Have some demanding students? {Demanding Dudley}

I LOVE when picture books have a lesson.  Ok, am I kidding?  I love ALL picture books.  Well, most of them.  And for some reason, ahem, all the books I read I turn into a lesson.  I know, I know, Teacher April thinks like a teacher all.the.time.  Can’t help it.

So, when my daughter was being a little demanding, this book couldn’t have come at a better time: Demanding Dudley.  What?!  My daughter being demanding. Yes, and my son too.  This story was perfect.  It is about a little critter who is demanding and his mother’s persistence of guiding him to speak nicely.  The book gives examples of what it sounds like to hear a demanding critter, the use of magic words, and why it is important to appreciate other people by speaking to them with respect.  It was a SUPER CUTE story!  I highly recommend it.

Demanding Dudley www.amodernteacher.com

I now find the kids asking each other, “Are you being demanding?”  Trying to stay on top of these things is challenging and every little thing helps…especially books.  They can visualize the good behavior with Dudley.  Score!

In the classroom, it would be fun to create an anchor chart for words that show respect rather than demands.  You could also brainstorm a list of characters from other books (text-to-text) whom have been demanding at times.

I’m thinking about adding a few reminders of Dudley in our house. I think we’ll make some fuzzy characters that look like him. SO FUN!  If time allowed, I would do this in the classroom too!

Demanding Dudley www.amodernteacher.com

A big thank you to the author, Deneen Renae, for sending this to me.  I was not compensated for this post but was asked to give my honest opinion.  I LOVE it.

Please check out more books by Ms. Renae.  It looks like it is just the beginning of a fun series.  I am looking forward to THIS ONE coming out!

What do you do if kids are being a bit demanding?  Any other ideas?  I would love to hear them below in the comments.

Have a great week! ~April





Math Management Super Quick Tip {for those dreaded copy limits}

Around here, most schools have a copy code or copy limit.  Do you have one at your school?  I became a somewhat of a crazy-copy person….always trying hard to minimize the number of copies I made.  Well, actually, our whole team had to become that way.  Whether we liked it or not.  I likened myself to a character from Seinfeld, (hang with me a sec)….do you remember the ‘soup nazi’?  I was that for copies.  Ah!  “How many copies do you need?”  Know what you want…how many you want…get in–get out.  And if it took a long time…well, “no copies for you!”   I was never mean… or was I.?  Just kidding!  It was more like a joke.  HA!!!

So, to minimize copies we had to make for math (where I have taught we always did problem solving every.single.day), we would type multiple word problems one one page (same problem–just copied and pasted several times), cut them up, paste them at the top of each student’s journal/notebook page and then they could show their thinking at the bottom.  Easy peasy but saved us from making a ton of copies.

Quick Tip for Math www.amodernteacher.com


Math Management www.amodernteacher.com


Math Management www.amodernteacher.com

Do YOU have a copy limit? Any other quick tips for those having to watch their copies?  I’d love to hear below.  As always, please join me on INSTAGRAM.  It is my new favorite social media place because crazy ads haven’t taken over it like Facebook.  Have a great week! ~April

Heather Langley - I do the same thing! I put them 12 to a page and cut them out in little squares and they fit perfectly at the top of a composition book. I can even just print them from my printer so I don’t have to go to the copy room :) I don’t have a copy limit but I do dislike making copies!


Tieks Review

On your feet all day?  Why of course you are.  You are a teacher.  One of the many reasons why I loved small group teaching is because I got to sit down.  Ha!  Yes, right? I mean, there are a number of other reasons but boy, walking around, up/down, redirecting one student on one side of the room and then redirecting on another side can be exhausting.  And as a mom with 3 kids 5 and under, there is never a moment to sit. Truly.  If you want to keep up with your kids, it means you have to be on your feet.  No small group time there. Eek!  Comfy shoes are a must for me.  Today I’m sharing with you a new find that might change how your feet feel at the end of the day.

(I don’t always put my feet on a student’s desk but when I do it’s a pair of Tieks…. (bahaha) ))

Tieks Review

A lovely pair of TIEKS.  These shoes are a ballet flat with extra cushioning on the soles and heels of your feet.

Here is why I like them:
***extremely light. I have one bad knee…nothing too serious but if I wear heavy shoes, my knee is sore at the end of the day.

***extremely fashionable.  All the colors are yummy.  Plain and simple.  I’m not a girly girl so fancy shoes are not my cup of tea (unless I am attending a party–I do LOVE to dress up)….but heck no to the everyday.  I love all the colors.  I did choose the leopard print and I LOVE that decision.  I would love to get one more solid color though. (Actually, I would love to get more but price does play into this.)

