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TXTS 4 Teachers

Lunch on the Run

Laurie King

When you are a teacher, lunch is super important. It not only gives you food fuel which is a thing we are told we need, it gives you a moment to check out of the kid head-space and take a breath. Sadly, many schedules prohibit a proper sit down, napkin on the lap, water in a glass with ice, kind of lunch. So we put together this list of lunch ideas you can make ahead of time, and grab in a hurry at school. Oh, and they don't require utensils. Because who has time for that?


The Not So Classic PB&J

Before you roll your eyes and dismiss this traditional kid food, try making a sandwich with almond butter and some really great jam. Artesian jams are typically much lower in sugar than jelly, and almond butter is a great source of protein. Pair it with some baby carrots and a bottle of water, and you are good to go until happy hour! has a list of other great nut butter sandwich ideas.


Edamame Hummus Wrap

Combine together protein-rich edamame hummus (Trader Joes has a great one!) with cabbage, bell peppers, scallions, and parsley. Roll it in a spinach tortilla. It's delicious, good for you, and won't kill you if you can't get it in the refrigerator. What's even better, tortilla-wrapped foods make a great tool to wave at a kid when you're trying to get her off the top of the monkey bars!


Chicken Club Wrap

If keeping your food refrigerated isn't an issue for you, and you need big chunks of meat to complete any meal, this wrap is an alternative to the veggie one above. Left-over grilled chicken breast combined with nonfat plain Greek yogurt, onion, bacon, and lettuce is super yummy! Eating Well has a recipe you can follow.


Chicken Salad Pita

Sticking with chicken, this pocket full of goodness is crazy good and only 344 calories. Just stuff 1/2 cup chopped leftover chicken breast, 1/2 grated apple, and 1 tablespoon low-fat Greek yogurt into a whole-wheat pita. Bam!


Summer Rolls

This last one is for you fancy people. It requires a little bit of preparation, but you will have the satisfaction of lunch-shaming your colleagues. Divide 12 large cooked shrimp and 1 cup each bean sprouts and shredded cabbage between 4 rehydrated rice paper sheets. Wrap them up burrito-style. You're going to want to keep these cold. Eating shrimp that has sat out all morning can make for a very unfortunate afternoon in the classroom.

Driving to School

Laurie King

The right playlist can do wonders for foggy-brained mornings. If you find yourself struggling to point the car in the direction of your school, give the following playlist a try. It's an upbeat, poppy kinda collection of songs to put you in the mood to bring the instructional magic that lurks in your DNA!

Geronimo - Sheppard

Even If I'm Loud It Doesn't Mean I'm Talking To You - Tove Styrke

Brighter Than The Sun - Cobie Caillat

Girls Chase Boys - Ingrid Michaelson

Shut Up And Dance - Walk The Moon

Ex's & Oh's - Elle King

The Wire - Haim

Unbelievers - Vampire Weekend

Cooler Than Me - Mike Posner, Big Sean


Get the entire playlist here.


Binge Worthy Shows

Laurie King

Whether this is your last weekend of summer break, or you have several more days, there is still time to check-out and binge watch a show. The following are some of our favorites:


If you enjoy poking fun at hipsters, this show will fill your snarky heart! If you are a hipster, you may want to skip it. It hits a little close to home. Although not meant for kids, you can watch it if kids are lurking around.

The Staircase

A true crime drama about the indictment, trial, and conviction of crime author Michael Peterson for the death of his wife, Kathleen. In December 2001, she was found dead at the bottom of the staircase in their North Carolina home. Peterson was the only person in the house at the time. But that’s just one part of what’s turned into a three-part story... Pull the blinds, fix a snack, and settle in!

Wynonna Earp

The best way to describe this show is, "a supernatural Western horror." Wynona is the great, great granddaughter of Wyatt Earp. She fights the reincarnated bodies of the men he already killed using her “Peacemaker” revolver. Come on, it's creepy and fun!


Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling is a comedy featuring the lives of female professional wrestlers in the 80s. You don't have to like wrestling, or the 80s to be entertained by this inspiring comedy. Great writing is always enjoyable, and this show has it!

For a complete list of Netflix shows, check out this page.

This post is part of TXTS4 Teachers. A weekly teaching (and sometimes vacationing) tips service. Sign up here to receive a tip each week via text messaging. Choose SMS/text messaging as the subscription type.

