Writer’s Notebook {Quick Freebie}

Writing time can be magical or it can be…well, let’s just say, challenging…for both the student and the teacher.  I absolutely LOVE writing and teaching writing but I know some years were harder than others.  In my experience, sometimes you have to dig a little deeper to get them motivated to write.  Not only is this one way to over come some of the anxiety of writing but it is also something all writers have…a Writer’s Notebook.  I’m sure you have heard about a Writer’s Notebook.  To this day, I use a writer’s notebook in my personal life which is more like a “blogger’s notebook”  HA!  This little gem is a place to store all of our writing ideas. With the students, I always used a black composition notebook but I’ve seen so many different options.  You could use a spiral.  You could use a composition book cut in half.  You could use a mini-composition book.  Even just blank printer paper with construction paper as the covers would work.

If you aren’t familiar with a Writer’s Notebook…these 2 are my favorite resources:

A Writer’s Notebook by Ralph Fletcher (this one is my favorite)

ANYTHING by Ralph Fletcher is what you need:)

Notebook Know-How by Aimee Buckner and Ralph Fletcher is great!

(fyi–no affiliate links-ha!  no time to add those)

One of the important pieces of a “Writer’s Notebook” is ownership.  The student has to take lots of pride in the notebook and value what is inside it.  I love having the kids decorate their covers.  They could add their own personal items at home but if they are 3-D type pieces, they tend to fall off in a short period of time.  I think it is a great idea to add real pictures though.  As long as they are laminated or taped on pretty well, they hang on for awhile.  Here is a cover for them to decorate.  They could complete this with magazine collages, illustrations, pictures from home, etc.  I have formatted the pdf to fit with a composition book or spiral nicely.  If you choose to add it to something else and want it bigger, you’ll have to go into print setup and increase it to the desired size.

Click on the image or click HERE for your freebie.

Do you use Writer’s Notebooks?  I would love to know in the comments below.



You can laminate the cover and put clear packaging tape to secure or just use the packaging tape.

I included both boys and girls in the download.  They can decorate it to make it their own.  Hope you can use this….in any grade level!! ~April




Teacher Style 2014 Winner!

Hey y’all!!!  This is just a quick post about….drum roll please….the winner of the Teacher Style 2014 Giveaway is Jennifer W.!!!! Jennifer, thanks for entering.  I sent you an email!!

Thank you soooo much to everyone for entering.  Your support means so much to us. Really!  It fuels us to help make your teaching life easier.  Happy shopping!!!

Teacher Style Giveaway 2014


Thank you and have a wonderful day!!



Classroom Crashers!

Classroom Crashers is baaaaack!  Two years ago, I featured some fun, amazing classrooms around the www AND non-blogger classrooms.  It was a way to share some inspiration from teachers all over the world.  Well, after some requests, it’s coming back!!!  Super SUPER excited to share with you more ideas and inspirations.  Maybe you don’t have a blog but have a great idea you are dying to share. Send pictures my way and I’ll put them up, share a bit about you, and which state you teach in (if you want to share).  If you have a blog, send me 3 pictures.  I’ll share then link back to you.  Fun-right?  My email is amodernteacher@gmail.com

Here are a few past Classroom Crashers.  Looking forward to sharing more rooms throughout the year because sometimes you need more ideas…no matter what time of the year.

Classroom Crashers www.amodernteacher.com

This was the first ever “Classroom Crasher”.  I crashed a friend of mine’s 2nd Grade Classroom.  Here she was sharing some ideas on Inquiry-Based Learning.

An AMAZING classroom from Connecticut:


I even had the queen featured…that is Queen of the First Grade Jungle. My blogger friend Katie shared pictures of her fun purple and black classroom.

BUT WAIT…there are more classrooms!  Take a look HERE to see more.

I’ll be sharing more throughout the year.  Don’t be shy if you are not a blogger.  2 featured here are not bloggers.  Got something fun to share in your room, send it my way!  Those of you getting your room ready this week:  GOOD LUCK!!  And those that started this week: GOOD LUCK!  You got this!!

