7 Benefits of Supervision Duty

Wednesday, December 13, 2017
Teachers are usually required to complete additional supervision duties above their time in the classroom. Read about the seven greatest benefits of supervision duty - a teacher humour blog post from the 2 Peas and a Dog blog.

From time to time I like to incorporate some lighter blog posts on my blog. My previous lighter blog posts You Live With A Teacher When and You Might Be Teacher If continues to get interaction when I share them on social media.

Where I teach, I am required by law to have 80 minutes of supervision duty each week. This supervision is in addition to my teaching hours. It can occur before school, during recess, lunch break or after school. Many teachers complain about supervision duty, but in reality it has many benefits.

1. Free exercise. Yes, we are getting paid to exercise. What else would you call walking continual laps around the school yard for 20 or 30 minutes at a time?

2. Staff Fitness Competitions. Have a staff fitness challenge and monitor daily steps.

3. Feel Like A Sheriff. I don’t know why, but when I don my fluorescent orange and yellow safety vest (a requirement when on supervision duty) and put my Fox 40 whistle around my neck it alludes power. I feel like I am a sheriff maintaining order and control in the wild west (OK well I do let my imagination have some fun)

4. Fabric Research. What better way to wind and cold test fabrics than yard duty in below zero weather? You learn quite fast what not to wear on yard duty. Style is NOT an option. No one wants to teach with frostbite.

5. Food Trends. Food bloggers and writers - if you want to see what children and teens like to eat - just ask a teacher. They will tell you the latest lunch trends. We also see what gets thrown into the garbage and green bin as well as packed up to go back home.

6. Reconnecting With Colleagues. My school is huge. There are teachers that I do not see on a daily basis because they do not teach in my hallway or on my floor. When we are assigned supervision duty together, I get to briefly acknowledge them as we pass by each other on the school yard or in the hall.

7. Realizing That Primary Teachers Are Heroes. As a middle school teacher in a K-8 building, some years I get given Kindergarten or Primary duty. After 20 minutes on duty, I have answered more questions than during a full week in any Grade 7 or 8 classroom, administered friendship advice and ensured that every child is properly dressed for the weather. Frankly, I am exhausted. I don’t know how my friends who teach primary students do this all-day-long. They must have secret superhero powers.

Bonus Benefit: Meeting Future Students. On a serious note, my one favourite things about supervision duty is meeting future students. Supervision has helped me get to know students before they become students in one of my classes. Building this connection ahead of time has helped me with classroom management. When I am on indoor duty I talk to the students in the various classes and compliment them on their school work or cool lunch bag.

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Teachers are usually required to complete additional supervision duties above their time in the classroom. Read about the seven greatest benefits of supervision duty - a teacher humour blog post from the 2 Peas and a Dog blog.

Celebrating the Holidays in the Secondary ELA Classroom

Monday, December 11, 2017
Middle and High School English Language Arts Teachers - enjoy the holidays by helping students think about others instead of themselves. Learn about fantastic ideas from other ELA teachers on how they celebrate the holiday season with their students while keeping a focus on the meaning of the season - giving not getting from the 2 Peas and a Dog blog.


Q1: Does your school celebrate the holidays? With what types of events or activities?
  • A1: This year we are bringing back the Yule Log as part of our Winter Solstice celebration, celebrating nature instead of a denominational holiday because we're an environmental school
  • A1: As a school, we have a holiday concert where the choirs and bands perform. Then we have a school-wide sing along on the last day before holiday break. 
  • 1: Our school doesn't officially celebrate Christmas or not celebrate Christmas - it's more of a classroom thing. We're reading A Christmas Carol. 
  • A1: We also added a family gingerbread house making night. 
Q2: Do you celebrate the holidays in your classroom? With what types of lessons or activities?
  • A2: I like to celebrate the season with educational activities more info in this blog post https://t.co/n0MjDk5UV6
  • A2:  I don't have my own classroom right now but I love the idea of giving the gift of words as described in this blog post https://t.co/GLcVnxOJV4 (Tip #3)
  • A2: Lots more holiday ideas here https://t.co/DxyUCavj5i
  • A2: I love reading the play version of "A Christmas Carol"! 

