Tuesday, November 29, 2016

10 Things I Should Not Have To Say as a High School Teacher...But Have

1. No, I will not have a staring contest with you.
10 Things I Should Not Have To Say as a High School Teacher...But Have - Disorderly Teaching

2. Let go of his nipple!

10 Things I Should Not Have To Say as a High School Teacher...But Have - Disorderly Teaching

3. You don't have to tell me that you have to poop.

10 Things I Should Not Have To Say as a High School Teacher...But Have - Disorderly Teaching

4. Martin Luther King was not the president, and no he's not still alive.

10 Things I Should Not Have To Say as a High School Teacher...But Have - Disorderly Teaching


5. Get out of that cabinet.

10 Things I Should Not Have To Say as a High School Teacher...But Have - Disorderly Teaching


6. I don't know if milk will make your boobs grow. Look it up at home.

10 Things I Should Not Have To Say as a High School Teacher...But Have - Disorderly Teaching


7. Put your pants back on.

10 Things I Should Not Have To Say as a High School Teacher...But Have - Disorderly Teaching


8. No, we cannot watch 50 Shades of Gray.

10 Things I Should Not Have To Say as a High School Teacher...But Have - Disorderly Teaching


9. Get that thumbtack out of your shoe.

10 Things I Should Not Have To Say as a High School Teacher...But Have - Disorderly Teaching


10. Give me back those paperclips.... All of them... .... .... Aaaaaalllll of them.

10 Things I Should Not Have To Say as a High School Teacher...But Have - Disorderly Teaching


Saturday, November 26, 2016

Asperger's and Manic Episodes

I'm really curious to know if people with Asperger's get manic episodes, or if it might be tied to ADD? Either way I'm in one right now.

Asperger's and Manic Episodes - Disorderly Teaching

When most people hear the word manic, they think manic-depressive or bipolar. Thankfully that is not me, but I do still occasionally (read: every few months) will have a manic day. That usually means I'm hyper, super gung-ho about getting things done, and can't focus on one task at a time.

Today I woke up to check some of Amazon's black friday deals and ended up just staying awake. A coupon for $10 off a book purchase (good through November 28, 2016 at 02:59am EST) led me to hours looking through reviews and excerpts of a number of books in my wishlist about Autism in Women, and neurodiverse relationships (and going into archives of numerous blogs). At the same time I was trying to clear shows from our DVR, do laundry, clear through my desks, find receipts for Kellogg's rewards before they're too old, working on a T-Shirt design for our Autism Speaks Walk, clearing stuff off the stairs, and considering making new dog beds. Somewhere in there I ended up reading an article about artificial sweeteners, taking an OCD quiz, looking into a new planner, and depositing a check. Also on the agenda for later in the day was hanging shelves, putting up our new microwave, setting up my dogs training collar, setting up the new Keurig, and cleaning the bedroom. Plus, you know, maybe eating and such.

Asperger's and Manic Episodes - Disorderly Teaching

It was way too much. I could feel myself trembling with anxiety and also eagerness. I was an accomplishment machine! Except I was bouncing between stuff like a mad woman. When Ki woke up I just started babbling at him about random things, while he noticed the after effects of those things, like the half folded laundry, the dog bed covers sitting in a heap on a pile of boxes, and the disaster of receipts on my desk. Finally a cognizant moment struck and I started to apologize. He immediately acknowledged that I was having a manic day and gave me a good strong squeeze to help me settle.

Asperger's and Manic Episodes - Disorderly Teaching

Then I realized I had a major assignment due today and I had nearly forgotten it.

So Ki took over handing the microwave with Momo, and even did the collar, so I could focus on my stupid, stupid assignment that took hours to do. But it's okay. It's done now.

Asperger's and Manic Episodes - Disorderly Teaching

I'm still feeling hyper but have gotten a bit more focused (although Ki and Momo having "inspriational" music playing while they work on the microwave and it is amping up my anxiety for some reason. Grr). I'm trying to just brain dump a list of everything on my mind and settle in to focus on just a few key tasks and maybe later I'll research Asperger's and manic episodes.