Don’t forget to enter the giveaway HERE.

xoxo, April


Balloons and Rounding

I gotta fun math tip for you today!  It’s a BRIGHT IDEA!  Do you use balloons in your class?  I know, I know, balloons can be crazy pants.  Can bring all kinds of excitement.  But that’s good–right?  I think so.  Now, I’m not suggesting you do this everyday but you gotta engage, don’t you think?  Here’s one way.

balloons and rounding

If you teach rounding in the elementary grades, this is for you.  As you know, rounding can be difficult.  Sometimes we need a little fun to remember tricky concepts.  Now, there are all kinds of rounding tricks.  I’ve seen the “rounding hill”, the “rounding rollercoaster”, and of course, using the number line is awesome.  They are all awesome.  In fact, I’ve had to teach all of these to see which one sticks.  Each kid is different so what works with one, might not work with another.  But I’m preaching to the choir on that.  So, this tip is super easy and fun.

First of all, I am referring to ’rounding to the nearest ten’.  Basic, basic rounding.  I always taught (according to my districts:) that if the number ends in 0, 1, 2, 3, 4 you round down.  If the number ends in 5,6,7,8,9 you round up.

To teach this: bring in a couple of balloons.

balloons and rounding

Demonstrate: Hold balloons in one hand.  At this point you have ZERO fingers out….just holding it in a fist. This is your ZERO…the number stays at the lower ‘ten’.  (rounds down) Example : 20 (ending in 0) rounds to 20

Let 1 finger ‘go’ or ‘off’…balloons haven’t moved…the number stays at the lower ‘ten’.  Example: 21  rounds down to 20

Let 2 fingers ‘go’ or ‘off’….balloons haven’t moved…the number stays at the lower ‘ten’.  Example: 22 rounds down to 20

Let 3 fingers go…same thing  Example: 23 rounds down to 20

balloons and rounding

Let 4 fingers go…same thing  Example: 24 rounds down to 20

Now, let 5 fingers go…the balloons will lift up; they will ’round’ to the higher number.  Example: 25 rounds up to 30

balloons and rounding

That’s it!  For 26, 27, 28, 29 you obviously round up, which aren’t typically hard numbers to round for some reason (numbers ending in 6, 7, 8, 9).  4 and 5 always seems to trip up the kids though.  This is just another way to try to reach those who aren’t getting it.

What do you think?  Easy to do? Hope it helps. I’m joining some amazing teacher-bloggers in a BRIGHT IDEA Blog Hop.  I hope you hop around and grab some easy to use, fun ideas.  Check it out below!



vicky moore - Super cute idea April…I think I need to try this one and I’m teaching rounding ( review this week )!
Teaching and Much Moore

Jennifer - I love using balloons to teach in kindergarten. They are like instant engagement. This tip will be perfect for my 2nd grade son who has some learning differences – everything needs to be multi sensory and this definitely is that! Thanks so much!

Jennifer from Simply Kinder

Diane - I like this idea…very clever way to remind them on whether to go up or down to the next 10.

Nicole from Teaching With Style - This is such a cute idea! I love it!

amodernteacher@gmail.com - Thanks Nicole! Hope you can use it!

amodernteacher@gmail.com - Thanks so much Diane!! Hope you can use it!!

amodernteacher@gmail.com - YAY! Glad you can use it!

amodernteacher@gmail.com - Oohh–perfect timing then! Thanks so much Vicky! Good luck this week :)

Mikaela - Wow! What a simple, cute, and memorable idea. I might use it tomorrow with a student I’m tutoring. Thanks so much!

amodernteacher@gmail.com - Thanks so much Mikaela! Hope it helps with your student!


Last Chance!

This weekend is the big weekend for the Pink and Blue Teacher Personal Planner.  I only have a few left and they need to get in your hands!  All of the other planners are SOLD OUT.  {Wow, just writing that brings tears.}  YAY!  Thank you, thank you, thank you for your amazing support!

I am offering them at a 30% discount.  BIG BIG discount!

