Simply Novel Teaching Blog

Prioritizing your Teacher To Do List

Posted by Emily Guthrie on Aug 15, 2016 3:53:32 PM

We have all been there: swamped by to do lists and feeling like we are simply putting out fires all day instead of proactively getting anything done.  As teachers, we have to balance creating curriculum, grading papers, continuing professional development, communicating with parents, and about a 187 other things that tug at our priorities all day.  Oh yeah, and we can't spend all day checking off our list because we have to actually teach most of the day! So what is a teacher supposed to do? Today we are sharing some to do list best practices that can help us all get more done in the limited time we have:

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Top 10 Reasons to Shop Our Back to School Sale!

Posted by Emily Guthrie on Aug 15, 2016 11:49:40 AM

Simply Novel Back to School Sale 2016: 

We are so excited to announce our site-wide back to school sale on literature and writing guides for Elementary (2-5), Middle (6-8), and Secondary (9-12) ELA classes! 

Here are the sale details: 

  • Shop @ 
  • Use coupon code: BTS16
  • Get 15% off with any purchase of $50 or more! 
  • August 10th-24th ONLY
  • Single use per customer
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Topics: back to school, ELA, sale

Simply Novel Is Hiring ELA Lesson Plan Writers – Perfect Side Job for Teachers!

Posted by Kristen Bowers on Jul 22, 2016 12:00:03 AM



Simply Novel, formerly known as Secondary Solutions and Elementary Solutions, is currently looking for writers who are interested in creating Common Core curriculum and lesson plans for teachers to use as they teach novels, and who can provide creative and fresh content for our Literature Guides. Simply Novel also needs editors and formatters to contribute their expertise to these projects. The Guides need to be edited to ensure they are of the highest quality and can enhance the level of teaching in the classroom.

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Topics: side jobs for teachers, Uncategorized, writing jobs for teachers

School Lunch Ideas for the Busy Teacher:

Posted by Emily Guthrie on Jul 21, 2016 9:46:21 AM

Making time to eat healthy is so challenging for me as a teacher.  I have often found myself rushing out the door in the morning with barely enough time to a quick eat breakfast, which leaves almost no time to pack a lunch.  An extra challenge comes at lunchtime when I have to balance answering parent emails, administering make-up quizzes for absent students, and completing my supervision duties. I have to have something that won't take hours of prep on my precious weekends, but will be ready to grab and go Mon-Fri.  I also have to be able to eat while standing at the copy machine or in the quad. On top of all that, it has to be something substantial enough to ensure that my 6th period class will not get the hangry Mrs. Guthrie.  Below are some easy and quick lunches I love for school. I'd love to hear your suggestions in the comment section below!

  1. Salad in a jar: This healthy and beautiful lunch brings me joy just knowing that it is waiting for me after fourth period.

    1. How to: Set out 5 mason jars, layer salad elements: dressing on the bottom, your pick of veggies and lean meat, with lettuce or spinach on top! At lunch time, shake up and eat out of the jar if you have to or shake up and pour into a bowl or plate for easier eating.
    2. Tips: Add garbanzo or other beans to give it a hardiness that will help you make it through the day.
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Topics: Fun Stuff, lunch, teacher life, tips

Teacher Blogs Worth Subscribing to:

Posted by Emily Guthrie on Jul 14, 2016 11:02:12 AM

We hope that our blogs here at Simply Novel add value to your busy days.  We try to write about a variety of classroom technologies, pedagogical techniques, and other topics of interest to our fellow teachers.  Today, we want to share a few other teacher blogs that we recommend!  Since we are also teachers, we understand that a teacher's time is valuable, so we highly recommend subscribing to the following blogs to get actionable tips and insight right to your email.  We would love to hear who you are following!  Leave us a comment below with links or suggestions! :)

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Topics: bloggers, classroom technology, Classroom Tech, Fun Stuff, inspiration, teachers, tech

7 Ideas for Teachers to Make the Most out of Summer Break

Posted by Kristen Bowers on Jul 13, 2016 1:00:34 AM


Summer break is often a time to recharge and enjoy a slower pace of life for teachers who are typically busy during the school year. Although it may be relaxing to lounge around for the first week of summer break, most people want to have a bit of fun and stay active during the season. To make the most out of your time off, there are a few ways to stay busy.

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Topics: Fun Stuff, summer break ideas, summer ideas for teachers

Make Ahead Breakfast Ideas for Teachers:

Posted by Emily Guthrie on Jun 18, 2016 3:13:24 PM

I know summer has just started, but before we know it, we will be frantically pulling ourselves together for the hectic back to school season not to mention that many of us are teaching year around school or summer school, so this blog is of immediate use too! Today, I want to share some easy, make ahead breakfast ideas that will:

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Topics: breakfast, Fun Stuff, make ahead, prep, teacher life

What Teachers Really Want From Department Chairs:

Posted by Emily Guthrie on May 29, 2016 2:16:29 PM

I've had department chair on the brain lately because it was recently announced that my current department chair has stepped down for next year. He is smart and he will be missed in that role, but I think there are multiple good options in my current English department to fill his shoes.  In my career so far, I've had the opportunity to be a department chair and to work with department chairs that pushed me out of my comfort zone.  Some inspired me, some frightened me, and some gave me all the rope I needed either to soar or hang myself.  Although it sometimes works out despite the process, in my experience, department chairs are chosen for silly reasons like seniority, admin favorites, or by default because no one else wants it.  If done well, department chairs can positively impact fellow teachers, which in turn raises the bar for students, parents, and administrators, so

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Topics: administration, Classroom Management, department chair, Fun Stuff, leadership, tips

10 Instagrams We Love For Teachers:

Posted by Emily Guthrie on May 22, 2016 10:47:11 AM

If you are on instagram, we have a few recommendations for fun teacher accounts to follow! Leave us a comment with your favorites so we can follow them too! 



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Topics: Classroom Tech, Fun Stuff

Rethinking My Final Exams:

Posted by Emily Guthrie on May 13, 2016 10:14:41 AM

It is that time of year again when teachers all over the country are preparing for final exams. Although many teachers have their testing strategy down to a science, I know many others (myself included) that have mixed feelings when it comes to balancing the forces involved in finals. Personally, I am at a crossroads with this summative test. For the last decade, I have administered exam books with literally hundreds of multiple choice questions covering all the major strands of my class. I've almost always incorporated an essay section a few weeks before the end of the term, which counted toward the test score, but on the actual test day, I have watched bubble after bubble after bubble.  It has always felt like a strange ritual that served many purposes, but did not really incapsulate exactly what I really wanted students to learn or honor the best practices that I try to use consistently all semester. In the big picture of the semester, regardless of grade level, I most value critical reading and articulate, argumentative analysis of literature. Given my values, I think it is time for me (and maybe you?) to rethink the traditional final exam. Below is the process I am going through. I'd love to hear your questions, comments, or suggestions in the comment section below!  I've learned and grown so much as a teacher through the comments here on the blog as well as on our social media and I'm willing to bet others have read your comments with some of the same enthusiasm for new ideas!

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Topics: final, final exam, Holiday/Seasonal, Lesson Planning, test

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As an innovative leader in the field of educational publishing and media, Simply Novel is committed to providing practical ideas, relevant content, and quality resources to support and connect teachers and to inspire better teaching. Simply Novel provides effective and innovative training, coaching, and resources to help teachers feel inspired and connected to each other and their students in order to generate, support, and retain high-quality teachers in the classroom.

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