Star Planning: Engage the Senses, Make Memories, and Inspire Creativity!

The Inspired Apple: a Fun Teacher’s Blog

click here to connect to her fabulous site – 

I recently had the pleasure of meeting Abby, author of The Inspired Apple, in person this summer in Chicago.  She and I were featured presenters at SDE’s Extraordinary Educators National Conference.  I’ve been a follower of her blog for years, so I knew attending her session was a must!
As a former classroom teacher, Abby knows just what it takes to develop a successful classroom.  She currently works as a literacy specialist for her school.  After hearing her session and taking in her ideas, it’s apparent her district is fortunate to have such a resource in their area.  Abby’s presentation focused on three big ideas: Engaging the Senses, Making a Memory, and Inspiring Creativity.  
Being a mother of two elementary aged children, I get so excited hearing about wonderful ideas other teachers are doing with their students.  I’m lucky that both Riley and Jacob have such wonderful teachers.  When Abby shared photos and stories of examples to demonstrate her three main points, I was reminded of what it takes to incorporate rigor with fun.  For example, some lessons included engaging the senses by baking (using measurement, collaboration, fine motor, and more!).  Whatever the lesson, she stressed the importance of multi-sensory engagement, fun memories, and creativity!  I certainly will keep these ideas in mind for each lesson I deliver… thanks Abby!
No matter if I’m attending a conference focused on technology, literacy, behavior, rigor, or management, one theme seems to be at the center of all discussions: the students.  When we think of what’s best for kids (especially as a parent), we hope for our little ones to have fun and feel confident in their abilities.  Abby modeled this balance beautifully.  
Abby shared several strategies and activities a teacher could do in his or her classroom centered around a read aloud.  Abby’s selections of read alouds are quite intentional.  She explained how her colleagues would come together to gather mentor texts for the upcoming workshop units of study.  After gathering the identified texts, the teachers would participate in a ‘book swap’ (as seen in the slide above).  They would work together to share the responsibility and work-load.  The teachers would read, jot, and pass the books to brainstorm rich ideas that could be used for their read alouds.  The ideas would be put on sticky notes and placed in each book.  This way, the teacher would be reminded of what skill or strategy to explicitly teach during certain parts of the mentor text as they were reading to the children.  
She even shared how she would extend many of the lessons with meaningful activities to really engage the children, build on the relationships and classroom community, and enhance student creativity.  After all, what we remember most are the moments.

I encourage you to check out Abby’s great blog, The Inspired Apple.  You can find her by clicking here on Facebook, here on Pinterest, here on Instagram, and here for her RSS on Bloglovin.  I’m trying to talk her into getting on Twitter!  :)
In closing, I’d like to personally thank Abby for being a wonderful friend.  It was great to get to meet you in person this summer.  You’re just as terrific as I had imagined.  I’m so happy for you and your family in your upcoming new adventures as you bring a new baby into your family.  Congrats!  


Mother. Teacher. Keynote. Author

Erin Klein is an award winning educator, national keynote speaker, author, and mother.

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