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Teacher Time Management Tip


One of my goals for 2018 was to have more balance in my life and try to leave work at work. Now this also refers to trying not to think about and take home all of the stresses and problems from the day, but I’m still working on that part.  One thing that has helped me balance the actual physical work is a little schedule. Each week I have many of the same tasks to accomplish especially in terms of lesson planning and preparing for the upcoming week. So I created a little schedule to keep myself on track. It has helped me not take work home – especially on the weekends which is in turn helping me find balance.

The nice thing about my schedule is I can add on any other tasks I have that week. Trust me – the above list is not the only items I have on my to do list each day. I typically have 12 or more items each day to do – just for school.  But, the items above are ones that I do on those set days week after week. It’s helped keep me on track with weekly type tasks, which in turn has made it easier for me to leave work at work.

Do you use a routine or set schedule with your school tasks?  Comment below with your tips and suggestions!

Friday Favorites – Teaching Supplies

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Every Friday this summer I am sharing some of my favorite things with you! The month of July is focused on technology and academic areas.

Check out past Friday Favorites…
PD Books
Read Alouds
Kids’ Favorite Series
Book Studies
Tech Apps

PBL Activities

Today I’m excited to share with some of my favorite teaching supplies! I’ve always loved office supplies. Even when I was a kid I loved looking at all of the pretty pens and papers in the office supply stores. Maybe that was my early calling to be a teacher as we get to work with office/school supplies often! Below are some of my favorites that I use every school year….

Scotch Laminator – This is a must have and I don’t know what I did before owning one. Yes, you can use the school laminator, but we all know how that goes. There is a line, it’s broken, it’s out of film, etc.  Having your own makes life easier and everything always looks pretty laminated!
Image result for scotch laminator

Flair Pens – This is another must for most teachers I know. Flair Pens are the best pens in my opinion. They are bright and colorful and write so nicely! I love using them for everything at school and at home!
Image result for flair pens

PaperPro Stapler – This is one of the best staplers I’ve ever bought. A simple push makes it staple easily! Hanging things on the wall is also easier too, but you have to be careful because it opens up to staple on the wall in a funky way. But, once you get the hang of it, it works so well!
Image result for paper pro stapler

Ticonderoga Pencils – Best pencils ever! We have different pencils that we have to use at our school and they drive me crazy. They’re always breaking and take forever to sharpen. Ticondergoa are the best ones. And, they even have packages where they come pre-sharpened!
Image result for ticonderoga pencils

Chart Paper – I love to use Anchor Charts in my classroom and my bulletin boards and walls are typically covered with them. So, chart paper is a necessity! I know some people like the sticky post-it chart paper, but I personally prefer they regular good, old plain chart paper.
Image result for chart paper

White Board Kidney Table – So I know you can’t see the whole table, but this shows you how awesome it is to have a white board table. It makes pulling small groups so easy and the kids can do their math work, writing work, phonics work, etc right there on the table. The kids think it’s fun too!  They have different sizes and shapes.  I have a kidney shaped and rectangle shaped white board table in my classroom.

Post-It Notes – I use Post-It’s for everything! We use them to respond to our morning message, as bookmarks, to write notes, to do lists, etc. I can never have enough!
Image result for post it notes

Sit Spots – I had been a classroom rug user before, but after getting Sit Spots this past fall I’ve switched over to Team Sit Spots.  These are easier to keep clean than a rug and you aren’t tripping over them. I can’t tell you how many times my old classroom rug would get a bump in it or get stuck on something and I ended up tripping over it.  The Sit Spots are bright, colorful and you can position them wherever you want!  Love it!

Plastic Storage Containers – Oh Sterilite- with how many plastic containers I own, I should buy stock in your company. I know I’m not alone in the hoarding of storage containers, I know there are many teachers who join me in this obsession. And, you can never have enough! If you see them on sale, you have to buy them because you never know when you’ll need it. I have containers in all shapes and sizes and they are amazing for organization!
What are some of your favorite must-have teaching supplies? Comment below.
Thanks for stopping by and checking out my favorite supplies! Next week I’ll be sharing my favorite Back to School/First Week of School books.

