adding ginger to your sass

GingerSass - adding ginger to your sass


Last year, Jenny (The Bloggess) started this beautiful thing called Booksgiving. It started with her wanting to give away 30 copies of her book, Furiously Happy. All her loyal followers wanted to give away books too, so everyone started sharing Amazon wishlists.

I shared my class library wishlist, not expecting much.

Various strangers sent me 18 books for my library.


Booksgiving 2016 may have overwhelmed my USPS delivery guy. Sorry.

I was overwhelmed.

This year, I shared my wishlist again. This time, however, it took on a more political tone. I wanted to create a list that will help my students find their worth in our society.

As an English teacher in a district where we don’t always have the money for luxuries like books for a classroom library, I cannot tell you how excited my students were last year to receive new books that they had actual interest in. Booksgiving made a huge difference in my classroom, and it definitely helped my students in ways I didn’t know it could. They’d actually stay after school to look through my library and borrow books. I recently instated a rule where my students must either free-write stories to submit to the literary magazine I run for extra credit or read a book from my class library. The library has gotten a lot of action lately! I always tell my students to tell me what they’re into, or what sort of book they feel like reading. 9 times out of 10 I’m able to match my students with books that they actually enjoy, mostly due to the donations people have been kind enough to make.

Recently, students have been requesting me to find books that help them feel better about themselves, especially since the election. Politics aside, my students are lacking self-worth this year. It’s like they’ve been constantly told they’re not of value, which couldn’t be further from the truth. I’ve been working on an Amazon Wishlist to expand my library with books that can help them find themselves, and see themselves as I see them– as really important, valuable members of not only our classroom, but of society as well.

I shared this on Jenny’s post on the second annual Booksgiving, and didn’t think much of it, hoping to maybe get another book or two to add to my library. My list was ridiculously long, with 65 books, because I’ve been making a huge list to upload to a DonorsChoose project I haven’t gotten around to posting yet.

I just looked at my Wishlist, and it only has 32 books left on it.

That means strangers have purchased 33 books for my class library.


I was overwhelmed last year by 18. I can barely process 33. I’m glad we have a snow day today because I need to process this kindness of strangers.

So, if you’re one of those strangers, THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU. I keep switching between crying and smiling. My dog thinks I’m crazy. Maybe I am, but jeez. It’s because I keep thinking of how much of a difference these books are going to make.

Thank you for making this teacher cry/smile, and thank you for giving my students a chance. I am eternally grateful.


All my gratitude,


PS To those of you who stumbled upon my site as a result of Booksgiving, if you want to keep in touch/ be internet friends, know that I’ve had writer’s block for about a year. I’m trying to write more on my blog, truly, I am. However, it’s more likely you’ll find me on instagram or Twitter. (I tweet sparingly these days, but that’s something I want to improve on too.)

This is why we can’t have nice things.

Today I was trapped in a room with teenagers. It was terrifying.

I was in one of my classrooms after school, prepping for my Slam Poetry Club meeting. I had unlocked the door, and students were trickling in. One of the students, who is notorious for not trying doorknobs, knocked on the door, and said the door was locked. I told them it was open. They said it wasn’t, so I tried to open it from the inside, and I couldn’t.

It just wouldn’t budge.

I had the student push down on the handle from the outside as I pushed down on the handle from the inside, and nothing happened. I then called the Main Office to page for assistance.

“Hi, this is Ms. B in (Room #). The classroom door jammed, and I’ve tried opening it, but it won’t budge. I’m stuck inside a classroom with my students.”

(pause) “…What?”

“I’m trapped in an overheated classroom with a bunch of hungry teenagers, and, honestly, this isn’t a good situation for any of us.”

The secretary in the Main Office then proceeded to laugh for about 2 minutes before she realized I was serious.

While the Office was calling for help, I attempted to open the door by putting my key in the inside lock. I had barely moved my key a hair and the inside half of the cylinder (?) fell out, sticking on my key.

Yes. It fell out. On my key.

At this point I’m pretty sure I was in the midst of becoming a Vine star. My students were taping Vines, and, in between capturing the moment, starting to freak out.

Today I learned that this part of a lock is called the cylinder... or at least half or it.

Today I learned that this part of a lock is called the cylinder… or at least half or it.

