Book Club: Teach Like A Champ

Need a refresher before returning to school, Teach Like a Champ is the answer to the calling. This is a quick and dirty breakdown of the actions that effective teachers do, you know the ones that aren’t necessarily publish-worthy strategies. The names are easy to remember, the descriptions are easy to follow, and the video serves as affirmation that the little things you do are actually quite important if you want to run a productive learning environment.

Acceptable Plagiarism: Solutions to your post-holiday situations

Although we don’t acquire a hefty bonus at the end of the calendar year, you may have received a few cash gifts over the holidays. Although new boots or chic new watch may be on your wish list, here is another way to look at what you could be putting your money towards.

The holidays are full of gift exchanging; sometimes we nail it, sometimes we miss it. Have an awkward gifting moment, check out some tips for how to respond. And hey, while you’re at it, take a few moments to send a thank-you note to anyone who has gifted you cheer over the last few weeks. Here are a few tips on how to fill up that thank-you card.

Beyond the Bell: New Year’s Eve

A jumpsuit is comfortable, fashionable, and appropriate for dressing up or down, and that’s why it’s my choice for this New Year’s Eve.  I decided to give it a 70’s vibe with the platform sandals.  The collared-necklace adds a modern vibe without distracting from the outfit. I will tease my hair in the front, and keep it down behind my shoulders; this will easily transition into a voluminous, yet sleek ponytail as the night progresses. I will do a berry lip stain with a berry cheek, a gold/neutral smoked eye, and loads of mascara.

New Year's Eve

Savvy Strategy: Reflection Ideas for Independent Reading Time

Thirty minutes of Drop Everything And Read (DEAR), three times per week grows quite stale come September 30th. Here are some ideas to keep kids reading and hold them accountable for for what they read:

1. Reflection Sheet: Our Language Arts team created a weekly sheet that students fill out the last five minutes of the reading period. The sheet has ten questions for them to select on Mondays and ten questions for them to select on Wednesdays. It keeps things fresh and allows for student choice. Suggested prompts include: “My character has changed by…”; “If I were in the same situation as the book’s character I would act the same or different because…”; “One time I felt similar to my character when…”; “I felt angry when…”; “What I just read reminded me of…”.

2. Whip Around: I keep a list of prompts on a powerpoint and pull up the slide on days that call for some class involvement. I pose the prompt, give students think time, all students rise, and we “whip around” the room until everyone has completed a response. Prompts include: “One word to describe the main character in my book is _________________.”; “I predict the next thing that will happen in my book is __________________________.”; “If I could ask any character in my book one question, it would be ___________________________.”

3. “Stand up if…”: This is another slide in my “Silent Reading” PowerPoint. Teacher calls out prompts, students rise if the statement applies to their book/reading experience. Stand up if your book is a mystery; Stand up if the main character in your book is your age.

4. Make a Case: This is a bit more in depth, but allows students to practice their speaking skills. Select a prompt…”my character is the funniest because…”. Students must decide at their table who has the funniest character (using examples to back it up), then each table representative makes a case to the class. Students can vote by show of hands who makes the best case, and which character/plot/book/setting best fits the criteria of the prompt.

5. Human Barometer: This activity allows students to get up out of their seat; assess their book; and rate their book based on a prompt. I usually do this activity to gauge how well students have selected their books and if they are making appropriate selections. Prompts may include: I’m enjoying my book; I would recommend my book to a friend. One side of the room is “YES!”; one side of the room is “NO!”. Students must place their body somewhere along the invisible line between yes and no to represent how much they agree/disagree with the statement.

“Miss O???”: What spirits are appropriate for gifting, serving, and mixing?

Holiday Cocktails

If you’re looking for an affordable bottle of wine to gift, check out these selections from some of DC’s top sommeliers.

Select something that people are craving at the holidays, but probably won’t get elsewhere…i.e. punch. Eggnog can be easily purchased at the store (doesn’t hurt to provide it at your bar), but the punch is what people are really after. Martha’s collection of punches has something for everyone whether you’re seeking a sparkling, mulled, or citrus packed recipe.

If you’re tasked with bringing the ingredients for a holiday concoction, look for recipes made with pinnacle. It’s a fun and sweet alternative to regular vodka.

Weekend Escape: Packing for the Holidays

The selections allow you to carry a manageable suitcase whether you’re traveling by road, rail, or air.

Packing for the Holidays: Suitcase

Simple jewelry, black basics, a cream coat, and a few colored accents round out the wardrobe. All you need are a pair of boots and a pair of flats for variety.

Packing for the Holidays: Travel

Black skinny jeans and a blanket sweater will keep you comfortable on a long trip. Couple the outfit with a pair of comfortable yet chic boots, throw on a snood to keep you warm, and pack your essentials in the roomy satchel.

Packing for the Holidays: Christmas Eve

Nothing says Christmas like a plaid, wool skirt. Pair it with a feminine blouse, black tights while you get another wear out of the boots. Let the glitz of the pearl studs shine on their own or add the chunky pearl necklace for a bit of interest. The blue bag will also work with this outfit and keep the look cohesive. This outfit is comfortable for a family gathering and appropriate for church if your family attends Christmas Eve services.

Packing for the Holidays: Christmas Morning

To this day, I always somewhat plan my Christmas morning apparel. Maybe it was the pile-up of Christmas photos gone bad, but really the glasses, side pony tail, and bright pink onesie removed any “magic” out of the tears of joy-photo when I opened the maroon American Girl box back in 1990.  So, yes, plan your Christmas morning get-up without trying too hard so those pictures are a bit less horrifying.  Comfortable lounge pants and a cotton shirt, coupled with the blanket cardigan and slippers will keep you toasty for the morning festivities. Slippers are key to feeling comfortable when you’re away from home, so pack a pair, or keep an extra if you frequently visit your destination.


Packing for the Holidays: Christmas Dinner

Christmas is all about looking bright and merry (I mean that literally), while maintaining a sense of comfort. This dress seems to achieve the desired look, paired with a pair of flats to keep you comfortable while playing with the kiddies and painless for dishwashing time.

Packing for the Holidays: Day After Christmas

Get another wear out of your travel outfit by swapping the blanket sweater for this red, loose sweater. Comfortable for the ride home, fashion approved for the airport.