Where do you grade papers?

With the start of a new year comes many new students for this teacher. I thought about it the other day, and for every year I have been teaching the number of students has went up. In China I started with around 60 students, and that went up to 80 in Mississippi. Then my first year back in Georgia it raised up to 100 students. This year I have almost 150. For me it is a huge learning curve in how to grade, what to grade, when to grade, etc.


I came home this weekend with two assignments to grade. One was a quiz, which students self-graded in class. Another was a writing assignment about “What is a Scientist?” I am sure most teachers who grade their papers find a comfy place in their home, perhaps around the kitchen table. However, I am not your typical teacher. This week my papers were graded at the drive-in movies under the light of the moon, meteors, and truck lights. I didn’t get them all done there, but it was nice to be productively relaxing.

SO my question to you is – Where do you grade your papers? Do you take them to exotic locales or stick to home/school?



Top Ten Reasons I Love Winter Break in China!

Top 10 Button

Okay so here are the Top Ten Reasons I cannot wait for Christmas Break here in China!

10. Spending time with my China Family!

9. Experiencing Christmas with some of my friends for the first time (Despite what our Christmas Around the World Units say China does not celebrate Christmas – Chinese New Year comes later :))

8. Sleeping in – When my neighbors who wake up at 4am will let me – The joy of a land with over a billion people ūüôā

7. Traveling to Hong Kong and going to Disney Land!

6. Traveling to Xian to see the Terracotta Army!

5. American, Mexican, and every other food that is not Chinese!

4. Receiving packages in the mail.

3. Skype

2. Comfy and cute casual clothing – totally not professional, but still cute!

1. Knowing that a month from the time we go back to school on January 8th we will get another two week vacation for Chun Jia!

What are you looking forward to? Add a comment below or click the top-ten icon at the top and find out what other teachers are looking forward to this Winter Break!!

Soaring Through Secondary Blog Hop


I am participating in the Soaring Through Secondary Blog Hop!

Special thanks to Jennifer Lamb for setting up this blog hop and to Jennifer Smith-Sloane for creating this awesome logo for our hop! Each person on our blog hop today will be featuring either a freebie through their TPT store, or a giveaway on their blog Рso be sure to visit them all!

Here is a list of all of the blogs participating, so if you get lost somewhere along the way, return here to get back on track!
My featured freebie for this blog hop is my newest freebie – All About Lap-booking! I recently started creating foldables and lap-books for my science classes. They have worked really well, and give students an interesting way to take notes. If you want to know more about lap-booking download my freebie by clicking the picture below:

Getting to School

How do you get to school? I am sure for many that is an easy question to answer. Until recently it was easy for me as well. In my previous Chinese city I rode the employee bus and got around via taxi or public bus (of course I also did my fair share of walking).

Now I am in a new city and there is no employee bus, the public bus and taxi’s are unreliable. So what’s a girl to do? Find another form of transportation. If you have ever been to China or maybe any¬†foreign¬†country, you know that sometimes driving and driving laws are very different from the U.S. ¬†Once upon a time I said that I would never drive in China, because it was too crazy. I have learned once again to never say never. I bought a tric or three wheeler.

I know that three-wheeler’s are dangerous so I chose one that had a pick-up behind it to make it a bit more steady. So far I have only driven around the parking deck, but I will soon hit the road. School starts next week so if you think of me on the road send up a prayer. We live in a smaller city now so it is slightly safer and I intend to stay on the back roads as much as possible (don’t worry MAMA)!


Language Arts Games

One of my professors used to say “make everything into a game.” She absolutely loved using games in order to jazz up lessons, especially in Language Arts. I just created two new language arts games. Just in time for BACK-TO-SCHOOL and the sales in my TpT and Teachers Notebook Stores.

Game One: The Five Second Rule 

Students have five seconds to name three items in a given category. I use this with my ELL’s, because it helps them to think quickly and recall vocabulary that we have covered in class.

