Browsing Category: Teaching

Project Read You Classroom Shelves #3

It’s been a while since I did one of these, and to be honest, I haven’t been making my way through the novels as quick as I would’ve hoped. But, I hit a rough patch with some of them that I just wasn’t interested in, so it made it a little harder to continue reading.

White Sand, Red Menace by Ellen Klages


Dewey and Suze are a little odd because they love physics and mechanics. Their parents helped work on the Manhattan Project and now the war is over. Dewey’s dad has died, so she now lives with Suze’s family and they moved to the middle of nowhere where the government is doing experiments with rockets and missiles. This book is basically a daily slice of life with them adjusting to a new city, 1940s gender stereotypes, racism against Hispanics, and Dewey’s personal past. I actually didn’t realize this was a sequel until near the end! I got a little bored because there wasn’t a lot of plot (the main plot didn’t really begin until about the last 1/3 of the book) nor do I really relate to the protagonists as I don’t care about physics or mechanics. But, I think it is wonderful that there is a book for girls interested in hard sciences!

Where I’d Like to Be by Frances O’Roark Dowell

Maddie is in the foster care system. She grew up with her Granny Lane claiming that she was saved as a baby by a ghost. She loves to collect pictures of people and houses in notebooks and makes stories up for them. A new girl named Murphy came to the Children’s Home and turned Maddie’s world into one of hopes and dreams. They, and some other friends, build a little fort that becomes their special place, their home and Maddie begins to understand more about people she cares for and where she’d like to be. This is an easy read…it could very well be for later elementary school. It was simple, yet deep at the same time. This would be a perfect read for students or children who have been in the system before.

Afternoon of the Elves by Janet Taylor Lisle

This is another very easy read…more for Elementary than Jr. High. Young Hillary has been intrigued by the different, quiet, anti-social, sometimes temperamental Sarah-Kate who is two years older, but only one grade higher. They happen to be neighbors and in Sarah-Kate’s over-grown, wild backyard, there is an elf village. Hillary is entranced and wants to know more, but her curiosity leads her to discover the sad truth about Sarah-Kate’s personal and family life. She learns that elves aren’t always as they seem. I really liked this book, it was cute, but deep, and the way that Hillary’s eyes began to open though Sarah-Kate’s uniqueness was brilliant. 
Which ones seemed interesting to you?

Don’t forget about this giveaway! 
Tayler is a work at home mom. She does free lance articles and dabbles in graphic design and virtual assisting for bloggers. She spent 3 years as a history and English teacher. Her passions are her husband, two children, history, reading, nature, and her Savior, Jesus Christ.

Missing Back to School + Giveaway!

You can take the teacher out of the classroom, but you can’t take the classroom out of the teacher…or something like that.

Here, let me try again.

Once a teacher, always a teacher.

It’s back to school time and I’m not going back to school. I haven’t really cared all summer (as teachers already have summers off), but now it’s starting to sink in–I’m no longer a teacher. I no longer have a classroom, a curriculum, students, or responsibilities. I don’t get to plan lessons or open eyes at novels or history or get to know the rising generation. I miss it already. I mean, I just had a dream about the first week of school! Teaching is my blood-life!

But, I am so grateful for the opportunity that I have to stay home with Rhys right now. I don’t know what doors will open because of this, but at least I can live vicariously through my teacher friends!

So, due to my laptop issues last month, I didn’t get to do August’s Golden Vlog at the beginning of the month, I thought I’d do it today! And, there is a surprise for you after the video!

All moms, teachers, bloggers, and students love Target’s school/office supplies. I have to restrain myself from walking down those aisles when I go. So, to celebrate back to school, and to celebrate you, my readers, for staying with me during my month long hiatus, here is a Target gift card giveaway!

Tayler is a work at home mom. She does free lance articles and dabbles in graphic design and virtual assisting for bloggers. She spent 3 years as a history and English teacher. Her passions are her husband, two children, history, reading, nature, and her Savior, Jesus Christ.

Project Read Your Classroom Shelves #2

I love this idea I’m doing of reading all my books from my classroom library. I’m having such fun reading YA novels again! In the past two weeks, I’ve read 3 of them and have already started on another one!

The Black Book of Secrets by F.E. Higgins

Via Google Images
I’m not sure what to think about this book. The premise is interesting. Set in an unknown European, probably English, Industrial or near pre-Industrial time. The author gives a pretense of finding documents and excerpts of an autobiography or memoir of Ludlow, the protagonist. The plot is about a young boy named Ludlow who runs away from his terrible life in the City and becomes an apprentice to a pawnbroker who arrived in a small town dominated by a selfish, conniving man. However, the pawnbroker is unlike others–he pawns secrets and writes them in the black book. 
I really did like the idea of the story, however, I thought the breaks and time lapses were a little weird. Also, because of the author’s pretense of finding documents, some chapters are Ludlow’s point of view, some are omniscient, some are the townspeople giving up their secrets. I wish the pawnbroker’s background and personality was deepened a bit more. I also didn’t like how the climax happened 2/3rds of the way through the book and had a ton of falling action and resolution. It went quite fast and not in a lot of detail–almost like the author was setting up for a sequel, but there is no sequel. 
But, if students like Industrial-era books, mystery, and a little of the occult (there is a secret group, but no bad occult stuff), then they’d love this book. There were many dog-earred pages that weren’t there when I first got the book, so I know students have read it through before.
Alibi Junior High by Greg Logstead

