The 2017-2018 Teacher Anchor

It has been a long time since I’ve posted on the blog!  I’ve been working hard on the 2017-18 collection and am ready to walk you through the newest edition of the Teacher Anchor®.  I recorded a Facebook video over on the C. Jayne Teach Facebook page, if you are more of a visual person.  But included here are lots of photos and information about the updates to this years edition.

What’s New?

  • more pages and room for up to 30 students in the grade book/log section
  • editable weekly lesson plans for printing or digital planning
  • goal setting and reflection pages
  • more Notes pages in the back

So this year I made some big changes to the Teacher Anchor based on the feedback I’ve received over the past 5 years.  The two big things are: more spaces in the student grade book section and an editable weekly lesson plan page.  The student grade book and log section used to only have 24 spaces, but I heard from lots of teachers with bigger class sizes.  So I increased the number of student spaces to 30 and also added more of these log pages to that section.  There is also a new student conferencing desk pad in the shop (on May 1st!) with lots of space for all of your group work, individual work, and goal setting each week!

I also decided to pull out the physical weekly planning pages from the Teacher Anchor.  I know, I know.  Some of you are worried about how will I plan now?!?!  No worries!  You have two options.  The first is to use these completely editable weekly planning pages for your digital lesson plans.  So many districts are moving towards electronic planning, including my own district.  So I felt like the physical pages weren’t being used as practically as they could be.  So now there is a digital option!  Once you purchase your Teacher Anchor, you will receive an instant automatic download for your planning pages.  Which means you can get started right away!

If you are still a paper/pencil type of teacher, then there is a solution for you too!  Last year, you had to copy your days of the week and subjects across your planner EVERY SINGLE WEEK!  What a pain.  Now you can pop in your days, subjects, and any reminders that you may need weekly (such as car duty every Monday, for example) and print!  Photocopy your pages front to back for as many weeks as you are in school.  If you don’t have access to free paper and ink at your school, I printed and photocopied 50 weeks of planning pages for $8.38 at my local printer here in town.

Once you have your pages, take them and your Teacher Anchor to your local printer.  Ask them to spiral hole punch your lesson plan pages and insert them for you.  They will be able to uncoil your Anchor, insert, and coil it back up!  Most printers will also do this completely FREE.  And if not, just tell them you are an educator.  😉  Bonus, your school may have a binding machine in the resource room.  In that case, you can use it to spiral punch and uncoil/recoil your planner yourself.

The other changes include more notes pages and goal setting and reflection pages to keep you super focused on your goals both personally and professionally this year.  Some advice I tell my first year teachers is to always think and reflect at the beginning of each year.  It’s so important to focus on what you want for your students and what you want for yourself.  With specific goals, you are able to focus and work towards them monthly, weekly, and daily.  It is so important to use these focus points to drive your instruction and progress monitoring.  That’s why I included these pages within this years edition so that you can follow the prompts to truly have your best year ever.

What’s the same?

  • Student progress monitoring forms
  • Classroom resources
  • Professional Development Log and Notes
  • Monthly Calendars and Prep Forms (but with an updated look!)

The signature of the Teacher Anchor are the student progress monitoring forms.  We have refined these forms and kept their core focused on student progress and development.  Included are conferencing forms, guided reading plans, graphic organizers, individual forms, substitute teacher notes, parent/conference forms and communication logs, and more to drive your instruction towards maximum student success.

The monthly calendars also got an updated look with more detailed monthly overview and prep pages for both whole group and small group.  And I’ve build in a little more white space for you to fill as you see fit!  All the other resources within the Teacher Anchor are the same that you have come to love with space for student information, parent information, dividers with checklists and tips, and a handy pocket in the back!  All in two new designs for you to choose from this year!

The 2017-18 Teacher Anchors will begin pre-orders on May 1st.  We have two covers to choose from: stripe and buffalo check.  The coordinating binders are also available and can be personalized with your name and/or school.

Also the shop is opening May 1st as well with lots of fun new products – notepads, stickers, personalized tote bags, and more!  So make sure you mark your calendar.

If you have any other questions, feel free to contact me via the website and don’t forget to check out the video over on the Facebook page!  Hope to see you on May 1st and together we will make this your best year ever!


The Mint belongs in your classroom!

Okay, so as you know, I recently partnered with Silhouette to showcase their super amazing Mint stamp-making machine.  I loved the Mint and got such a great reaction to my “Contacted” stamp post, that I decided to show you how else I use it in the classroom, with another stamp that serves multiple purposes!

