A Modern Teacher Planner! {Giveaway}

Congrats to all who successfully completed another school year!  I envy your ability to rest and relax for the next several months.  I'm still plugging away at the year with 5 full AND 2 half days remaining with the kids.

As I submit all my documentation and work through end of the year paperwork, I think ahead to the changes in my life, personally and professionally.  Summer is a time to reconnect with mind, body, and spirit.  I also use the extended break for professional development and organize my ideas for the following year. 
How do you organize and prioritize? 

My life is a big list!  I cannot function without a calendar. I'm L.O.S.T without it!  I sure hope I'm not the only one that keeps more than one...

In my current county, I'm responsible for keeping my own plans in the format that best meets my needs. To record my plans and meetings, I keep a planner for school only!  This book comes home on weekends but otherwise remains in class to keep me on track! 

Life at home is literally on rotation.  My husband is an officer and has three schedules that rotate.  Keeping up with Tuesday - Friday or Saturday - Thursday AND Thursday - Tuesday shift rotations can keep life at a consistent bobble.  To ensure we get our two weekends off together, I plan out our personal schedules, off duty jobs, meal plans, bills, and primary graffiti in a personal planner that remains on the end table at our house. 

SO, Who is A Modern Teacher?

A Modern Teacher

The brains behind A Modern Teacher is April, a Texas native.  April taught 11 years with the majority of her years in 2nd and 3rd grades.  She works to empower the modern teacher with resources and simple solutions for both the classroom and home. 

I'm featuring April for her "OVER-THE-TOP" Modern Personal Planners!  There are several different color options to drool over...

Rainbow Chalkboard 
http://amodernteacher.bigcartel.com/product/rainbow-chalkboard-teacher-life-map-personal-planner-for-teachers http://amodernteacher.bigcartel.com/product/rainbow-chalkboard-teacher-life-map-personal-planner-for-teachers
http://amodernteacher.bigcartel.com/product/polka-dot-teacher-life-map-personal-planner-for-teachers http://amodernteacher.bigcartel.com/product/polka-dot-teacher-life-map-personal-planner-for-teachers
 Black and White Polka Dots

Each planner includes:
• 12 Monthly Calendars August 2015-July 2016
• Weekly Calendars August 2015-July 2016
• Colorful Laminated Tabbed Dividers

The above featured planners are currently sold out.  They will be available for sale on July 17th.  Each planner measure about 1 inch in thickness.  They're printed on heavy white paper that measures 8x9.  The high gloss sturdy front and back covers are bound by copper colored coil binding making it very durable! 

If you are interested in purchasing, I encourage you to sign up for April's Newsletter.  She plans to give updates on in stock planners scheduled for July.  You can sign up for the newsletter by linking here

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Teacher Anchor and Appreciation Freebies

Time is fleeting, precious and irreversible!  Get organized in 2015-2016 with The Teacher Anchor created by Chandra from C. Jayne TeachHer yearly classroom planner is dedicated to making each day count!

There is something magical about a blank calendar or plan book.  The possibilities are endless.  I'd anticipated this perfectly polka dotted, organization tool since researching The Teacher Anchor several months ago.
Upon opening the package, I scampered over to the computer.  With fluttering excitement, rare and short lived during this time of the year, I was suddenly embraced with hope for next year. 

I was eager to make it official!  Within pen to paper, I created perfectly poised doodles and practice my best font formations as I filled in ownership basics like teacher and school information.
I felt the urgency to fill the planner full as I flipped through each page oo'ing and aw'ing. 
The first few pages included parent contact information, volunteer schedule, communication log, birthday planner, account logs, favorite websites, and yearly at a glance calendar.  The placement is key!  Most planners put this in the back.  The Teacher Planner has the information upfront and readily available!
This planner has sections divided by red inserts.  Each insert has a title and helpful tips for the section. 

The first section includes a monthly planner.  My wheels were spinning upon first glance!  Chandra included a  yearly planner that is Simply Brilliant!  The yearly planner is designed to record the progression of common core and state standards.  Planning can be daunting so crossing off this task will break up the planning. I'm confident, the specifics will fall into place!
Have I inspired you to reach for the stars?  If not, stay with me!  There is so much more to learn about The Teacher Anchor

Remember my eagerness to plan?  The monthly planner has been updated with all the important district dates for next school year. Check one for planning prep!

