Tamales are my favorite holiday food! Let’s chat Christmas.

Oh ya!  A Christmas Party—my favorite!!  When I saw my friend, Abby, was having a Christmas Linky Party, I knew I wanted to join. I love, love, love Christmas.  And this time, I’m actually not late to the party-ha!

So, here a some random tidbits about me and my family and this most treasured time in my life: Christmas.  Growing up my parents raised us with some pretty awesome traditions.  After they divorced, some of them went to the wayside but that is ok.  I have very very fond memories. Now it is time to dig deep with my own babies and start some new ones!  Some traditions did stay though.  So no sadness here!  Like singing Happy Birthday to Jesus and staying up WAY too late Christmas Eve with Karaoke!

Read on to find out a bit more…BUT I would love to hear yours!! Either comment with something you’d love to share in the comments below or let me know you are joining the linky party too (if you are a blogger).  I love reading about other traditions.

Christmas Conversation www.amodernteacher.com

Thanks Abby for a fun party!!  Can’t wait to read more posts!



Babbling Abby - So, I think I’m going to need that tamales recipe!!! Sounds YUM!!! Merry Christmas, friend!!! xxoo

Amanda - LOVE that Christmas tradition! It’s something I want to do with my littles!!

Destiny - That fact about your family sounds like too much fun! My family is SO small, I’ve always dreamed of having a big family when I get married to have moments just like that! Merry Christmas!

Terrific Teaching and Learning

amodernteacher@gmail.com - Honey, I wish I knew it! I couldn’t make tamales to save my life. Ha! That is all my mom. :)

amodernteacher@gmail.com - Yes! Need to start some new ones with my family too :)

amodernteacher@gmail.com - It can get a bit CRAZY. :) I tried responding on your blog but when I comment something with my google account keeps messing things up. It doesn’t show up as published. ANYWAY, I loved reading your responses! I would love to celebrate Christmas at a ranch like your great-aunts. How fun! And we have a white elephant exchange too. Rowdy!! Merry Christmas :)

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Classroom Crashers! :: A Day in First Grade

Ah…the crisp cool air. The leaves changing to different colors: Fall.  And it is almost over. I can only imagine what it would be like to live it a state that has all of those beautiful colors and more. ..OR maybe snow right now? Um–maybe not.:) Meet a teacher who does get to experience all this glory: Kristin from A Day in First Grade. Kristin is a dear friend of mine.  She used to live in central Texas so I got to catch up with her a couple of times. And let me tell ya–This girl is one smart cookie! Man-is she smart!  And so down to Earth.

Last summer, she moved to Massachusetts and although I was super happy for her, I was also bummed.  BUT guess what?  This thing called the internet, sure does keep those who live far, still in our lives.  I probably talk to her just as much now as I did when she lived here.  And I can’t wait to visit her!  Until then,  I do want to share pics of her classroom.  After checking out the pictures below, be sure to head over to her blog for a TON, I mean a TON, of awesome resources.  Currently she is teaching Kindergarten.  So if you are a kinder or first grade teacher–check her out!



Matching up upper and lower case letters:


Love how she was using a play on words to help motivate the students.  Here she used sticky notes as GAME PIECES.  The students need to find the matching pair of uppercase/lowercase letters.

This is just the tip of the iceberg.  Kristing has a ton of super helpful, inspiring stuff on her blog.

Check out more of Kristin’s Room head HERE.  Don’t forget —even if you don’t have a blog, you can still send me pictures and I’ll share. My email is amodernteacher@gmail.com;  I don’t think there is a teacher out there who doesn’t like to peek into another teacher’s classrooms.  Thank you for sharing your ideas with teachers around the world!

Classroom Crashers www.amodernteacher.com

AND, thank you Kristin for letting us CRASH your classroom!!!


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November Classroom Management

Gobble!  Gobble!  This month we celebrate so many reasons to be thankful.  Giving thanks is also the theme of this month’s classroom management pack.  If you are looking for tons of positive reward tools at your finger tips, here you go.

Don’t forget, this is also part of a “growing bundle“.  I will be posting a new pack every month with management resources based on themes for that month. The entire year-long pack will be for August-May.



This resource includes:

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


And don’t forget the Teacher Tools:



Thank You Notes

To-Do Lists

Monthly Calendar

Weekly to-dos

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

There are a couple of options:

either go by the month and get the November Pack HERE

or the Entire Year HERE.

How is your November going? I’d love to hear in the comments below.  AND I hope you signed up for the newsletter because it had a HUGE freebie.  It is not too late though so sign up.

Have a great week!


