Healthy Teachers are Happy Teachers

Here's a little flashback from The SuperHERO Teacher: [insert enchanting music here] I remember chatting with my mom six years ago just before graduating with my undergrad and finally entering the "adulting" stage we all think is so glamorous until we actually experience it.  My mom was eating a salad and I was eating my usual easy mac with unnecessary amounts of ranch dressing drizzled on it (gross, I know).  She said to me, "I wish I could still eat foods like that, but it's just not possible when you get older."  I chuckled and went on eating my deliciously terrible mac n' cheese.

Fast-forward six years and here I am wishing I inquired a bit more about what my mom meant! It's not even about my size or weight, y'all... It has everything to do with my HAPPINESS.  I've always been a fan of working out because it has always been part of my life, but eating clean was not.  Now that I'm balancing more tasks in life, it's essential that I make eating clean a priority. Since I'm a visual learner, I knew I needed to SEE progress.  I may be feeling better, but I need to see it on a chart or something pretty to believe it (please tell me I'm not the only one).   So, I've created this little Healthy Teacher Chart

To use this FREE chart, simply print it, laminate it, and display it.  With lamination, you can use dry erase markers to mark the daily hydration, fill in weight loss bubbles, and so much more.  I hope you get as much use out of this resource as I have.  I've been tracking my eating habits and working out almost daily.  I can see changes in my body, but most importantly, I feel happy.  What's that saying? Your students will totally feed off your happiness and energy, so invest in yourself.  You can do this! 

5 Tips for Teaching The Great Gatsby

Hello there fellow ELA teacher! You're probably reading this because at some point during the school year, you'll find yourself teaching F. Scott Fitzgerald's beautifully written novel, The Great Gatsby.  I'll be honest with you, this is my all-time favorite novel to teach.  My students tend to begin the novel thinking they will despise the book, but by the end, they are begging for more.  The tips below have helped my achieve high engagement levels while reading The Great Gatsby with my students.
The Roaring Twenties are significantly different from today, and our students may not fully realize that.  If we expect teenagers to get as excited as we do about Gatsby, we'll need to show them the lifestyle represented in the novel.  You can do this several different ways. Start with music.  Go to Pandora, type "Early Jazz" into the search engine, and your classroom will be consumed by the soothing work of Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, and Billie Holiday.  Then, show your students the tremendous fashion of flappers and gangsters from the 20's.  Prompt a discussion with this question: "What do you think people from the 1920's would say about fashion today?" and you're sure to get some great responses.  Lastly, discuss roles of men and women during the time period.  It's important that they understand the different movements that took place during the Jazz Age, especially for women.  TIP: use bell ringers with graphics that represent the themes of the time period.  You can find mine here.

This is so important! Often times, my students found themselves lost in Fitzgerald's complex language. Compare the intense drama that occurs in The Great Gatsby to reality television shows, music, ideas, or actual events that are happening in "their" world.  Using this technique will help students connect with the characters in the novel, and appreciate their hardships a bit more.  Common themes throughout the novel that absolutely still exist in today's society are: jealousy, class, relationships, gender roles, morality, lies & deceit.

This unit is the cat's meow! Would your students look at you like you were crazy? Yeah, mine too.  That's what makes it so fun, though!  Last year, I required my students to use 1920's slang for the entire unit.  If they said, "that's cool" I would ask them to rephrase that.  It was fun to watch students get into the role of the characters.  In addition, this helps further create the atmosphere in your classroom.  You can find slang from the roaring twenties by clicking this link.  BONUS: create bell ringers with common slang as reference piece!
I know, I know, you're thinking "I don't have time for that" but it is totally an essential piece and technically, you only have to do it once.  Make a goal to complete the projects you do alongside reading The Great Gatsby WITH your students.  Showing them the effort YOU put into the project will create high expectations and in return, you will receive quality final projects.  I like to challenge my students by saying, "I want someone to out-do me" and students LOVE the competitive edge.  Once you've created the project the first time, you don't have to continue making it.  Use that project the following years, too! Throughout the years, I've created a variety of 1920's themed newspapers, scrapbooks, poetry journals, and more.

