Dressing and Educating: Days 115-119

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Day 115: February 13, 2017

My classes began today with a debrief of last week’s Socratic Seminar in English. Students evaluated their own strengths and weaknesses and we discussed ways to improve as a class in the future. After the debrief session students began presenting their independent book projects. I received some of the best projects I’ve ever had during this time today. I’m glad that students are gaining an appreciation for reading.

In Honors World History, I showed a documentary from the History Channel about the United States’ entry into the war and how it was influenced heavily by British propaganda. This documentary led to a class discussion and an activity that we will complete later in the week.

I wore a Lula Roe top and leggings today. This is one of the most comfortable ways to dress for school.

 

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Day 116: February 14, 2017

Happy Valentines Day!

Today in English, we wrapped up student reading presentations. It was nice to hear so many book talks and to evaluate the student-created projects.

In Honors World History, I started students on a stations-based lesson. The main idea of the stations was to discuss the Zimmermann Telegram and how it influenced the war. Students were able to get through two of the four stations today. Here is a break down of the stations:

  1. Speech-students read Woodrow Wilson’s speech declaring war on Germany. As they read they were to highlight reasons for the declaration as well as the items that Wilson was asking the people of the United States for.
  2. Decoding-students were given a fictitious message and were to use a matrix (similar to what the British used during the war) to decode the secret message. Once the message was decoded students had discussion questions relating this activity to World War I.
  3. US Enters the War-students were given an article about why the US joined World War I. Using large chart paper students had to create a web with 4-6 reasons why the US joined the war using the evidence provided in the article.
  4. Zimmermann Note-students were provided a translated version of the Zimmermann note. They completed a SOAPTONE activity analyzing the document as a primary source.

I wore a tank and pants from Old Navy and my Ellaine Open Cardigan by Papermoon from Stitch Fix #4.

 

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Day 117: February 15, 2017

In English my students took an online practice AIR test today. It took the entire period and we held class in one of the school’s computer labs. In Honors World History, the guidance department came and discussed scheduling for next year. I spent most of my time today getting caught up on grading. It was a much needed work day where very little time was spent in front of students. I was able to to catch up on things I had fallen behind on and prepare myself for the remainder of the week.

I wore Lula Roe leggings and a black tunic from The Limited.

 

 

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Day 118: February 16, 2017

Parent-Teacher Conference days are always the longest. Today not only did I have to stay until 7:00pm for conferences, but I also helped with a combined baby shower for pregnant teachers which was from 3:00-4:00pm in the school library. A lot of preparation went into making sure it was a successful shower so I was already exhausted by the time doors opened to parents at 4:00pm.

In English, my students took an online writing test today using Vantage, a program my school purchases annually for our students in order to prepare them for the state tests. In Honors World History, we wrapped up the stations-based lesson from Tuesday.

I wore leggings, an orange Old Navy dress, my Abrianna Long Sleeve Knit Cardigan by 41Hawthorn from Stitch Fix and my blanket scarf that I received from Stitch Fix as a Christmas gift for being a Stitch Fix Influencer.

 

Day 119: February 17, 2017

After a few days of practice tests in English I had my students analyze their tests. We discussed the rubric for the AIR writing test and then I polished off the lesson with a game of a Kahoot!

In Honors World History, students were given their debate partner and topic for next week’s debate over the start of World War I. In their debates students will work in pairs to determine the country at fault for starting World War I. After the assignments were given we explored the Fourteen Points within partner groups.

 

It was a great week and I took the opportunity to try some new things this week like Kahoot! and stations-based lessons. I’m excited to implement both of these in my classroom more regularly.

Which look was your favorite?

 

The Ameri Brit Mom

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Bullet Journal (February Updates)

I’ve been an official Bullet Journaler for two months now. In February, I took on the February Journal Challenge where I created a new page or idea each day based on a prompt. I also started some new pages and added to ones from last month. I have been really pleased with this new hobby. It’s been a nice way to use my creativity and it helps keep my life organized as well.