Check out the posts HERE and HERE if you have any questions.  If you’ve had your eye on them, now is the time to say yes!  I won’t be offering them again for the 2014-2015 school year so it’s now or never.  Check out a few images below but click here if you’re ready!  {You can also click up top on ‘SHOP’.}







Pink and Blue Teacher Life Map


Have a wonderful weekend y’all!!!!


Teacher Style Giveaway 2014!!!!

Head Back to School in STYLE!  I am incredibly excited to team up with Melanie, Adrianne, and Maria for the third year of fun, fun, fun!  It is time to treat yourself just a little bit-right?!  RIGHT!  We are having a contest right here, starting today, for some amazing prizes.

What is one of your favorite stores?  Target, you say?  How about Ann Taylor Loft?  You know Loft offers a teacher’s discount-right?  Gotta take advantage of that.  Loft LOVES teachers!  Can you spoil yourself just a little with Kate Spade?  Why, yes, yes you can.  You’re a teacher after all!  Let the spoiling begin!

To top it all off, we have some surprises from chic boutiques.

Ooh Baby Designs

Lisa Leonard Designs

Cents of Style

Enter this fun giveaway today!  But hurry, contest ends next Tuesday, August 19, 2014.  Good luck!  Hope you are the lucky teacher!

Teacher Style Giveaway 2014

Enter through Rafflecopter below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you for entering!  We hope you enjoy this giveaway! ~April

Kelly Kelley - Pick me!

amodernteacher@gmail.com - :) Thanks for entering!!!! If it was up to me, I’d send everybody these goodies. Sort of like Oprah!!! Can you here me yell ‘Everyone gets one!!!!”? :)

Heather Slapack - I hope I win

Laura Mann Critchley - That bag is pretty sweet! Fingers crossed.

amodernteacher@gmail.com - Good luck!

amodernteacher@gmail.com - Good luck!


Teacher Approved!

So excited to be joining Emily and Heidi, fabulous ladies from Second Story Window , this month.  They created a new site for teachers: Teacher Approved.  I am featured on the blog today.  Learn a little more about me and 2 other contributors for the month!  YAY!

Teacher Approved is a subscription-based service offering resources for $5/month.  Each month you get a bundle of hand-picked resources from Emily and her sister, Heidi  .  These are extremely useful, high-quality resources.  These resources are all digital.  So once you subscribe, you get a link, download, and use! Super easy. You can find more information HERE.

This month, I have donated my Meet the Teacher Night Pack –Owl Themed!  Perfect for the classroom with owl-themed decor.  This product sells for $4.25 in my store but you can get this and a TON of other resources for just $5.  Not too shabby I would say!  Check out their new site.  And to celebrate–ALL of my products are marked down 20%!!!  Have fun shopping for those last minute planners, organizers, and my best seller: Management Tool for Back to School!


Thanks for including me in the fun Emily and Heidi!


Teacher Survival Kit

Oh.my.word!  I won the Michael’s #create2educate contest yesterday!!!  It all took place on Instagram.  I may or may not have had a cold beverage to celebrate. {wink} Seriously, this was fun to put together.  For winning, I received a gift card to spend at their crafty store.  The hardest part now is deciding how I’m going to spend it.  I have too many things I want to do.


Well, we all know the first week is tough.  Back-to-School for an entire month is tough.  Cue: SURVIVE! What more do you want than chocolate, caffeine, and colored pens?  I thought it would be fun to put together all the necessities to help you get through it–minus the alcohol (JUST KIDDING!!)  Give this to your teaching buddy or if you are a parent, your kid’s teacher.

There are a ton of container options at Michael’s.  At first I thought I would buy a mason jar but then I just saw these paint cans and love the size.  And I do love how they are plastic…which I felt would give teachers more options.  You could use it with your kids or put behind your table.  You can find these affordable gems in their gift section.  Now, I did buy the label (and most of the goods inside) from Target.  The label is made for chalkboard markers.  The markers can be easily wiped off so you can reuse the can again and again if you would like.

Teacher Survival Kit www.amodernteacher.com

Materials: (I found all the inside goodies at Target in their check-out lanes).  It’s all right there.  Super easy!