Now we all know how important small group work is, right?  I love conferencing with my students in multiple ways… individually, partner conferencing, and even small groups.  I typically have my student conferencing notepad on my desk with my schedule of who I need to meet with and when.  This is super helpful to keep me organized and help me plan for the progress monitoring of my students (thanks to my Teacher Anchor®!)  But occasionally, I’ll be running a small group and I will notice the need to meet additionally with one of my kiddos.  Let me give you a real-life example:

I am doing a writing prompt in small group following a guided reading.  I notice that one of my students, Susie, is still leaving out capital letters, even though we just wrapped a mini-lesson on this yesterday.  I note that I need to meet with her to just revisit this skill before moving on.  I used to jot down on a post-it my intentions of following up one-on-one with this student, but we all know how post-it’s just kind of disappear into the abyss of our classrooms, right?  I needed a call to action for this student so I can monitor her progress but also so I can make a physical step to plan for it within my day/week.

That’s where the stamp comes in!  I created a quick and simple stamp that allows me to not only remember to conference with Susie in the future, but also allows me to literally stamp it on the date that I plan on touching base with her!


It’s perfect, right?   I especially love that I can stamp it directly into my Teacher Anchor planner on the date that I want to meet with my student so it’s is done.  Scheduled!  And the word “schedule” signifies to me that I need to plan my content and get my ducks in a row before I actually sit down face to face with the student… pulling her portfolio or writers notebook, having an activity or teaching point ready, etc.  We must always be prepared!

And in case you missed my last post, creating it was super easy.  I just typed it up within my Mint software, sent it to the printer, added my ink and voila!  It took longer to decide on a font than to create my stamp!

CJTMint5 CJTMint6

But of course, this little stamp will not just serve our students… no, no, no!  Luckily, as teachers we have multiple people who we need to conference with.  When I say conference, you may think parents.  Well, you can use your stamp to schedule specific conferences or calls with parents too.  And the “regarding” line allows for you to focus on one reason for the conference so you can plan accordingly.


Sometimes we teachers even need to meet with our administration.  So I used this stamp in the “Reminders” section of my Teacher Anchor®, which allowed me to touch base with my principal to discuss my most recent observation!


The ways to use this are endless… IEP meetings, PLC meetings, colleague/grade level meetings… I could go on and on!  I’ve already found multiple ways to use it in just the first few weeks of school.

As I said in the opening picture of this post, the Mint belongs in your classroom!  Think personalized stamps, book stamps, reminder stamps, “Put your name on this” stamps (ha!), parent signature stamps, and on and on!  You can make yours on your very own Mint machine here!  And check out all of the other Silhouette options for you to make your life in the classroom easier too!


Happy New Year!









BreakoutEDU Review

Hi everyone!  It’s been a long summer since I’ve written, but it’s been so busy around these parts!  The Teacher Anchor has been flying out of my office and into the hands of teachers who are ready to have their best year yet!  As of right now, we have less than 100 left until we are sold out for the fourth year in a row!  Yahoo!

Also this summer, I taught my 9th course at the collegiate level.  I taught Integrated Literacy at a local university within their pre-service/in-service teachers education program.  Over the four years that I’ve been teaching in higher education, I’ve continued to try to introduce my students to new ideas, new resources, and new ways to build community and present content within their classroom.

Earlier this summer, a colleague told me about BreakoutEDU.  It’s like the Escape Game, but for the classroom!  “Breakout EDU games teach critical thinking, teamwork, complex problem solving, and can be used in all content areas.”  I just knew that I had to introduce it to my students who teach every subject and every grade from kindergarten through 8th.  So, here’s what you need to know before trying it in your classroom:


BreakoutEDU provides two ways to get your hands on a kit.  1. You can buy directly from their website  2. You can order everything individually off of Amazon.  When I priced out both options (and yes, I have Amazon Prime, so that helped), I found that the open source option came in at $20 cheaper, strictly because I didn’t have to pay $20 for shipping.  Otherwise, the cost of the kit and the cost of the supplies were almost identical.

Once you have your kit, you find a game that matches your age level, group size, and content area.  The idea is for students to use their research skills to learn more about a topic in order to unlock various locks throughout the game.  Once all of the locks (usually 3-4) have been opened, they have “escaped”.  The catch is that there is a 45 minute time limit, so it’s a race against the clock!  Here are an example of some of the games.  My class played Time Warp (we had 12 students).

