The Road to National Board Certification: Taking a Detour

Hey y’all–It’s been awhile! Too long. Recently, I’ve had some questions about getting board-certified and how that’s going. Today I want to share my updates on National Board Certification and how it’s going (or not going).

During my last post, I shared my current results and concerns about how this year’s certification process may look for me. There are two more components I need to complete, and I did not feel confident that I could do them well this year. My main goal this year is to enjoy teaching because lately I hadn’t been doing that. In an effort to simplify, I decided to take a hiatus. Finishing National Board Certification, I found out, can be put off a year if I needed. I contacted National Board and asked them if I needed to start a new component this year, and I didn’t need to—as long as I wasn’t already registered for the cycle, which I wasn’t. I’m so glad that they have this option!!

I’m currently reading through Components 3 and 4 again to refresh on what I should plan for next  year. I feel fortunate to get to attempt certification over the course of a few years instead of all in one. Shout out to the NBCT Facebook group created by Jennifer Gonzalez—y’all are inspiring me with all of your posts and questions! I can’t imagine trying to squeeze it all in one year.

Here’s ‘another update: I finally bit the bullet and applied to grad school. Literally hit the “send” button on my application today. More detailed update if, you know, they let me in.

As for school, here’s a couple snapshots of this week from some students (can you tell the end of the year is definitely getting to them??):

1.Me: “You know the best way the look creepy to people is if you wear black latex gloves around, right?” To a student wearing black latex gloves “for fun.”

2. Student trying to convince me to let him leave class early via freestyle and juuuuuust missing the mark, much like Jean Ralphio:

Screen Shot 2017-04-26 at 4.29.23 PMClick here because wordpress apparently doesn’t let you insert videos for free anymore…smh.


Only a few more weeks left—we’re all doing out best to keep it together.




Using Podcasts to Spur-on Argumentative Writing

I have a podcast addiction. I’ve spoken before about my love for narrative non-fiction, and when my husband introduced me to Radiolab on our first 18 hour drive to Colorado, then Freakonomics, I discovered a whole new world of interesting stories. Radiolab in particular crafts its episodes to be suspenseful and intriguing in a way anyone can get into—even high school students. Often, the topics are complex and prompt the audience to question all aspects of the question/issue/topic. Isn’t that what critical thinking is?

The same-old persuasive essay topics are killing my engagement lately. If you’re wondering how to use podcasts in the classroom, wonder no more! I’ve done the work for you.

Here are some specific podcasts that could work in the classroom and intrigue students: 


100th post!

WordPress went all crazy and automatically published an early version of another post I was working on about organizing my classroom, so I took it down. That’ll come later. I’m excited to share my new classroom with you all; I’ve moved classrooms three times in the last year, and I think I’m here to stay in one room for (at least) one school year. Huzzah!

This post is dedicated to all of the people who have helped me stay motivated through my first few years of teaching. I started this blog to share what goes on in my early years, specifically student teaching in Belize, then my first job in a charter school, now to Colorado to an alternative high school, and now that I’ve finally reached my fourth, I have realized that without being to get feedback, support, and encouragement, I would have felt incredibly isolated and unreflective. It’s different to write in a journal and put it away; when I write for others to see and get feedback from them, it validates what I’m doing. I wish I could say that I’m always confident and don’t need help or ideas or emotional validation from other teachers/people, but I can’t.

So many times I have questioned my place in this profession—my husband can attest to that (one time I asked him, “What if I went to med school?” (more…)

Socratic Seminars: How to Run One

If you have not read Socratic Seminars: How to Prepare–do it! It’s a precursor to this one.

So now that you have prepared your students for the S.S., what do you do? Get your hands dirty!

How to Run a Socratic Seminar

1. Talk about language. I used the Appropriate Language Handout from the Teaching Channel, and it accompanied students during the seminar.

2. Assume the Position.

Socratic Seminar Setup

No, that is not me, but I do like to point at things/people while I’m teaching. 


Socratic Seminars: How to Prepare

I posted last year about Socratic Seminars and how I was planning on using them in my classroom. Needless to say, I was apprehensive in doing this because of its somewhat complicated structure and my always-denied but apparent perfectionism and my struggle to avoid it. However, I attended an in-house Avid training by one of our district’s teachers about what the seminar is and how to use it, and I felt pretty comfortable trying it out.

This post is going to be a how-to on how to prepare yourself and your students for a Socratic Seminar! Woo!

Prepare yourself:

1. Decide your end-goal for the S.S. Is it a reflection? Project? In my case, the summative assessment was the actual Socratic Seminar due to time constraints. Students had to demonstrate their learning via participation, the notes they took, and the reflections they wrote. This came out of the graphic organizer that I modified from the Teaching Channel link below.


Changing the Way We Talk To And About Our Students

Sometimes I come home and think:

“Today was a fight.”

“It was a battle.”

“I had to really put the gloves on today.”

Or, I’ll say to my students:

“You guys are killing me today!”

“You have to sit down now.”

“If you do not follow directives, I’ll have to call ________.”

“Don’t talk during the quiz/test/journal write.”


Three Months Later, Three Months Wiser

I still have a week left of this quarter, meaning celebration that I haven’t gone off the deep end yet isn’t exactly warranted yet, but I’ll go ahead and give myself that accolade.

Many of my ideas for posts ended up in my journal and never made it to the interwebs—for that I am sorry, but not really sorry because I routinely choose showering over blogging. For some of you, you say “no excuse,” but personal hygiene’s quite important to me. I will do better next year, when I am not in the “survival”— and at my current– “disillusionment” stage of first-year teaching (according to this.)


Preparing For Interviews

As many of you know, I’m still on the search to land a teaching job. In preparing for future interviews, I like to type out my responses to sample questions. I’ve been lucky to score some sample interview questions from colleagues, Career Services at Miami University,  from my own experience.

But I need some help.

I need those who’ve been through the process, have gotten the job or not gotten the job, old and young, to give me some pointers. It’s hard to get feedback from interviewers because I would feel weird going to them and being all dejected, like a let-down lovesick girl, crying “WHERE DID I GO WRONG?! WHY DON’T YOU LOVE ME?!”  Although I have gotten feedback from interviewers before when it has been appropriate to ask, so I’m not totally in the dark. I would like YOUR help though! Many of you know me and my teaching philosophy, and some of you may not. Either way, if you have any suggestions about my responses and how I could improve them, please comment. Target anywhere and everywhere—I can take it.

I especially need help with the non-theoretical, practical, experience based kind of questions. I have spent more time thinking about education than teaching, for obvious reasons. What are your experiences? How would you answer these questions? What questions were you asked that I didn’t add here? I have 24 questions—it’s A LOT to read through. Don’t feel obligated to read every one if you don’t have the time, but I would greatly appreciate it if you could scan some of ’em.

And we’ll start with…

1. Why do you want to be a teacher? 


What Happens When You Put One Intervention Specialist in a School Without a Intervention Program?

Today we have a special guest post! I am so happy to introduce Erica Norman, Intervention Specialist Superstar. What she is introducing at Compre High School is absolutely awesome. She is doing exactly what Miami teachers do: taking risks, kicking butt, and taking names. (Also: she says she isn’t funny, but that’s a total lie. I’m pretty sure every time I’m around her, I’m laughing and smiling!) 

Thank you  for the opportunity to be a guest “poster” on your blog. I am not as clever as thosewhocanteachblog, so please do not get excited for any kind of comedy in my words…I’m a fairly bland individual. Not to mention I just sweat out half of my body weight after teaching all day, so I am a bit tired. (more…)