In 2004, rookie teacher Kristen Bowers faced mounting pressures to teach an overwhelming list of novels, plays, and poetry, an intimidating catalog of writing requirements, and a mounting number of necessary grammar and vocabulary skills to her 9th and 11th grade English students. The demands were clear; how to go about teaching it all was not. Like many teachers, Mrs. Bowers struggled to find appropriate materials to support her lessons and spent countless hours scraping together, modifying, and refining inadequate, inappropriate “professionally-made” materials to motivate and inspire her students, and at the same time, teach the required proficiencies to address the California English Language Arts Standards on which her students were assessed at the time. Frustrated, she finally decided that if the right materials were going to be available to her and other teachers, she was going to have to make them herself! In 2005, Mrs. Bowers set to work to create one of the most comprehensive and innovative standards-aligned Literature Guide sets on the market. Joined by a middle school teacher with 21 years of experience, Secondary Solutions began, and eventually matured into a specialized team of intermediate and secondary teachers who developed a set of materials unsurpassed by all others. By 2010, demand for the same high-quality materials for the elementary classroom inspired the development of sister company, Elementary Solutions. By 2015, both Secondary Solutions and Elementary Solutions had grown as separate entities, both successful in their own right. Originating out of the need for a streamlined operation and a unified solution for all English Language Arts teachers, new parent company Simply Novel was conceived, broadening the vision Mrs. Bowers had sought to produce ten years earlier. Simply Novel—Novel Solutions for the Successful Teacher—strives to offer teaching materials that are practical, innovative, and of the highest quality. Our materials focus on time-tested, research-based best practices for teaching, while offering extensive and rigorous coverage of the Common Core State Standards to which they are fully aligned, and providing you with a comprehensive set of tools to teach an understanding and appreciation of all aspects of English Language Arts. Our products will allow you to focus on the most important aspects of teaching—the personal, one-on-one, hands-on instruction you enjoy most—the reason you became a teacher in the first place!
I am no longer in the classroom, although I work with teachers to develop engaging, practical, and relevant materials to help the newest or the most veteran teacher make the most of his or her time in the classroom.
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West Covina High School Class of 1992; Citrus College Class of 1998; Cal State University, Fullerton BA in Acting, with an English Credential in 2002; Masters in Education with an emphasis on Special Education, General Education in Spring 2007.
Twelve years ago, I found myself frustrated and exhausted. I was a relatively new teacher and a seasoned perfectionist who could not find the quality of materials I wanted to use in my teaching. One day, I decided to make a small packet of activities for use in teaching The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn to my Juniors. I spent a week gathering and writing, and it paid off! My students LOVED the activities and I loved having my days planned in advance. It dawned on me that I wasn't the only one spending far too much time writing and creating lesson plans, activities, worksheets, quizzes, and tests. I knew there were other teachers, new and veteran alike that were tired of feeling the pressure to teach the content standards and prepare their students for high-stakes testing. I decided that I would really work to create a great packet of activities, worksheets, and more, so that other teachers could have those materials ready in advance. I value literature tremendously, and knew that there was a particular challenge in teaching the required literature and the content standards. I was not willing to part with the great literature and cut it out of my curriculum--that was just not an option for me. I knew I had to somehow combine the literature together with the content standards and test preparation, and after many challenges and sleepless nights, Secondary Solutions was born. Since then, my mother and I (who is now a retired Middle School teacher with over 30 years experience, and a Teacher of the Year award under her belt) have written over 22 Literature Guides and Writing Guides for the Secondary classroom, and are working feverishly night and day (literally!) to complete more. It is an enormous challenge to run a small business and teach at the same time. I find both careers rewarding and challenging. My students love to see what I have been working on, and every time I use something new in the classroom, they ask "Did you write this, too?" To me, this is the most rewarding of all--not only do I have a classroom full of eager and interested students, but they are able to look up at me as a role model and inspiration. They know I hold them to a higher standard, and that they are my guinea pigs for everything--and they love it! They have learned not only the literature and content standards, but they have also learned how to critique a piece of work, give feedback and suggestions, and how to edit, often catching a typo or mistake! I couldn't ask for anything better.
English Language Arts, Creative Writing, Writing-Expository, Reading, Grammar, Vocabulary, Specialty, Other (Specialty), ELA Test Prep, For All Subject Areas, Literature, Writing, Reading Strategies, Writing-Essays, Holidays/Seasonal, Poetry, Martin Luther King Day, Products For TpT Sellers, Tools for Common Core, Informational Text, Test Preparation, Close Reading