Showing posts from January, 2014

A Letter to Janet Yellen

Dear Ms. Yellen,

Congratulations on your appointment as Chair of the Federal Reserve.  As a middle school teacher, I offer you some advice.

Be on time everyday.  There will be days when you just don't want to do steadfast and show up.  Your punctuality and dependability will have its own rewards.

Have a routine...creative chaos will wear you down fast.  Know the routine and stick to it. Folks might complain, but they really do want structure.

Greet everyone with a smile and a "good morning."  Sometimes you won't feel like it. Sometimes you might want to forfeit the greetings and get right down to the issue at hand, but that small gesture will go great distances with all concerned.

Begin every meeting on time.  I cannot stress the importance of this one; punctuality says that your audience is important and what you have to say is important.

Let everyone know the agenda for the day up front.  No one likes surprises.

Give everyone time to get materials and suppl…

Six Confusing Verbs

This week we are finishing the chapter on using verbs correctly.  We've been doing pretty good until today...the six confusing verbs are really confusing.  The kids did great with sit vs set and okay on rise vs raise but lie and lay really threw them for a loop.  I finally just had to stop and say that we would look at the lesson on another day.  Do you ever have days like that?  What are some of the strategies that you use when a lesson goes bad?

February Writing Prompts

Go to any of my stores to purchase the February Writing Prompts.

Lichtenstein Castle is situated on a cliff located near Honau on the Swabian Alb, Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany.
Writing Prompt:
How would your life be different if you lived in a castle on a cliff?
Choose a verb tense and stick with it!
Share your responses in the comments below.

Melissa Reese Etheridge

Using Verbs Correctly

I love our language.  I love the nuances of the written word.  I appreciate a well-turned phrases.  I'm the sort of English teacher that becomes very passionate about my subject.  One of my favorite topics in grammar is the principal parts of Verbs.  I especially love irregular verbs.

Irregular verbs are the misfits of the English language.  They just don't want to conform.  Irregular verbs March to the beat of their own drummer and they're still out of step.

Today I taught irregular verbs and I'm sure that my nerdiness definitely showed today.  Repeating the conjugation of the verbs just makes me giddy.

The unit of study specifically focused on using the different tenses of Verbs in our own writing and letting our verbs show small subtle differences in our writing.  Every year the students are shocked to discover that they really don't speak good English after all.

I'm afraid and a bit dismayed though that we don't treat the English language as seriously …

Conjunction Junction

Today, the students finished and tested over writer's craft.  Surprisingly, this unit was very difficult for my students.  They are still thinking too literally and having problems answering questions that require more abstract thought.  Our next unit is over the language of Poetry.  We are also finishing the writing unit on parts of Speech.  We'll be testing probably next week.

Today's writing focus was on using correlative conjunctions in our writing.  Most of my students had never heard of them let alone used them in their writing.  Tomorrow, we cover interjections.  Then we'll spend the next few days on review.  Then finished with that unit.  Hopefully, we'll be able to test next week.

You would think that with ninety minutes of class, I could get more done in class.

We just finished reading Heart of a Chief and tested yesterday.  I don't have those graded yet.  Unfortunately, I've got to administer a pretest for the next unit.  It seems like we're …

Analyzing Visuals

Analyzing Visuals is my newest product...I'm excited because no matter how hard I try to incorporate all of the standards into my curriculum, there are always those that just don't seem to fit in anywhere.  The CCSS Reading 7 and Speaking and Listening 2 are like that.
These standards state:  Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words.
In this standard, the student is suppose to identify style, tone, and elements of design in a picture. This one takes time, energy, and lots of ink for the printer.
The important thing is to get your students to understand that readers not only read text, but we read other forms of media also.  Especially in this day and age when it is so easy to manipulate a photograph.  Students must analyze everything that they come across.
I'm very proud of this newest resource as it puts the kids in front of a piece of art and requires that they "read closely" …


I'd abandoned my philosophy and true beliefs for a few years.  I embraced another program because everyone else was hopping on that bandwagon.  The method I abandoned was workshop...a method that I saw results with.  Workshop turns kid's and teachers into writers and readers.  Workshop builds a community based on each writer's talents and strengths.  Students thrive in workshop because they feel comfortable in the classroom environment.  There are no tricks to workshop.  There are no is simply good teaching.

I won't say that incorporating workshop into your classroom will be easy.  It takes a change in the way that you think about learning.  It puts the learning back in the hands of the students where it belongs.

In workshop, students spend their time writing and reading.  The teacher is not the sage on the stage...she's much more than that...she's more like an improv actor.

The teacher does have to be prepared.  That's why I'…

Resolutions 2014

A Peach for the Teach is having a New Year's Linky Party!  Join in the fun and promote your products at the same time.
Enjoy your New Beginning!
Melissa Reese Etheridge