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Monday, June 9, 2014

The Flipped classroom

Hey y'all!

So it's the end of the year, things are winding down.  My mind on the other hand is cranking with ideas for next year - oh geez does this ever end?!

I decided to try to create a PPT video that is a flipped classroom style.  It's pretty awesome!  My kids loved it when I showed them this. I plan on creating more of these next year and upload it to my class page for students who are absent or assign it for homework and spend more time in class practicing!

Check it out below, see what you think!  Please excuse the errors and some backtracking in the voice over- I was doing this without a script planned!

Ms. Bergin

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Spicing up those final days!

Hey y'all!

Oh goodness, we're well under 20 days left of school! Only 7 days left of instructional teaching and then it's finals!  Which means I only have 17 days until my trip of the year!  (For those of you who don't know, I will be backpacking through Europe for the months of June and July and I am completely excited - I can't focus on anything except the trip at this point!)

My students are getting restless, as am I - quite frankly, who wants to be doing the same ol' thing when summer is just right around the corner?  So I've had to spice things up a bit.  I started incorporating music to review theme, mood and figurative language all in one.  I had the students make a simple graphic organizer and each column was dedicated to one topic - theme, mood, figurative language, the first column was the name of the song.  I used popular songs to get them into it - Life is a Highway, Let it Go, etc.  Then students started requesting songs, and surprisingly, the songs they chose were pretty appropriate - The Climb, Do You Want to Build a Snowman, etc.  They even backed up their song choice with what is in it for figurative language, etc.

So if you are looking to spice up your last few days, especially with high schoolers - you just can't go wrong with music!


Ms. Bergin

Monday, May 19, 2014

Limited Supply of Textbooks Leads to Less Reading

I remember in high school English, we all had our own English textbooks. If we were reading a novel, an epic, or a text that was not in the textbook, we all had our own copy.  There was no need to have teachers run copies.  The reading was done at home and then the discussions, close reading, analysis, and all that fun stuff took place in school.  I learned in a title I school.

As a teacher, I must make copies of texts if I want my students to read something at home.  My students do not have their own textbooks.  Sure, I can upload the online file of the text if I could, but then there's students without internet at home.  Therefore ,we spend a lot of class time reading in addition to the close reading analysis, which sometimes leads to eliminating fun activities because we simply just do not have time for it.  I teach in a Title I school.

What's the difference? That's something I'm trying to figure out.  How to increase reading at home, reduce reading in class and increase instructional activities in class.

Ms. Bergin

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Liebster Award!

WOAH! I've been nominated and accepted the Liebster award from Susan Gifford (check out her blog! !  I'm so honored :)

Ms. Gifford has asked me 11 questions in which I will do my best to answer... here goes!

1. What is your favorite grade/subject to teach and why?  My favorite is English - I have only been teaching a few years, with limited experience in grade levels.  So far, I have to say I prefer 9th grade!  Still young enough with an imagination!  
2. What is your best teaching moment? My best teaching moment is when my students are teaching one another, relying on each other instead of me. :)
3.What is your favorite food? My favorite food would need to be buffalo chicken!
4.Why did you become a teacher? I have always wanted to be a teacher, as long as I can remember, with playing school in the basement with my siblings and playing the role of teacher using my mother's portable chalkboard.  
5.What is your favorite vacation spot? That's a super easy one - The Outer Banks, NC!
6. What do you love most about blogging? Making connections with fellow bloggers, seeing how each one of us travels and grows in our teaching career.  We may teach the same materials, but different obstacles, different ways of thinking and teaching keeps us all from being the same.  
7.How long have you been teaching? Going on three years now!
8. What is your favorite food? Whoops This has already been answered in question 3!
9. What do you do in your free time? I am obsessed with pinterest :) Also love traveling, checking out new restaurants, etc.
10.Where do you find inspiration? I find inspiration through blogs, fellow teachers and my students.
11. What is your favorite day of the week? Saturday! Day of relaxing and just hanging out with a day off the following day as well!

In addition, here are the 11 random facts about myself:
1. I moved to NC in 2011 without a job or apt lined up!
2. I am deaf and use hearing aids to hear. 
3. No I don't do sign language, though I am fluent in it.
4.I flew for the first time in 2000 to California for a wedding. Best vacation ever.
5. I am the oldest of 6 kids in my family and the only deaf one.
6. I went to college in Rhode Island and made some of the best friends anyone could ask for.
7.  I am addicted to Mt. Dew and have tried multiple times to quit drinking it with my success rate of lasting 5 months.
8. I get cold easily and relish the hot summer days.
9. I obsess over the beach. I go any chance I can!
10. I broke my arm at 2 years old.
11. I once was trapped between electric sliding doors at the local library as a pre-teen or teen because my weight was too light for the door to recognize that a person was there to open.

