November Favorites

Well, November has flown by which means it's almost the end of the year.  Unbelievable!  I'm here to share some of my favorites from the month of November.  Here's what I've been loving this month.
A time saving new flat iron, a new winter soup favorite, and more favorites from November.
This post contains affiliate links which means Amazon tosses me some change whenever someone makes a purchase through one of these links.  Please know I only share items that I use and love.  I hope you'll find a new favorite this month! 

This flat iron brush is NO JOKE.  I saw an advertisement for it on Facebook and thought maybe it was too good to be true.  I watched a couple of videos (God bless YouTube), and it seemed pretty legit.

And it is.
I mainly use a big barrel curling iron, but there are times you just want a flat iron.  Plus, we have flat iron trauma in our house.  Earlier this year, my younger daughter asked me to flat iron her hair for picture day.  Mid flat iron, she locked her knees for a little too long and went down like a stone.  Passed out cold and scared me to death.

This flat iron is way faster and does an awesome job.  And has been trauma free so far.  Like all good things, it's available on Amazon Prime.  Here's one of the videos I watched if you want to learn more:

This is my new favorite soup! It's delicious and is healthy AND easy to make.  This one is definitely staying in the winter rotation.

These YA books were recommended to me by a parent.  I read them over the Thanksgiving break, and loved both A Night Divided and The War That Saved My Life.

TSA Precheck is my new favorite travel accessory.  I think I love it even more than my enormous purse that basically doubles as a second carryon suitcase.  Faster line and less hassle? Heck yes.
Not funny at the time story-I didn't have the correct documentation for our marriage certificate which led to us thinking for about an hour that we had never legally validated our seventeen year marriage.  Turns out we're good.

I was very surprised how quickly we were able to get an appointment.  I had visions of waiting for months, but we got an appointment in just a few days.  Totally worth the $85 to breeze through security for the next five years.

Not a new movie, but we finally got around to watching The Heat this month.  If you're a Jenny McCarthy fan, you'll love it.  She's hilarious as always in this one!  {If language makes you clutch your pearls, you may want to skip this one.

Hope you had a great November!

Meaningful Instruction with Mentor Sentences

Here's a little secret for you: I used a daily oral language type instruction for conventions for years.  AND I LOVED IT.  I loved it 100%.  I hugged it tight to my little teacher heart.  I loved it because it had a rhythm, it was ready to go, and I could know with certainty that I had taught all of the concepts I was supposed to teach.

Except it wasn't sticking.  I was teaching my heart out and the kids were working their little hearts out, but there was no transfer to their writing.
Make conventions instruction meaningful with mentor sentences--an authentic way to teach students grammar, punctuation, and craft without making them hate editing.
Several years ago, the district I was in at the time encouraged us to start using mentor sentences.  Let's clarify what encourage meant.  We were told:

•Mentor sentences are a more authentic way to teach grammar and punctuation.

•The concept is from Jeff Anderson's book, Everyday Editing.

•It works really well.

The end.

Anyway, with all that amazing support, I decided to give it a shot (crazy, right?)  Even though I had no clue what I was doing, I jumped in after doing a little reading on the Internet.  Sounds like the basis for a great start.   Incredibly, even though I had almost no idea what I was doing, I did see gains in my students.  They enjoyed it, and I saw a payoff in both their conventions and craft.

And then I quit.

Why on earth would I quit?  It was exhausting.  I sure there are wonderful teachers out there that can juggle those balls, but for me it ended up being a really awesome thing that I didn't have time to create every week.  I wish that wasn't true, but that was my testing overload, meeting filled, documentation all day everyday reality.

Another fact for you (this one a little embarrassing), I am TERRIBLE at parts of speech.  I'm still not sure what a gerund is.  So, we headed back to DOL.  While I whole heartedly embraced the belief behind mentor sentences and saw the positive impacts of it, I simply wasn't able to make it work with the reality of my limited lesson prep time.

Flash forward a few years, and my only problem with mentor sentences was solved.  Ideas by Jivey took care of the trickiest part of teaching-reality.  With this in hand, I took the time over the summer to read Jeff Anderson's Everyday Editing.  It was helped me understand why, despite my very best effort, my instruction wasn't sticking.  Here are a few quotes from the book:

If you are looking for a change that sticks in your conventions instruction, I strongly recommend reading Everyday Editing.  While it is entirely possible to do the work yourself, I definitely think getting started with the units from Ideas by Jivey is a much more sane way to go.  Once you get the hang of it, you may feel more comfortable with creating your own lessons to go along with a book your class is reading.

Make conventions instruction meaningful with mentor sentences--an authentic way to teach students grammar, punctuation, and craft without making them hate editing.

Want to learn more?  You can check out Jeff Anderson's book, Everyday Editing, on Amazon.  At 160 pages, it's a pretty easy read especially since over 100 of those pages are him walking you through 10 lessons.
{affiliate link}

Jivey has an AWESOME Facebook group with tons of videos of lessons that will help you get jumped started.  I'm a visual person, so it really helped me to see these lessons in action.  You can click here to join.

Visit Ideas by Jivey's Teachers Pay Teachers store to see her mentor sentences resources.  Read more about mentor sentences on her blog.

Make conventions instruction meaningful with mentor sentences--an authentic way to teach students grammar, punctuation, and craft without making them hate editing.

November Desktop Calendar

Happy November to you!  Even if it still feels like summer.  One day we'll break out the boots and puffy vests in Houston, but it won't be anytime soon.
November 2016 Desktop Calendar Free Download

The graphics from Create the Cut for this month's desktop are simply dreamy.  I may just switch out the November dates to December dates next month because I don't think I'll get tired of this one anytime soon! (Just kidding, but seriously?? Gorgeous!)

 November 2016 Desktop Calendar Free Download

I hope you have a wonderful November!