Tag Archives: Catlin Tucker

Countdown Mickey

22nd May 2015

3 more days left of this school year.

This school year has been filled with many emotions, mainly stress and anxiety. I can’t wait for summer to come so I can spend some quality time with my family. I miss my sweet little Q. Playing with her after work is fun; but, I am already tired from the day to really focus. I can’t wait until I can just wake up, throw on yoga pants and a t-shirt, and just sit and play all morning! My little girl is growing up so fast and is such a great kid that I want to cherish it as much as I can (because I know she grow into the hormonal crazies that I teach everyday before I know it).

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I also need to spend some quality time on our home. I am excited to create a bright and fun “big girl” room for Q and help my hubs decorate his new “man-cave.” Also, the garage NEEDS an overhaul as well. Things that I would like to put a big check next to before the next school year.

There is one thing that I am dreading about this summer. The binkie. We are getting rid of her pacifier when we get back from our first vacation in Disneyland. She only uses it when she sleeps but I am pretty sure that is how she sleeps so well right now. This may be a sleepless summer for us but it a necessary battle.

Overall, this summer is the first summer in a while that I feel like I REALLY need, that I earned. I am exhausted after building a new reputation at school. I need some Disney, beach, and woods. Frankly, I just want to be outside as much as possible with Q and Chase and , if time, read Catlin Tucker’s new book on using technology to enhance common core lessons (check it out it looks awesome).

Teacher friends, we are almost there. Mickey here we come.

XO. Brit

Team Throw Downs

9th March 2015

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You know when you give an essay prompt to your students and you can just tell they are struggling to come with an original thesis statement or maybe a hook for their introduction? They are sitting there, staring at the paper and the paper is winning the contest. Or, when all of a sudden the lesson is flopping and you need a quick activity or competition to get them excited about the lesson or the content again?

I am sure I am not the only teacher who has these moments where they need to “wake up” their students and get their blood pumping. I want them to be successful but I don’t want to give them all the ideas either and sometimes it is a fine line with engagement as well. So, I modified this idea from Catlin Tucker who is just simply AMAZING and if you haven’t visited her site, you are REALLY missing out.

Basically, I anytime I need a quick small group competition, I call it “Time for a Throw down.” As soon as I start to play “Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor through my classroom speakers the students know they are about to enter some type of throw down competition between groups.

Here is one example:

  1. I gave my students a handout with ideas for hooks to start their essays. I then assigned a hook type to each table. The students had 5 minutes (as a group) to come up the best hook (or attention getter) using their assignment hook type for their synthesis essay prompt.
  2. Then they typed it up using a padlet.com wall address that I set up and provided to them. Padlet walls are easily set up once you do it once or twice and can be created in less than one minute if you see your lesson failing and need to quickly save it.
  3. Once each table’s hook was posted on the Padlet Wall, I showed them on my projector screen and went through and discussed their overall effectiveness and tie in with the prompt. In front of the whole class, I critiqued their work and picked the best one and it was INTENSE in there.
  4. The winner got candy (2 pieces) and a clothespin to their team shield (see Motivation Clothespins) and the losers got a Dum Dum sucker (which could be a little mean spirited but they all thought it was funny – Air Heads would work too).
  5. It took about 15-20 minutes total and I was able to get some good results. I think the students felt more comfortable about using the new hook ideas in their essays as well. I also told them they were not allowed to use any of the hooks made in class so that also gave them another challenge.

***Below is how they turned out – the prompt was about using cell phones while driving.




XO. Brit