Update: Between writing this and looking for GIFs to add, I got over exuberant about going to measure something, tripped, and almost face planted.

Update 2: The music has gotten louder.

Update 3: I made them turn the music down. Now I feel guilty, even if they understand. Sigh.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

A Thankful Teacher

I think as teachers it's very easy for us to focus on everything that weighs us down and overwhelms us, so today I want to focus on the good things in my teaching life.

I Am Thankful For:

  • A co-teacher whom I adore
  • The opportunity to work in the same school as my sister
  • A principal that supports me
  • Students who are sweet more often than they are salty
  • A kitchen full of books
  • My coffee maker from a former student
  • Decorating Committee
  • Flair pens
  • Pop up post-it notes
  • Student aids who actually do what we tell them to do
  • The grant paying for my master's degree
  • LTM days
  • Light bulb moments
  • Unexpected hugs
So, what are you thankful for in your teaching career?

Friday, June 17, 2016

Disorderly Teaching Reads: Comprehension Shouldn't Be Silent - Preface

Disorderly Teaching Reads: Comprehension Shouldn't Be Silent - Preface

So, in a previous post I mentioned coming across the book Comprehension Shouldn't Be Silent by Michelle J. Kelley and Nicki Clausen-Grace while proctoring in another teacher's classroom. I got super excited when I saw most of our Big 7 Strategies featured on the cover, and about cried when I came across the term "Metacognitive Teaching Framework."

I LOVE the idea of metacognition, but have struggled with how to teach it to our students, and how to get them to actually apply it. Last year we did a pretty good job of getting them to memorize the word and get the gist of it, but most of them never put it into action and really thought about their thinking while reading. This book promises to get kids to do just that. I ordered the book from Amazon right away.

Since I'm so excited about reading this book, I thought I'd share some points, my ideas and insights, etc. as I go along. If you're interested in reading along, that's be great! Comment below. I'd love to get some discussion going!

If you're strapped for cash but still want to buy the book, you can pick up used copies of the 1st Edition from Amazon Marketplace for $4 including shipping. I picked up the 2nd edition though, because it includes learning scales, Common Core connections, and integration of technology.

So then, let's get reading with the book's preface! It's only a few pages long, but I still came away with the following:

*all quotes are directly from Comprehension Shouldn't Be Silent and attributable to Michelle J. Kelley and Nicki Clausen-Grace.

Disorderly Teaching Reads: Comprehension Shouldn't Be Silent - Preface

I always took independent reading time to be a chance for kids to just read uninterrupted. I tried to always read my own book as they read to model behavior and show that I enjoy reading, but I admit there were times I graded papers, sifted through emails, etc. too.

I also never provided students with support while reading. I think I'm so afraid to interrupt them, and worry I won't know how to support that, that I don't try. I'm excited to see what Kelley and Clausen-Grace have to offer in this regard.

Disorderly Teaching Reads: Comprehension Shouldn't Be Silent - Preface

They make a solid point that even though most students can read the words on the page by middle or high school, "they haven't yet learned how reading can help them lead a richer, more meaningful life. They haven't yet escaped into a text"

Kelly Gallagher discusses this as well in Readicide, explaining to students that reading is rehearsal for life. I've talked about this with students in the past, using the video Running and Reading from Will Smith, but I haven't done that recently and really should. My boyfriend and I were just recently discussing how to help students crave learning, and I know that tying it into their own lives and making it meaningful is the key.

Disorderly Teaching Reads: Comprehension Shouldn't Be Silent - Preface

Can I say that I love the phrase "thoughtful literacy." That's my goal this year: for us to foster thoughtful literacy.

Disorderly Teaching Reads: Comprehension Shouldn't Be Silent - Preface

We need to adjust our Big 7 strategies, and add Repairing to Comprehension Monitoring. We emphasize to the kids that it's important to recognize when they don't understand, but even more crucial is for them to then use their other strategies to repair their understanding.

Disorderly Teaching Reads: Comprehension Shouldn't Be Silent - Preface

I know it's been talked about countless times but it bears repeating that students of today are different from students even 10 years ago. The kids we get in high school now grew up with cell phones, smart phones, and tablets, and are used to being always connected.