Sharon - I would love to receive your newsletter:)

amodernteacher@gmail.com - It will be coming out again VERY soon. :) Watch your inbox and let me know if you don’t get it. amodernteacher@gmail.com Thanks SO much for being here!! ~April

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Classroom Crashers!! {from Substituting to full-time Teacher}

So excited to share with you another Classroom Crasher!!  This time we are visiting Tanja’s room!  Tanja writes over at Journey of a Substitute Teacher and has a heart of gold.  Let me tell ya!  I have rarely met a person who is as supportive and nice as Tanja.  I had the privilege of meeting her this past July at the Teachers Pay Teachers Conference and thought she was just so incredibly nice.  A GEM!

Tanja had been substituting and this past year, started teaching full-time to Third Graders.  Congratulations Tanja!!!!  Without further ado, here is her classroom:

I love how she highlights learner profiles on this board (great to see for easy access):

I love the black boards and alphabet line.  Really makes the posters and letters POP!

And of course, one key to running a successful classroom…as far as management goes….is being ORGANIZED.

Love the labels!

To check out more of Tanja’s Room and to see where she found items in her room, head to her blog for all the details!  Don’t forget —even if you don’t have a blog, you can still send me pictures and I’ll share. My email is amodernteacher@gmail.com.  I don’t think there is a teacher out there who doesn’t like to peek into another teacher’s classrooms.  Thank you for sharing your ideas with teachers around the world!

AND thank you Tanja for letting us CRASH your Classroom!!


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TIME-SAVER {My first Stitch Fix!} Enter to win

This is a little different than my normal posts. And I’m excited to share! This blog is all about helping teachers find ways to simplify and maximize their time. From planners to lessons to meal-planning, I truly want to help you find ways at home and at school to simplify—giving you more time to do ~whatever~. To enjoy life. Whatever that means to you. If that means a lesson to help with curriculum or help getting dinner on the table, OR a planner to keep it all straight, I really want to bring tools and resources to you.

So, when my friend Maria, told me about Stitch Fix, I knew I had to give it a try. Let me tell ya, teacher friends, this is something you could use. Teachers have such busy lives. There isn’t a whole lot of time to go shopping. This is the perfect answer.

The idea in a nutshell:

You answer a bunch of questions to give a stylist an idea of your likes and dislikes.  The stylist will then put together a selection of clothes you might like. Depending on the time frame you select, the box of clothes will be delivered directly to your mailbox anywhere from 2-6 weeks.  You have 3 days to try on the clothes and decide if you want to keep them or not.  Purchase the ones you want to keep, send back the ones you don’t want.  For putting together the outfits, there is a $20 fee. However, it can be credited toward a purchase.  That’s it!


Here is the nitty-gritty of how it works:

1. Log in and create an account.

2. Answer a SUPER FUN questionnaire of your likes and dislikes on clothing.

3. Select a time frame for the clothes to arrive (either 2-3 weeks, 4 weeks or 6 weeks).

4. Pay a $20 styling fee.

5. Next is the hard part—wait (you can do it–and once it starts it will be awesome!)

6. Package arrives!!  You feel like a queen!

7. Try on everything in the box.  You have 3 days to decide what you would like to keep.

8. Keep what you want.  Send back what you don’t want in a return bag provided (no cost to you).

9. Log on and tell Stitch Fix what you want to keep, give feedback of what you REALLY liked and why and what you DIDN’T LIKE and why. And of course, pay.

10. Make sure your next FIX is scheduled!

That’s it!

Here is why I like it:

1.  You don’t have to go anywhere.

2. You save time by…

3. no crowds

4. no traffic

5. no heading to 5 different stores

6. No gas to spend

7. Don’t have to worry about a sitter if you have kids or lug them around and keep them entertained.

Now, I will say that I use to LOVE shopping…..before kids.  Shopping was something I actually ENJOYED doing.  I didn’t mind spending the entire day out. This is something I still love to do BUT it is hard when you have kids or you have a schedule like a teacher.  Put kids and being a teacher together (for some of you out there) and forget it–NO WAY.  Those weekends are just too precious.  For every day clothes, it is just SO hard.  Now, if I have a special event, or something I know I really want from say….Target or JCrew— I’m gonna go shopping, and the hubby will watch the kids.  BUT those days are few and far between.

In my first box I received:

1. The black and white floral shirt

2. The skinny jeans

3. The navy blue sleeveless shirt

4. The pink shirt in the last picture.

5. The black and white cardigan

The average cost for these items was $60.  A little pricey but so worth the time saved (and if you create products for your classroom or tpt–this is a must!)