Happy Wednesday!



Sunday, April 13, 2014

Spring Break, EOC, and the Last Leg of the Year

WHOO! On spring break and on cloud nine!  Don't get me wrong, I love teaching, but I definitely needed this break.  With the loss of workdays due to snow days, we haven't had a work day or a day off in over a month!  In addition, there was also that week in March in which they extended the school day because we hadn't heard from the government whether they would waive the snow days.  Thankfully, they did. Sometimes, the weekend is just not enough to recharge.

This week is all about relaxing, recharging, and getting some work done for the rest of the school year.  Maybe even throw a beach trip somewhere in between!

EOCs, Final exams and all that good stuff is coming up in two months! Which means I really only have about a month and half left of teaching and prepping my students for the final exam! Oh goodness!  This last leg of the year is going to fly!

Happy Spring Break!


Ms. Bergin

Friday, April 11, 2014

The start of Feature Friday!

Whoohoo!!  Spring break is less than 6 hours away! On top of that, it's the start of Feature Friday over at The Perfetto Writing Room!  Each week, a different educator is featured and we learn more about the educator, what they teach, their style, and tips.  Click on the button below to hop over to The Perfetto Writing Room to see who is being featured this week!

The idea is to connect secondary level educators across the country and build our network of teacher-friends.  Who knows, maybe there will be someone who is featured that you would like to collaborate with!  With technology these days, the possibilities with collaboration is just endless!



Ms. Bergin

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Networking Opportunity for Secondary level teachers in USA and abroad

This is for all Secondary Educators reading this:

We all see many many blogs, facebook pages, pinterest, lesson plans geared towards elementary schools, leaving us wondering where the secondary level educators are.  We are building a network of secondary level teachers.  If you would like to be a part of the network and meet other secondary level teachers across the country, or possibly across continents, please fill out the form below.  Our goal is to easily increase connections with other secondary level educators who have fabulous tips and success lesson plans to share.  We are also here to lean on one another when we may have a bad day. If you have a Google account, please put your gmail address.  We may be building a Google Community to allow members to post and share.  

Please share the form on your blog, Fbook page, Pinterest board, with your fellow teacher friends in your school, your own personal network.  The more people we can reach, the larger our network becomes, and the more resources, tips and stories we get! Click the button below to go to the form.

Networking with Secondary Educators


Ms. Bergin

Monday, April 7, 2014

Bob, My Imaginary Student

Wahoo! It's the week before Spring Break and we are all in overload!  My last block class has an imaginary classmate named "Bob". Bob has a tendency to get students off task and when a student talks and is caught, they say "Bob, shh, you are going to get me in trouble" and resume their work.  I play along, not because I think it's funny, but because it works.  I made an announcement earlier in the semester that if Bob continues to act up and disrupt the class,  he will get others in trouble.  It is so much easier to tell students to tell Bob to focus than to deal with possible arguments of "but I wasn't talking" or "I was responding to what she/he asked me." If Bob is extremely disruptive, I ask Bob to leave the room, making a dramatic show of opening the door and ushering out "Bob".  If Bob is asked to leave the room, students know things have become too disruptive and remain on task the rest of the block.

Sometimes, I haven't heard about Bob, so I will inquire as to what happened to Bob. Students are quick to say he was suspended  and give an elaborate explanation for his suspension and promptly inform me when Bob will return.  

Bob has been absent, and surprise surprise... Bob is back in the classroom today, the week before spring break.  Already, today, three kids (at the exact same time) sitting next to one another "fell out of their chairs", blaming Bob.  I can only imagine how the rest of the week is going to go.

Here's the kicker.  I teach 9th graders.

If your class has an imaginary student, run with it.  Students hate getting in trouble over something they "didn't do" and love it when you play along.  Holding Bob accountable in actuality holds each other and themselves accountable for their actions.


Ms. Bergin

Friday, April 4, 2014

A PBL Project

For years upon years teachers assign projects at the end of a unit for students to demonstrate knowledge and understanding. The project is about the unit. That's what I do with my kids. It's the tried and true way.