If you're thinking to yourself, "I wish I had all of the resources needed to teach The Great Gatsby in a fun, beautifully designed interactive notebook" then I have the unit for you! I've created this comprehensive unit in an interactive workbook format to keep students focused and organized throughout the novel study.  Seriously, it's ALL here-- anything you can think of!  It has an internet scavenger hunt, bell ringers, vocabulary charts, comprehension questions, figurative language resources, literary elements resources, final projects, essays, tests, and more.  If you want your students to truly appreciate Fitzgerald's work, this is the best avenue.  To learn more about the workbook, click here or on any of the pictures in this blog post.  OH, and the best part?  It's also an adult coloring book with 1920's fashion displayed throughout the workbook!

Thank you so much for reading and I hope your students enjoy reading The Great Gatsby as much as mine do! Stay tuned for more fun-filled blog posts with tips and tricks for novel studies!

Brittany-- The SuperHERO Teacher

Teaching Growth Mindset in the Secondary Classroom

We're all familiar with the importance of growth mindset, but often times we see growth mindset being taught at the lower levels as opposed to middle and high school classrooms.  We, as teachers, have the opportunity to change that!  We can be the leaders our students need in order to inspire them to be the very best the can be.  With our help, our students can unlock their potential, develop a growth mindset, and experience success not only in the classroom, but in the real world, too.

Where do we begin? How can we possibly teach the importance of growth mindset while simultaneously meeting all of the standards and preparing our students for the dreaded standardized tests?  My solution to this is beginning the school year with a growth mindset portfolio and creating an atmosphere that encourages growth mindset for the remainder of the year, so that students don't forget its importance shortly after the unit.  Below, you will find 5 specific tips that will help you teach growth mindset at the secondary level.

Teach your students about the theories, research, and science behind a growth mindset.
At the secondary level, it's important for our students to understand the reasoning behind why we are learning about mindset in the first place.  If you can convince your students that the knowledge they are about to learn is worthy of their time, they will be more apt to focus and take the lessons seriously.  Providing students with the science behind growth mindset is a great starting point, but I think even more important is providing students with various examples of how growth mindset applies to their lives.  Start with the connection between the brain and mindset, and then give specific scenarios to encourage students to continue learning.

Teach YOURSELF about growth mindset.
As teachers, it's incredibly important that we fully understand the studies that support growth mindset.  That means doing a little research of our own.  Before I started creating materials for mindset, I studied four books so that I could accurately represent mindset to my students.  It's perfectly okay if you aren't an expert (yet)! Below is a picture of some of the books I studied.  Specifically, Mindset: the New Psychology of Success by Carol S. Dweck.  The book is extremely informative, but it's still easy to understand for someone who intends to use it in their classroom or with their teammates.

Assign informational text pieces about growth mindset to meet standards.
It's constantly in the back of our minds.  How are we going to align this to the standards?  Simple! Assign informational text articles for text annotation.  There are hundreds of scholarly articles related to growth mindset.  Not only will your students strengthen their research and annotation skills, but they will also develop a deeper understanding of the research behind mindset. Whether you're using scholarly or magazine articles, your students will be engaged and meeting standards simultaneously.

Use decorative interactive bulletin boards to create a mindset atmosphere.
I'm sure you've experienced a unit in school that you are excited about, but shortly after, you forget about it because it's no longer the topic of conversation and you know you won't be tested again.  Let's not make this the case with growth mindset.  It's imperative that your students are constantly reminded of the importance of having a growth mindset.  I've created two growth mindset bulletin boards to help you do just that! The first is called "Mindset Moments" and it is designed to give students the opportunity to brag about an experience they've had in which they've overcome an obstacle and experienced success through effort and perseverance!

The second bulletin board is an interactive board that encourages students to motivate one another throughout the year.  There are 6 pockets for: motivation, confidence, attitude, failure, effort, and perseverance with 6 quotes in each.  In addition, there are blank quote templates.  When a student takes a quote from the pocket, he or she must write their OWN quote to replace it.  By the end of the year, the pockets will consist of inspiring quotes from student to student.  This is also a great way to create a positive classroom dynamic amongst students.

