Dystopian Resource Round Up: Lessons, Texts and Other Resources for the classroom!

Sidystopia_pinnce I’m not teaching my usual Dystopian Literature unit this year (in my 8th grade English Language Arts class), I thought I would take a few moments to share all the things that I’ve created and found throughout the years of developing my all-time favorite unit of the year!!

Introduction to Dystopia

I was skeptical to introduce the concept of “Dystopian Literature” to my 8th grade Language Arts students because I wanted to do the topic justice – yet make it accessible to my students (majority of them were EL learners at that point). I ended up designing and using this lesson (and accompanying activites) for one of my formal evaluations that year and the response of the administrators was humbling!


Check it out here: Dystopia Interactive Notebook Unit – Lesson, Activities, Short Story CCSSΒ 


A powerful and effective class discussion is not something that most educators can pull out of thin-air. Here are five different statements that I use to spark class discussions around the concept of Dystopia (before ever reading any informational text or literature selection):

I initially dove into the whole dystopia/utopia concept from an educational standpoint because we were required to teach “The Giver” by Lois Lowry that year. Throughout that literature unit (of the course of a few years) – I had the opportunity to develop some great teaching tools and activities to accompany the unit. The activity that my students (across the eyars) loved the most and begged me to align with other pieces of literature is what I like to call:

“The Giver” Instagram Character Trait Activity: No-Prep, CCSS, Student Example

Well, that’s enough about what I’ve done (which could still use a lot of refinement)… and, as promised, here are some totally AWESOME resources and activities that I’ve scoured the web to find and they’ve each proven to be worth the hunt:

[coming tomorrow]

SBAC State Testing: Test Prep for my 8th Graders

sbac_testprep copyAs teachers, we’re reminded every day that “testing season” is upon us – whether we want to be believe it, embrace it or deny it πŸ™‚ Last year, teachers provided feedback on a few of my favorite test-prep activities for middle school and here is what they had to say:

1. ELA Common Core Task Cards – MEGA Bundle – 326 Task Cards – Grades 7-12

ScreenShot-2017-Mar-28-648-PMScreenShot-2017-Mar-28-649-PM24 Task Cards – Context Clues and Determining Word Meaning – CCSS L.6-12.4ScreenShot-2017-Mar-28-652-PM

36 “Informational Text” Common Core Task Cards – ANY Text -Critical Thinking

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2017-03-28 at 6.56 PM

You can find all of the things I’ve created in hopes of making test prep fun and engaging HERE!

What do teachers want to see? | Creating TPT Product Covers

I am fortunate to have created many resources that have helped teachers much like myself in their classrooms. I’ve done this by uploading my original lesson plans and activities to my TPT store for other educators to purchase or download for free! I would have NEVER imagined that I could sell many of my best practices and actually rake in a decent amount of money. But let’s get one thing straight before we continue: I create these products – not merely for the money – but because I truly believe that an education is the most powerful thingΒ  a student can receive. And I try over-and-over again to find ways to better educate our youth!

Anyhoo! After spending days upon days in the seller’s forum, I keep asking myself the same questions in regard the products I have for sale:

“What information or “things” do potential customers want to see on the cover of a TPT product?”

“Why do some products sell so much better than others?”

“What types of resources are they most in need of?

Today I want to do a little experiment… but I am going to need YOUR help… I am revamping my favorite “back to school” activity because I am surprised at the very low conversion rate this product is receiving:

Instagram Task Cards for "Back to School"- 33 Cards and 5

Current Product Cover

Instagram Task Cards for “Back to School”- 33 Cards and 5 Answer Sheets

I’ve started thinking that maybe this isn’t an effective product cover… Maybe it doesn’t capture the FUN, ENGAGING activity that sits behind it?

So here is what I am going to ask you to do… Take a look at the three different product covers that I’ve recently created for my Instagram “Back to School” task cards and vote for the cover that best catches your eye and makes you want to click to see more of the product!! THANK YOU IN ADVANCE – with a cherry on top πŸ™‚


Cover 1 (Original)


Cover 2


Cover 3








Save 28% on ALL Middle and High School Classroom Resources | TPT SALE

The time has come….. IT’S TIME TO SAVE $$$ on my best-selling classroom resources! It’s the Back-to-School TPT sell – which is the BEST time to load up on all the lesson plans and classroom resources you need to make this next school year the best one yet!!!

By far, the best-valued resource available in my store is my MEGA BUNDLE of TASK CARDS designed for any middle school or high school classroom! I’ve already reduced the price because I feel that the bundle can really change the way students learn – but now you can save 28% more off of the already reduced price!