***cushioned underneath the shoe for your soles and heels (super comfy)

***easy to take with you and change up if you are going from super casual to a little more dressy

***it’s like receiving a gift in the mail; packaging is beautiful!  They even write a personal thank you note.  Love it!  Makes you feel like a queen!

Tieks Review


Here is why I wasn’t happy on the first day of wearing them:

***It took 2 full days for me to break them in.  My left foot was fine–no problems.  But my right foot!  Ah!  My big toe was sticking out and pretty uncomfortable.  I was determined though so I kept wearing them.  2 days in…viola!!

They are now super comfy and I want to wear them all the time.


Couple of things to consider:

***Price point.  These shoes do run on high.  I love a great investment though!

***If you have high arches or need some arch support, these are not for you in my opinion.  There is no support for your arches. Although you could buy an insert (however, I have no experience with that).

I would love to buy a pair and maybe one day I will.  I wear my “Wild T” shoes almost every day.  Truly.  I love the sassy to them and I love how comfortable they are.

Take a look and find your pair.  I am spying these and these.  Yummy! (Didn’t know shoes could be yummy did you?)

And here I am running errands this past weekend for my son’s first birthday!

Tieks Review A Modern Teacher

I was not compensated by Tieks.  All opinions are my own.

Nicole from Teaching With Style - I love my yellow Tieks! So comfy and cute!

amodernteacher@gmail.com - Yellow!! Love that color!!!


October Classroom Management Tools

“You are so brave!”  This is one of the many sayings on the encouragement cards, included in my new “Monthly Themed Classroom Management Tools”.  It’s October and you might be feeling like the honeymoon is over.  Do you feel that way?  Maybe most of your kids are doing great but you need just a little something.  Something for managing your students to get all of you over the October hump.

I created a little pack that might just help.  This pack is all about positive rewards.  And the good news is that it will be part of a “growing bundle“.  I will be posting a new pack every month with resources based on themes for that month. The entire year-long pack will be for August-May.

Year Long Classroom Management Tools

Positive Behavior Tools like:

Weekly Quotes for Motivation

Behavior Charts

Happy Notes

Encouragement/Praise Cards

Student of the Week Award

and a Daily Contract for individualized positive behavior

Also includes the Teacher Tools:



Thank You Notes

To-Do Lists

Monthly Calendar

Weekly to-dos

AND a Whole Group Class Activity: “Build an Owl” (which can be used in a variety of ways)

There are a couple of options:

either go by the month and get the October Pack HERE

or the Entire Year HERE.

And of course, don’t forget the Freebie for FAll that I have in the shop!

How is your October going?  xoxo, April





Easy Meal Planning for Modern Teachers {October}

Recently I started writing a new series of posts to make things a little simpler on the home front: Easy Meal Planning.  I wrote a little bit about the background HERE.  Basically, each month I stick to a rotation every week.  Based on my family loves, what’s in season, and what is easy, I plan our meals.  We’ve been doing this for awhile now and it makes that crazy time of the day just a tad bit easier.

For this month, the line-up includes:

1 night soups

1 night tacos

1 night one-skillet wonders

1 night crockpot dinners

For the 5th night we have a family favorite.  (like enchiladas, spaghetti, etc.) (and 6th & 7th nights are either leftovers or out-to-eat)

Keep in mind though, I don’t always stick to the recipe.  These recipes are my inspiration. I make a version of these recipes.  I do what is easiest for me and my family.  I try to stay as healthy as possible, however, I know we have a LONG way to go with healthy eating.  Just where we are at.  It is important for us all to give ourself grace.  If I can just get everyone to the table, for my family–with prayer and conversation, then we are good to go.

Hope you find one of these recipes helpful:


October Menu Planning for Teachers www.amodernteacher.com

1. Chicken Noodle

2. Sausage and Tortellini

3. Turkey

4. Vegetable


October Meal Planning www.amodernteacher.com

1. Breakfast Tacos (yes, we have breakfast for dinner)

2. Thai Beef Tacos

3. Chicken Tacos

4. Veggie and Black Bean Tacos


October Meal Planning www.amodernteacher.com

1.  Kale, Spinach, Goat Cheese Pasta

2. Mexican Rigatoni and Cheese

3. Salmon and Asparagus

4. Dinner Egg Casserole


October Meal Planning www.amodernteacher.com

1. Pot Roast

2. Cashew Chicken

3. Cabbage Rolls

4. Stuffed Peppers

Whew!  It all looks so yummy! Which one looks like one you might try?  I am interested in the Cabbage Rolls the most, I think. What about you?