Via Google Images
This is definitely a boy book! Easiest way to describe it to all you mid-twenty to thirty year olds–it’s as if Agent Cody Banks had to fall off the grid and hide out for a bit as a normal kid. Yep, you heard me. And guess what, the protagonist’s name is Cody! All this life, he has traveled with his CIA agent father, helping him in his missions–he knows numerous languages, is a genius, can take apart and put together weapons, and is a black belt. However, he and his dad were attacked in a bombing, so his dad sends him to a backtown in New England with his aunt to be safe. But, for all the missions Cody had been on and all the bad guys he’s brought to justice, Junior High seems to be the most impossible mission ever. Thankfully, his next door neighbor’s older brother came home from Special Ops in the Middle East and is a kindred spirit to Cody as he deals with bullying, unfair teachers, and his first crush.
The main reason I didn’t like this book was the unavailability of the protagonist. That’s the reason I didn’t even really like Agent Cody Banks or Spy Kids…it’s ridiculous. But, I did like how it showed how tough junior high can be–I taught junior high for three years, so I know. I also really like the character of Andy, the Special Ops who lot his arm in a bombing. He was the most believable. But, I know junior high boys will eat this book up!
Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks

Via Google Images
I saw parts of this movie when I was a kid, as well as reading part of the book, but when I picked it up, I couldn’t remember barely any of it. So, I was excited to read this classic all the way through. Omri (what an interesting name) received a plastic Indian for his birthday from his friend, a cupboard from his brothers, and an heirloom key to open it. He placed the Indian in the cupboard, because why not, and the next thing he knows, the Indian has come to life! After getting to know the Indian and helping him survive in his room, his friend wants to turn a cowboy toy to real life…of course, you know how’d that would go. Also, they decide to take them to school, and well, conflict happens, temptation happens, the key is lot, etc. 
This is an awesome book! Omri grows up a lot in this book–he comes to understand the importance of human life and their own life (like their family, personality, culture). It’s an easy read, even if the author (who wrote the book in 1980) wrote it like an author from the late 19th century. I know there are sequels, and I want to read them, but I’m a little nervous because I don’t want to be disappointed since the first one was so good!
Which one would you want to go read?
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Tayler is a work at home mom. She does free lance articles and dabbles in graphic design and virtual assisting for bloggers. She spent 3 years as a history and English teacher. Her passions are her husband, two children, history, reading, nature, and her Savior, Jesus Christ.

Project Read Your Classroom Shelves // Tennyson & Princess Academy

Over my three short years of teaching and being a poor newly wed couple, building up a classroom library has been a little tricky. I started with my own personal YA books. Then, I hit free book giveaways from different groups: schools, friends, sales. Then, I went to public library $1 book sales. Because of this, I have only read 1/3 of the books on my classroom shelf.

So, I decided that since I will be home all summer (and thereafter), I will actually read these YA novels. I am doing this for a few reasons:

1) I love YA novels
2) It’ll help enhance my imagination and writing skills
3) Whenever I do go back to teaching, I can better advise my students on which books they should read on my shelves.

spend the summer reading the books that you have on your classroom shelves for your students to read. Do mini reviews on them.

Every Friday, until I finish all of these books in the picture above, I will have mini-reviews. This past week, (actually last Friday-Monday), I read two books:
1) The Princess Academy by Shannon Hale
2) Tennyson by Lesley M.M. Blume

The Princess Academy by Shannon Hale

I’ve wanted to read this book since I was a high schooler, and I don’t know why I ever did! But, I’m glad I did. It is about a kingdom where the royal priests denote the city that the heir’s future spouse would be found. This particular city happened to be in a small, uneducated mountain territory. Well, every girl 12-17 is eligible, but they had to be trained to be worthy of a future King’s wife. So, representatives from the capital are brought to create a “princess academy.” Miri is the protagonist. She is a small 14 year old who is the only one in the village who doesn’t work in the quarry for a reason unknown to her. The village quarries linder–a marble-like stone that has special “memory-speaking” abilities that Miri happens upon while at the Academy.

The way it was written was very simple, yet elegant. I was captured and kept reading. I loved the character of Miri–she is tiny, weak, but determined, and very sarcastic. The thoughts of Miri flowed wonderfully with the plot and I loved the development of the quarry-speak of Linder. The only part I didn’t like was how fast the prince chose his future bride and who it turned out to be and why. That could’ve been better developed.

But, I won’t spoil any more for you!

Tennyson by Lesley M.M. Blume

I found this book at a library $1 book sale. What caught me was the cover and title combo. I assume that the girl on the cover was Tennyson. And I thought to myself, I kind of like that for a girl’s name now, even if Justin doesn’t at all. But, look at that cover! Doesn’t it just pull you in?!?