Q3: How do you keep students focused on curriculum during this month which is filled with special events and activities?
  • A3: I keep the same routines too plus I try to have more active things going on: https://t.co/AIRAr3mwyh
  • A3: I teach real content and keep up regular routines until the last day of school before holiday break. 
  • A3: Using nonfiction texts tied to the holidays is a great way to keep things academic any time a holiday comes up. Students learn about the holiday and don't realize they are also practicing readings skills https://t.co/WS8BWRtNJ7
Q4 & Q5: Share some resources for helping students think beyond themselves during the season of giving (e.g. blog posts, Pinterest ideas).
  • A4: At school we do a hygiene drive for the homeless of small soaps, toothpaste, etc. More ideas in this past chat https://t.co/LXvRTJAHG4
  • A4: Great lesson ideas for thinking about giving in this Twitter chat recap https://t.co/B14lKij5gr 
  • A5: Here's ideas for different ideas some academic, some service learning-oriented for leading up to the holidays https://t.co/4mxsbgyloR 
  • A5: I've seen kindness chains made from paper and I think I am going to try that this year. :) 
  • A5: I've also tried "Paying it Forward" with classes. One year we sang at an assisted living and made "grandfriends". 

Other Great Holiday Ideas

Holiday Season Survival Guide

Tips for Teachers to Reduce Holiday Stress

Promoting Joy During the Holiday Season

Holiday Lesson Ideas

Helping Students Think About Giving Not Getting

Re-Establishing Classroom Routines and Goal Setting After the Holiday Break

The Holiday Season in the Secondary ELA Classroom


Middle and High School English Language Arts Teachers - enjoy the holidays by helping students think about others instead of themselves. Learn about fantastic ideas from other ELA teachers on how they celebrate the holiday season with their students while keeping a focus on the meaning of the season - giving not getting from the 2 Peas and a Dog blog.

#2ndaryELA Twitter Chat on Tuesday 12/5 Topic: Celebrating the Holidays in the Secondary Classroom

Sunday, December 03, 2017
Join secondary English Language Arts teachers Tuesday evenings at 8 pm EST on Twitter. This week's chat will be celebrating the holidays.
Brynn Allison, The Literary Maven & Kristy, 2 Peas and a Dog host #2ndaryELA on Twitter every Tuesday evening from 8 - 8:30 PM EST. #2ndaryELA is a weekly chat for secondary English Language Arts teachers focused on a topic. Every Sunday, we post the topic and questions on our blogs to allow you to prepare for the upcoming Tuesday evening's chat. Thank you to everyone who joined us last week and we hope that you will join us again.

We'd also love for you to join our 2ndaryELA Facebook group, even if you aren't on Twitter. 2ndaryELA is a group of middle and high school English Language Arts teachers looking to share ideas and best practices. This group is an extension of our Twitter chat and a place for collaboration, questions, and encouragement. Feel free to post teaching ideas, success stories, resource links, photos, etc. that will enhance our instruction.

On Tuesday, December 5, our #2ndaryELA chat will be about celebrating the holidays in the secondary classroom.

The Format:
8:00 – What and where do you teach? Include a link to your blog if you have one. #2ndaryELA
8:05 Q1: Does your school celebrate the holidays? With what types of events or activities? #2ndaryELA
8:10 Q2: Do you celebrate the holidays within your classroom? With what types of lessons or activities? #2ndaryELA
8:15 Q3: How do you keep students focused on curriculum during this month which is filled with special events and activities? #2ndaryELA
8:20 Q4: How do you get students to think about others during this month? Lessons? Videos? #2ndaryELA
8:25 Q5: Share some resources for helping students think beyond themselves during the season of giving (e.g. blog posts, Pinterest ideas). #2ndaryELA

The Directions:
1. Log into Twitter on Tuesday from 8-8:30 PM EST.
2. Search for tweets with the hashtag #2ndaryELA in the search bar. Make sure to click “Latest.”
3. Introductions are for the first 5 minutes.
4. Starting at 8:05 (@literarymaven or @2peasandadog) will post questions every 5 minutes using the format Q1, Q2, Q3, etc. and the hashtag #2ndaryELA.
5. Respond to questions using the format A1, A2, A3, etc. with #2ndaryELA.
6. Follow any teachers responding and who are also using #2ndaryELA.
7. Like and respond to other teachers' tweets.