Here is a look at some of my newest editions to my Bullet Journal in February:

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The Ameri Brit Mom

Teachers Pay Teachers?

 

Writing effective lesson plans is time consuming. Making learning at the high school level fun and engaging for students requires even more. This year I’ve been focusing on student engagement and getting my students more involved in both the English and History courses that I teach.

It’s taken more time than usual, but my results have been phenomenal. Overall, the students this year have bought into their education more so than those of the past. They are motivated to learn when I get out of the lecture rut and put them in charge of discovering ideas on their own.

During the last two weeks my English students have completed reading projects and a Socratic Seminar. I was so pleased with the results of  both. Students blew away the expectations and made me proud. Going to school is so much more fun when my students are happy and looking forward to class.

For the past couple of weeks I’ve been thinking about opening a shop on Teachers Pay Teachers, a site where I could sell my lesson plans and classroom activities. I’m looking for advice from other teachers out there.

Is it worth it to package and sell lessons that have been successful in my own classroom? 

I’ve had an account with Teachers Pay Teachers for a few years. At this point all I’ve ever done is buy lessons, but I have a few of my own that might be beneficial to others. Any feedback is welcome and will be appreciated.

The Ameri Brit Mom

Five Minute Friday: Weak

This week the topic for the Five Minute Friday link-up post is Weak. What is a link-up? Essentially a link-up is when you join other bloggers and write on a similar topic. You share your blog posts with one another and begin conversations via a host site. You can head over to Kate Motaung’s page to check out other entries from inspired bloggers. Here’s my five minutes of uninterrupted, unedited writing on this week’s topic:

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I’m awakened by a phone call. That’s never a good sign.

My mind races to terrible places in the time it takes me to answer the call.

Who’s sick? What’s wrong?

I can sense it before I even hear a voice on the other end.

A stroke. My Grandpa.

I’m weak as they explain it all. He was rushed to the hospital.

And then I finally exhale as I hear the words, “He seems to be doing okay.”

It’s still news I didn’t want to hear.

My Grandpa (like all my other grandparents) is my hero.

He’s a fighter and he’s strong and he’s going to pull through.

I’m thankful today that we get more time with him.

 

The Ameri Brit Mom

 

 

 

 

Dressing and Educating: Days 110-114

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Day 110: February 6, 2017

I was having a fantastic Monday until 1:00pm. All of a sudden, I had chills and the onset of a fever. In English my students were reading and in Honors World History we were wrapping up Battles of World War I presentations so I was able to fly under the radar and rest my body as the students led most of the activity.

(I ended up going home immediately after school and had a fever of 102. I spent the next 36 hours in bed nursing a sinus infection and high temp. No school for me this Tuesday.)

I was wearing my striped Old Navy tunic, leggings from Lula Roe and Toms.

 

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Day 112: February 8, 2017

After my fever broke late on Tuesday I forced myself to get back to the classroom on Wednesday for Parent Teacher Conferences. In English, we finished reading Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis and in Honors World History my students reviewed many of the battles of World War I with an activity.

Still not feeling 100% made staying late for conferences a bit of a struggle. I met with several families about student progress and as we begin scheduling for next school year soon I had some questions about whether or not some students in the honors program should continue in that course. Overall, it was a good night and I met some wonderful parents and families of my students.

I was wearing my Elisa Dress by Collective Concepts from my Stitch Fix #9.

 

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Day 113: February 9, 2017

In English I spent the period prepping my students for their first Socratic Seminar. I defined its purpose and what students should expect. The remainder of the class period was time allowed for students to create critical thinking questions and to gather evidence for the seminar.

In Honors World History we began a discussion about propaganda and its role in World War I. Also, the teacher of the Honors American History course (who they will have next year) came into the class and answered questions about next year. This is valuable because as students begin to create their schedules for sophomore year they have some insight into whether or not they should continue in the honors program.

