Teacher Anchor Archive
The Mint belongs in your classroom!
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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!

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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!

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Happy New Year!

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

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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).

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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.)

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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.

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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!

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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!

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

 

FAQs about the CCSS
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One of the features I love most about the Teacher Anchor™ is the Common Core standards that are listed in the back.  I very intentionally put them into this planner (read more ahead) but I get a lot of questions about them.  So I thought maybe by putting some of the most frequent questions in this blog post, you will understand more about how you can use them to your advantage to get the most out of your students.  But first, the why

As you know I like to explain a lot of my products.  Everything is created with intention and nothing is accidental.  The Teacher Anchor™ comes with the Common Core standards for grades K-3 included in the spiral planner.  I get a lot of feedback asking if you can order your Anchor with just your grade level CCSS in them?  Some of you have even commented on the fact that it seems like a lot of added paper that can be eliminated by just doing individual grade levels.  Actually, the act of putting all elementary grades in there was quite intentional and the Teacher Anchor™ just would not work the same with only one grade level.  Let me explain more…

One of the main jobs of a classroom teacher is to monitor the progress of your students.  As a first grade teacher, I was constantly using the standards to see where my students needed to be by the end of first grade.  That being said, I CONSTANTLY referenced the kindergarten standards to see where they came from.  It is so important to cross-plan for your students, especially your struggling ones.  When I saw a student that was having difficulty with a basic first grade skill, I’d refer to my K standards and backtrack to re-teach some of those to that student in individual or small group time.  I’d use my student data sheets to record our sessions and notate which standards we were working on.  Then I’d use my binder to file all of my notes on that student so that I had accurate data of my plan towards his/her progress.  On the flip side, if I had a student that was particularly high performing and had mastered many of the grade level standards, I could look ahead to 2nd grade and see what I could start to pre-teach this student in individual conference time.  Also I could look even further towards third grade to see what foundational groundwork I need to lay for those students to be successful down the road.

So you see, if you are just focused on your particular grade level, then I don’t think we are using the maximum potential to get the most out of our students.  The Teacher Anchor™ was always created to be used interchangeably between your student data and your lesson plans.  So often we plan, execute our lesson, assess and move on, leaving students that may be struggling or who may have already mastered this skill behind.  A lot of time is wasted in the classroom by doing blanketed lessons that target the whole group and don’t focus on the individual student progress.  That’s why the Anchor is different than anything else on the market.  Because your data is used to drive your instruction.  You are held accountable for each students progress and preparation for the years ahead.  It’s a big job and the Teacher Anchor™ can help you manage it at any level.  That being said, the CCSS for grades 4-6 are included in my Free Printable Library so that you have access to all the elementary levels.  Now on to some other FAQs…

My (insert state/school) doesn’t use the Common Core!  Can I order mine without?

Unfortunately the Teacher Anchor’s™ are all pre-printed and cannot be ordered without.  That being said, I sell quite a number of Anchors to teachers in schools and states that do not currently use the Common Core.  You can do one of two things:

1. You can print out your standards and just insert them in the binder portion.  Since the CCSS are in the back of the spiral planner, you can easily clip them together and ignore them as you use the remainder of your planner.

2. You can take your Anchor to your local print shop and have them uncoil it and removed your CCSS.  Then hole punch and insert your school/state standards and re-coil.  Most print shops will do this for free (just tell them you’re a teacher!)

I teach the upper grades.  I don’t think I can use the Teacher Anchor™ because the CCSS are only for grades K-3.

Not true!  As I mentioned before, the upper grades are available for free download in our free printable library.  You can easily print them out and take them to your local print shop to have them replaced within your Anchor (as I mentioned in #2 above).  The Teacher Anchor™ is even more applicable to the upper grades because of the customization.  The binder/spiral system is meant to work together to maximize the needs for you and for your students.  Let the data drive your instruction and be intentional with your plans.

I ONLY teach 2nd grade.  I don’t need the other grade levels in there.

Yes you do.  In case you just skipped to the FAQs and didn’t read the above summary, I re-posted this question.  And here is the answer:

One of the main jobs of a classroom teacher is to monitor the progress of your students.  As a first grade teacher, I was constantly using the standards to see where my students needed to be by the end of first grade.  That being said, I CONSTANTLY referenced the kindergarten standards to see where they came from.  It is so important to cross-plan for your students, especially your struggling ones.  When I saw a student that was having difficulty with a basic first grade skill, I’d refer to my K standards and backtrack to re-teach some of those to that student in individual or small group time.  I’d use my student data sheets to record our sessions and notate which standards we were working on.  Then I’d use my binder to file all of my notes on that student so that I had accurate data of my plan towards his/her progress.  On the flip side, if I had a student that was particularly high performing and had mastered many of the grade level standards, I could look ahead to 2nd grade and see what I could start to pre-teach this student in individual conference time.  Also I could look even further towards third grade to see what foundational groundwork I need to lay for those students to be successful down the road.  So you see, if you are just focused on your particular grade level, then I don’t think we are using the maximum potential to get the most out of our students.  The Teacher Anchor™ was always created to be used interchangeably between your student data and your lesson plans.  So often we plan, execute our lesson, assess and move on, leaving students that may be struggling or who may have already mastered this skill behind.  A lot of time is wasted in the classroom by doing blanketed lessons that target the whole group and don’t focus on the individual student progress.  That’s why the Anchor is different than anything else on the market.  Because your data is used to drive your instruction.  You are held accountable for each students progress and preparation for the years ahead.  It’s a big job and the Teacher Anchor™ can help you manage it at any level.

Do you have other questions?  Don’t hesitate to email me: chandra@cjayneteach.com and I’ll answer them for you.

Also if you are waiting on your Anchor to be delivered, they should be in your hands by August 1st.  I truly appreciate your patience.  We have had a busy summer with lots of change and adjustment and I appreciate your kind words, support, and understanding.  🙂  Also only about 20 Teacher Anchor’s™ remain until spring 2015.  So if you’re thinking about it, now’s the time to act!

Enjoy the final few weeks of your summer!

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Teaching Magic Interview
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I’m so excited to have been interviewed by Sheila over at Teaching Magic!  She is such a doll and our conversation was so wonderful! I was a little nervous to be interviewed, but Sheila could not have been nicer and made me feel so comfortable  –  like we were just chatting over coffee!

I talked a lot about starting a business, the product line, my life in the classroom, and the Teacher Anchor™!  I also gave lots of peeks into the new Teacher Anchor™ and discussed how I used it in my own classroom and how you can use it now.  Most importantly I talked about my journey as a teacher.  The things that pulled me down in the beginning of my career (burnout, negativity, trying to “do it all”) and how setting boundaries and focusing really got me back to my passion in the classroom.  I also talked about the purpose and the intention behind my products, specifically the Anchor – also my favorite moment in the classroom EVER and why I don’t want a meal planner in my lesson planner – ha!  I don’t want to spoil it, so tune in to see the whole interview here.

Thanks again Sheila for such a great conversation!  You are destined for big things, I just know it and I can’t wait to watch your journey.  And anytime in the future, I’ll graciously be a guest on your show!

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