Have a warm cozy October! ~April

Carol Polston - Everything looks yummy- but I’ll probably try cashew chicken, stuffed peppers & sausage and tortellini. Yum. I try to plan my menus at least weekly- I love colder weather because I use my crockpot A LOT! Thanks- I’m enjoying following this thread of posts on menus. Carol

Carrie Loper - Thanks so much for sharing my taco recipe! I just love all these recipe ideas.

Nicole from Teaching With Style - Um, YUM! That’s all I’m going to say about that :)

amodernteacher@gmail.com - Right?!!! :)

amodernteacher@gmail.com - Thank you for sharing your talent!!! Hope you get some new readers. :) ~April

amodernteacher@gmail.com - YAY!!! I’ll keep them coming :) ~April


5 New Favorite Fonts

Raise your hand if you are a font snob. C’mon.  Admit it.  You want to create something for your students in a better font.  Maybe you want to present something to your students in a different way.  Maybe you don’t want to get too fancy on something and need just.straight.lines.  Am I talking to you?

I love a good font.  I can be come obsessive with it.  Who knows…maybe one day I’ll create a font.

Here are my 5 current favorite FREE fonts:

favorite free fonts for teachers www.amodernteacher.com

Vacation Doodle

KG Miss Kindergarten

LL Elementary Dots

KG Primary Whimsy

KG Melonheadz

Right now, which font are you crushing on?  Have a great week! ~April

Melissa - Thanks for sharing! These are great! I love when teachers share the wonderful treasures they find. Sometimes I just don’t have the time to “search” myself!!! :)

amodernteacher@gmail.com - Yay! I’ll keep them coming then. Thanks for the feedback! ~april

Nicole from Teaching With Style - How did I not know Krista made fonts? Thanks for sharing!

amodernteacher@gmail.com - Oh you’re welcome. She is the Jane of all trades :)


I asked, YOU answered :: Favorite Guided Reading Resources

Guided Reading.  I posted a question on Facebook this week thinking I’d be flooded with great GR resources.  To my surprise, many people didn’t have a favorite. What?! I started some research and {{ Wow, folks!}}  : slim pickings on GR goodies.  There are some great overall reading resources but nothing specific to GR.   That got me thinking about this post.

Starting this week, I will have a new series of “I asked, YOU answered” posts.  Super excited about putting together all of our favorites.  Today, I’m sharing some of our favorite Guided Reading resources.  Not general reading strategy resources but specific to Guided Reading.

Favorite Guided Reading Resources www.amodernteacher.com


The foundational resource:  Guided Reading: Good First Teaching for All Children     by Fontas and Pinnell

The queens of guided reading, probably the founders of the term “guided reading”.  This book was written by two professors who, with a ton of research to support their theories, wrote and coined the inside and outs of GUIDED READING.  If you are a new teacher, this is a must-have.  Hands down.

The Ultimate Guided Reading How-To Book: Building Literacy Through Small-Group Instructionby Gail Saunders-Smith

In this book, Ms. Saunders-Smith goes through foundations, techniques, and putting those together.  I would say that this is a shorter overview of the process and background.

Daily 5, The (Second Edition): Fostering Literacy in the Elementary Grades     by Gail Boushey and Joan Moser

This gives real-implement-now ways to make Guided Reading effective.  It goes through what the other kids are doing while you are meeting in small groups. EXATLY what you need to maintain a smooth running GR time.

The CAFE Book: Engaging All Students in Daily Literary Assessment and Instruction, also by Gail Boushey and Joan Moser

Practical, practical, practical language, tips, and keys to making this time super effective.

Literacy Work Stations: Making Centers Workby Debbie Diller

Another great resource for ideas on what the other kids are doing while you meet.  Includes management ideas.

When I posted on Facebook, one teacher shared her management folder of how she works through GR groups.  She got the idea from this book.  Take a look:

Adriana says:

“My fav thing is not exactly a resource but is. from Debbie Diller…..make a “flexible small groups folder” of sorts where you can track your students and see them all at once. The parts that show you where your kids are are awesome bc they help with different strategies to use with them to improve.”

Favorite Guided Reading Resources www.amodernteacher.com

A good friend and amazing teacher of mine recommends: Small-Group Reading Instruction: A Differentiated Teaching Model for Beginning and Struggling Readers by Beverly Tyner

And now for implementing these resources….