The Best Happy Hours In Maricopa County

Laurie King

Teachers share a love of many things. One of the best is happy hour. Affordable food and drinks with good colleague friends at the end of a week. Who can scoff at that? But where to go? Who has the best deals? We got you covered. The following are a few of our favorites:


905 N. Fourth St., Phoenix

A casual environment just north of downtown. Great patio during the cooler months.

11 a.m.-6:30 p.m. weekdays; all day Monday; reverse happy hour 10 p.m.-close Thursday-Sunday.
$4 well drinks and all beer; $2 off select appetizers, glasses of wine and premium spirits. More


3603 E. Indian School Road, Phoenix

An upscale environment in Arcadia. Their happy hour lets you feel fancy without paying fancy prices!

5-7 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday

$3 beer, $5 wine and $7 cocktails; $5 small bites. More



5223 N. Central Ave., Phoenix

An upscale yet very casual pub in central Phoenix. Aggressive happy hour pricing all day until 5:00. Perfect for teachers who can get out of school by 3:30. Great patio and attached to the best ice cream shop in the area.

11 a.m.-5 p.m. weekdays; 9 a.m.-5 p.m. weekends.
$5 cocktails, wine, and pitchers of beer. More


Roaring Fork

4800 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale

Great food on the happy hour menu. 

4-10 p.m. Sunday-Monday; 4-7 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday.
$5 specialty cocktails; $5 wine by the glass; $10 or less soup, salad, and appetizers. More

There are so many more, and our friends at the Arizona Republic put them all in one giant list. You can see it here.

This post is part of TXTS4 Teachers. A weekly teaching (and sometimes vacationing) tips service. Sign up here to receive a tip each week via text messaging. Choose SMS/text messaging as the subscription type.

The Iconic Staycation!

Laurie King

There's something special about staying in a room you don't have to clean and hanging out by a pool where people bring you drinks. It's called a vacation. And in Phoenix in the summer, we call it a staycation! Take advantage of that final chill-out experience you deserve before heading back to school!

The Wigwam Resort

The historic west valley resort is within walking distance of local restaurants and bars, making this a great place to stay without having to pay resort restaurant prices. Summer resident rates starting from $99 Sunday – Thursday. Learn More

Mountain Shadows Resort

Newly renovated, this iconic Phoenix resort is a sleek, hip, retro marvel in Paradise Valley. $119 on select dates, May 28 through August 31. If you like to golf, it offers a fantastic 3-par, 18-hole course. Go early to avoid the heat. Learn More

Pointe Hilton at Squaw Peak Resort

If you have kids, this is the place to go. With suite deals starting at $129 a night, you get access to the water park and mini golf (call to see what the current resort fee is). Even better, get a group of friends together and book an entire casita. The rooftop patio on the casita makes a great place to hang out in the evening, and each group of casitas has their own pool and bbq area.  Learn More

For a more comprehensive list of summer deals, check out this article from The Arizona Republic.

This post is part of TXTS4 Teachers. A weekly teaching (and sometimes vacationing) tips service. Sign up here to receive a tip each week via text messaging. Choose SMS/text messaging as the subscription type.

36-Hour Beach Vacation

Laurie King

There are 17 days until most teachers report back to school. Don’t despair: there is still plenty of time to get in some epic summer adventures. For starters, you can do a 36-hour beach trip for under $300! Check out our plan: 

6 a.m. - Noon

Pack a cooler and drive to San Diego ($120 in gas, round trip)

Listen to these podcasts to pass the time:

Noon - 12:30 p.m.

Grab a couple of tacos at City Tacos ($8)]

12:30 p.m. - 2 p.m.

Visit the tide pools at Cabrillo National Monument. It’s also a great photo spot if you are looking for that “look at me rocking summer vacation” photo. ($15 entrance fee)

3 p.m. - 8 p.m.

Beach time! Drag out that cooler you packed and have a picnic on the beach. Stay for the sunset.

Find a hotel away from the beach and downtown for the best prices. Pick one with free breakfast. ($100)

9 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

Boat ride across the bay. Take the ferry from downtown San Diego to Coronado. ($10, round trip, plus a few bucks for parking downtown)

Walk around Coronado. Grab a slice of pizza on Coronado at Village Pizzeria Bayside ($15)

Noon - 6 p.m.

Drive back to Phoenix. Listen to those podcasts you didn’t finish.

This post is part of TXTS4 Teachers. A weekly teaching (and sometimes vacationing) tips service. Sign up here to receive a tip each week via text messaging. Choose SMS/text messaging as the subscription type.