You can schedule your responses to the questions ahead of time using a scheduler like TweetDeck or HootSuite (but don't forget to use A1, A2, etc. and #2ndaryELA). Links are encouraged, so be sure to use a link shortener like tinyurlbitlygoo.gl or ow.ly Just visit one of those links and paste your long link to shorten it for Twitter. Using images is also encouraged when relevant.

New to chats? Here are the rules:
1. Stay on topic & stay positive!
2. Please do not post or promote paid products unless specifically asked.
3. If you arrive late, try to look through other posts before beginning.
4. Feel free to just read, like, and/or retweet.
5. Always use our hashtag #2ndaryELA, including in your replies to others.
6. Make sure your twitter feed is set to public. (Also keep in mind that Twitter is completely public – that means students, parents, and administrators can and will read what you tweet.)

You can also check out a quick video tutorial in this blog post.

Be sure to spread the word to any teacher friends who might be interested in joining us as well. We look forward to chatting with you Tuesday evening and in our 2ndaryELA Facebook group!

Teachers' Favourite Things

Saturday, December 02, 2017

Most of us have a mental (or actual) wish list for our classrooms: the books we want to add to our libraries, the tools we want but don’t “need”, or the decorations that just aren’t in the budget. We fantasize about winning the lottery, having a successful Donors Choose list, getting a classroom makeover... or being in the audience for an episode of Oprah’s Favorite Things.

But what if Santa read your letter and bought everything on your list? 


This December, four teachers are teaming up to grant one lucky teacher’s, Wish List: Kristy (2 Peas and a Dog), Danielle (Nouvelle ELA), Lisa (Mrs. Spangler in the Middle), and Sara (Secondary Sara) are putting on their Santa hats to gift a teacher his or her Favorite Things!

Here’s how it works:

Enter the Rafflecopter contest below, which ends on Sunday, December 10th at 11:59pm EST. (The winners will be contacted on Monday, December 11th). 

Grand Prize:

The winner makes an Amazon Wish List containing ANYTHING you want for the classroom, up to $125. We four teachers will surprise you by purchasing up to $100 of the items in your wish list; the item will be shipped directly to your house!

Second Place Prize: A TpT wishlist! One lucky teacher will get to pick up to $10 in resources from EACH of our four stores!


Third Place Prize: A TpT wishlist! One lucky teacher will get to pick up to $5 in resources from EACH of our four stores!


Terms & Conditions:

  • Items in the wish list must be intended for classroom use
  • Winner must be from the US or Canada
  • Entries will be reviewed before the winner is drawn
  • If winners do not respond in a timely manner, we reserve the right to withdraw the prize and gift it to the next (randomly drawn) recipient(s)
  • This giveaway is not affiliated or endorsed by Amazon, Instagram, or any other organization. 

Our Favorite Things!
If you need inspiration for your Wish List (or can’t wait to add it to your shopping cart now), here are the items I would add to MY wish list.
  1. Scotch Thermal Laminator
  2. Paper Mate Flair Pens 
  3. Scotch Storage Packaging Tape
  4. Hilroy 1 Subject 3 Hole with Margin Notebook
On my wishlist, I would include the four items listed above because I love my laminator to make classroom posters and stations last a long time. I use my Flair pens for marking and writing in my daybook. It is important that teachers keep good quality packing tape in the classroom for classroom library book repairs and to hang up anchor charts as well as other posters. Lastly, I have tried many different list-making and note-taking apps and systems. My constant fall back is a standard notebook with a pen. These notebooks can often be found on sale during the Back to School season and work well for all list-making and note-taking tasks. 



Make sure to check out these other great blog posts for more recommended wish list items



Ready to Enter? 


a Rafflecopter giveaway


Engaging Students With Non-Traditional Texts

Wednesday, November 29, 2017
It is important that students are given opportunities to engage with non-traditional texts like graphic and free verse novels. Teachers can also use other forms of high-interest media such as infographics, videos and non-fiction articles. Read this Twitter chat recap to get ideas you can use tomorrow in your English Language Arts classroom from 2 Peas and a Dog.