Reading A-Z , a website where you can download leveled books.  If your school doesn’t have this yet, ask to subscribe.  Ask anyone you know to contribute. Even check out Donors Choose to help you bring these awesome resources.

One of my favorites: Guided Reading Made Easy: A Complete Resource by Kristen Smith   Good stuff here!  I can’t say enough about the quality of Kristen’s resources.  Good, good stuff!

One teacher suggested Tara West’s Guided Reading Bundle.  I have not seen this so I don’t have first hand knowledge but it looks awesome!

Your turn!  Do you have a favorite GR resource?

Have a great weekend and happy planning y’all! ~April


Classroom Crashers! {and how you don’t have to break the bank}

Between the Back-to-School Nights, making lunches, and getting the new routine in motion, this house has been pretty busy.  A good busy.  How about you?  Did you survive the ‘back-to-school time’?

Well, I have a fun Classroom Crasher to share with you today!  This room comes from Hillary, a 7th grade Social Studies teacher in Western Massachusetts.

She says: “I love to have an organized, welcoming classroom for my students and most of my decorations and organizational supplies come from places like the Dollar Store, Target, Walmart and local secondhand shops. You don’t have to break the bank to make a cozy classroom!”

Isn’t that the truth?  You don’t have to break the bank!  It can add up yes, but making it cozy can be fun and inexpensive.  Keep reading to see what she adds.

By the way, Hillary doesn’t have a blog.  So, if you are interested in sharing your classroom with other teachers, you don’t have to have a blog.  Send a few pictures my way and I’ll post them here to share.  If you are a blogger, send me 3 pictures, and I’ll link back to your specific classroom post or your blog.  It is a fun way to share:) If you are like me, you love peeking into teacher’s classrooms. It is so inspiring…no matter what time of the year.

First, the BEFORE

Classroom Crashers www.amodernteacher.com

Here she added a plant, fun signs, and this fun question mark marquee.  Students feel welcomed as soon as they walk in the door.  Even in 7th Grade!

Classroom Crashers www.amodernteacher.com

Maps of any kind are a great way to cozy up a room.  The added bonus is they take up some space on the dreary white walls.  Quotes are always inspiring and fun.  Yes, you are going to fill up the walls with charts, kids’ learning, and other valuable tools but it is nice to have some pieces that create a warm inviting environment.


Classroom Crashers www.amodernteacher.com

Lamps are essential for that soft lighting.  Containers in the same color are another way to create warmth.  Even if you have different containers.  As long as you paint them the same colors, you create that unified look.  Creating a unified look allows our brain to process faster.  When we see something we are familiar with, our brain quickly identifies the containers and moves on….allowing for more important processing like… objectives for the day.

Classroom Crashers www.amodernteacher.com

Black bulletin boards allow for the charts to stand out.  Our brain immediately processes what is standing out.  I just love how she creates the unified TEAM feeling of “WE are…”.  Especially at this age, kids are searching to belong to something.

Classroom Crashers www.amodernteacher.com

Love the personal pictures.  Frames don’t have to cost much!

Classroom Crashers www.amodernteacher.com


And there you have it!  I hope you are feeling a bit more inspired. Hillary did such a great job!!!!  Thank you Hillary for sharing your pictures with everyone.   I know we all appreciate your willingness to share!

Have a great week y’all!  ~April

Classroom Crashers www.amodernteacher.com

Laurie - What a lovely place to learn! Parts of my room are lovely….I am going to borrow some inspiration from Hillary for some other parts:-)

amodernteacher@gmail.com - YAY Laurie! She did a great job–right?!! :)


Menu Planning for Modern Teachers {September}

I love this picture:

Easy menu planning for modern teachers

Some times this is exactly how I feel.  Do we HAVE to eat again?  HA!  Seriously though, I love food.  I usually plan my day around food events…whether I am cooking or we are going to a restaurant or  I am celebrating someone’s special event.  I’m always thinking about what I’m going to be eating (oink, oink).  However, in reality, dinner can be tough. Especially if you are trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

When I asked readers to complete the survey a few weeks ago, many of you said that you need some easy recipe and life organization ideas.  Recipes that are super simple to make.  So, you asked, and I answered!  Starting this month (the next one will come out before the month starts–I promise), I’ll be sharing a post with some simple simple recipe ideas.  But before that…a little history….