What do you think?  Ready to give it a try?  Sign up HERE. I am so convinced you’ll like this–I am having a giveaway! 2 people will receive their styling fee waived.  I will pay for your stylist fee!  Wahoo!

Just enter below in rafflecopter.

This post does contain an affiliate link.  I give my honest opinions on Stitch Fix.  By signing up through my link, you are not charged anything extra.  Thank you and GOOD LUCK!~April

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Books Online APP Review {Farfaria}

Interested in an on-line library?  Yes, please! When asked to do a review on a new APP with picture books by Farfaria, I just couldn’t turn it down.  I am sure you share with me an obsession for books!! We just can’t turn down an opportunity for our kids to read.- Right? Well, this is a new APP with a TON of different picture books. My son was excited to have something new to explore on the ipad and I was excited it was educational and involved reading.

You begin with many different books on a bookshelf.  The child can scroll through the shelves, choosing which books they would like to read.

Next, you come to a series of islands where you find the different genres of books.  The child selects which topic they want to explore and they’re off!

This APP also allows for the story to be read to them, which is pretty COOL in my opinion.  Especially if the child is just learning to read.

 There are SO many different types of books and they are all fun!

My son loved it!!  What was also pretty cool—my 3-year old daughter loved it too.  Bonus!

Couple of notes for improvement:

–I would love to see the stories leveled to go along with DRA or some other benchmark.

–I would love for there to be more non-fiction books with real pictures.

–I would love for there to be titles we recognize like Netflix has for movies.

Why I liked it:


–story can be read to them

–lots to choose from

Check it all out HERE!

What is your favorite APP for reading stories aloud? Would love to hear in the comments below!



I am not an affiliate nor was I compensated for this review.

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November Meal-Planning for Modern Teachers!

You have a lot on your plate (pun intended).  Time for someone else to do the planning!  It is time for another meal-planning post.  Can’t believe it!  Can’t believe November is here.  That means holidays are here.  Like now.  WOW!  You can do it.  Just a few more weeks until Thanksgiving Break and then Winter Break!  Y’all are awesome!!

In a no-fuss way…..here are dinners for the month of November that my family are trying.  For background, you can check the post here. Remember, I don’t always use these exact recipes, they are more my guidelines for what we could eat.  This month I am only sticking to a rotation of 3 different kinds of dinners.  I will be just too busy to have it any other way.  Hope you enjoy these!!!  If you can get just one new recipe, I am happy.  Be sure to head to the link and check out all the blogs these come from.  Such talent on all of them!!

This month’s rotation consists of:


Meal Planning for Teachers www.amodernteacher.com

1. 30 minute Baked Potato Soup

2. White Chicken Chili

3. Easy Minestrone Soup

Chicken Dinners

Meal Planning for Teachers www.amodernteacher.com

1. Crunchy Parmesan Garlic Chicken

2. Pesto Ranch Chicken

3. Baked Lemon Chicken



Meal Planning for Teachers www.amodernteacher.com

1. Chicken Parmesan Casserole

2. Chicken Broccoli Casserole

3. Chicken Zucchini Casserole

We’ll be having beef on all the other days–ha!!!  Plus, there is always the big TURKEY DAY this month!!!  and left over turkey sandwiches:)

Seriously though, these are all warm and cozy foods.  In December, I’ll take a break from the full meals with some ideas on heavy snacks.  Our schedule is always crazy in December so I know I won’t be sticking to much routines.  I’ll try to keep it as healthy as possible though.  Ah! We’ll be in this together.

Do you eat turkey on Thanksgiving Day or do you celebrate with something else?  I remember one year we had chicken pot pie! Although we always have turkey, that year I was pregnant, about to have the baby, couldn’t move basically and we had no choice :/  Gotta do what you gotta do:)

Have a great November!! ~April

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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




Deneen Renae - Thank you SO Much for your beautiful review! So glad you and your children enjoy the book <3 Mean Magoo will be out very soon :)

amodernteacher@gmail.com - Aw! Thanks so much Ms. Renae! Thank YOU for sharing your talent! We refer to Dudley a little more than I care to admit. HA! :)

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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

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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!

Casey - This is a great idea! I also had a co-worker who would do questions like this, but she would type them up on label sheets so that you could just peel and stick them in a notebook. I do something similar to you and it works well. Thanks for sharing a great idea!

amodernteacher@gmail.com - I love the idea of labels. Especially for a younger group. Takes one step OUT. Score!! Thanks for sharing!! ~April

amodernteacher@gmail.com - Ah! Good idea Heather!! Thanks for sharing. That’s perfect. I hate making copies too. HA!!

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