Along with district dates, I will use the calendar planner to order and organize my monthly themes.  There are several pages of notes preceding the calendar each month.  This will be a perfect spot to map out needs and wants when implementing each theme! 
Remember the red inserts?  Section two has a weekly planner.  Pretty standard section for a plan book; However, I've never had a plan book that included the weekly standards and big ideas across the top of the page.  Well done!  Another placement that I find key for planning was a notes off to the side of days.  Normally this might fall at the bottom where I, all too often, overlook.
Section three includes a grade book so let's fast forward to sections I really find useful!
Section four includes the sprinkles on top!  Seriously!  This section includes master copies for progress monitoring and data collection.  The templates a crisp and clean!  You'll receive pre-post test class checklist by standard or skill, common core or state standard class checklist with a place to date attempts and mastery, small group schedule for planning interventions, multiple pages to successfully implement guided reading with documentation, a slamming small group conferencing form, an individual conference form, a sight word tracker for each season, running records, substitute notes and a parent-teacher meeting notes.  Score one for organization, right?!?
I prefer printing over copying so I have to let you know you'll need to take your planner to the copier for multiple uses!
The fifth and final section is the CHERRY on top!  Having the common core standards checklist, with places to record for mastery, made me a happy teacher. 
Something unique to The Teacher Anchor is a professional development log.  A place to record date, type of PD, and hours logged.  Say What?!?  Keeping track has never been so easy!  Following, you have pages of professional development notes, regular notes, and grid paper to finalize the planner.

Each year The Teacher Anchor gets better and better. Here's what's new with the updated 2015-2016 plan book:

- New design on the front cover featuring pretty silver polka dots.
-Sturdier cover made of synthetic plastic which is virtually indestructable.
- Quicker shipping options (no pre-orders, planners will ship within 3-5 business days).
-Binder shell (not pictured) now comes in 12 different color choices.
-Student Data Sheet Pages inserted inside the planner.
-New dividers to help separate each section.
-No 3 hole punch.
Please see more specifics with Chandra's video! 
I hope you are having a perfect appreciation week!

 I prepare a little gift for my team and wanted to share since it was a hit!  I hope you find the tags useful as you appreciate educators this week!  Grab a copy of my tags here!

Click for link to clipart!


In addition to her Teacher Anchor, I am in love with Chandra's other products. They are so beautiful!
To check out more of C. Jayne Teacher Click Below.


Understanding Paleontology {Themed Unit}

This past week was filled full of thematic learning!  Integrated instruction includes a combination of subjects, has an emphasis on projects, goes beyond a textbook, includes flexible schedules and flexible groupings.  Watching students form relationships among ideas and concepts they experience during themed-based inquiry is rewarding.
I do have a curriculum that I use but thankfully the prescribed lessons last only a few days.  This allows for me to plan meaningful instruction that is FASCINATING to a seven year old!

Say Paleontologist!

This past week, I incorporated DINOSAURS into my instruction!!!!  My students embraced me today at recess.  I was told that I'm the coolest teacher they've EVER had! This is a true honor coming from a very short but hopefully long lived educational path!  In all seriousness, score one for the "at the moment" cool teacher.


My young paleontologists needed a work environment!  The excavation site is key for buy in!  Only a few items made this experience magical.  Supplies I used were orange construction tape, a paleontologist sign, a party tent, dinosaurs, a hat and vest!  Party tents are a dime a dozen.  Ask your faculty or staff, I'm certain several on staff have one! 

 So here's a glimpse at my week...
I began with vocabulary each day.  Two words were selected and I tailored my content to support the vocabulary.   

This unit offers several formats for responding to vocabulary. 
Below you can preview most words included in the pack.

I shared a few videos, on day one, about paleontology and paleontologist, Barnum Brown.  The song I'm a Paleontologist was highly requested throughout of the week. 
*Warning* You'll be asked to replay the song!!!
When I introduced my developing reader, I projected the color version.  This was the instructional read. I assisted students blending or segmenting new words.  We used my vocabulary cards to infer or read the meaning of the underlined vocabulary from the text. 