A couple of years ago, my family adopted an easy dinner planning of sorts.  I know this is not rocket-science.  My schedule is not new, I’m sure of it…my mom did something like this while growing up.  However, I thought I’d share and expand.  In our family, dinner is based on the seasons, and what is fresh then we set a routine for dinners.  It’s not boring, I promise.  It can be if you want it to be, but it doesn’t have to be.  This rotation can be super healthy, or super not-healthy.  Just depends on what your family needs/wants.

To start the menu planning, I first thought about what my family really loves and then I set a routine/rotation.  Basically each night has a different theme.  You could do this with types of food like Italian, Mexican, etc. We do it just a little bit more specific.  For September, the routine looks like this:

Dinner #1: Crockpot Recipes

Dinner #2: Taco Recipes

Dinner #3: Homemade Pizza Recipes

Dinner #4: Sandwich Recipes (I know–sandwiches for dinner??  We LOVE a warm sandwich!  There are so many types and then pair it with some veggies…yuumo!)  Sandwiches can be healthy too.  All depends on what you put in them, what kind of bread you use, and if you use bread at all.

Dinner #5: Family Favorite Recipes (varies every week)

(I don’t plan dinners 6 and 7– we are just too unpredictable on the weekends.)

Again, each of these dinner recipes can be healthy or not.  Your choice.  For example, tacos can be filled with tons of fatty, not-good-for-you stuff OR it can be all fresh ingredients…even organic or gluten-free tortillas.  Each one of these can go to either ends of the spectrum.  That is what I love about our rotation.

For each month, I’ll share 16 easy recipes I plan on making gathered from some fabulous foodie blogs.  This month will have 4 crockpot recipes, 4 taco recipes, 4 different pizza recipes, and 4 sandwiches.  Family favorites are my go-to dinners like spaghetti.  My kids LOVE spaghetti and truth is…so do I.

I hope you can find some recipes your family might like.  If you leave this blog post with at least one recipe, I’m happy.  I’m going to try my hardest to find healthy recipes.  When it doubt, you can always cut your portion size and add fresh veggies or a salad.

Meal Planning for Teachers

Crockpot Ideas:

1. Slow Cooker Root Vegetables

2. Turkey Lasagna

3. BBQ Chicken Dinner

4. Orange Chicken


Meal Planning for Teachers

Taco Recipes:

1. Fish Tacos

2. Beef Tacos

3. Pulled Pork Tacos

4. Spicy Grilled Shrimp Tacos


Meal Planning for Teachers

Pizza Recipes:

1. Southwest Ranch Chicken Pizza

2. Sausage Pizza

3. Pizza Cups

4. Cold Veggie Pizza


Meal Planning for Teachers

Sandwich Recipes:

1. Shrimp Po Boy

2. Teriyaki Chicken Sandwiches (we’ll be substituting chicken for the shrimp)

3. BLT Sliders (substituting regular bacon with turkey bacon and I don’t think I’ll be able to handmake the dough–just sayin’)

4. Philly Cheesesteak (I’ve made this recipe before and we love it!)

And there you have it!  Do one of these recipes look good to you?  Let’s try some.   And I will say one caveat—I don’t fancy these recipes up quite like the images or these bloggers.  I keep everything as simple and often times messy. Grab some links and go!

Here’s to easier planning,


Easy Meal Planning for Modern Teachers {October} » A Modern Teacher - […] things a little simpler on the home front: Easy Meal Planning.  I wrote a little bit about the background HERE.  Basically, each month I stick to a rotation every week.  Based on my family loves, what’s […]


Literacy Love :: Grandparent’s Day Freebie

Last year I started a blog series called “Book Love”.  Well, I love alliteration so I’ve changed it to “Literacy Love”. (you know us teachers!)  Just some quick posts about some of our favorite book finds.  This weekend we celebrate Grandparent’s Day.  How fun!  My favorite place to be is at my grandmother’s house.  As my kids are getting older, I appreciate the time they have to spend with their grandparents.  Life is just too short.  I hope they are able to create long friendships and memories with my parents and my in-laws.  I think grandparents have the best job.  They get to love on the kids tons and tons and then leave when they get tired.  HA!

These two books are super super cute.

41 Uses for a Grandma and 40 Uses for a Grandpa by Harriet Ziefert

They go through 4o and 41 different ways to interact with a grandpa and a grandma.  The illustrations are simple, colorful, and just precious.  As a way to celebrate and make text-to-self connections, kids can draw (and/or write about) what they do with their grandpa or grandma.  How do they “use” their grandparents?  What do they love to do with them?



The freebie includes a printable for both a grandma and a grandpa.  Just click HERE or the image. Just a fun little freebie!

Have a great weekend!!


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