*paint can from Michael’s

*washi tape

*chalkboard labels

*inside goodies of your choice

I choose: Advil, Shout Wipe & Go, hand lotion, chocolate covered pomegranates, bright colored markers, and Starbucks giftcard

Teacher Survival Kit www.amodernteacher.com


Decorate the can however you would like.  I covered mine in washi tape.

Stuff and add a label.  Done!

You can make it as elaborate or simple as you would like.

So, what do you think is a necessity to survive back-to-school?



Have fun putting this together!  You WILL survive.  And thank you Michael’s for a fun contest!!!! xoxo, April



Mikaela - Congratulations! Some of the things you included are some of my favorites!

amodernteacher@gmail.com - Thank you!! Have a great b2s!!


Biggest Sale of the Year! Back to School 2014!

HUGE, I’m telling ya!  The BACK-TO-SCHOOL SALE IS HEEERRRRRRE!!!!!!! Starting Monday, August 4, Teachers Pay Teachers is having a site-wide sale and I will be participating!!  I will have all of my resources 20% off and then TpT is offering another percentage making it 28% off!!!  That is huge y’all!  Just be sure to enter the code at checkout.

All of my digital planners will be marked down, my #1 management tool, and my other smaller items.  HUGE I’m telling ya!  Unfortunately, my printed planners will not be marked down because they are a hard good and let me tell ya.  Hard goods, inventory, is a whole different ballgame.  :)  Right now they are essentially about 15% off anyway.  For this run, as an introductory price, The Teacher Life Map is $42.00 but will normally be $49.00. I know this question will come up so I just thought I’d let y’all know.

Have fun shopping!  I know I will!!!!!

AND HURRY!  Sale ends on Tuesday, August 5th.  Happy Shopping!!!  CLICK HERE TO START SHOPPING!


Thank you to Krista of Creative Clips for such a cute button!!!


Happy August!

Today is the first official day for me to “GET-READY”.  August is here!!  Wow!  Where did the summer go?  I had a great summer with my kids, my family, and friends.  I had a chance to meet some crazy amazing individuals at the TpT conference, had delicious seafood at the beach with my family, started selling printed personal planners for teachers, and had a chance to love on my kids while they make some big kid steps.  Whoa.  My oldest is starting kindergarten this year!! This was his last summer before the start of his educational journey.  WOW.  Just writing that brings tears to my eyes.  I hope I’m not one of those “crazy-kinder parents”.  You know what I’m talking about.  Yikes–I might be.  Oh no!  Kinder teachers don’t hate me.  I’m apologizing now.  Ah!  Ok, pull it together, April.

“Mission: Back-to-School”.  It’s that time and I plan to embrace it.

But before anything else: ****Update on The Teacher Life Map: All orders placed through midnight last night (Friday, August 1st) have been shipped out!!!!****Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! Only a third left, so order before it’s too late. (You can order by clicking on the “shop” button up top.)

So, do you have little kids like me?  Or do you teach a young grade and need a resource to give to parents?  Here is a freebie for my readers for a limited time.  I’ll have it up in my store hopefully in the next couple of days but for y’all I’m sending a link to snatch it up free!!  They’ll be a “freebie” until I get a chance to upload them to my shop.  A little perk of following along this here blog. (Y’all remember I’m from Texas-right?)

These are routine cards I started last year with my son for after and before school.  Even my daughter got in on the action sometimes.  I am happy to share them with you.  Put them up, laminate, add  a magnet…whatever floats your boat.

He absolutely loved them.  Felt oh-so-special to take them off.  Even when we’re young we get joy out of crossing things off our to-do list.  No, we are not crazy.  Ok, maybe just a little.


Enjoy!  Cheers to August and a great back-to-school season.  xoxo, April

For the set with girls and a flower background, CLICK HERE.

For the set with boys and a plaid background, CLICK HERE.

{I’ll probably bundle these for my shop.}











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Amy Labrasciano - April, I just love these! Thank you so much for sharing them.
Take care, Amy

amodernteacher@gmail.com - Thanks so much Amy! Hope you can use them!!

meaghan - Hi! Just shared this on my website’s Facebook page! Facebook.com/highchairplease :)

amodernteacher@gmail.com - Thank you!