PLEASE NOTE: The contest has now ended. Congrats to our drawing winners, Prairie Girl and Gloria Autran! The free posters are still available at the link listed below. Thanks.

Happy holidays, blog friend! In this season of gratitude and giving, it’s my pleasure to spread some joy by sharing a little thank-you gift with everyone and giving a really big thank-you prize to two lucky blog readers.

First, everyone can grab this new collection of five inspirational posters/slides for free in my shop. These slides are tied to my latest 20Time project (details to follow in the new year), but I thought we all could use a dose of motivation as we head into 2017. Whether you use the images to decorate your classroom, complete a growth mindset bulletin board in the hallway, or project them as quickwrite warm-ups/conversation starters, folks should be able to get some good use out these messages of hope and endurance. posters

Second, this week I was generously given two $25 gift certificates from my friends at TpT to share with my gorgeous blog readers. (Yeah, I’m looking at you.) If you wanna snag one of these two prizes, just scroll down to the “Leave a Reply” area below and enter the following:

1. Your email address in the bar at the very bottom (will not be shared publicly or ever used to spam you – I respect your need for an empty emailbox)
2. Your first name in the other bar at the very bottom (or secret spy name, whatever)
3. In the comment box, tell us how many years you’ve been teaching.
4. Finally, tell us about something you’re looking forward to using in your classroom this spring semester (could be a specific TpT product, a fresh teaching strategy, a new-to-you classroom routine, a fluorescent green bean bag chair you just swooped on clearance – really, anything that has you excited for the second half of the year)

Everyone who leaves a comment will be entered into a random drawing to be held at noon (MST) on Friday, Dec. 30. (NOTE: The contest is now over.) The two winners will be individually notified by email and announced here on the blog. Yea!

Okay, now don’t be shy. I know there are a lot more of you out there reading this than usually comment (blog traffic stats don’t lie), and this is your moment to shed that lurker status. Your odds of winning are really pretty good. I mean, have you seen how short my comment lists usually are? So scroll down and enter already.

Vacation on, everyone!

Join the conversation! 95 Comments

  1. This is my 7th year of teaching HS ELA. I am looking forward to using a new in class Independent Reading Project that a fellow teacher has used and shared. Thank you for the gift card opportunity. 🙂

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  2. This is my 20th year of teaching middle school ELA. I am most excited about teaching “The Book Thief” for the first time and then going out on maternity leave!

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  3. Hi Laura, I have been teaching for 16 years. Last week, my eighth graders and I unwrapped some fun with your White Elephant assignment. Aunt Ethel sure sent us some crazy gifts for which we were most thankful.;) I look forward to using your Julius Caesar unit with my tenth graders when we return from break and your Dead Poets Society lessons with my seniors before they graduate. Merry Christmas!

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  4. This is my 12th year of teaching. I am looking forward to trying some new activities for Romeo & Juliet.

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  5. Hi Laura, I recently found your web site and it has saved my sanity!! Since then, I have purchased quite a few of your tPt products. The way you have set up your units is perfect. I teach middle and high school at a youth residential facility and I’m responsible for teaching math, science, ela, and social studies at different grade levels. I have been able to take your units and use them in social studies. Thank you so much for sharing your expertise.

    Gratefully,
    Timi
    Grand Junction, Colorado

    Like

  6. I’ve been teaching for 15 years. I teach ESL. This year I’ve been using your MUG activities and the students LOVE it. I’ve been thinking of incorporating your vocabulary…

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  7. I have been teaching for 13 years. I’m looking forward to creating a mindset bulletin board.

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  8. I am in my 15th year. Next semester I’m looking forward to my students finishing their autobiography pieces… I love reading them.

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  9. This is my 29th year teaching (only 11 to go!). I plan on inserting more ACT prep into my regular daily routine since my freshmen are going to be taking it sooner than they think!