In the days to follow, we continued to work on blending and segmenting, discussing new vocabulary and working on fluency using the student reader! We usually spent about 15 minutes on the developing reader.

The additional reading time was devoted to various dinosaur, fossil and paleontology books, allowing exposure to the topic with a variety of texts.

I prepared follow up activities for each day of the week.  The first day on site, students were enthusiastic and absorbing all the content.  I channeled their excitement for sharing with an open forum, charting their discussions.  Using graphic organizers, students shared all their new learning.

The daily reading content was driven by the featured vocabulary words.  Tuesday I introduced dinosaur and extinct.  After reading Meat Eaters and Plant Eaters, students worked in teams to discuss adjectives for describing dinosaurs.

Please see Mrs. Johnson's site.  She has a creative post and a freebie similar with additional activities to complete.  Link Here
Extinct! What could I use to help my kids understand extinct? Of course, Mo Willems!  Edwina, The Dinosaur Who Didn't Know She Was Extinct is an adorable tale sure to captivate your students! 
Wednesday, we worked with sedimentary and earthquake.  Having the horrific events recently in Nepal, many kids had a bit more background knowledge on earthquakes so we focused on sedimentary.  My sister was able to visit my classroom, volunteering her time.  She called two students over to the excavation site to make a sedimentary treat.  Others remained on the floor working by clipboards.  In an open forum, students discussed the visual of sedimentary layers.  I created a chart, recording the discussions.

So what is the treat?  See picture tutorial below...

Thursday was our highly anticipated, ready to explode with excitement, excavating day!  Paleontologist geared up and took pictures with the "massive" dinosaurs hanging from the ceiling.
The lighting destroyed the pictured effect but the impact was felt.  The kids really loved having the prop on hand!
  Paleontologist Craft from Deanna Jump's Dinosaur Unit!
Link Here for Craft!

I recommend having the kids assist in coloring the backdrop.  They show more ownership of the dig site.  The images below are from last year...

I choose to go big! In reality, the kids take on much of the work!
Determine the number of centers that works best for you.  I prefer partners.  Along with the featured centers below, I include dinosaur books to read and plastic dinosaurs to explore.  I also included vocabulary.  Students record each of the tools in their vocabulary books. Students excavated dinosaur fossils using various tools in the sand.  Each of the following centers provides little or no assistance which allows you time to focus on excavating the eggs and cookies.

The above excavation kit is available from Lakeshore Learning.
Click image below to link.

Lakeshore Learning has another great exploration kit and book about dinosaurs.  My kids were amazed with the artifact and fun facts!

 Unguals and Toenails! Ewww!
 Tyrant Tooth and Toothless Children!

Fingers and Fierce Claws!
The focus words for Paleontologist Day (Thursday) was excavation and fossil.  We began with the same routine from the previous days.  I introduced vocabulary words, read the developing reader for fluency, and introduced a few non fiction stories on topic.  For the remainder of the day, students rotated through excavation centers.

 Students used the dental flossers shown below for a pickaxe.


The following center incorporates writing from many different genres.  I had some students listing facts, others wrote describing sentences, one wrote a procedural paper, while many wrote narratives.  I love that the center always for practice writing in many genres!  The independence came from our combined science/writing lessons...

With district math tests next week, I kept my lessons consistent with the curriculum and provided center practice.  Normally, I would bring in theme to the math instruction!

I merged science and writing during PALEONOTOLOGIST week.  Check your library for a guided drawing book on dinosaurs!  This will set the stage for the independent center.  Follow a quick drawing session, I shared facts from my unit about one of the five featured dinosaurs: Brontosaurs, Pterodactyl,  Stegosaurs, Tyrannosaurs Rex and Triceratops.  Once all facts were shared, I took time to complete a shared writing.  Each day was a different genre for review.  Kid were asked to apply writing from the lesson and practice with their own papers.
Since the informational facts has a few new vocabulary words, I create a short list of five words to review prior to introducing the facts.
I sure hope you love all the featured content!
This item is listed on sale in my TpT store. 
Click the preview image below to link!