8th Grade Pre-Reading Activities | The Giver | The Monkey’s Paw | FUN

I am so excited that I am returning to middle school and have the opportunity to teach 8th grade English (and History!) again! One of the most memorable lessons I have taught throughout my career was my pre-reading activity that introduced the novel “The Giver” to my 8th grade students. It happened to be a lesson that my principal was observing and it couldn’t have gone better – and I know that it had a lot to do with the design of the lesson!!!

We won’t be reading The Giver this year… and I am green with envy if YOU get to read it with your students! If that’s the case, check out these resources I’ve created over the past few years that truly enhanced the reading experience for my students and sent ENGAGEMENT through the roof!!!

The Giver Lessons and Activities from Ms Gs Room 30

Don’t take my word for it though… Look at the feedback I’ve received from other teachers across the country (which makes me SO proud)…


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Back to The Giver pre-reading activity…. IT’ A TEA PARTY! And who doesn’t love a Tea Party??? I have to admit I’ve never actually been a part of a tea party – except in my very own classroom – but the idea has always seemed fun!

This resource is jam packed with a very clear teacher’s guide and all the resources you will need to host your very own tea party with your students!! Not to mention… this is a CCSS-aligned activity that will have students sharpening the skills need to master those CCSS standards!

Here are a few snapshots of my favorite lesson of all time!

Over the past years, I also was able to do this activity with a few other stories (sparked by student request):

“The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson Pre-Reading Activities

“The Necklace” by Guy de Maupassant Pre-Reading Activities

“The Cask of Amontillado” by Edgar Allan Poe Pre-Reading Activities – Engaging

“The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins Pre-Reading Activities – Engaging, FUN

If you’re on a hunt for “The Monkey’s Paw” resources, you’re probably asking “Where are the pre-reading activities for the Monkey’s Paw”? I’m excited to say that I just uploaded one resource to my TPT store:

“The Monkey’s Paw” by W. W. Jacobs Pre-Reading Activities – Engaging

Follow my The Monkey’s Paw by W. W. Jacobs Pinterest board to see the resources as I upload them or check back in to TPT store for the newest products πŸ™‚

New Year – New “Daily Starter” System | Warm Ups | Bell Ringers |

This is my sixth year teaching English (at some grade level) and I have YET to successfully implement daily starters in my English class throughout the year. I always start strong – but then the inevitable happens…. I wake up unorganized and it’s all I can do to get my head on and lesson plan together – let alone a relevant daily starter! So what happens? The daily starter routine takes a back seat and usually never returns throughout the year.

I’ve created an entire school year’s worth of daily starters that can be used in any English class ranging from grades 7-12!

These starters come in two formats to fit your classroom: printable and digital (PowerPoint presentation)! You can use these a ZILLION different ways can even get multiple uses out of them in the same year. I am going to use some of them as EXIT SLIPS or SPONGE activities during semester one of this upcoming school year. For example, I just released my all-new 32 Response to Quote Task Cards: Writing – Many Uses – PPT + Printables, which is included in this bundle.


These warm ups target five different skill/content categories and are all CCSS aligned:

Reading Literature (RL)

Reading Information (RI)

Context Clues (L)

Creative Writing (W) *Which is one of my personal favorites!

Response to Quotations (W)

I have individual task card sets for each of the concepts/skills listed above in my TPT store!

Most of the warm up tasks have the exact standard that is being targeted listed on the actual task.

Cover page

I think it would be worth your while to check this system out… especially if you’re “daily starter” history is anything like mine πŸ™‚

I will be posting a very detailed “Daily Starter Procedure and Practices” outline in the VERY near future! πŸ˜‰ Hope this helps…


Last school year (15-16) was a whirlwind for me! Not only did I take over a high school AVID program as the coordinator and AVID elective teacher, but I also managed to run the Peer Counseling program and teach a section of English 9. It was so busy that I didn’t even realize that I hadn’t written a blog post almost the ENTIRE year…. #teacherfail

Anywho, I am excited to say that I will be starting this school year with a NEW last name, a NEW classroom and a NEW grade – all at a NEW school! I am challenging myself to document my journey via posts – but I can’t guarantee that it will happen πŸ˜‰

I will be teaching the 7th and 8th grade AVID elective (and acting as the AVID coordinator for grades 7-12) , as well as 8th grade Academic Block (English and History) at Clark Intermediate in Clovis, California! I am so excited for this new adventure and can’t wait to get it started!

My room is still under construction but I hope to get some creativity flowing and get it semi-comfortable in no time!

Below you will find my new MEGA monitor (that I am thrilled about) and the beginning of my classroom makeover – CHEIFTAN style!

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