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  10. I love your blog and I’m a sucker for a giveaway contest. Even though I have never won anything, I can’t help myself from entering every one I see. I have all the spam email to prove it. Thanks so much for all the great stuff you post and share…you are a ROCK STAR!
    CWE

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  11. Darn, I got so excited for a giveaway I didn’t make it to the directions. I just watched the Dr. Strange movie and couldn’t help think of the part where he said the warnings should go before the spells not after because he didn’t read far enough to see the warnings. I have been at my school since 2002. I am excited about sprucing up our faculty room for the new year…our current one is so sad and depressing — think moldy fridge, no sink, institutional wall colors, etc. Not sure exactly how…so need to do some after the holiday shopping to get inspired.
    Cassandra E

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  12. Hi Laura!
    My name is Karra and this is my 5th year teaching. I have taught English and History to grades 7-12 in Southern California Charter Schools. I’m looking forward to utilizing my quarter groups (4 instead of your 3) more through integrating more games with vocabulary, critical thinking questions, and your awesome brain teasers! I hope you have a wonderful holiday season in the snow!

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  13. This is my 6th year teaching! I am excited for the 20 time project with my Pre-AP students and doing TED talks with my on-level students in the spring!

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  14. Hi! I am in my 2nd year teaching ELLs, but I have taught 24 years in total. I am excited (and grateful) that my district just purchased the internet linked component to our textbooks. I cannot wait to try it out, and it should be accessible to us when we come back from break.

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  15. Hi Laura, I am going into my 30th year of teaching! I also used your White Elephant gift exchange this past week and my students loved it! We even went “Live” on Social Media, ended class with “Holiday Charades,” and a Sing-a-long! Who doesn’t love to sing? I am looking forward to creating an argumentative playlist (Hyperdoc’s) for my students to complete in 2017. It is a differentiated, self-paced approach. Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas and Happy Kwanza!

    Like

  16. I’ve been teaching for 15 years after a career in information processing. I moved into a new room over break, so I’m looking forward to being on the first floor, and using some of the “people traffic” that inevitably goes by in my classes. (Those folks are going to distract anyway, so I might as well use it.) Have a great holiday and New Year!

    Like

  17. I’ve been teaching for 18 years. My classroom is being renovated in January and February, so I’m looking forward to getting into my newly renovated room in March!

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  18. This is my 13th year of teaching, and I am looking forward to using some new resources I purchased from the TpT sale! I went a little crazy, but every resource of yours I use is always so effective! Thank you!

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  19. This is my 18th year teaching. I’m looking forward to student-led conferences this spring!

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  20. Good afternoon, Miss. Laura,
    I buy so many of your products and talk about you and your work with fellow friends and teachers from Texas to New York to Oregon.
    This is my third year teaching 7th grade ELA and 8th grade reading.
    I am actually giddy to return to school. I just recently got fully funded on a project through a donor site. I was able to order all of my 8th grade students books that THEY are interested in, not just books they have to read for AR points (not my choice).
    But I am in the middle of creating a a unit on these different books. I don’t want a run of the mill book report. I want to engage in a book talk, written reviews newspaper style, a movie project, a characters’ ball…anything and everything! After that…we will be on the grind with Non-Fiction Text for their state test. (Boo)

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  21. This is my 15th year of teaching HS English. I am excited to teach Gatsby to my juniors, Romeo & Juliet to my freshmen and the 20time project with my seniors!!!

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  22. I taught for 5 yrs (high school), 3 yrs community college, 11 yrs as an online writing tutor, and now 3 yrs back in a high school classroom, so that’s 11 or 22 yrs, depending on how you count it. 😜

    I’m excited about a 20Time/TED talk/REHUGO project that I’m putting together for my AP Lang and Eng 11 folks. 😊

    Like

  23. I am so impressed with your unselfishness. You share so freely and with top quality. I have been teaching for a long time. Your work is very professional. Thank you!

    Like

  24. I am so very excited to begin teaching Moby Dick! My absolute favorite!! All things whales!! I am also going to have a contest among the students to see who can match the most opening lines of novels to the correct title.

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  25. This is my 15th year teaching middle school MATH. I use many of your strategies with my students to decode word problems. I am looking forward to using the STEM CSI from Tpt next semester.

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  26. This is my sixth year teaching and I’m excited about teaching research skills to my freshman.