It is important that students are given opportunities to engage with non-traditional texts like graphic and free verse novels. Teachers can also use other forms of high-interest media such as infographics, videos, and non-fiction articles. Read this Twitter chat recap to get ideas you can use tomorrow in your English Language Arts classroom. 


Question 1: Where/how do you find contemporary fiction (short stories, novels) to engage your students?
A1: CommonLit, Actively Learn, ReadWorks, 2ndaryELA FB group, Achieve the Core & google to find grade level short stories
A1: I ask my librarian at school and just Google search topics.
A1: I ask for ideas in the  Facebook group https://t.co/5Vm1hu3Eqs or I look on Pinterest for blog posts
A1: I usually have looked at book lists and asked the librarian, but this year my kids are making suggestions and creating a year-long list for me
A1: I read a lot of YA literature and I'm always looking for good anthologies of short stories
A1: Pinterest, blogs, CommonLit, google, also song lyrics
A1: Florida also publishes a new list of books each year called "The Sunshine State Books"
A1 cont: Each year there's a Best American Short Stories of... https://t.co/xgY6mPgJwh
A1: This is a great recap of a previous chat on YA Lit - good ideas for new titles https://t.co/9daGScaCFk


Q2: Where/how do you find nonfiction texts related to current issues or on topics of interest to your students?
A2: @Newsela
A2: Commonlit, Actively Learn, NewsELA, ReadWorks, Tween Tribune for Nonfiction text
A2: NewsELA, google, AoW
A2: New York Times Learning Network
A2: I compiled a list on my blog of great places to find non-fiction articles. https://t.co/m5WUL7utxS
A2: Using Google search you can switch from"All" to "News" and then sort by how recent of an article you are looking for
A2 cont: You used to also be able to sort Google result by reading difficulty, but that feature disappeared :/
A2: NewsELA, news sites for culturally relevant connections to analyze, excerpts from non-fiction books
A2: I like to use nonfiction piece connected to the holidays as a way of "celebrating" but still learning https://t.co/WS8BWRtNJ7
A2: Finding nonfiction books for the classroom I think is an awesome way to integrate ELA into a Social Studies classroom. I would love to collaborate with ELA teachers to find books to fit my units!


Question 3: Have you tried using graphic novels or verse novels with your students? Recommendations? Experiences?
A3: I am hoping to read Love That Dog with my Grade 8's this year.
A3: I offered Inside Out & Back Again as a book club option last yr but no takers - no graphic novels yet, but would love to
A3: I have only used picture books - not graphic novels as they are EXPENSIVE!  I'd love them for my ELLs though! Maybe a grant.
A3: I have a graphic novel section in my classroom library. It is also a reading choice in my independent reading program.
A3: We teach the graphic novels American Born Chinese and The Arrival together each year. The kids love ABC (so hilarious and relevant). The Arrival has no words and is perfect for working on inferencing skills.
A3: Yes! I used graphic novels to introduce Greek mythology. We created infographics.
A3 Brown Girls Dreaming and The Crossover, both verse novels, were on our Reading Olympic list last year. My students really liked both.


Question 4: Where/how do you find appropriate videos, images, and infographics for your students to “read?”
A4: I find them on YouTube and from the educational FB groups that I'm in
A4: We use YouTube and have found some great things to use and we also have offered some PBL chances for kids to make their own pieces for our current unit (social experiments, infographics, art, poetry, etc.)
A4: I try to preview all content before I show it to my classes. I like the infographics from USA Today. I look for official YouTube channels from well-known sources.


Q5: What strategies do you use to help students read and understand non-traditional texts?
A5: Notice & Note signposts for fiction/nonfiction, fun colorful highlighters and lots of discussions. I love NewsELA for diff levels
A5: I love graphic organizers to help students capture their thinking.
A5: Model thinking aloud, teach text features, lots of practice
A5: We use some notice and note, but mostly color it up activities and deliberately pick pieces to teach how to annotate for specific components of nonfiction before annotating a piece for all aspects independently
A5: Definitely lots of discussions - maybe even a gallery walk to leave comments?



It is important that students are given opportunities to engage with non-traditional texts like graphic and free verse novels. Teachers can also use other forms of high-interest media such as infographics, videos and non-fiction articles. Read this Twitter chat recap to get ideas you can use tomorrow in your English Language Arts classroom from 2 Peas and a Dog.