Quick Tip – White Board Erasers


Just stopping in to share a super quick tip with you today. Every student in my class has an individual white board that we use for many different lessons and activities.  So, in addition to needing a marker every student also needs an eraser.

As we know, the regular white board eraser can be pricey for each student to have one. So, for the past few years I have used socks.  I picked up a package of boys socks from Target and each student gets one.  The nice thing about this is I can reuse it year after year. Every summer I bring the socks home, wash them, and then they are good to go for the next school year. They make look a little funky with all of the colors – but they work – and it’s a cheap solution!

What do you use for your white board erasers?

End of the School Year – Tip #1


Since the end of the school year is quickly approaching for us, I wanted to start a brief Wednesday blog series exploring some of my favorite End of the School Year Tips.

So here is Tip #1….
Lists, Lists, and More Lists…

I know this might sound like an easy one and I’m sure most of us do it, but lists are what help keep me sane most of the year, but especially at the end of the school year.  The end of school tends to bring up lots of deadlines and due dates for teachers, meetings, conferences, assemblies, presentations, performances, etc. It can be hard to keep it all straight! I rely on my planner, to do list, and the app – Wunderlist.

Again – super simple – but your planner. I have all of the performances, activities, dates, due dates, etc written down in here. This time of year if it’s not written down, I probably won’t remember to do it.  This planner page is still pretty open – just wait because I know it’ll fill up.

I love and live by my To Do lists.  I write a new one each day. I have a long list on the app Wunderlist and then pull items as needed from it to my to do list in my planner.  This to do list is my must do for that day. I put my school stuff at the top and personal/TPT stuff at the bottom.

I use Wunderlist to keep a longer list going. Since it’s an app it’s with me all of the time and I can add to it wherever I am.  This is a free app that allows you to make different lists and check things off as you do it. It also makes a beautiful dinging sound when you check something off that is rather satisfying.  I use it for a longer school list. I have a separate home list, grocery list, TPT list, etc.  I’ve also started a list of things to do over the summer for school. I highly recommend this! I keep getting ideas of things I want to do or do differently next year and know I won’t remember them. So I add them to my summer list! And then, this summer, I can go through and get started!

How do you keep track of all of the end of the year craziness? Write me in the comments below.

Quick Tip – Snacks in the Classroom


I have quick tip for you today. If your students eat a group snack in the classroom, this tip may come in handy. In my class, students may bring their own snack or may have one of the snacks that has been donated by parents.  I sometimes offer two choices (and I feel a bit like a waitress), but often try to offer one.  I found it quite messy at times and it got to be expensive buying little paper plates and cups all the time to hand out their snack. One day I got a brilliant idea – coffee filters! They are cheap, but make a nice little bowl for students to hold their snack in. And, it makes a little less mess crumb-wise too.

Trust me…we do not have Oreos every day.  We had some leftover after our class party.  

Quick Tip – Student Computer Log-Ins

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For some reason…and I have never understood this…each computer program at school has to have a very different log-in for the kiddos.  Some are first initial, last name.  Some require half of the last name. Some require capitals and numbers etc. I have a hard time remembering my eight billion log-ins and I know it’s no different from kids.  Last year I started a log-in card system that worked beautifully! I’m using it again this year and it is a lifesaver!

I start out by printing out labels for each program we have. This year we have AR, MobyMax, Pearson Realize, and Spelling City.  I have one page of address labels per app.  I label it with the title of the app and leave a blank spot by username and password. Then, I fill in the eight million different user names and passwords on the labels and stick them to the cards with the student’s name label on it. Voila- easy access. I hang it by the front white board and students can refer to it as needed, take it to their seats, etc.  It has saved me a lot of time and makes it easier for kids to be more independent with logging in to the computer program.