Screen Shot 2016-08-06 at 3.04.34 PM

So, once you have all of the supplies that you need to play the game*, you can literally play ANY game!  This was the biggest benefit that I presented to my students.  As a teacher, we are so strapped for funds and supplies.  It’s nice to know that once you have all of the materials for one game, you have materials for them all.

*You must sign up for a Beta account in order to gain access to the password to unlock the games.  But I’ll preview Time Warp here!

Time Warp Game

Screen Shot 2016-08-06 at 3.07.22 PM

As you can see, you get a brief synopsis of the game.  I read this “story” to my students before starting.  Also included once you choose a game, is how to set up the room (see below… FYI this is not the full instructions, just a sample).

Screen Shot 2016-08-06 at 3.07.30 PM

I liked how explicit they were.  Not to mention, it was so quick to set up!  The entire process took me less than 30 minutes to prepare the room before my students arrived.  Also included with each game is an overview video.  This specifically walks you through the entire process and allows for you to visually see how the game will work.  I’m a visual person, so this was so awesome.  I probably watched it three times!

Screen Shot 2016-08-06 at 3.07.54 PM

Once the room was set up, I let my students come in.  I gave them a brief preview of what exactly BreakoutEDU was (since this was a teacher education course) and then I turned them loose!  I left out 8 hint cards and let them know that they had the option to use them if they got stuck.  Unlike the Escape Game that we play here in Nashville, there is no time penalty for asking for a hint.  For our students, they should be encouraged to ask for help during times when they are at an impasse and I really stressed that it wasn’t punitive.  Another great thing I love about this game!

My students ended up breaking out with 9 minutes to spare!  Afterwards we had a discussion from both an educator and student perspective.  What went wrong, what could they do next time, what was hard/easy, how would we use this in our classrooms, when would we use this during the year, etc.


A few notes:

  1. My students did NOT communicate enough.  I think this was a breakdown in the sense of community in the classroom.  I had two different groups of grad students in class (pre-service and TFA) and they gravitated towards their own cohort and didn’t intermingle with each other, despite this being the 8th week of class. 
  2. Because their communication was poor, they spent a lot of time on mundane tasks in the game.  So when they asked for a hint, the one I gave was to “TALK TO EACH OTHER!” 
  3. Students need to have access to technology for this to work.  Elements of the game included Google searching, emailing, and can even include a digital lock option (should you choose).  In classrooms where tech is limited, you may have to allow them to use your own personal smart device(s). 
  4. Reading comprehension also needs to be high for some of the tasks.  My students were reading a lot of advanced web pages and Wikipedia pages, which we know have higher reading comprehension.  Although there are games for elementary, I’m sure all of them include some type of reading/researching.  This would be a great culmination of a research unit where you taught appropriate research skills and activities to your students.

Overall, I LOVED this.  I plan on introducing it to my next class at the beginning, instead of the end.  I think that will help build a sense of community and encourage more communication.

I hope you’ll think about incorporating BreakoutEDU into your classroom!  What a great way to allow students to control their learning opportunities and increase collaboration and fun!





The Teacher Anchor + The Mint = A Match Made in Heaven!

I may not have mentioned it here before, but I am not crafty.  Like not even a little bit.  All of my teacher friends have so many DIY projects around their classrooms and they look ah-mazing.  I, on the other hand, could write a “Pinterest Fails” blog all my own.  But I digress…

So when the lovely ladies at Silhouette contacted me this past winter to see if I wanted to give their Curio and their recently released Mint a try, I was hesitant.  Could these products make, even the non-craftiest girl, a DIY-er???  We were about to see…

I jumped in head first by just putting the software on my computer and playing around with it.  The first thing I noticed was that it is so easy to use!  Being that I design in Adobe Illustrator, a lot of the keys and the commands were similar.  This made me feel comfortable and instantly “crafty”!

But my heart fell in love with the Mint, their stamp-making machine, right away.  As you know, I created the Teacher Anchor, an all in one lesson planning system to keep you organized in your classroom.  Part of the Teacher Anchor system is the sticker sheets that I offer.  While I love me a good sticker, I know that these aren’t always one-size fits all.  Sure, we all have field day and faculty meetings, but I know that there was never a way I could meet the needs of all the teachers with a sticker.  BUT, creating a stamp… now that is a way to do it!  Teachers can purchase the general sticker sheets for their Teacher Anchor, and then create a stamp with the Mint that would help to fill in the gaps, which is just what I did!