The book takes place during the 1930’s. Eleven year old Tennyson and her eight year old sister, Hattie, live in a bayou on the border of Mississippi and Louisiana with their dad and their mom who yearns to be a famous writer. In the first two pages, the family realizes their mom has disappeared. So, dad leaves the girls with his old-Southern-plantation-old-money family while he searches for his wife. His sister still lives in the decrepit plantation house on the edge of the Mississippi. Tennyson uses the dreams she begins to have of the tragic family past during the Civil War to write a story to grab her mom’s attention to return.

I loved the book, the character of Tennyson, the ghost dreams, the secrecy, even the reason her mom left–which I would never ever do! But, there were two things I didn’t like. The first was the publisher–his character was a little ridiculous and bordered on the dime-comedic. It didn’t fit in the more Southern Gothic novel. The second was the end–it just seemed to cut off, the story half-unfinished. I get the point why the author decided to do that, to kind of reflect on Tennyson’s story that she decided not to finish, but I still didn’t like it. It seemed almost to have no resolution.

Have you read either of these books? If so, what did you like/dislike about them? Would you like to read either of these, and why?

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Tayler is a work at home mom. She does free lance articles and dabbles in graphic design and virtual assisting for bloggers. She spent 3 years as a history and English teacher. Her passions are her husband, two children, history, reading, nature, and her Savior, Jesus Christ.

What I Will Miss About Teaching

Ever since I can remember, I have wanted to be a teacher. I loved all my education classes at BYU and just got more and more excited to teach. During my internship, I learned that it was far, far, far harder that I ever expected, but, I also learned that I loved it more than I ever thought possible.

I felt comfortable teaching. I am still a new teacher, and know that I have miles to go in both curriculum and management, but I felt like my right place in the front of the classroom. That was the reason I worked part-time with a brand-new baby. It is a part of my soul that I couldn’t just leave behind.

Just after my very first month ever of teaching, I wrote this post.

So, after three years of teaching and on my very last day as an employee until who knows when, I thought I’d share with you all the things I will miss about teaching.

My Charter School
– The fact that my first year there (technically my first year as a licensed teacher), I was welcomed with open arms, and not treated as a new, young, inexperienced teacher by the staff. I was one of them.
– The community of the school. Although there are some downfalls to having such a small school, there are also upsides: students are more willing to work in different groups, there isn’t a stigma about teachers driving students home, parents and teachers are one and the same sometime, many are in the same church congregations, and teachers and parents know each other well.
– The focus on service. The day before Christmas break, the entire school does a canned food drive as well as make journals and gather dolls for homeless children. We had a student recently die of cancer and there were many assemblies and fundrasing for her. The students help keep the school neat and tidy and help set up for assemblies.
– The high standards of academics. We push our students and they are more than prepared for high school.
– My principal and boss. She is the sweetest, kindest, most brilliant woman I’ve ever met. She knows the name, face, family, personality, and strengths/weaknesses of each and every one of our 530 students!
– The unity. The entire school uses the same classroom management, standards, benchmarks, etc.

In General
– Watching the lightbulb go on over their heads as they make connections with the literature, realize what words come from their Latin Roots, and realize they automatically supported their thesis with textual evidence.
– Watching the growth and progress of students, and watching them grow-up.
– Conversations with students on music, movies, videogames, BBC shows, comics, anime, etc.
– Conversations with teachers on parenthood, English, history, comics, movies, religion, etc.
– Continually learning. I get to read new books, learn more history, discover for myself before helping my students discover.
– Being creative. I loved coming up with different activities and projects for my students. And I love seeing my students’ creativity shine in their assignments.
– Seeing parents tear up and show faces of pure joy when they see how much their student likes my class and tries their best to learn.
– Being liked. I’ll be honest. Yesterday, when my picture would come up during the Jr. High end-of-year slide show, there were a lot of cheers. I’ll miss that. Students I’ve never taught say hi to me in the hall and like talking with me. I’ll miss that attention. (I think it’s because I’m probably the same age as their older siblings. I mean, my youngest sister just finished 9th grade this year!)
– Feeling useful. I teach for the outcome, not for the income. I am helping these students be prepared for not only high school and college, but for the world.

I have no idea when I’ll go back to teaching. I know where I am supposed to be for now is at home with my son. Since it is summer, and teachers have those off, I don’t think it’ll really hit me until late August/early September that I’m not returning to my classroom. I’ve had a good experience these three years: public and charter schools, history and English, big and small class sizes, and all sorts of other experiences. I know those memories and lessons will stay with me my entire life.

But, starting today at 10 am MST, I will officially be a SAHM, and that is an adventure I’m excited to begin.

What do you love about your job?
Tayler is a work at home mom. She does free lance articles and dabbles in graphic design and virtual assisting for bloggers. She spent 3 years as a history and English teacher. Her passions are her husband, two children, history, reading, nature, and her Savior, Jesus Christ.