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  27. I have been teaching for 18 years. I am looking forward to finding more ways to connect my lessons to the “real” world.

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  28. Hi Laura! I’ve been teaching for six years, and I teach Freshman English and Senior Speech. I’ve been using your MLA 8 format this semester as well as your M.U.G shots and Vocab prep. Next semester I’m looking forward to teaching To Kill A Mockingbird and The Odyssey. I want to incorporate some of your poetry stations into these units.

    Like

  29. This is my 8th year teaching high school English and my first teaching it online. I’m looking forward to that spring semester groove – you know, when I finally have the newness in check and systems solidly in place. 😀

    Like

  30. This is my third year teaching, 2 years of 6th grade ELA and now in my first year of 6th grade Literacy-Based Social Studies.

    I’m most looking forward to completing a primary source document analysis between Ashoka’s Edicts and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights! Perfect for during our school’s Social Justice Week and right before MLK Day!

    Like

  31. Hi Laura, I have been teaching high school (mostly 9th grade) ELA for 5 years. I am looking forward to using your “Words on Wednesday” with my classes next semester. Happy Holidays!!

    Like

  32. Hi Laura! This is year 13 for me! I’m excited to teach my new, semester-long satire class for the second time. It’s always better the second time around!

    Like

  33. Hi! I am in my third year of teaching. I have been asked to teach AP Language starting in January, so I am most excited to incorporate some new rhetorical analysis strategies. I look forward to teaching In Cold Blood, assuming I can raise enough money on my Donors Choose page to purchase books. The gift card would really come in handy, as I’ll be teaching all new courses after break and filling in for a teacher who left suddenly. Thanks for the offer!

    Like

  34. I am looking forward to using ClassFlow.com to deliver my notes. Break will be spent revamping old notes.

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  35. This is my 9th year, and my 4th doing 10th ELA at Burley High in southern Idaho. I am looking forward to two of my faves, a Mythology unit and into Macbeth. I can’t wait to witness the ‘a-ha’ moments as my oh-so-techy and rarely impressed teens pick up on the lingering bits of these ancient legends that still influence culture and literature today. Thanks to you (oh, how I love your lessons and teaching helps!) and to TpT for being my go-to stop for new, exciting ways to teach core curriculum.

    Like

  36. Hi Laura! 💞 This is my 9th year teaching 9th grade English-lucky #9! I am a huge fan of your TpT products and get excited every time I see you made a new blog post. 🙌🏻

    If I were to choose ONE thing I’m looking forward to the most about the 2017 semester, it would be getting to know my students more. I was on maternity leave till November, so I didn’t get much time with them before the Winter break. However, the time that I did have with them, I realized that so many of my students have high anxiety and depression. I’m hoping to inspire them with some great poetry. These kids need to express themselves and poetry just might be the trick!

    Happy Holidays!

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  37. This is my 24th year of teaching! Eek! I’m looking forward to a new classroom library next semester…crossing my fingers that my donors come through! 🙂 Thanks for all your help and thoughts – I love reading this blog!

    Like

  38. I have been teaching English for 5 years. I’m starting a brand new literature circle unit in January using books chosen around the theme of tolerance – I’m so excited for this one!

    Like

  39. I’ve been teaching for 3 years. I’m looking forward to goal setting with my gr 10s when we get back from the break 🙂

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  40. Laura! I have been teaching for 7 years in North Carolina. I love all of your activities and so do my students! They look forward to M.U.G. Wednesday and they love correcting each other’s grammar.

    I look forward to teaching a speech and debate class for the first time. I know we will use your TED organizer. Happy holiday! Enjoy your break!

    Like

  41. Hi Laura! Merry Christmas. This is my 14th year of teaching high school English. I am looking forward to teaching Hamlet after the new year, and your TPT product will certainly be of use! Thanks for everything. -Angela

    Like

  42. I have been teaching for 9 years, and I have loved each twist and turn along the way. This winter I will be teaching creative writing and I can’t wait to see the micro fiction stories and six word memoirs that my lovelies will create.

