization called Donors Choose, but I haven't tried it until now.  It's a website that allows teachers to choose materials they need for their students, and post it online so people can log-on and help teachers out by donating money for the materials.

It was such an easy process for me.  I signed up, created a new project, posted a few paragraphs about my students, and added a picture of some of my students.  For my first project I wanted to get a class set of To Kill a Mockingbird, so that's what I had in my project.  I found the books on Amazon for a decent amount, and the amount came out to about $270.

Within a week of posting the project, I received word that the project was funded!  Three days later, I received my package from Amazon!  It was delivered to my school, and I was so excited.

Received the package 3 days later!
I just wish Erin Gruwell from Freedom Writers had been around for this website.

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How to Make Differentiation Easier?

What is it?

We want all of our students to succeed, and if you believe that all students can learn, then you need to consider differentiating your class. This means that instruction should be planned for all students, above-plan students, on-plan students, and below-plan students.  This means that students are at all levels of understanding, and differentiation needs to be for all the students.

Common Misconceptions

Differentiation is for only below-plan students. This is not true, because the students that are above-plan need differentiation to be challenged in class.

Differentiation is accommodations and modifications. To differentiate you need to make a change in your practice by using the 9 principals of differentiation.  The 9 principals are the following: respectful tasks, flexibility grouping, content, process, product, readiness, interest, learning profiles, and ongoing assessments.

How to Make Differentiation Easier

1. Look at the grade above and below Common Core standard you are teaching. On either side of it is the lower grade and higher grade standard that corresponds with it.  You can use all three standards to differentiate, so make sure you keep the standards handy! An Example is shown below to see how simple it is!

Click here for English Standards

Click here for Math Standards

2. Use the ELD 2012 Standards to differentiate for the English Language Learners (ELL). Every ELL in America is CELDT tested to see what level of English they are at.  You then find that level as soon as you have the information, and compare it to the ELD 2012 Standards. All you need to do is find the grade level you are teaching in the link below, and print/bookmark that page.  If you print in color, it will make your life so much easier because the creators of the ELD 2012 standards made it so easy for the teachers to read the document. In addition, the creators have given every ELD standard the correlating Common Core standard, so anytime you need help differentiating for a student for a specific lesson, just look it up in the ELD standards, and teach away!

Link to ELD 2012 Standards.

3. Have choices for students during assessments. Some students are only going to be able to list what they have learned, and some students are ready to provide a critique of what they have learned. All the students are at different levels, and assessments need to have choices. They greatest (and easiest) way to differentiate assessment is by having choice boards, dinner menus, rafts, tic-tac-toe, and many more. You can find all of this and a lot more resources in the following link:

Click here to access Choice Boards and other assessment differentiating tools.

choice board from
tic tac toe activity from
dinner menu from

4. Use the Bloom's Taxonomy Rose for figuring out what assessments to use for your assessment with choices. Print this document any time you are creating a differentiated assessment.

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