One of my students in the hallway saw a janitor and got him to try to help. The door was completely stuck, with the outside half of the cylinder still in the door. Luckily the janitor managed to get the door open, at which point we propped open the door with a desk.

Fast forward a bit, and this was the final solution:

No lock or handle is better than a broken lock or handle I guess....

No lock or handle is better than a broken lock or handle I guess….

I really hope there’s not a lockdown drill tomorrow.

First week of school: 1st vs 2nd year edition!

School has been in session for students since last Thursday, and I’ve found myself in a state of shock in regards to how different the start of school is as a first year teacher. So, I decided to make a list of the 10 most obvious differences.

1. Wardrobe
Year 1: Let me max out my credit card on a new wardrobe of teacher clothes before I get my first paycheck!

photo- August 28, 2013. I could've had a personal shopper when I racked up my Macy's charge!

photo- August 28, 2013. I could’ve had a personal shopper when I racked up my Macy’s charge!

Year 2: Oooh! Outlet stores for stores I have credit cards to! I’ll buy a few skirts to compensate my change in sizes since last year! I’ll use the last of my summer babysitting money to pay off my bill and eat ramen.

courtesy of “Bridesmaids”

2. Shoes
Year 1: Even though I’m 5’10”, I’m going to buy “sensible heels” and wear them!!

"Sensible shoes" that killed my feet in a manner of minutes.

“Sensible shoes” that killed my feet in a manner of minutes.

Year 2: These are ugly, but comfortable. I’ll buy 3 pairs of loafers on clearance so that I don’t kill my feet.

"Abandoned Loafer"-  Rev Stan,

“Abandoned Loafer”- Rev Stan,

3. Pre-School Year In-Services
Year 1: OMG. I’m going to take notes on EVERYTHING!!! I’m terrified.

Year 2: Eh, they’ll change the state expectations and we’ll have it explained to us at an after-school meeting in a few weeks.

4. Classroom
Year 1: I’m going to have the cutest classroom ever! Everything will have a theme and be adorable! TO PINTEREST!
Year 2: Cool! I went down from 4 different classrooms and 5 different classes to 3 different classrooms with 3 different classes. I’ll decorate my corner of the room until I decide to go home and sleep.

My Poetry Classroom, complete with a Poet Tree.

My Poetry Classroom, complete with a Poet Tree.

5. School Supplies

Year 2: What won’t the school buy for me? Oh, I’ll buy ALMOST everything. Except dry-erase markers. I have a stock supply from last year.

"dry erase markers" -upsidedownsphere

“dry erase markers” -upsidedownsphere

6. Summer Reading
Year 1: I’m going to order EVERY SINGLE SUMMER READING BOOK on Amazon and try really hard to read them all, and then feel like a failure when I only read 6/12 suggested books before school starts.

Year 2: The students are Sparknoting books for the district wide common assessment. I’ll read the YA Lit books I suggested to my former students and maybe even enjoy them.

7. Other Teachers

an actual text convo from the night before I went to my first teacher meeting

an actual text convo from the night before I went to my first teacher meeting

Year 2: Meh. Let them judge. It’s what the faculty room is for. I’m gonna drink my coffee and move on with my life.

8. Lesson Plannning
Year 1: HOLY TOLEDO. I have to plan the education for 5 different classes on 5 different subjects at 5 different levels with only a list of suggested texts?!?!

Year 2: I HAVE A STOCKPILE OF LESSONS FROM LAST YEAR!!!! I’ll probably change all of them, but at least I have ideas!!

9. Students
Year 1: They’re going to eat me alive. Must play it cool. No sudden movements. Don’t let on that I’m a first year. BREATHE.

photo courtesy of

Year 2: Ha. I’ve seen a lot of their tricks before. I’ve got this. I miss my kids from last year though…

10. Overall…

Year 2: I have no clue what I’m doing some days, what’s expected of me, or what the state wants me to do, but I do know that I’m here to make a difference. 6pm is my curfew to leave before I finally head home to grade student work, and I’m allowing myself to sleep in until 4:45 this year so that I get to work around 6:30-6:45 each morning. I’ve got this. Maybe.
Screen Shot 2014-09-13 at 1.16.29 PM