In past years we let students have iPods or phones to listen to music while working and there was little to no issue of distraction. Now student phones are constantly blowing up with texts, snaps, and other notifications. We've reached a point where we may have to become those awful, awful teachers who confiscate phones on the daily, because we haven't found a way to integrate them without distraction. If anyone has any ideas, let me know!


Ooh, they utilize textbook circles in their classroom. What a great idea. Rather than trying to start novel based book circles, we can group the kids by a class they have to do a lot of reading in, or are struggling with. Our kids are always complaining about studying for a science test, or having to outline a history chapter. Why not integrate that into reading class? Brilliant. It might even save us from working with those kids one on one during our lunch or planning time.

Disorderly Teaching Reads: Comprehension Shouldn't Be Silent - Preface

I think this more than anything is what I'm looking forward to in this book. I know if we can get into our students heads, we can help them so much more, but we can't get in there if they themselves don't. I would love so much for our students to be metacognitive and recognize their strengths and their struggles, to enable them to take ownership of their learning and guide us so that we can be better teachers.

Well, that's enough thoughts for only three and a half pages of text. I'm looking forward to Chapter One where we'll learning the basics of the Metacogntive Teaching Framework. I hope you are too!

Sunday, June 12, 2016

5 More Things Every Teacher Should Do Each Summer

I previously posted my 5 Things Every Teacher Should Do Each Summer, which I still stand by and highly recommend you check out. But let's be honest: as teachers we put our whole heart and 99.7% of our energy into teaching during the school year so we have a lot to make up for come summer time. That's why I've got:

5 More Things Every Teacher Should Do Each Summer - Disorderly Teaching

5 More Things Every Teacher Should Do Each Summer - Disorderly TeachingPerhaps I'm a little biased as a Reading teacher, but I think everyone should have a stack of books ready to read when they have some free time. I get a little overzealous with this each year and take home way more than I could possibly read. This year I brought home:

The Secret Life of Bees
Fever 1793
Paper Towns
Okay for Now
A Lesson Before Dying
Kiss Kill Vanish

I also brought home several academic books to skim over the summer, and Mechanically Inclined to read. And I have several academic articles and research reports to look at. And books on hold at the library. And then I bought a new book... So yeah, I went a bit crazy.

If you're looking for some motivation, or ideas for what to pick up this summer, check out:


5 More Things Every Teacher Should Do Each Summer - Disorderly Teaching

Have you run yourself ragged during the school year? (Who am I kidding? Of course you have!) Take some time this summer to rejuvenate and take care of yourself. My primary goals this summer are to get back to eating healthy meals, and to get on my treadmill! I started the Zombie 5k program forever ago but never finished. This summer I'm committed to completing the program.

Also go and pamper yourself a bit. Get a fresh haircut, a nice pedicure, or a relaxing massage. If you don't want to spend a lot, look for a beauty school or college nearby that offers discount services for letting students do the work. Students in those schools need a certain number of practice hours and they're always looking for new victims volunteers.

5 More Things Every Teacher Should Do Each Summer - Disorderly Teaching

This can apply to your home or your classroom (if you're crazy like me and will going in during the summer). Chances are you've got stacks of old receipts to file, old gifts you never wanted, clothes that don't fit, outdated class posters from the 80s, and some expired cough drops sitting around. Time to get rid of the junk, and breathe in a sigh of relief when you see how much more open your space becomes. If you haven't already read it, check out The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. The author does get a little extreme and spiritual with her belongings, but it gave me the motivation to finally get rid of tons of clutter. Also, rolling your socks is the best thing ever.

5 More Things Every Teacher Should Do Each Summer - Disorderly Teaching

When's the last time you talked to your second cousin who has the same unique hobby as you? Was your nephew teething the last time you saw him and now he's applying for college? Now's the time to reach out. Sure, take a few weeks at the start of summer to hibernate and recharge, but then get out there. Look up some old friends, get together with family, go out with colleagues with a "no work talk" rule, or even just spend some quality time with members of your own household. Trust me, being aspie, this is hard for me, but I know there are benefits and it's worth the effort.