I wore a white Merona sweater and red leggings.

 

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Day 114: February 10, 2017

 

I finally started feeling like a human again. After days of breathing through my mouth and battling my energy reserve I was able to wake up feeling energized and ready for a great day. In English, my students held a Socratic Seminar to discuss the book we just finished in class. I was pleased with the professional conversations that arose during that time.

My desks were arranged in two circles. The inner circle was the “Speaking Circle” where the seminars were held. The outer circle was the “Listening Circle” where students evaluated their peers in the inner circle. Each class period was divided into two eighteen minute sessions. Each student had an opportunity to both listen and speak by the end of the class period. I was so pleased with their performance and the points that were brought up during the class. I provided feedback for every student and felt like this exercise was worth the while.

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In Honors World History we began to look at details defining the Total War and conscription of World War I. At the end of the class period we played a friendly game of Kahoot! to review what we have learned this week. It was a fun way to end a Friday.

Today I wore a Classic T from Lula Roe and my Abrianna Knit Long Sleeve Cardigan by 41Hawthorn from Stitch Fix #1.

It was a long week from battling illness to Parent Teacher Conferences to facilitating a Socratic Seminar, but at the end of the week I felt accomplished and proud of the student performances.

Which look was your favorite this week?

*This post contains affiliate links. I may receive compensation for this post. 

The Ameri Brit Mom

Two Bottles and a Revelation

This year for my father’s birthday I decided to write a story for him. This is a flash fiction glimpse into the life of a beer drinking priest. I was inspired by my father who loves both beer and God. I hope you enjoy.

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Two Bottles and a Revelation

By Lauren Sisley

-To my dad who taught me to follow God’s calling

Father Roberts loosened his collar after a long day’s wear. He shut the door to his study and took a seat behind the desk. There were no easy days leading his congregation. Each day was packed with meetings to attend, hospitals to visit, and house calls to make.

With tired hands he opened his Bible. It was time to focus on his own spirit. In his line of work it was easy to pour himself out. It was more difficult to fill himself back up. As he began to pray for direction in his work his stomach rumbled. Hours of running about herding the sheep caused him to forget about lunch.

The prayer ended quickly. He resolved to move his work into the parsonage where he was free to shed the collar and to fix himself a plate of spaghetti. Behind the desk was an old creaky door which adjoined his parsonage to the abbey. Minutes later, as he stood over the stove stirring the pot of minced onion and tomatoes his heart was heavy with an encounter from that day.

 

“Father, I’m not sure that I am living in God’s favor.” Sampson, a young man from the congregation admitted while sitting on the other side of the desk.

“What makes you unsure?” Father Roberts questioned.

“Lately things have gone from bad to worse in my life. Like, no matter how hard I pray or how righteous I try to be life just sucks.” Sampson’s shoulders sank and his eyes dropped to the floor where his toes tapped against the carpet.

“What is it about this life that sucks?”

“I’m drowning at work. I try to do everything right, but it’s just never enough. There was a promotion I was really hoping for. It would help my family so much. Now, I have to go home and tell my wife the bad news.” His hands were beginning to fidget.

“Have you prayed for God’s will?” Father Roberts opened most sessions with this question. Many of the people he had spoken with throughout the years wanted more, but rarely did they seek the counsel of the Lord.

“Well, not really.” The young man admitted. “I just sort of assumed that if I worked hard I’d get it. God knows it would help with the kids.”

“Ah, yes. But sometimes our will and God’s are not the same.” Father Roberts began to run his fingers over the stubble growing on his chin. When he looked into Sampson’s eyes he was taken back to his twenties. The man was so familiar.

“But I’ve been doing everything right.”

“It isn’t about our acts, Sampson. It’s about our faith.”

 

Father Roberts opened the refrigerator and pulled out a cold beer. As the noodles boiled he stirred his homemade sauce while also taking long drinks from the refreshing bottle. He felt the weight of the day lift with each gulp.

