I love taking a moment to reflect on the past year before planning out the new one. Two years ago I pulled back the curtain a bit to show you how I plan out my monthly action tasks for Building Book Love. This method continues to work for me, so it pretty much looks the same except for a few small tweaks. For starters, I set out to do 10+ actions each month instead of 7. However, I did a “roll over” method, meaning some months I did 11-12 actions when I had more time and did 8-9 during months with vacations.
Last year I wrote that 10 actions were a bit much and that I planned to scale back in 2023. However, my 2023 monthly checklist determined that was a lie. LOL! I actually averaged 11 actions per month this year. But looking back on my work this year didn’t feel as overwhelming as the previous year, so I call that a win!
You can find directions or download a free copy of my simple checklist template in this post.
I’m really proud of what the Building Book Love team was able to put out into the ELA world in 2023! In case you are curious, let me introduce you to my VIPs:
- Aaron (my husband) is our bookkeeper and executive assistant. He does SO MUCH behind-the-scenes work for this blog and my resource shop. From daily proofreading to endless paperwork, he frees up my time and mental energy so that I can do what I do best– write and create!
- I also work with several English teacher virtual assistants who help me with everything from making answer keys to writing unit previews. I absolutely love working with other ELA educators, and I think they enjoy using and getting compensated for their valuable skill sets!
- My new tread desk, ha! I freaking love this thing, and I’m convinced it’s why this year hasn’t felt as work heavy as the past, despite adding more action verbs than ever before! I walk two non-consecutive hours a day as I’m working and typing. I’m actually on it right now! My back (and butt) pain has completely disappeared, and it helps me to focus and stay on task.
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Ok, now let’s get into the annual year-end review and see what resonated with you the most in 2023!
2023 ELA Blog Posts (Action Verb: Write)
With the boom of AI search in 2023, I had a blogging life crisis this year that produced a lot of fear surrounding my blog and its long-term relevance. If I’m being honest, I still do, but I decided that I’m going to keep writing for as long as you’ll read it. So, it’s not an understatement when I say THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart for being here and for reading my blog another year. My blog views continued to grow in 2023, and I hope there are many more years to come! Here is what you found most helpful in 2023:
Top 3 Most Popular New Posts of the Year:
Sometimes when I get really excited about an idea, it doesn’t take off like I thought it would. Luckily, that wasn’t the case for this ELA A-Z blog post! It took FOREVER to write, but totally worth the effort since so many of you found it helpful!
I’m thrilled that you all are finding this post helpful! I put a lot of work into The Crucible this year, and it’s validating to know that it’s been worth it.
Ahh. This is my most reflective post of the year for sure, and I’m glad that it helped many of you work through your own feelings and start conversations with your teams. Though I don’t have the stats on this, I also think this was my most shared blog post simply because so many of you wrote to tell me that you shared it with others as the conversation of AI exploded this year. As I write in the post, it will be interesting to look back on this 5 years (or heck even 5 months) from now and see how the world (and our feelings) has changed since it was first published in February of 2023.
Remaining 2023 Post Ranked by Views
I always have the best time redoing a local classroom each year, and I’m glad you love the content as well! I’m working on something super exciting for 2024 in the classroom design area– stay tuned!
As you’ll see in the next section, I updated several of my big unit plans this year and wrote blog posts to accompany them! I know my visual learners appreciate it!
Listen, if it’s a holiday, I love it. It allows teachers to break away from the norm a bit and surprise students with something different! This post was fun to write and must have the luck of the Irish (Google) because it ranks pretty high. 🙂
Poe is always a hit and this post didn’t disappoint!
Though this didn’t rank in the top half, it’s one of my top three of the year! I get a little personal and then give practical advice about test prep. It’s not a “fun” topic like most of my other content, but it’s necessary and helpful.
I updated my Macbeth Unit in October and published this in November. I’m happy with the rank so far since it’s only been out for a short while!
I’ve been adding to my poetry topic posts, so even though this one didn’t make it to the top, it’s helpful to reference it within other popular posts.
I wrote this one too late to share it properly, but this blog post and I have big plans for next school year!
Of course one of my favorite posts will be next to last, ha! In its defense, I didn’t get a chance to share it like I wanted to, but I deeply believe in the content and will be sharing it far and wide in the new year!
I just published this post so it hasn’t had time to gain traction yet, but I have a feeling it will take off soon!
In addition to writing these blog posts, I also coordinated several guest bloggers this year and added a new segment titled “Literary Wanderlust.” You can scroll through my blog entries to read more!
ELA Resource Updates (Action Verb: Update)
This will likely be your favorite section of this recap because I was able to do some major updates again in 2023, and as always, if you already own this resource from years ago, you get the updates for FREE!
- January: Animal Farm Unit Plan
- February: Valentine’s Day Activity
- March: Creative Poetry Pack, Spring Egg
- April: Lord of the Flies Unit
- May: Punny End of Year Awards
- June: Native, African, and Early American Literature Unit
- July: ELA First Day Pack, Introduction Stations for Any Text
- August: The Crucible Unit Plan
- September: The Raven Activities
- October: Macbeth Unit Plan
- November: Character Sweater, Winter Poetry Pack, Literary Christmas Cards
- December: (worked ahead in November)
New ELA Resources (Action Verb: Create)
Since I spend A LOT of my time updating old resources to improve their quality, it’s always a treat when I get to create something new. There’s nothing like making a new resource that lights my creative fire a bit. Here are some new ELA resources I added to my shop in 2023:
- Spring Literary Device Posters
- Blue Book Literary Device Posters
- High School Test Prep Bellringers
- Middle School Test Prep Bellringers
- Positive Postcards and Communication Log
- Book Bracelet Creative Book Report
- Book Preview Pages
- Holiday ELA Activities Bundle
- New Year ELA Activities
As I look back on this year, I’m filled with gratitude for having the opportunity to write and create for ELA teachers. This upcoming year will be year 10 for me, and even after all this time, it’s still my dream job. I can’t thank you enough for reading and sharing my blog. I truly appreciate your support and look forward to continuing to help English teachers work less and engage more in 2024!