5 More Things Every Teacher Should Do Each Summer - Disorderly Teaching


Hmm, maybe this should have been the first thing on this list, but oh well. It's already typed and I'm too lazy to renumber everything now. Plus I want reading to be first because, you know - biased Reading teacher.

Anyway, one thing I find most years is that I let the summer get away from me. A week or two of just relaxing turns into a month and a half, followed by panic of "Where did the summer go?!" and "I didn't do anything!" So if you follow nothing else in this post, at least do this: Take a few minutes to sit down and put together a master list of what you want to do this summer. There should be fun and relaxing stuff, home projects or tasks you need to take on, and some work related stuff you never have time for during the school year.

To make this easier for you I've put together a printable summer planner which you can grab for free here:

Summer To Do List printable - Disorderly Teaching

Looking for ideas? Here's my list:

Summer To Do List example - Disorderly Teaching

So, what are your plans for the summer?

Note: this post contains a few affiliate links for books, which means I receive small commission if you decide to purchase anything through Amazon using my links. I only recommend items I've purchased and used myself, so trust that everything I post is legit, and I haven't received anything free or been asked to post any of these items : )

Disorderly Teaching's First Annual Teacher Summer Reading Challenge

Come one, come all! Step right up and witness Disorderly Teaching's First Annual Teacher Summer Reading Challenge!


Do you love to read? Do you find you never have time for it? Have you exhausted all book options and have nothing left? Or is your stack of books a mile high and you need to narrow it down? Then this post is for you!

As those of you who read my 5 More Things Every Teacher Should Do Each Summer post (and if you haven't read it, you really should!) know, I love to bring books home to read over the summer, but I often don't get around to reading them, perhaps because I cart home way too many.

This January I took on the Pop Sugar Reading Challenge, and modified it a bit for myself as a teacher. Considering that I thought it would be fun to start a Summer Reading Challenge here, designed for fellow teachers. I hope you agree.

Below are my suggested categories for your book choices. I limited the list to eight, as I figure that's a book a week, with some extra leeway in there. Feel free to adjust as you need (it's ok my OCD peeps, you don't have to follow these things to a T for it to actually count. I know it's hard. Trust me). At the end of the post there'll also be a free printable for you to make your list and pin up so you have no excuses for not reading!

Without further ado, here is the list:


Disorderly Teaching's Teacher Summer Reading Challenge

1. A Short, Feel Good Book

No matter how intellectual you are, everyone could use a good fun read to just relax with. I'd recommend starting with this as, if you're like me, the start of your summer is probably when you're at your most lazy. This book should be short, fun, and not too challenging. Now is not the time to try Tolstoy, it's time to breeze across the pages and just chill.

My Choice:
Disorderly Teaching's Teacher Summer Reading Challenge
Fever 1793

Other Recommendations:

Any trashy romance novel (if you're into that)
Lower level YA fiction
Harry Potter
Maniac Magee

2 & 3. A Book on a Topic You Love to Teach & A Book on a Topic You Struggle to Teach

As I mentioned in 5 Things Every Teacher Should Do Each Summer "It seems that educational best practices change all the time, and it can be hard to keep up." Reading some good books can add new tools to your teacher toolkit, and will help reinvigorate your love of teaching. There's nothing better than finding a new way to address a subject area, or reading something that finally helps you understand one you struggle with.

My Choices:

 Disorderly Teaching's Teacher Summer Reading Challenge

Personally, I love teaching our Big 7 Strategies and Metacognition, so I was super psyched when I found Comprehension Shouldn't Be Silent which covers both. I ordered the book within minutes of flipping through it in a colleagues room. I'm so excited about it that I'll be posting about it in the coming weeks to share with you all.

 Disorderly Teaching's Teacher Summer Reading Challenge

I'm also overwhelmed with the fact that the district wants us to incorporate writing skills more overtly in Reading, so I'm reading Mechanically Inclined which Jen at Teaching Teens in the 21st Century has used to great effect in her classes.