Quick Tip – Passing Back Student Work


Passing back graded work is often a dreaded task for teachers. We already spent time grading it and certain days it fills like it’s a mountain of paperwork. Then, that mountain needs to be passed out.
The last few years I’ve used a system that has really worked easily for me.  Now, I didn’t invent this.  So, I’m not taking credit, but I wanted to share it in case passing back work has become a nightmare for you and you’re looking for a way to make it a little easier.
So, I use one of those college crates from Target. I put in hanging file folders and have on with each child’s name on it. It sits on top of my iPad cart at just the perfect level for standing and filing.  I have a file where I put graded work and as I have time throughout the day, I file a few things in student’s hanging file folders. Again…not rocket science…but it has served me well for years!
In addition to the student work folder and the individual student folders, I have a folder for our reading logs that the kids do weekly and a folder for notes and homework. This makes pack up a breeze because everything is right there!
Just a quick tip to share with you today! How do you pass back student work???

Classroom Organization Tip – Math Games/Activities

So over the course of my ten years of teaching, I’ve collected a lot, a lot, a lot of materials! Things I’ve made, bought, found on TPT, etc.  It got to the point where file folders weren’t working to store the materials  because some items were too large and many items fell out. So, I went to my trusty bins.  If you don’t know me, I love plastic bins. Like I have a problem. I should probably go to plastic bins anonymous.  I have many bins, yet if I see a cute one – I have to have it!
Anyways….so the bins came to the rescue. I decided to store my math games/activities, literacy station activities, book studies, etc in these bins.  Then, last year I finally got around to labeling them so it wasn’t a guessing game as to what bin I pulled off the shelf. It has worked wonderfully! When I’m teaching the place value unit, I just pull down the place value bin and all of my games, activities, and stations are in there ready to go!
Sneak peek inside of my place value bin!

Just a quick tip, but I had to pass it along because it’s helped me keep all of my math items/units organized!

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Classroom Jobs

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In an effort to simplify my life and make classroom jobs easier to manage, I’ve decided to only change jobs once a month.  So each student has their job for one whole month!  In the past, I changed jobs weekly.  This was difficult for 2 reasons. 1 – I often forgot to change them on Monday, which would then turn into Tuesday and students only had jobs for a few days.  2. -The kids often forgot what job was their job and didn’t have that down until Thursday or Friday and by that time it was almost time for the new week and time to switch.
I saw many teachers on Pinterest and through blogging that change it once a month and I definitely see the perks! Kids have a chance to become really good at their job.  Kids know exactly what their job is and know it’s their job since they have it for a whole month.  And, it takes one thing off my plate every week since I only have to change jobs once a month.
Since I decided to do jobs differently, I also made a new job chart.  I made the headers/backgrounds in PowerPoint and then used a push pin to put each student’s name up there.
Here are the different jobs and what their task is:
  • Star Student – this will change weekly. Every child has a chance to be Star Student during the school year.  I pick a different child each week. This student gets to take home a poster to fill out about themselves and share it with the class during the week. This student is also my assistant of sorts who helps with any task that needs assistance.
  • Door Holder – this one is pretty self evident 🙂
  • Greeter – This student greets adults who come into the classroom and let’s them know what we are working on.  We often have visitors (staff, admin) and prospective parents and students on tours so a greeter is a great way for them to feel comfortable and know what we are working on in our classroom.
  • iPad Helpers – We are so lucky to have enough iPads for it to be 1 to 1 in our classroom. The iPad Helpers help with distributing the iPads, questions about them, and plugging them in at the end of the day.
  • Snack Assistant – The Snack Assistant goes around and distributes hand sanitizer to all of the students.
  • Lights Helper – Another job that is pretty explanatory. 🙂
  • Library Helpers – These students help keep my classroom library clean and handle returning books to our school library.
  • Homework Helpers – These students help me pass things out and help with organizing our homework bin in the morning.
  • Clean Up Helpers – Clean Up Helpers help make sure everything looks neat and tidy at the end of the day.
  • Cubby Patrol – Cubbies tends to get messy and kids tend to leave things in their forever.  So, Cubby Patrol monitors the cubbies every day so things don’t pile up.
  • Table Captains – There is one table captain per table group in my classroom. They are in charge of passing out papers to their tables.