Then... I decided to change it up a bit.  I decided to make the unit about the project instead of the project about the unit.  It took some serious preparation on my part.

The kids were assigned to create a children's book on Greek Myths.  The duration of the project took one month, with each student responsible for one Greek Myth to convert into a children's book.  Then all would compile it into a larger book.  All of a sudden, the students saw a reason for reading The Odyssey, for learning how to determine point of view, how to describe characters through action and dialogue.  It completely eliminated the "Why do we need to read this?" or "Why do we need to learn this?".  There was a goal, to complete the book and everything that was taught or read was to help complete the project.  Along the way, they certainly learned all they needed to.   They had a great time making the book.

They have asked me to do another project like this again.  I am going to try to come up with another project for an "end of the year" project.

I realize it is different from the traditional approach, but sometimes, it's a good thing to break away from tradition.  If anything, you will learn whether it will work for your class.

I have put the short story project on my TPT store.

Children's Book Project


Ms. Bergin

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Oh the Struggles...

Just one and a half weeks to Spring break. It cannot come soon enough! We are all dying for a break to just refresh and recharge for the final days of the year.

My class finished Romeo and Juliet today and  I am so happy.  It always seems a struggle to get through the play with the language!  We are working on projects in relations to  the play.  My kids are rewriting the ending of the play - what would ultimately have happened if all had gone according to the first plan the Friar made.

They are required to make a video either through goanimate or through toonboon and share their videos with one another. I am so excited to see the different endings they come up with!  This activity is definitely an activity that is keeping the students engaged during the last few days before break.  It seems difficult to get students to do their usual routine now that the weather is getting warmer, the end of the year is in sight, and spring break less than two weeks away. Time to spice things up!

How do YOU keep your students learning during the days leading up to spring break?

Ms. Bergin

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Connecting the students to the world

Hey y'all!

I have been terrible at blogging this year!  I've just been too busy this year to keep up :(

In an effort to incorporate more informational text, I often have "Article of the Week" in which students read an article that I have printed for them and we discuss the current event the article is about.  Then I try to connect the article to the text we are reading - not always an easy feat I might add!

My 9th grade ELA team and I decided to take the AOW one step further and make it GLOBAL Article of the week (G-AOW).  This has to be one of the best ideas we've come up with.  Each month, we dedicate to a different continent and each student gets to choose a country within that continent.   Each week, my students are required to look up one article that falls underneath a specific topic - sports, hot topic, politics, arts/entertainment, science/medicine, etc.  Only one article per week, and if they chose a sports article the first week, they can't use another sports article for the rest of the month.  Since I teach ninth graders, we focus on annotating and creating a PPT of what we have learned.  Students are able to share what they learned by inputting 4 most interesting facts about their country in a Google Form and it is embedded into an interactive map that is then posted on my class webpage where students can check it out and see what current events are happening in countries they were not assigned.

The product is available in my store now!

Global Article of the Week Packet

Until next time...


Ms. Bergin

Sunday, January 26, 2014

New Semester, New Kids!

Hey y'all!

I'm at the start of the new semester with a new crop of children to teach!  We are starting off the semester by learning how to annotate.  I developed an Annotation Guide, both in English AND Spanish due to the amount of ESL students I have in my class that know little to no English.  In addition, I created a rubric that goes along with the guide.

Some students are off to a fantastic start with annotation, and others need a little more assistance. I believe that learning annotation at the start will help the rest of the semester go smoothly in terms of reading a text that may be difficult (Odyssey, Romeo and Juliet, etc). 

Stop by my store between 1/27 and 1/30 and receive 10% discount on several items!

Ms. Bergin 

Monday, January 20, 2014

Class Website

Hey y'all!

I've been so busy with prepping for second semester and my new crop of students and doing tons of research on PBL, rubrics, etc and building a class website.  (I LOVE google sites!!)

A class website can be so beneficial in helping students keep track of their due dates, get missing assignments if they were absent, obtain the reading if they can't bring the text home.  My students have Chromebooks that were issued to them, so it is super easy for me to upload assignments, readings, etc to the website and they just need to refer to the website to remain caught up.

Check out my website when you have a chance.

If you do not have a class website, consider establishing one (can be extremely basic!) and it will help not only your students, but helps with teacher evaluation if you get rated on technology usage. Just make sure you keep it up to date.

Ms. Bergin