Moments later his phone rang. He put down the bottle and turned down the stove top to allow for a simmer. He reached for his phone and realized that the call coming through was Sampson.

“Hello.”

“Hello, Father Roberts. It’s Sampson again. Would it be okay if I stopped by the parsonage tonight?”

“Well, of course it would be fine. I’m working on dinner. Would you like to join me?”

Sampson agreed to be there shortly and to bring his appetite. It had been a while since Father Roberts welcomed someone into his own home. It was his place of retreat from the beckoning of the church, but he sensed Sampson’s distress and happily offered a meal.

 

The two men sat across from one another for the second time that day. Father Roberts was on one side of the table finishing his bottle of beer and watching his guest. Sampson twirled the pasta on his fork for longer than any hungry human ever would. Something was on his mind and once Father Roberts fed himself he was sure they would get to it.

“So, please, tell me what has brought you here.”

“I’ve been thinking about what you said earlier. About God’s will.” Sampson said. He began to wriggle nervously in his chair. “I left your office and went home to pray.”

“That’s a start.” Father Roberts acknowledged.

“As I prayed there was something that I could not get out of my head.” Father Roberts desperately wanted to return to the kitchen for another beer, but decided against it in the midst of Sampson’s discourse. “While I sat in my car praying about God’s will for me all I could think about was your collar, Father.”

The cleric was intrigued and searching for an explanation.

“What do you think it could mean?” Sampson’s fork stopped circling the plate of noodles. His eyes moved from his dinner to the priest along with his question.

“I can’t say I know.” Father Roberts admitted.

 

They finished their meals and Sampson left with the promise that Father Roberts would pray about the situation as well.

While he cleaned up their meal and did the dishes Father Roberts opened a second bottle. He let the aromatic brew warm his stomach. The bubbles fizzed and the stress of his day started to dissolve once again.

Sampson was a younger version of himself. Father Roberts remembered when he had first heard the call to priesthood. It wasn’t at a seminar or in the sanctity of a church. He was a student who enjoyed his beer like any other. He was up late studying for an Economics final with two beers already in his system. His heart became heavy with questions about his purpose. And in those moments as he pondered the direction his life was taking he heard the still, quiet voice of God. It was a call to lay it all down. In his dorm room he committed to the call and became a priest years later.

He was glad to serve a God that called him, but also allowed him to drink his beer. God accepted him twenty years ago for who he was. And now as his fingers wrinkled from the dish soap he recognized the calling of another. With the towel beside him he dried his hands off and called Sampson.

“Hello?”

“Sampson, it’s Father Roberts. I’ve had a revelation…”

It is unlawful to plagiarize any of the original work from The Ameri Brit Mom. No permission is given to reuse this text or ideas without written consent.

 

Let Stitch Fix Be Your Last Minute Gift

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Valentines Day will be here tomorrow and many of us are scrambling in search of a gift for that special someone. It isn’t too late to order a Stitch Fix gift card. Your gift card can be emailed to your valentine shortly after purchase and it allows your other half to pick out the styles that fit them best.

During the bustle of the Christmas holiday I had several friends who ordered Stitch Fix gift cards that either contributed to existing accounts or allowed people to start the Stitch Fix experience for the very first time. I received a gift card myself and was able to purchase this Brookline Mix Material Sweater by Market and Spruce with it:

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The best part about Stitch Fix is the personal stylist.

Being able to request specific pieces and the opportunity to collaborate with the stylist makes the $20 style fee worth it. Each style fee can be applied to the items you purchase from your box. It’s a win-win.

Stitch Fix also carries petite, maternity, and men’s clothing. Gift cards are not just for the ladies in your life.

Shhh…I know it is very last minute. I promise not to tell if you wait until the eleventh hour to buy your Stitch Fix gift card.

**This post contains affiliate links and I may receive compensation as a result of this post. 

The Ameri Brit Mom