You can find these bulletin boards in my Teachers pay Teachers store! Click this link to find "Mindset Moments".  Click this link to find the interactive Growth Mindset Bulletin Board.

Use a growth mindset portfolio to inform, inspire, and educate your students.
You're a competent, skilled, and intelligent educator.  You work endless hours to find and create the best materials for your students... but what about quality mindset materials for middle and high school students?  They're hard to find, which is exactly why I created this 3 week unit, Growth Mindset Portfolio for teens.  It's kind of my baby (lol).  I spent about one full month straight researching and designing the in depth pages and interactive activities throughout the portfolio.  The unit is broken into six sections: Introduction to the brain and mindset (fixed vs growth), Failure, effort, & success, The keys to motivation, Developing identity, Critical thinking & leadership, and a reflection capstone project.  For a more detailed description and preview of what's inside the portfolio, click here!
Oh! Did I mention that each of the cover pages is an adult coloring page?! They also include fun facts about color therapy to inform students of its benefits!

The lessons and activities are not only informative, but they are also hands-on and engaging!  Students will end the unit feeling motivated and inspired to grow their minds and experience a success they didn't know what possible before! Click here or on any of the images for a more detailed look inside the Growth Mindset Portfolio!

Best of luck teaching growth mindset to your students.  It's something all middle and high school teens should be familiar with!

5 Motivational Quotes for Teachers

Hello teachers! My guess is that you came to this blog post because you need a little pick-me-up.  It's that time in the year when things start to fall into place and settle down, but at the same time, it starts to become a challenge to get out of that warm bed and take on the day!  I wanted to take time to say: 1. You aren't alone. and 2. You are making a difference.  I hope these quotes below remind you why you became a teacher in the first place and why you should persevere through the cool fall months! 

THIS is the best feeling! When you can teach a lesson so powerfully that your students don't even know you're there when engaged in the activity.  It's a proud, empowering moment for any teacher.  That can be YOU today.  You can be that teacher that gives your students the tools to work independently and collaboratively! 

You don't have to be that teacher that says, "okay, yes, I'll teach to the test just like the state wants me to."  Instead, you can be that teacher that says, "I'm going to do what's best for my students and teach something that makes them think outside the box and prepares them for life after high school."  Make it happen-- transcend the accepted educational methods! 

I think every teacher has heard this quote before.  However, each time you read it, I hope it hits home.  We truly do touch the future.  Something you teach or do today could change the future.  We can either make the future darker with negativity or brighter with positivity.  Which will you choose? 

This is my favorite quote.  We all have those students that are ultimately trying to drive us out of the teaching profession; but the truth is this: those students need us the most.  The sooner we can find the positive in every single student, the sooner our teaching outlook will change. Start today!

Will you be a mediocre, good, superior, or great teacher today? 

I truly hope these quotes helped brighten your day! Now, go out there and continue making a difference in the lives of our youth.  You can do this.

Extreme Makeover Classroom Edition: FINAL Reveal

Hi all—The SuperHERO Teacher here! It’s finally time-- It’s time for me to reveal all of the fun changes that were made to Megan’s classroom!  For those of you who do not know, I received 900+ applicants for this $3,000 Classroom Makeover Giveaway that I hosted on my Facebook Page.  Megan’s application stood out in more ways than one and she was truly deserving of the prize!  Below, you will see a picture of her classroom before the makeover, and then you will see the dramatic changes we made to complete the project!

Megan’s classroom before the makeover didn’t accurately portray her incredible, bubbly, and powerful teaching style.  Here’s a few pictures prior to the makeover:

Extreme Makeover Classroom Edition: Traveling Crew & TpT Sellers

Hi everyone!

This process could not have been completed without a very supportive and hard-working crew, friends, and incredible TpT sellers who were willing to donate books for the classroom library.  I am so impressed and in awe of the people who stepped up to make this process possible, and because of that, I am dedicating this post to those individuals!

Extreme Makeover Classroom Edition: Behind the Scenes

Hi everyone!  We’ve all been anxiously awaiting the reveal of the classroom makeover giveaway that I’ve been promoting for the past few months, so I’ve decided to split the reveal into 5 sections because so much went into this project, and I want to show everyone the entire process! 

Back to Top