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Classroom Reveal 2016-17

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I’ve finally made it to year 10 of teaching. It’s hard to believe I’ve been teaching for 10 years. It feels like just yesterday I was in my student teaching class while attending ASU. And, now ten years have passed!  I will say this is one of my more organized classrooms. I was very lucky that since I taught summer school I didn’t have to put everything away. It also gave me the chance to organize and fine tune some of the systems and things I have in my room. This is my third year in this classroom, which also helps.  Each year I made tweaks and I think I finally have it where I want it. So, without further ado…here is my classroom for the 2016-17 school year.

This is the welcome bulletin in the hallway right outside my classroom. This bulletin was inspired by Katie from Queen of the First Grade Jungle.
My Instagram Bulletin on the other hallway bulletin right beside my room. This was my favorite bulletin board last year.  I take pictures throughout the month and place them on the board. I also added a hashtag like Instagram that helped describe the picture. This is a really neat way to showcase different things you do in the classroom and a nice way to capture the whole year in a little timeline of sorts.
Right outside my classroom door, I have my class list posted.
This is the view you see when you enter my classroom.  I struggled with ways to set these desks up. They are new and have really cool iPad stands, but since they are angled, they don’t connect. Which I’ll be honest, drives me a little nuts. I love kids in groups.  And, it’s driving my OCD self a little crazy that there is space between the desks. But, I want them in groups, so space there will be.  It actually hasn’t been a problem yet (although we are only 2 days in).
Here I have my Bucket Filling Board.  See how I use that here.
This is my huge shelving unit.  The books are my teacher books. These are the books I use to teach different concepts and they are divided out into those concepts. For example I have bins like – Schema, Characters, Letter Writing, Behavior, Important People, etc. On the floor, the numbered bins are my Math Station bins.  
 On top, I have bins that have my math supplies. I’ll be doing a separate post on this soon.
There is my Clip Chart.  See how I use  my Clip Chart here.
Here is the view from one of the front corners of my room.  I love that my room has so many windows. The window by my kidney table has an awesome view of the Las Vegas Strips.  My room is definitely in an awesome spot!
Here is my math and supply area.  On my bulletin, there will eventually be math anchor charts in that open black space.  I house my math supplies in the bins on the right side shelving unit. I use the other shelving unit to hold extra supplies – crayons, glue, clip boards, white board markers, etc.
Here is my Writing Area.  This table is used for Writing Station during Literacy Stations. This is also where all of the Writing Workshop materials are housed.
Here is my front white board. I will eventually be adding a portable word wall beneath the white board. Stay tuned for info and pictures on that.
Here’s my teacher area.  Less cluttered than normal :-).  We use the stands that are on the kidney shaped table like a document camera using the iPad and projector.
Another view of my teacher corner.  I use the plastic drawers that are stacked to keep material for that day. Great way to keep lessons, papers, and books organized and ready to go for teaching.
One more view of my teacher area. This white board is used for a few things. Currently you can see my homework board. I will also put my literacy station and math station groups on here.
Close-up of the homework board. I use cute washi tape to make it! Brightens up the room.
View of the room from my teacher corner.
I love this table! This is a white board kidney table.  At first, I was concerned that the white board markers wouldn’t erase well, but THEY DO!! And, the kids love it. There is something special about writing on the table that is way more fun than even writing on the white board. I love having this for small group work.
Here is my writing bulletin.  The larger side will hold anchor charts we create in class. The smaller section will be for my writing spotlight.  See more about my writing spotlight…here.

Here is my Reading Bulletin. Again, there will be class created anchor charts posted here.
Here is my classroom library. This is one of my favorite parts of my classroom!! Check out how I organized my classroom library, here
Here are my cubbies and backpack hooks. The kids use the cubbies to store their lunch boxes and snacks.  They then hang their backpacks on the hooks.   I also have my classroom jobs displayed on the wall.  A post about the new way I’m doing classroom jobs will be coming soon…
One more view- this one is taken from my library.
Thank you for stopping by to check out my classroom for the year. I’m very excited with how organized it turned out and it has been very functional so far!  Hope it will continue to work so well for the rest of the school year!
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