Summer Reading

Ginger Topize

Welcome summer! TXTS 4 Teachers will be on vacay with you, so this one is about sending you off with your summer needs in mind.

I know you've been waiting all year to get started on your summer reading. You may already have your list all planned out. Something beachy? Something dystopian? Romantic? How about instructional strategies, engagement, or differentiation? I did some digging to help you plan your reads.



The Unshakable Summer Book Club (Angela Watson) meets via FB from July 17th-August 5th. This book club is over 9000 strong and provides free resources. This year's read--Enjoy teaching every matter what.


Get the Inspired Summer Teacher Reading List's Top 20 of 2018. With titles like, The Magnolia Story with Chip and JoJo, Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha, and Preparing Educators for Arts Integration, you are sure to find something that floats your boat.

 Also available from Google Play, Chromecast, Amazon and Apple TV.

Also available from Google Play, Chromecast, Amazon and Apple TV.

Are you a digital reader? Hoopla is for you. Get 24/7 access with your library card. You can check out audiobooks, movies, TV shows, music, and more. Get your kids hooked on reading with Hoopla for Kids as well.






Ginger Topize

"To simulate the experience of reading with dyslexia, try using this key to decipher the coded statement below."

a=/z/  b=/y/  c=/x/  d=/w/  e=/v/  f=/u/  g=/t/  h=/s/  i=/r/  j=/q/  k=/p/  l=/o/  m=/n/  n=/m/  o=/l/  p=/k/  q=/j/  r=/i/  s=/h/  t=/g/  u=/f/  v=/e/  w=/d/  x=/c/  y=/b/  z=/a/

ivzwrmt drgs wbhocrz rh vcszfhgrmt

-Accommodating Students with Dyslexia by Jessica Hamman

How did you do? Exhausted? Or did you skip it because it would take too long? How would a student with dyslexia feel within the perky pace of today's classrooms?

Increase your dyslexia know-how to better support your learners today!

Click here to read about these easy to implement accommodations:

  1. Audio-books
  2. Note-taking Apps
  3. Recorded assignments/instruction
  4. Reduction in amount
  5. Text-to-speech Apps/Extensions

Please comment below to share your expertise and research-based resources on this topic.

Targeted Feedback

Ginger Topize

Feedback is something you do day in and day out. Why not make it better to make your job easier? Watch the video, then meet me below.

Effective feedback = aligned to sub-objective + references a specific skill/knowledge + timely

Not so hot:

Good job, nice model, very good, you are right, try again.


I noticed here (point) that your product is less than your factor. Let's look at your strategy for multiplying.

The model you drew for the moon phases is accurate and labeled properly if the sun is where?

You identified the theme accurately, however, I am struggling to see that you have justified it with evidence. Can you go back into the text and tell me what made you decide that?

Once your feedback rocks and is individualized: 

Teach students to use resources (e.g. rubrics, exemplars, checklists) to assess themselves and provide their own feedback to advance learning.

The following resources will support you further in your feedback journey.

5 Research-Based Tips for Providing Students with Meaningful Feedback By Marianne Stenger

20 Ways To Provide Effective Feedback For Learning By TeachThought Staff

Teaching Strategies: The Essentials of Giving Feedback By Jordan Catapano


Know Who Represents You and Your School

Laurie King

Arizona educators have found themselves in a historic moment. At the time of this post, most schools in the state are shut down for the fourth day in a row. Educators and supporters have been gathering at the capitol to protest low pay and school funding.

If you are one of those educators, and you desire to have your voice heard, the following information can support your efforts in connecting to the right people.

We also included a summary of the Governor’s budget proposal provided by our friends at Expect More Arizona.

What Legislative District (LD) Do I Live In/Work In? is an interactive map of Arizona. It shows the representatives for each LD, and provides information to where they meet (LD meetings) and other contact information. (It works best on a desktop computer.)

How Have State Legislators Voted On Education Issues In The Past?

Friends of ASBA compiled a document titled How Arizona Legislators Voted in 2017 on High Priority K-12 Education Bills.  The information is separated into two pages. The first includes data about the legislative district itself with the names and party affiliation of each elected representative, the partisan split of registered voters, and data regarding voter turnout in the 2016 general election. It also includes race/ethnicity of the total population, and the population under age 18 within the district. Also, note the number of school districts within each legislative district and the student enrollment of each.

The second page displays the voting record of each legislator in that district on key K-12 education bills. These are grouped into three focus areas: funding, vouchers and local control.