what's in my school bag?

September 30, 2016


an expandable filer to hold papers to be graded, and a lesson planner

my laptop case, school computer, toiletries ( orla kiley pouch / neutrogena powder / chanel rouge coco shine / sonia kashuk velvet matte lip pencil ), headphones with a Target dollar section holder, and my favorite pens and washi tapes

I love getting a sneaky peak into how other people organize their bags, and what they bring to work with them. What's in your bag?

styling: blanket scarf and espadrilles

September 28, 2016

Ellie glasses from EyeBuyDirect / scarf from last season (similar), shoes, and button up plaid shirt from Target / thrifted Banana Republic cardigan / LOFT pantsApple Watch 38mm Sport Edition

I know that it is a weird transitional time of year when I am wearing sandals and a scarf. One of my students asked me why I was wearing a scarf, and I had to be honest and say it's the only professional way to bring what is basically a blanket to work. 


three favorites: september 25, 2016

September 25, 2016

NYX soft matte lip creams in Madrid and Berlin

1. The NYX soft matte lip creams are lovely. I was feeling an itch to buy some liquid lipsticks, but wanted to try some colors, like browns and deeper reds and purples, without splashing out thirty dollars. These are decent, and the price is right. My one complaint is that they don't fade evenly, but I haven't come across a liquid lipstick that does.

2. RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars, Season Two. I am obsessed with drag queens in general, and this show in particular. This show is all the best parts of Project Runway, America's Next Top Model, American Idol, and America's Got Talent. Also, the makeup. The makeup. It's so incredible to watch the contestants transform into these beautiful and magical women. Drag Race is campy, inclusive, and damn funny. This season is particularly juicy, with queens eliminating each other instead of having Mama Ru announce who is "sashaying away". 

3. The Feedly App. Feedly collects posts from websites and blogs and places them in a user-friendly feed that allows me to sort through the different topics I like to keep up on. It's available on my iPhone, and there is a web based version. I connected it to my Google account and haven't looked back. I love that I don't miss any posts from my favorite bloggers, and I can catch up on posts at any time. 

using hogwarts houses for behavior management

September 23, 2016




Whenever I watch the Harry Potter movies or read the books, I admire the house points system. It's genius for behavior management! A competition between groups based on points earned and removed puts behavior in the context of teams and rewards. It's positive, and incentivizes participation. So, I thought about how I could bring this magical system to my classroom, and started using house points. Here's how I do it.

1. Split students into three to four groups. Right now, my seating chart best allows for three groups of students. I assigned a house to each section: Gryffindor, Slytherin, and Hufflepuff. When a student asked me, "who is Ravenclaw?" I said, "I am Ravenclaw!" It was awesome.

2. Have a place to tally house points. I keep mine on my white board, with a space to tally daily points, and to note the collection of points for each house per hour. I like to have students tally points. They like it, too.

3. Give students opportunities to earn points. Some ideas are:
  • I start every day with a bell ringer in my freshmen classes. I have students write down the goal for the day, and then have a task for them to do right when class starts. It's often a sentence that needs to have its grammar corrected, or a discussion question. I ask for a new person volunteering information each rotation through the houses. (So, if I start with Gryffindor, I  will turn to the next closest group, and then the third group for a correct answer. When the question comes back around to Gryffindor, someone new needs to talk from the group.) It's good to start the hour with a couple point opportunities for each house. 
  • When you ask questions to the class, offer a house point for a correct answer.
  • If a student is especially helpful or thoughtful, give their house a point. 
  • When you play a game, have students play in their houses, and add points to the weekly total for their house. I love to do things like Family Feud, Jeopardy, and Kahoot; adding points from games to a weekly total is really easy.
4. Enforce your cellphone rules and other expectations with points. I particularly like to use points to regulate cell phones in class. If students see a student from another group on their phone, they can point it out, and the offending team will lose a point.

5. On Fridays tally the points towards the end of class, and give a prize to the house that won. You could offer candy, or extra credit. I prefer Jolly Ranchers as prizes. They don't contain nuts, or gelatin, which I find to be the most common dietary restrictions at my school. I am astounded by the amount of effort most of my freshmen will put in for the chance to win one Jolly Rancher at the end of the week.


How do you manage behavior in creative ways? Do you need clarification on my system?

three favorites: september 18, 2016

September 19, 2016

my favorite grading pens at the moment:  the cocoiro letter pen by Kuretake

1. The pens pictured are a great marker tip for grading. I picked these up from a Japanese grocery store in Seattle. They have a refillable body, which you can place the ink cartridge into. 

2.  Girls Just Want to Have Fun. I love this movie. It's so campy, and it features very young Sarah Jessica Parker and Helen Hunt as rebellious catholic school girls that just want to dance. Nothing like a dance movie to lift the mood.

3. Mini Oreos. I am trying to buy less snacks, but during my afternoon commute I am typically starving. I bought the small bags of mini Oreos, and they are just junky enough to get me through my tedious drive home. Treat yo' self.

What were your three favorites for the week?

three favorites: september 10, 2016

September 11, 2016

Ellie glasses from EyeBuyDirect 

After feeling kind of sick during workshop week, I recovered and had a lovely weekend. Now, the first week of school is finished. Here are three things that are making me happy.

1. My glasses. I love the speckled frames and the silver studs. Upturned frames are where it's at.

2. The Enneagram test. My friend Bekah told me about this test, and there is a great in depth episode of The Liturgist podcast explaining the origins of this personality type system. I took a version of the test before the school year started, but found a more extensive site recently that helped me to understand my personality type in more depth. According to The Enneagram Institute, I am a Seven, which is "the enthusiast" personality. They describe Sevens as "The Busy, Variety-Seeking Type: Spontaneous, Versatile, Acquisitive, and Scattered". Their descriptions gave me insight into myself that I hadn't seen from other tests, especially in the area of will power, which I have been trying to work on lately.

If you're looking for another language or system to examine yourself, and communicate your needs and motivations, I would highly recommend giving the test a try.

3. Stranger Things. Michael and I just finished the first season of this show on Netflix. It was a perfect combination of The Goonies and The X-Files. I loved it. The combination of the younger cast, the teenagers, and the adults working together against a monster that inhabits a shadow world was awesome: plenty of thrills, and the character Eleven is so interesting. Ugh. So good.



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