Game Two: Versus

I got the idea for this game after reading the book Shark vs. Train by: Chris Barton.This game is made up of flash cards with different characters, animals and people. You can use these cards in a variety of ways as a whole class or in groups.
For example, if you pull one card that says samurai and one card that says chicken you would then say, ‚Äúsamurai versus chicken.‚ÄĚ You will then be able to complete one of the following activities with the students using the cards as the focus.
1. A quick discussion with the class.
2. A writing prompt‚ÄĒ tell who would win and why
3. A class debate‚ÄĒ students choose sides and debate which would win in a fight.
There are endless possibilities. My students really enjoy these cards and they have lead to many heated discussions in my class.

You can click on the images above to find my versions of both games mentioned. Don’t forget about the incredible sales going on on both TpT and Teachers Notebook this weekend!

It’s August!!

Lots of things are happening at this time of year. Teachers and students are busy preparing for back-to-school (perhaps teachers more than students). I wanted to take this time to share with you several things happening online this month.

A few months ago I was asked to give feedback on a devotional for Christian Educators. The devotional book has recently been released. It is truly amazing and really changed the way act and think in not only the classroom, but daily life. I highly recommend this book for both experienced and first year teachers! (Click the image below to find out more)

The Awakened Devotional Study Guide for Christian Educators

I have a new post on Global Teacher Connect entitled Authentic Assessment in China. This post shares some simple steps for how to create an authentic assessment. GTC is also hosting a new series called Classrooms Around the World. Teachers from around the globe will be contributing pictures of thier classrooms. This is a great opportunity for students to see how alike and different schools are in different parts of the world (click the icon below for more info about this wonderful project)!

Last but not least TpT will be having their BACK TO SCHOOL Sale on August 12-13th! You can save an extra 10% on all your purchases by using the code in the icon below. My store will be having a 20% off sale which gives you spectacular saving for those last minute Back to School items!

BTS 12 250x125

Wow – so much is going on! I am also in the midst of moving and starting a new school. I hopefully will have updates as that progresses! Happy Tuesday!!

New Friend in Spain

So I just found this amazing website that is by another teacher overseas. Her name is Lita. She teaches in Spain. Lita has wonderful English-Spanish resources and clip-art in her shop.  If you are interested in learning more about her experiences please visit her blog by clicking the image below.


She is even hosting her very first giveaway – A $25 Certificate to TpT!!!

The Grand Tour

Before I ¬†start packing and ¬†transitioning into the new year I wanted to share my classroom. I am going to post some pictures of my classroom decorations and¬†arrangement. Please keep in mind this is my first year and first attempt at classroom organization. I am so thankful that you live and learn, because I have tons of new ideas for next year ūüôā

You will notice I have a boggle board, but you may not know that I have centers. I decided to try centers with my middle-school students. I was pleased with the results. I had four centers set-up around the room – Greek and Latin Roots, Non-fiction, Writing, Vocabulary and Game. I called them stations because it sounded more middle-schooly ūüėÄ

Most of my walls are empty. I like to fill them with student work. Sometimes it can get a bit chaotic. Next year I really want to find an easier and more efficient way to display student work. I made a sandwich bag quilt, but it only works for flat  and letter sized papers.

What are you going to change about your classroom next year?

Oreo Cookies and Constellations

In my Earth Science class we are studying Space. I know Earth Science should be about Earth… Anywho, I have really been enjoying this unit (mostly because it is my favorite). ūüôā So far we have made a classroom 3-D constellation map with tissue paper and construction paper and we have examined the phases of the moon with Oreo cookies.

If you are interested in these activities here are some helpful links:

We only have 17 days of school left here in China. It seems like we just started and now here it is at the end. Some of my kids will be back to have me again next year, but for others this is their last year at our school. It definitely brings me some bittersweet feelings…

As promised in an earlier post here are the pictures of the Body Biographies: