December 5, 2019

Using Mentor Sentences to Build Language

Using mentor sentences to build language acquisition!
day 2 | using a picture card to build their own sentence.

This post contains affiliate links. I will earn a small commission for any purchase made using my links.

Working at a bilingual school the majority of my class is made up of students who speak two to three different languages - both as native speakers and through our school's bilingual program. In addition, my kids receive instruction in both French and English. As their primary English teacher, I only get about 6 hours a week with each of my three classes which means my instructional time needs to be precise and intentional.

When I accepted this position, I knew it would be a year of growth and change for me as an educator. I couldn't be more exhausted each day, but also feel so enlightened and filled with excitement at the very same time. I'm working alongside some pretty amazing French and English colleagues and I can sit here and with an honest heart, write how much I love my job.

One of the largest aspects of my job as the English kindergarten teacher is adapting to the level of which my kinders are at. First, in the French curriculum, kindergarten is considered the final year of preschool. Second, with our school's bilingual program, much of their instruction has been in French so naturally their understanding of the English language isn't necessarily on-par with traditional American kindergarten classes. I'm really having to adapt my own understanding and experience as a kindergarten teacher and find new ways to present appropriate lessons for this group of learners.

In addition to adapting my own understanding of teaching kindergarten at a bilingual school, I'm learning new ways to expose my students to the English language. One way in which I am playing with this with my classes have been the use of mentor sentences.

Using mentor sentences to foster language development

Throughout the last few weeks I've been reading and researching this approach to language and have already seen some pretty amazing results. Mentor sentences refers to a sentence that students will use and manipulate throughout the week in different lessons. This sentence is pulled from a read aloud and as students work with it, they begin to develop a sense for language. The end result is not so much getting them to read or memorize the words, but rather expose them to the written and spoken words.

Day 1 | Introductions and mix & fix activity

day one | mix and fix the mentor sentence
 Day one always consists of introducing the mentor sentence to the class after reading the mentor text. This particular week for us we began a unit on the desert habitat so the mentor sentence I chose came from the book Cactus Hotel by Brenda G. Guiberson. I really love this story because it's realistic and tells the story through the life cycle of the cactus. Throughout the story our class was introduced to a variety of animals and insects that call the cactus home.

After reading and discussing the story I then introduce the mentor sentence. The sentence I chose was:

"Everybody wants to live in the cactus hotel."

I informed my students that we will be using this sentence all week in different ways, but that today I wanted them to just look at the sentence and tell me what they notice. This could range from identifying familiar letters, the number of words in the sentence, how some of the letters look (i.e. lowercase and uppercase), to noticing punctuation or capital letters or sight words. I loved encouraging each class to notice something different and I was excited by some of their responses! They can be so observant!

The activity I paired with this lesson was a mix and fix handout that they would complete at their seats. I try to be very mindful as to how long I have them seated on the carpet and this activity helps get them up, moving, and engaging with the material.

The mix and fix activity was simply the mentor sentence reproduced but out of order. They would simply read the sentence then cut and glue the words in the correct order. I would have them read the sentence once more before gluing it into their workshop notebooks. Afterwards, I'd gather my class back on the carpet to review what we had worked on and orally read the sentence together.

Day 2 | Picture cards

On the second day using this mentor sentence I removed "everybody" from it and inserted a blank. So, now our mentor sentence looks like this:

"A ____________ wants to live in the cactus hotel."

This time students will be introduced to the picture cards that have a photo and the name of an animal or insect from the story printed. After reviewing the mentor sentence, this time I shared that they will select a card and that will be the word they will use to fill in the blank to complete the sentence. The kids loved exploring the different animals and insects and I purposefully used real photos (instead of clip art) since so many of these animals and insects were new for them.

Typically day 2 would incorporate a shared writing activity, but again being mindful of how long I have them on the carpet, I decided to skip it. Instead, I gave them a handout with the new mentor sentence and explained that this time they will be filling in the blank with the word from their card.

Day 3 | Finalizing sentences

We're getting closer to finalizing our sentences and on day 3 my kids used the work they had completed the previous day to write, in their best handwriting, their sentence onto publishing paper. This day is all about focusing on pencil grip, body posture, and writing clean and neat lines to form their letters.

I had students use their notebooks for their reference and stamped their work with the date. Afterwards they painted their newspaper cacti green and were dismissed to choose their workshop centers. I loved how the newspaper cacti added a depth to their work and once everything was assembled, turned out to be such a cute project to display in the classroom!

Day 4 | Adding illustration details

day four | newspaper cacti and adding desert details

It's the last day of this mentor sentence unit! 

My students have collectively worked so hard all week long and day 4 signals the final day! At this point we had been working on reading our mentor sentence as well as writing our new sentences using the word from their picture card on day 2. This day is all about those final touches like cutting out their cacti, gluing them to their paper, and adding detail to their illustrations to match the desert environment.

In kindergarten, a standard we work on and practice all throughout the year is adding details to illustrations that matching their writing.

I spent some time using a student sample (above) to get my kids thinking about the details worth adding such as the colors they should consider for drawing the desert (i.e. red, orange, yellow, and brown), the shape of the plants they want to draw (discussing the sharpness of desert plants), and any details like animals or insects they wanted to add.

From there, their work is glued on yellow or orange construction paper and put up for display in their classrooms! Once they saw their work displayed, they were all so excited to find theirs and share it with others. I can't wait to invite parents in to see the culmination of such hard work in kindergarten!

The inspiration for this mentor sentence unit was from Jessica over at Ideas by Jivey blog! I loved how she made learning so much fun and engaging - meanwhile sharing simple approaches to sentence writing! I couldn't recommend her blog and TpT resources more for anyone looking to add a dash of intrigue to their ELA lessons (especially those who teach bilingual/multilingual students!).

Are mentor sentences appropriate for kindergarten?

Simply put: yes.

I have found that current research supports the notion that second language (in my student's case, English) acquisition occurs when the learner has multiple opportunities to engage with language in a variety of ways (i.e spoken, written, etc.) and their writing.

Additionally, the scaffolding of these lessons are slowly lessened so that students can build upon their own understanding of written English and feel confident in sharing it by day 4. The goal isn't necessarily that students begin to read, but rather be exposed to the words in the English language, grammar, and skills like handwriting. I found that the more my class became familiar with the sentence each day, the more confident they became in their writing abilities. AND at the end I saw an immediate boost in their confidence to read (or speak) English to their peers and with me!

So, I couldn't encourage primary teachers or teachers working with ELL students to try mentor sentences more! Adapt them to the learning you're creating and have fun with it - you'll be amazed with the level of work and understanding your students will achieve!

September 15, 2019

Kicking Off the Alphabet with Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom is a timeless favorite in kindergarten! See how my class uses this text in meaningful ways all week long! |
watch the video version of the story here.
This post may contain affiliate links to which I will earn a small commission. 
You can read more about my disclosure policy here.

It was the second week of school and what better theme to kick off our introduction of letters of the alphabet than with the ever-popular, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom? This week I focused on reviewing the alphabet, foreshadowing the uppercase/lowercase work they'll be doing, and introduced them to their interactive notebooks. It was a whirlwind of a week, but I found my kids are really excited to learn which makes my job as their teacher so much more fun!

There are so many activities to choose from when it comes to linking name work with reviewing the alphabet. I continued with whole group lessons before attempting workshop center rotations this upcoming week. I did so in efforts to provide my students opportunities to model and practice the procedures of using class materials, how to cut and glue into their notebooks, and becoming familiar with the routines during class time.

Here's what we did...

DAY 1: Chicka Name Trees 

After reading the story to the class I introduced to them their first activity. We had linking discussions that this year in kindergarten we are going to review the letters of the alphabet, but begin learning that the letters and sounds we hear form words and those words form the sentences we read all over the place. In fact, the most important (and special!) words they have are their names!

This activity was a fun introduction to whole group work time because my students were engaged the whole time and did a wonderful job identifying the letters in their names.

These Chicka Name Trees were a great kickoff to this unit using the mentor text, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom! A perfect way to practice sharing materials, gluing, and letter/name recognition! |

These Chicka Name Trees were a great kickoff to this unit using the mentor text, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom! A perfect way to practice sharing materials, gluing, and letter/name recognition! |
 letter stickers | amazon

These Chicka Name Trees were a great kickoff to this unit using the mentor text, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom! A perfect way to practice sharing materials, gluing, and letter/name recognition! |

Each child selected the color construction paper they wanted and began gluing their trees together. Afterwards I had them write their name and count the number of the letters on the label, to which they glued to the bottom of their page. Finally, (and the most exciting part for them) was hunting for the letters in their names and sticking them on their trees. The final product was so cute and a colorful addition to the empty back to school walls in the classroom!

DAY 2: STEAM Tree Challenge/SEL Lesson

As a review of the story, I found this STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) activity that challenges students to create their own chicka coconut trees but only with a block and craft sticks. They were to try and design their trees to hold as many letters as they could and needless to say, this activity was a huge hit among all three of my kinder classes.

Although the activity itself was not based in a language arts objective explicitly, I chose it as an introduction to perseverance, getting comfortable with making mistakes, and finding new ways to solve problems. In the year ahead I expect to grow these skills within my students as it relates to their English language development, reading, phonics, and writing skills. Not to mention, encourage and support them in their speaking and communication skills as well. So, I found this lesson to foster just that.

This STEAM challenge activity blended their learning from the story Chicka Chicka Boom Boom with letter recognition! |

I gave students about 10 or so minutes to complete the challenge, meanwhile taking a craft stick away periodically; making it more difficult to hold the same amount of letters. This kind of activity so soon in the year was a great observation of student responses to challenge or setbacks. I was impressed with each class and their enthusiasm and engagement in their learning! Not one became frustrated or upset; rather they were excited to see how many letters their "tree" could hold.

Extension Idea: this activity was a wonderful whole group activity, but it can easily be revisited as a literacy center. For example, I would have students make their "tree" once more and stack as many letters as they could. Then, have them record each letter (practicing letter formation, pencil grip, etc.) in some fashion such as writing or stamping them on a handout in their notebooks or to be turned in.

DAY 3: Letter Sorting

Day three our class focused on identifying letters, using tools and references in the classroom to help (i.e. the alphabet posters), and sorting uppercase from lowercase letters. I also wanted to choose activities that could be easily glued and included in their interactive notebooks for English workshops. I'm so proud that by this day my students were getting the hang of all the cutting and gluing and getting much faster with this procedure. This practice during class time helps them develop those skills, but their homework is in a similar interactive notebook format so the more time they have to practice the easier it'll be for them at home.

I incorporate interactive notebook style activities that get my students engaged and practicing important fine motor skills and letter recognition! |

I incorporate interactive notebook style activities that get my students engaged and practicing important fine motor skills and letter recognition! |

Introducing interactive notebooks!

A component of their interactive notebooks that I wanted to introduce them to were how to use the spinners and 'rainbow writing'. So, I created this page where they practiced using a paper clip and pencil to spin. In the boxes they were to practice writing their names but in four different ways: with a pencil, marker, crayon, or rainbow write.

As you can imagine, many of these procedures are new for my kinders so these moments to use whole group class time to practice is purposeful in more ways than one. I modeled for them what rainbow writing looked like for this activity, which is choosing a different color for each letter of their name. Rainbow writing will be prevalent this year in their word work both in class workshops and at home for homework. This particular activity took some time for them to grasp, but I found they enjoyed it nonetheless.

I incorporate interactive notebook style activities that get my students engaged and practicing important fine motor skills and letter recognition! |

And that was a wrap of our second week in kindergarten English class! I have been so proud of how well my students are working and working together each day. Over the last few days I've been able to connect with my kids and it's always a pleasure knowing they're having fun. I've already received a number of emails or have heard from my colleagues that English class has been one of a few students' favorite times of the day. I'm looking forward to many more moments where I can leave that kind of impression and encourage these little learners that learning can, indeed, be fun!

Happy weekend and cheers to the upcoming week!

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom is a popular mentor text to use to kick off the year in Kindergarten! See all of my 2nd week of school activities involving this favorite story! |

What are your favorite back to school lessons? Do you read Chicka Chicka Boom Boom in your kinder classes? How do you incorporate it?

September 5, 2019

Creating a Culture of Kindness in Kindergarten

This post contains some Amazon affiliate links. 
You can read more about these links in my disclosure.

I've officially survived the first week of school and it was a whirlwind of a week! For those not familiar, I am an English kindergarten teacher at a bilingual French-American school and this is my first year teaching here. I've taught for 5 years, and many of those years with the littles, but working at a bilingual school is a career first for me. Needless to say, I loved it!

I have three classrooms this year, which means I have 42 kinders in my care. 42! But, it naturally came easier than expected and I am looking forward to this year so much more. 

With that being said...

This first week of school was all about establishing those new routines and procedures, a lot of modeling and practice, and discussions about expected behavior. But, this year our school is taking a new approach to this...

Creating the classroom rules together.

Every year as a teacher I've always found importance in having my students create the classroom rules together as a unified effort. It's always been amazing to see their responses and how much they already know about how to behave at school. So, why not tap into that resource instead of repeating things they're coming into kindergarten already knowing?

Over the summer I, along with my colleagues at school, participated in a teacher training for Responsive Classroom. As a part of this instructional approach, there was a section about establishing the classroom rules together; making students more accountable and included in the process all year long. RC is new for my colleagues, but thankfully I've had a number of years teaching this way and therefore have been able to help in implementing a number of new procedures.

This first week, I loved co-teaching and working alongside my new kindergarten team in having these discussions with our classes about why we come to school, what they're most excited for this year, and deriving categories to iron out what our classroom rules would be. Here's a peek at some of that process!

DAY 1: Why do we come to school?

Read Aloud: I Am TOO Absolutely Small for School (Charlie & Lola)

The Charlie and Lola series are a new one for me, but I am so grateful to my preschool colleagues (in France, and at our school, kinder is the final year of preschool) who have shared some pretty amazing books and curriculum with me! This story follows Lola, as told by Charlie, as she prepares to go to school for the first time. She is nervous about what she'll experience and comes up with silly excuses as to why she doesn't need to go - often very relatable reasons shared by our kinders.

They loved it and found Lola to be so silly! I chose this story in particular to go along with the first step in our classroom rules creation, which was our question: why do we come to school? This is an easy question to answer by our littles, but often one that gets overlooked and rarely related to why our rules are what they are. By having this discussion up front, it leads to further discussions about behavior and throughout the year we can connect back to why we ask students to behave - it's so they can learn!

DAY 2: What are your hopes and dreams for this year?

Read Aloud: The Pigeon HAS to go to School. 

On the second day we reviewed what we had discussed the day prior and why we come to school and why it's important. The following day we asked our classes to think about what they're most excited for this year. Kindergarten is the final year of preschool and a year with the biggest transitions! Many shared that they were excited to make new friends, to paint and color, to learn about numbers, and to play outside.
I chose to read a Pigeon story because, like Lola, he was feeling nervous to go to school for the first time and it's such a silly read. This was another hit with all of my classes and found them really relating to Pigeon, but also finding his fears and anxieties to be silly since they know school is nothing to be afraid of!

We rounded out these last two days by sharing that the next day we would be diving into how the class can achieve BOTH learning and having fun at school.

 DAY 3: Making Good Choices

After much discussion the first two days, I was eager to get my kiddos working and practicing some key writing skills - beginning with tracing.

Read Aloud: No, David!

Now that students have discussed and thought through why we come to school and what they're excited about learning this year, I began lessons that would connect the two in terms of how we/they could achieve that through their actions and words.

I read them the story, No, David! by David Shannon - a very popular read with the littles. I connected their understanding from the previous days by asking them to think about David's actions while I read the story. Of course they picked up on how mischievous he was being, but the important lesson was towards the end when David's mom hugged him and said "Yes, David, I love you." We had a short talk about how us teachers still love our students even when sometimes mistakes in behavior happen in class. This seemed to really resonate with them.

Categorizing Behaviors

One of the objectives for kindergarten is the ability to categorize, or group, items by similar and dissimilar qualities. This was a great opportunity for us to take what they've been learning all week and summarize it in a visual way using Carolyn's Creative Classroom's No, David resource on TpT! I appreciated how easy it was to prep for the day's lesson!

After we read the story I clipped a few of the visual cards provided in the download (ones that most pertained to the behaviors we've already been seeing this week) and had students come up to the board to place them in either the thumbs up or thumbs down column. Afterwards I dismissed them to their tables to begin practicing using their materials such as pencils and markers. They traced the sentence, "I can make good choices at school" and colored a picture of them making a good choice - using our anchor chart as a reference.

DAY 4: Good Choices vs Bad Choices Sort

Read Aloud: Have You Filled a Bucket Today? 

We made it to Friday and what a week of learning it had been!
To wrap up our week discussing and crafting our classroom rules I decided to break out my favorite book about bucket filling. Instead of using it with a bucket filling lesson, I tied it into what we were already doing in class and decided to use it more as a reference (aka "are you being a bucket filler?"). Being a bucket filler is also one of the cards we categorized the previous day with our No, David! activity and today we bridged that learning by explaining what a bucket filler and dipper is.

After reading the story with the class I wanted to make the anchor chart we did together the previous day as a whole group a little more concrete. So, I used this free resource from Melissa Moran on TpT that had students practice cutting, pasting (dot, dot, not a lot!), and sorting, or categorizing, good behaviors and bad behaviors. I modeled for them how to cut and paste and went over each picture before dismissing them to their seats to get started.

And that was a wrap of our first week! I feel as though my kiddos did a great job with our discussions, participating in creating the classroom rules, and working independently to complete their work. I feel like this will be a great year!

Happy teaching and enjoy your weekends!

June 2, 2019

How To Be Successful In School | End of the Year Prompts!

How to be Successful in ____ Grade! am so excited about this writing prompt resource for the end of the year. After testing has finished and the school days begin winding down, I’ve found it so important to keep our little learners engaged and practicing the very skills we worked hard to teach them.

These prompts ask students to reflect and share their year in the form of a ‘How To’ piece of writing. They are writing for the students who are coming up in their grade the next school year and sharing their advice on what made them successful and how these new students can be too. The final product can be hung in the halls the following year to greet the new class or be made into a bound book for the classroom library. They can even be sent home with your kiddos!

Here’s what’s included!

Kinders Who Write!

When I taught Kindergarten my first year teaching writing, as well as reading, was a major objective. At times it really seemed like a challenging goal - to get these little people writing - but by the end of the year I was amazed at the level of work my little kinders were putting out!

The end of the year is no different than the first day. It’s important to keep our little ones writing and practicing those skills and even into the summer months. This download is differentiated for these little kindergarteners with simple, but easy to follow, prompts and guided lined paper both for brainstorming and publishing. I even made the introductory sentence traceable for these little guys using common sight words they would have learned throughout the year! Easy peasy!

Engaging Primary Writers

Our kiddos in first- sixth grade are given prompts that require a bit more detail to their answers. This is so that when they go to begin their first drafts they have some meat to include in their paragraphs. For example, they are asked various questions like reflecting on a meaningful memory from the year or their favorite topic that was studied. 

Each brainstorming page comes with boy and girl templates as well as the option for 2nd-6th grade to use guided lines or regular lines for their publishing paper. I like providing choices for my young writers and I’ve seen that many can determine for themselves when to use the guide lined paper or not.

I hope you all have fun with this activity and find that it helps keep your kids engaged and writing up until the last day of school! Be sure to also check out my other End of the Year resources here on the blog and over at my shop!

March 2, 2019

World of Work: Doctors

In our district we have an initiative called World of Work (WoW), which exposes students to various careers that align with specific personality traits, strengths, and interests. RIASEC codes (developed by Dr. Holland) stand for: Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising, and Conventional. In EAK this year I get the opportunity to introduce students to WoW and begin exploring with them and identifying the codes that best fit their own interests and strengths.

 For the last couple of weeks my students have been exploring a code called Investigative! In this code for EAK/Kindergarten students explore the career of doctor and nurse and learn that people who go on to be doctors enjoy things like:

  • problem solving
  • using science or math to solve problems
  • observational and analytical
To best expose my students to these interests and skills, I developed a unit on Doctors and added lessons about germs in the process! Here's what I've included in my unit and a few resources that helped me bring a fun and engaging experience to our little learners.

Doctors use tools: Stethoscopes and X-Ray Machines

My students learned that doctors and nurses use different kinds of tools to do their jobs and to keep us healthy. One of those tools is a stethoscope! They really enjoyed the Doctor Station this week as they pretended to be doctors and patients in our dramatic play center. It was really fun to see and hear them socializing with each other and using the new vocabulary we've been discussing in our lessons!

Also, one of our art projects was creating our own x-rays using white crayons, glue, and q-tips! I introduced them to x-ray machines that they take pictures of our bones. I also shared that dentists are also a type of doctor that helps keep our teeth healthy - they had no idea that our teeth are also bones and that dentists use x-rays to see inside our teeth and gums!

Thank you Amber from ABCs to ACTs preschool blog for this wonderful idea!

Growing Germs

photo credit: Playdough to Plato

Playdough to Plato is a wonderful preschool blog that has so many great ideas. I happened to stumble upon her Growing Germs experiment and I knew my class would love to do this. Sorry I don't have my own photo to share, but our apples turned out very similarly to hers!

We talked every day about what we were observing (which is practicing their Investigative code as well!) on our apples and discussing why the "dirty" apple started growing germs moreso than the other slices. It was really cool to see their interests grow! 

Germ Blow Painting

Blow painting is one of the easiest centers to pull together! This week in our Artistic station, or our Maker Station, students created germs by blowing paint! I only had them work with one color and I added water to the paint to help loosen it. I snipped the straws in half so we could make them last and it worked!

It was fun to see the different "germ" people they created and now we get to display them in our classroom! I loved incorporating this idea from Sam over at Simple Everyday Mom blog! There are so many ways to bring this blow painting to life and use it for various lessons or topics.

BrainPop Jr.: Going to the Doctor

I personally love using BrainPop Jr. to enhance any unit and have used Annie and Moby plenty of times as a 2nd grade teacher. I was curious to see if I could find any videos that could be used in our unit about doctors and health. Thankfully, Annie and Moby have a video called: Going to the Doctor.

In this video they explain that doctors are medical professionals that keep our bodies healthy. I love that they shared that we should all go to the doctor for regular health check-ups as well as when we don't feel good. This video was a great way to show my little EAK students that going to the doctor doesn't have to be scary. Throughout the video, Annie walks you through what to expect from when you arrive to why doctors ask the questions they do. She shares about the different tools they use and even talk about why vaccines are important. Best of all, this is all explained in under 5 minutes!

This week was a lot of fun and I really enjoyed seeing my students love their learning about doctors. What fun activities do you share with your students to teach them about doctors and germs?

February 11, 2019

Styling with Stitch Fix | February 2019

Referral links are used within this post. Any subscription made using these links earns me a styling fee credit that goes towards future Fixes. All opinions expressed are 100% mine.

It's been a minute since I've had a Fix arrive - mostly due to being a stay-at-home-mom for the last couple of years. However, once I got back into the classroom and had some extra funds to play with, I wanted to treat myself with a few new pieces for my closet. So, I entrusted the help from my go-to stylists at Stitch Fix to help me refresh my closet as we head into spring!

I was eager to see what my new stylist would select for me to try on in this month's Fix. In my note I shared that I like to keep my overall style classic and feminine with pieces that are lightweight and easy to layer. Living in Southern California, we've been experiencing some chillier weather along with rain, so layering throughout the day has been key. I was also in need of updating some of my tops and finding new pants or jeans that I could easily go to work in but also enjoy a casual weekend wearing.

Like always, I wasn't disappointed with what my stylist, Julia, had picked for me. I'm excited to share what I received and what I decided to keep or send back!

Kut From the Kloth- Kate Boyfriend Jean | KEEP

I have always been a fan of a boyfriend style jean ever since I was in college and Gap released their new fit (I was a sales associate all throughout college and loved their clothes!). The relaxed, but fitted around the waist, fit was perfect for my curvy body type and I have really enjoyed having more options than just skinny jeans. This pair already has been my favorite go-to for both work and adventuring on the weekends!

41 Hawthorn - Tulla Knit Cardigan | KEEP

As a teacher I think there's some unacknowledged affinity for cardigans! I feel as though I can never have too many and what I love about Stitch Fix is that the cardigans my stylists have found for me over the years are such great quality! Yes, I could go practically anywhere and find an affordable cardigan, but I'm always having to replace them after a few washes (since I wear them so often). But when I make a cardigan purchase through my Fixes I can wear them again and again without worry of the material breaking down or the color fading - true signs of quality.

Mix by 41 Hawthorn - Abrianna Longsleeve Top | RETURN

This is another top that I really enjoyed - the deep maroon color, the length of the sleeves, and the lightweight feel. The only problem for me is that it fit too large which was unflattering. I have learned that I can best find tops that flatter my features post-baby by the material of the top. This particular blouse is cotton based, so it is lightweight but also stretchy as you wear it. If it were available in a L or even XL I would have exchanged it, but unfortunately the only other size was an XS. Although I'm not keeping it, I made sure to share with my stylist what I loved about it so perhaps she can find something similar next time.

Daniel Rainn - Koda Split Neck Blouse | KEEP

The key for me in terms of blouses is that typically they're made from a material that doesn't have much stretch, so the fit on the bust and waist are very important. Thankfully, this Koda split neck blouse by Daniel Rainn not only fit perfectly but the pattern was beautiful. I love that it added a feminine touch to what would be a basic black blouse.

Sole Society - Ferris Suede Peep-toe Bootie | RETURN

I've heard a lot of great things about Sole Society so I was excited to try a pair on in this Fix! Overall, I really enjoyed this bootie - it was fun, a beautiful blush color, and the fit was comfortable. The problem? The heel.

I'm already fairly tall and I prefer boots and shoes to be flat - especially as a teacher who is on their feet all day. I was sad to send these back, but hopefully Julia can find me a similar pair but with a flat or low heel.

The Breakdown

All in all today I saved on the three purchases I made from my Fix! Although I didn't get that Buy 5 discount, I still ended up finding new quality pieces to add to my closet and spend less than $200. I know, some might be thinking that on a teacher's budget spending $200 on clothing is not what one would consider a price point they are willing to shop in. However, I can say that although shopping with Stitch Fix once a month has helped me manage my closet and overall style, I've been able to invest in quality clothing. Otherwise known as clothing I never have to replace in months time.

Plus, the added bonus of sharing my referral link is enjoying my styling fee being covered! This means I get to only pay for the items I keep and enjoy being styled without paying anything additional! Win, win!

So, what is so great about Stitch Fix?

Stitch Fix first began as a skeptical leap of style faith for me. I wasn’t quite sure that some stylist over the internet could really find 5 pieces that would not only fit me, but be looks I’d actually want to wear. For a $20 styling fee I received my first Fix and was initially so impressed with how my stylist heard exactly what I was looking for and delivered on it. I still wear a number of those first purchases today (and that was over 4 years ago) and enjoy adding new and fun pieces along the way.

I’ve journeyed with Stitch Fix through the ups and downs of my weight and even through my pregnancy with their maternity styles. Since it’s been a couple of months since my last Fix, I was so excited to see that they offer shoes now in addition to a new mens and kids line. This just proves to me that Stitch Fix has a finger on the latest trends, but also keeps the needs of their customers in mind. I can only imaging how they’ll grow and expand into the future!

What about those referral links?

Because I created a free style profile I now have the ability to share my love of Stitch Fix with others. A referral simply allows me to earn a credit of $25, which essentially covers my styling fee for the next time I schedule a Fix, while giving YOU $25 to cover your own styling fee! Once you create a style profile you are given a special referral link and begin earning your own credits. Why not get a credit for something you use anyways? I am so appreciative to those who use my link because it helps me enjoy the little things like a new top or pair of jeans, so thank you.