    Like

  43. I have been teaching for 16 years and am looking forward to teaching Night for the first time.

    Like

  44. I’m in my second full year of teaching, and this spring I am most excited about finishing my first yearbook as an adviser and seeing it in print!

    Like

  45. Hello Laura!

    I have been teaching high school English for 20 years – not counting that little “break” I had when my kids were all little.

    Next semester I am looking forward to trying some new strategies to get my kids writing more often which will (I hope) lead to a higher quality of writing.

    Like

  46. I have been teaching high school English twenty-four years.

    Next semester I look forward to trying interactive notebooks with my standard-level ninth grade class. I tried ISNs with my honors ninth graders this semester, but I am excited to see how my standards and special ed kids do with them.

    Like

  47. I am a Special Education teacher of 5 years. Next semester, honestly, taking it one day at a time. Trying to achieve a work-life balance.

    Like

  48. Hi Laura,
    This is my 30th year of teaching HS English students. I am looking forward to the second semester of the course I got to design–Ancient Greek Lit and Myth–when we start with the roots of Greek theater, Oedipus Rex, and Antigone. Talk about a challenge and great fun!

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  49. Thank you for the posters! Is there a typo on the Motivation1.jpg? Should it say “even if you don’t”?

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  50. I have been teaching since 2000.

    I’m in the middle of digitizing the stories we read in class for my students who struggle. It’s time consuming and fun and, I hope, a real benefit.

    Like

  51. 10 years! I’m looking forward to using your brain teasers throughout 2017. I started using them in September and my kids look forward to them at the beginning of class! Happy new year!

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  52. This is my 4th year of teaching. I’m at a new school, so I’m excited to tackle new curriculum with my seniors–and I’m hoping I can still squeeze 20Time onto the schedule. Merry Christmas!

    Like

  53. This is my second year teaching ELA. I am looking forward to jumping into my Huck Finn and The Great Gatsby units–which I purchased from you!

    Like

  54. This is my 26th year teaching! I’m looking forward to having a student teacher who seems very tech savvy in my classroom next semester 😊

    Like

  55. I just corrected my email address.
    Merry Christmas!!!🎄

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  56. I’ve been teaching English for 20 years next year! Our new school year starts in January and I’m really looking forward to meeting my new classes and trying 20 Time for the first time.
    Merry Christmas, Laura!

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  57. I have been a teacher since 2003, but I feel like this is my first year since I’ve spent the last nine years at home with my kids. I’m so excited to be back in the classroom and also eternally grateful I’ve found TpT and some great blogs to help me through this transition. After Christmas, I’ll be trying out a new strategy aimed to help my kids (mostly ESL students) to write better. We’ll start each lesson with 5-10 minutes of writing and then follow that up with a 10-minute language session, talking about grammar and vocabulary, or correcting some of the sentences they just wrote for immediate feedback. So excited to see where this might take us!

    Like

  58. This is my 5th year teaching. I’m really excited about implementing a flipped classroom environment during the second half of the school year.

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  59. Oh my goodness, Rhonena! Perhaps I had a bit too much egg nog? Ugh, no matter how many times I edit these things and even read them out loud, I still do dumb stuff like this. Happily, it was an easy fix and the updated file’s posted. It’s a good friend who lets you know when there’s a bit of spinach in your teeth. Merry Christmas!

    Like

  60. This is my 11th year teaching High School. I’m excited to implement an “I’m done” activity book and to implement round 2 of my 20 Time Project 🙂 Thanks to Laura’s resources for getting me started.

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  61. Hi Laura and friends,
    I have been teaching for 28 years. I am really excited to introduce a journalistic blog with my 10th graders this coming term. Also, my IB group will be studying 1984, a book which I studied myself in the year 1984! Seasons greetings to everyone and enjoy the break!

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  62. This is my 13th year on this amazing teaching ride. The spring semester is always full of the chaos of state testing and academic competition (so much so that I often feel a bit exhaused just at the thought), but this semester I’m invigorated and excited because, after much research, I’ll be introducing 20Time to my classroom!!!!

