Literacy Profile

Agh! How can school possibly start in 36 hours?! I am frantically trying to finish planning for the first few months before the year begins. But one of the best activities I always do when we begin reading and writing workshop is a reading and writing survey. In the past I always handed out two separate surveys, modeled after Nancy Atwell’s.

However, while reviewing the surveys from last year a few weeks ago, I realized just how redundant they are. I love them and the information I glean from them, so I didn’t want to just toss them. Thus, I decided to try and combine them into one, slightly shorter survey that would still give me the information I need. Turns out, I wasn’t the only one who had that idea! Stacey, over at TwoWritingTeachers, just posted her Literacy Profile, a combined reading and writing survey. Well, I shamelessly stole her label and applied it to my new survey.

Read this document on Scribd: My Literacy Profile

In the event that anyone is interested, I am experimenting with a new document uploader, Scribd. If you click on the above link you should be able to view and access my literacy profile!


Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott

In the interest of full disclosure, I am a news junkie. And I love following major cases. I am also a Law and Order addict. So when I received an advance copy of Elizabeth Scott’s Living Dead Girl, I was thrilled.

Alice has lived with Ray since she was ten. The neighbors assume he is her father, and look upon him as a hard-working father struggling to make ends meet.


A funny word.

Because Ray is the farthest thing from a father.

Kidnapped when she was 10, Alice is now 15. Her life is a nightmare and she wants nothing more than for Ray to kill her, ending the abuse and violence she has been tortured with daily. She knows it’s coming soon, because she is getting too old for him- he likes little girls, not teenagers. But before she can die, Ray forces her to find the new “Alice”, a replacement.

This book is haunting, nightmare-inducing, and horrific. It’s not a story that readers will identify with, but you won’t be able to put it down. Alice’s situation is beyond description. You will want to stop reading, but you won’t be able to. I read the book in one sitting, unable to stop even though I wanted nothing more than for it to be over.

I don’t think a review can do this book justice. Living Dead Girl is a fantastic YA book (for older teens), and has significant crossover appeal in the adult market. Scott has captured Alice’s voice in an unforgettable manner. She is equal parts 10 year old and jaded adult. She is a good person and a horrific person. She is deeply flawed, but only because of what Ray has done to her. As a character, she is completely fascinating. Scott has produced an unforgettable novel that will be a hit with teens and adults alike.

Classroom spaces

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I have spent the last few days working on my classroom.  It isn’t done yet, but the next I can go back is during our in-service on Tuesday!  Thankfully, I just have a few bulletin boards to label and then I will be done!  I will be having my students organize the library (while reviewing genres), so that is a relief.  And most of the bulletin boards will be interactive or student-work centered.  It makes the set-up much easier for the first day of school!

Still working, still exhausted

I spent another few hours at school today- hanging butcher paper, setting up new bulletin boards, picking up class lists, and all those odd and ends that need to be done at the beginning of the new school year.  My mother and sisters came in today to help out and I think we made a lot of progress!

Tomorrow I need to spend just a little more time in the room, and then I should be done!  Hopefully I can devote more time to the blog then!

Getting Ready for the New School Year

I spent the majority of today preparing for the beginning of school.  I ran a bunch of errands this morning picking up school supplies.  (sidenote- how awesome is Staples?!  There sales are amazing, especially for teachers!)  When I got home, I spent a few hours cleaning the house and my car, both of which I want spotless before school starts.  I know once the year begins it will be a while before I am ready to spring clean again!

Finally, I started working on school work.  Yesterday I dropped a bunch of boxes off in my classroom and today I sorted through the remaining boxes.  I threw a lot of trash away and I feel much more organized.  I also set up my table communal supply bins, which I hope will alleviate some organizational problems for my students this year.  I promise to post pictures once they are all full and complete.  But first I need to grab a few more items from the supply closet at school!  After cleaning, organizing, and setting up I moved onto planning.  I set up my gradebook for the year, which is always a chore because I need to divide it into two classes and three subjects each.  But writing out the names helps me become a little more familiar with my students at the beginning of the year.

Finally, I worked on my new planbook.  I type my plans on the computer but I haven’t yet settled on a format that I absolutely love.  However, today I reworked and modified a template from Mandy Gregory and I love it so far!  I print my plans out and keep them in a divided binder, which also has my other important paperwork in it.  It really helps me stay organized!

Tomorrow I plan to head into school bright and early, with my sister tagging along to help.  She is the organized one, with pretty handwriting.  Hence, she loves writing out my nametags and helping with my bulletin boards.  And I love having the help!  I plan to spend about 3-4 hours there (until I get kicked out!) and hope to get almost everything done.  Hopefully I will have some pictures to post when I get home.

Fall Teacher Swap!

Here it is, everyone! Below you will find a list of partners. I also sent an email to each pair. Get to know each other (via email, blogs, etc) and have fun! Due to my tardiness is getting the list posted, I have changed a few dates. Swap packages should be mailed by September 30 (feel free to mail them anytime, though!). The price limit is $20, but you don’t have to spend any money at all. Homemade, second hand, etc are all fine for the items. Just remember, they should follow the theme of S-C-H-O-O-L, with one item representing each letter in the word “school”. For example, “C” might stand for cool pens and you would include some awesome writing implements in your package. “L” could stand for leisure activities, with a cool game thrown in the package. HAVE FUN! And if you have any questions, email me.

*Remember, blog about your package when you receive it! Pictures on your blog are great, because we all want to know what you get! If you don’t have a blog, just be sure to email your partner so that they know you received the package.


Teresa and Shelly

Kristen and Holly

Heather and Sarah

Kristine and Megan

Patti and Kyle

Jennifer and Terry

Lori and Stacey

Caroline and Cathy

Lisa and Carol

Sarah and Katie

Susan and Crystal

Check your email! And HAVE FUN!

*In the interest of full-disclosure, I had to take two partners. Every time I tried to get an even number, I still ended up with an odd one out!


1. Do you have any hobbies?
2. Do you enjoy crafting? If so anything in particular?
3. 5 favorite things you can’t live without.
4. Do you collect anything?
5. Do you have any Children or pets?
6. Favorite things to do during “back to school” season.
7. What makes you think of school?
8. Favorite treats?
9. Favorite color combo.

You might also want to find out what grade/subject your partner teaches (if they are a teacher).

Swap is coming!

I promise, the swap partners will be announced by tomorrow evening.  I ended up spending today in South Jersey and just walked in, exhausted.  So expect an email from me tomorrow, with your swap partner.

Thanks for your patience!


I still need one more person for the Teacher Swap!  As of now we have 19 participants and I need an even number to pair everyone off.  Just leave a comment or email me (see sidebar for address).



Partners will be emailed later today!

New Zealand Monarchs and Teachers

Jacqui Knight, one of the participants in this past week’s workshop, flew in with two other educators from NEW ZEALAND!  She has posted a great summary of her experience on her blog, and it’s amazing to read about my area from a foreign perspective.

Madam Butterfly

Last Call for Teacher Swap!

Friday is the last day to sign up for the teacher swap!  Be sure to email me (see sidebar for the address) if you want to participate!  I hope to have the partners selected and contacted by Saturday afternoon.