Here’s How Easy It Was

First, I had to think of what I wanted to design.  Although there is a parent contact log within the Teacher Anchor, I love the idea of having a place to write exactly who you contacted when.  And honestly, sometimes we need to remember when we touched-base with our principal, colleague, or even the repairman!  So I wanted to create a stamp that would fit all these forms of communication.  I played around with the idea of creating a sticker to say this, but the amount of stickers I would have to print to meet all the times we contact a parent or a member of administration would be, like, 372,283.

So, I designed my stamp within the software, chose my font (Fratello Nick), and sized it out.  Total time:  <5 minutes


Next, I inserted the stamp pad into the back of the machine and it immediately began to print!  Total printing time: 37 seconds.  Want to see a video of the Mint in action/how easy it is? Click here! 

Once my stamp was finished printing, I peeled it off of the insert and stuck it onto the wooden stamper (I’m sure there’s a more technical name for this).


Then it was time to choose an ink color.  The Mint comes with black, red, yellow, and blue.  I chose blue for this stamper and covered the whole pad with it.  I let it soak in for about 5 minutes and then wiped off the excess with my finger.  (Excuse the non-manicured nails.  Goodness!  Maybe I should use this stamp to contact my manicurist.)


Then I got to stampin’!  You can see that the stamp says: Contacted _______ via:

This is so you can write the person’s name and the method of communication via email, phone, snail mail, carrier pigeon, smoke signal, you get the point.


By stamping it right on your calendar, you have a quick reminder and documentation log of the event!  And we know how important thorough documentation is in the schools.  It’s everything!  Which is one of the reasons there are so many notes and documentation logs within the Teacher Anchor… because it is SO important.  And this handy little stamp now makes referring back to those forms of communication super easy!


And the total time I spent creating this stamp, was less than 10 minutes!  A teacher’s time is so valuable, so knowing how easy/simple/fast this is to use is just an added bonus.  And I can see this stamp being so practical even in the college courses I teach.  I am always communicating with colleagues and students throughout their course, so I know it will come in handy!

Now I don’t know if I’d officially call myself a “crafter” but I am LOVING the creativity that has come from using this machine.  I have a lot of other stamp ideas swirling around in my brain – both personal and professional.  Next up, stamps to say “A gift from Lincoln” so I can stamp all of the birthday presents that are from my son to his friends!

I would love to hear how you also use your Mint or what type of stamps you would create!  Hop on over to my Instagram or my Facebook Page to join the conversation!  And if you’d like to purchase your very own Teacher Anchor OR your very own Mint, visit the links below!

Teacher Anchor by C. Jayne Teach

Silhouette Mint

Happy crafting stamping!


*I was gifted a Curio and Mint by Silhouette, but the opinions and crafting are all my own!


Blog Love with Blogger Friends!

Today’s blog love is a fun one for me because these two gals have been so supportive of C. Jayne Teach from the very beginning and I’m happy to now call them friends of mine!

Fun fact: back in 2012, a friend emailed me a link to this newfangled TpT website.  I was skeptical about buying anything from another teacher (because what if it wasn’t good, right?!?!  And then I just PAID for it?!?) but I decided to take the leap and bought the Candy Corn bandit from Babbling Abby at the Inspired Apple.  It was not only cute and well done, but my kids LOVED it!  To be honest, I rarely bought things from TpT during my last year in the classroom, but when I did, it was almost always from Abby.  So imagine my surprise when Abby agreed to help me launch C. Jayne Teach in 2013 with a product review and blog post!  I was elated then and have been so happy to connect with her every year to celebrate babies, mommy victories, and life!

Along those same lines, Katie King was also one of the first bloggers to agree to help promote C. Jayne Teach!  She was so gracious about offering to review some products!  When some of the blogger gals traveled to Nashville a few years ago, Katie texted me and invited me out to dinner and dancing with them!  I would normally have been so nervous but Katie’s warm personality made me feel so comfortable!  I had so much fun with the girls (Abby included!) and we’ve kept in touch ever since.  I’ve also enjoyed celebrating new babies and new homes with her!

I’m so grateful for both of their support and friendship and I encourage you to check out their blogs this week to see their latest review of the C. Jayne Teach shop.  And while you are there, you MUST see Abby’s “The Science of May” and Katie’s “Rooted in Reading” series.  They are both incredible!  Such talent!

Katie is giving away her homophone unit below, so enter to win!  Also head on over to Abby’s blog to join in a little giveaway over there for a shop credit and a Teacher Anchor®!  Thanks again girls!  You are the best!  xo

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