Other Recommendations: This is such a broad area, I don't know where to begin and it's really up to you. If you want help finding a book on a specific topic, let me know!

4. Your School’s Summer Reading Book

I'm assuming here that every school has at least one summer reading book. My high school does One School, One Book where every teacher and staff member reads the same book, regardless of grade level. I know other schools do different books per grade, or sets of books. Choose what works for you, but please, please, please read them! Nothing undermines a summer reading program quite so well as teachers who admit they didn't even bother to read the book(s).

My Choice: 

Disorderly Teaching's Teacher Summer Reading Challenge
Okay for Now

Other Recommendations: If your school doesn't do summer reading, pick a book from one of these lists:

Real Simple Summer Reading List
ALSC Summer Reading Lists
GoodReads Popular Summer Reading

5. A Book Your Students Love

Please tell me that at least some of your kids like some books, even a tiny bit? I know in the population I work with it can be tough, but I guarantee at least one of those buggers read a book they liked. If you take the time to then read it based on their recommendation, it'll make their day.

My Choice: 

Disorderly Teaching's Teacher Summer Reading Challenge

Other Recommendations: Never once had a student mention enjoying a book? That's okay (Actually it's not ;_; If your students truly hate reading, I'd recommend you pick up a copy of The Book Whisperer for inspiration. It did wonders in my class). Here are a few my kids frequently  recommend:

The Shadow Children series
The Face on the Milk Carton
Missing Since Monday
Deep, Dark, and Dangerous
Fever 1793
A Lesson Before Dying
13 Reasons Why

6. A Book Outside of Your Comfort Zone

Being very set in my ways (hello ASD), this one is tough for me, but it can be well worth it. Janice forced me to do this during the school year. I ended up reading and loving both Goosegirl and The Language of Flowers, neither of which would I have picked up on my own. So head over to the genre section you've never checked out before, or ask someone you trust to recommend a book you'd never look for on your own.

My Choice:

Disorderly Teaching's Teacher Summer Reading Challenge
A Lesson Before Dying

7. A Book You Never Seem to Finish

Look, I'm not talking about a book you can't get past the first chapter of (Just ask Janice about her experience with Son of a Witch). I'm talking about a book you enjoy, pick up and read most of the way through, then drop due to outside goings on for so long that when you get back to it you have to start over. It's okay to start over, but let's finish it this time, hmm?

My Choice: 

Disorderly Teaching's Teacher Summer Reading Challenge
Jane Eyre

I read this book to like the last two chapters in college, but the course I read it for ended and I was exhausted and never got to those last pages. I've started to read it twice since then but never finished.

Other Recommendations: If  you don't have a book that fits this category, then go for the book everyone assumes you've read but haven't. For me it's be books like The Giver, Hoot, The Outsides, Holes, etc. that nearly all of our students read at some point in middle school.

8. A Book You Know You'll Love

This can be a book you're read so many times it's like an old friend (hello Harry Potter!), one that you've skimmed through and are excited to read, or... I dunno. How else do you know you'll love a book? Whatever you just thought of - that's how you'll pick this book. ; )

My Choice:

Disorderly Teaching's Teacher Summer Reading Challenge
The Secret Life of Bees

For this one I went with the fact that I've seen and enjoyed the movie, it's been recommended by several people whose opinions I value, and after skimming a few pages I enjoyed the author's writing style.


So there you have it. A nice, clean, eight book challenge that is totally doable? Want to join in the fun? Hurray! Please comment below so I know you're joining and tell me what you're reading. I'm always open to new recommendations!

As promised, here's a free printable list to get you started:

Disorderly Teaching's Teacher Summer Reading Challenge

Now, why not share the joy? I created this image which you can use on social media, your blog, or anywhere else. Please link back here so we can get as many teachers as we can reading this summer!

Disorderly Teaching's Teacher Summer Reading Challenge

note: This post does include affiliate links for recommended books. Please don't feel that I created this challenge to make a few pennies from those links. I swear I woke up at 6:30 in the morning and hopped out of bed because I was so excited about the idea : ) Any revenue from links just helps support this blog and the time I put into it.