    Since I already learn so much from my students, I cannot WAIT to peel back the layers of self-motivated-goodness and find what inspirations lay in those youthful minds: to see the world around us through their eyes. WoooHooo!!!

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  63. I’m looking forward to trying the 20-time project this semester.

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  64. This is my first year teaching. I’ve learned a lot my first semester and am looking forward to working more with my ESL students. I’m excited about starting 5 paragraph essays!

    Like

  65. I have been teaching for 18 years and my profession continues to be my passion! Laura’s TPT site has added a much needed kick to my instruction! I’m excited to teach argumentative writing in January!
    Thank you Laura! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!

    Like

  66. Hi Laura. This is my 17th year teaching English. I am looking forward to more of your resources. They have invigorated my teaching. Love your blog!

    Like

  67. Hi! I’ve been teaching ELA for 19 years now. I am looking forward to teaching Night and bringing in some really high interest informational texts to help build background knowledge and reading stamina.

    Like

  68. Hi! I’ve been teaching for 15 years. Looking forward to all the novel studies I’ll get going in January for my grades 3 to 6. I don’t teach the upper grades this year, but I still enjoy your blog and share new resources with colleagues in high school.

    Like

  69. Hey there! This is my second year teaching. I’m super pumped about teaching The Great Gatsby and organizing/planning for Homecoming (which is the week we get back from break) and Prom.

    Like

  70. I have been teaching for 9 years with a 12 year break in the middle to raise babies. I also started a 20Time project with my kids last year because I wanted to shake up the class that just wanted to be spoonfed. It was a bit of a knee jerk reaction and I didn’t give it enough time, but most of the kids loved it, once I convinced them it didn’t have to be “Englishy” since English is about communication. I’m looking forward to doing it up right this year.

    Like

  71. I’ve been teaching for 5 years. I’m looking forward to making use of my new “reading tree.” (A light up cherry-blossom tree that will add some warmth/coziness to the classroom)

    Like

  72. This will be my 25th year of teaching English (I’m in Australia so am in between years). There are so many things I’m looking forward to using in the classroom next year, but I think the two I’m most excited about is my growing costume box and the Flyswatter game!

    Like

  73. I’ve been teaching for 12 years and I am very excited about using Hyperdocs next semester. I’m working on differentiating my lessons and this will be a great way to do it. We’ll also start a classroom blog.

    Like

  74. Hi Laura,
    I teach 8th grade pre-AP and on-level ELA and I’m new to teaching. After 20 years doing environmental communications work, I decided to change careers. Your blog and resources have been invaluable to me. I’m looking forward to teaching Of Mice and Men and figuring out how to use it to prepare them for state exams. I’ve used your MUG exercises and personal narrative resources in my classroom. Thanks for all that you do!

    Like

  75. Teaching = 22 years…Look forward to using some of my awesome lesson plans I have purchased from TPT – probably most look forward to the non-fiction articles.

    Like

  76. I’ve been teaching for 12 years, and I’ve been working this year to integrate more technology in the classroom. I’m especially looking forward to trying out hyperdocs, blind kahooting, and more video flipped content in the classroom. Happy New Year!!

    Like

  77. This is my 12th year teaching! I am excited to try flipbooks in the new year.

    Like

  78. This is my 5th year teaching Journalism and Audio/Video Technology and Film. I am so excited for secind semester because my higher level students will start making stop motion films and begin work on a documentary!

    Like

  79. Love these inspirations in the above images make me happy

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  80. Hi Laura! This is my 11th year teaching.

    I’m looking forward to starting Shakespeare! I’ll be teaching _The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet_ to my 9th graders. I’ve been using a few of your Shakespeare lessons for two years now, and I’m planning on purchasing more of your products! 😉

    Like

  81. Hi! Thanks for this opportunity. I’m Lara aka Dr. D. I’ve been teaching for a dozen years at different levels. Currently, I’m teaching English at the high school level, a perfect fit for me. I’m excited to use your TpT Crucible and Great Gatsby products in my American Literature course next semester. I used TKAM last semester with my 9th graders and it went swimmingly, I’m happy to report. I also used your hook with my Composition students to great effect. Thanks for everything you do for this community of educators! Happy New Year! 😀

    Like

  82. Hi Laura!
    This comment feels like a long time coming…sorry that it took a giveaway to get me to finally take the time to write to you! I am in my second year of teaching high school English. This spring, I look forward to getting into a vocabulary/grammar instruction routine, much facilitated by my purchase of your Bell Ringers Volume 1. As a new teacher and a new mom, I so appreciate your resources. I have used many this year already, and plan to purchase more. I can’t put a price on how much time they save me as I attempt to strike a balance between work and home. You are an inspiration to this new teacher! Thank you!

    Like

  83. Hey Laura!
    This is my 6th year of teaching but my first year with 11th grade and college! Hoping to use 20Time in the spring!

    Like

  84. This is Ivy. I’ve been teaching 20 years. I am hoping to use a layered curriculum next semester in our argumentative reading unit. I’m also excited to bring in some stools for my flexible seating classroom. Surprisingly enough, 8th graders aren’t as excited about stand up desks as I thought they would be. 🙂

    Like

  85. Hello, Laura! My class was excited to do the white elephant gift exchange and the haiku activities. This is the second year I’ve used these lessons before Christmas break, and the kids always love them. Students in other classes were jealous that they were just watching Rudolph. lol
    I am in my 22nd year of teaching. I spent the first 12 years teaching emotional support, then another 5 years teaching learning support, and I have been teaching 7th and 8th grade ELA ever since.
    I am looking forward to using your podcasts. I bought them a while ago with the sole purpose of using them for emergency sub plans, but I don’t think I can wait that long. And, of course, if you have any new products out next year, I will probably use them, too.
    Have a happy new year! 🙂

    Like

  86. Hi Laura!
    I’ve been teaching middle school and high school ESL for two years in Montevideo, Uruguay, and I often turn to your blog for ideas and inspiration.
    I’m looking forward to doing something similar to your Words on Wednesday in 2017 – adapted to my students’ levels and needs.
    Saludos!

    Like

  87. Hi Laura,

    I am in my 12th year of teaching and I am a big fan of your blog! Although I have transitioned from the English classroom to remedial reading, I find so much inspiration in your materials and posts! In 2017, I am looking forward to using dialogue journals to personalize my instruction and correspond back and forth with my students about their reading.

    Like

  88. This is my 20th year of teaching (I’m not even sure how that’s possible, since I’m clearly still in my early 30s – lol!!) and this is my fourth year teaching high school English, after many years of teaching ELA at the middle school level, and ESL in many places prior to that. I am looking forward to using your OMAM unit materials with my freshmen; I’ve been teaching it the same way for a few years now and think that implementing some of your ideas will bring a fresh perspective to the unit for me! I’m also hoping to revamp my approach to independent reading during the second semester…

    Like

  89. 15 years of teaching and love it! Getting some new flexible seating options this year with grants-super exciting! Happy Holidays to you!

    Like

  90. Hi Laura,

    I’ve been teaching eight years of Language Arts – two years at the high school level (sophomores and seniors). I’m really excited about my upcoming unit on Media Literacy for my seniors. I’m also hoping to implement 20Time with my seniors this semester. Crossing my fingers that it goes better than I imagine.

    Love your blog!

    Like

  91. Hi Laura,
    I have been a high school ELA teacher for 17 years. I love your blog as well as many of the resources you have created. I am planning on purchasing your Mythology bundle (looks amazing). Thank you for all your hard work and inspiration.
    Have a great new year !

    Like

  92. Megan

    Hi there, I am in my fourth year of teaching. As soon as we get back from Christmas break, I am going to launch quarterly trios (quads) in my case! I’m also going to begin using your bell-ringers! I can’t wait to see how they work.

    Like

  93. Wendy

    This is my 20th year teaching. After break we will finish poetry unit with Black Out Poetry lesson from Laura,

    Like

  94. Thank you, Laura! I’m so thrilled to have won! Have a wonderful New Year! I can’t wait to go on my shopping spree 🙂

    Like

  95. Congratulations, Prairie Girl! I’m so happy for you, too! 🙂

    Like

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