Organized Charm

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Favorite TpT Products for Classroom Organization

Classroom organization is one of my favorite parts of teaching! 

You never would have guessed, right?

Over the summer, I spend my time in “Print, Laminate, Cut, Repeat” mode. (suuuper relaxing, yes?) Because I am a stickler for efficiency, I am always on the lookout for products that can keep our classroom running smoothly! 

Here are some of my favorite TpT finds that I use daily!

Daily Chevron Schedule Cards | $4.00 | Mrs. Ricca’s Kindergarten

These cards are amazing and we use them every day! Mrs. Ricca has come up with cards for every subject that you could possibly think of! However, there are still editable cards in case you need them (which we did). 

Just print, laminate, and cut! Last year, I hot glued magnets to the back and kept them on a whiteboard. This year, they’re in a pocket chart. Super versatile and they help Kindergarteners learn the schedule so well!

Positive Parent Communication Binder | $4.50 | Teacher Trap

Parent communication was my professional goal last year, and I downloaded this binder to help. Oh. My. Gosh. It is wonderful! It is full of forms to use for conferences, phone call tips, etc. My favorite thing was the Positive Notes Home section! 

These are editable notes that you can grab to send home with your kids when they do something spectacular! I edited them to align with my Class Dojo skills, printed out a bunch on AstroBright paper and keep them behind my table. 

Whenever I notice a student going above and beyond, I grab one, write a quick summary of what they did, and have them put it in their lunchbox so their parents will see! :) 

Editable Computer Login Cards | $2.25 | TCHR Two Point 0

When you have young students, logging in can be the worst. Every time we learn a new computer program, I spend the first day(s) just teaching my kids how to log in independently. Simply type in their info. Print. Laminate. Cut. 

Then I hole punched the top corner and used a binder clip to hang them on a command hook near the iPads. These are so small that you can have several hanging on the wall, depending on how many computer programs your school uses! 

Class Slides with Timers | $13.00 | Teach Create Motivate

Ok, I have to say, I didn't not remember these bing this pricey. BUT I will also say that we do use them every day! You can delete the slides you don’t need and put the ones you do need in order of your daily routine. Then I project them on our screen. I LOVE the timer feature! 

You can edit it in 5 minute increments and everyone can see it, no matter where they are in the classroom! It is most helpful during workshops/centers because the kids can see their time running out… by the time the timer stops, several of them have already started cleaning up! This helps rotations go so much more smoothly! 

Book Bin Labels | $4.75 | Learning in Wonderland

I have seen these around on Pinterest and TPT for quite a while, but finally made the commitment and tried them this year! I'm so glad I did! Originally, I just meant to use them for one place in the classroom. However, we have ended up using them in several places! 

They are good for birthday walls, cubbies, chairs, class jobs, reading levels, data boards, attendance, graphing activities, etc. etc. etc. Basically anything your kids do in the classroom, these cards can be used for! 

They LOVE them and parents think they are super cute, too! 

If you’re looking for more classroom ideas, I have a whole separate Pinterest account for teaching (Peppy Pandas), and it is full of even more TpT products that I love! 

I’ll never know how teachers did this job before Pinterest and Teachers Pay Teachers! :) 

What are some of your favorite TpT finds? How do you incorporate them in your everyday classroom? Share your ideas (and links) below! 

Saturday, December 30, 2017

One Phrase to Redefine You in 2018

There are many things to organize other than the things in our houses. 

If you take a look around some of these posts, you may notice that organizing my LIFE is equally important to me as organizing my kitchen cabinets is. 

I am CONSTANTLY searching for balance. Balance between work and relaxing, balance between staying in and going out, balance between personal needs and the needs of others. 

And while time management and health are things that we're probably all thinking about anyway. What about organizing our thoughts? Feelings? Attitudes? Honestly, this is one of those areas where people usually say "I just am who I am and I can't change it"! That saying drives me crazy! 

Of course, there are some built-in personality traits... But for the most part, You are whoever you decide to be and you CAN change it. I am a firm believer in mind over matter. I believe that we can do, think, feel, act, and react however we choose. 

I believe this for (at least) three reasons:

Reason #1: When I was in elementary/middle school, I used to be insanely shy. Like, so shy that I would start crying if the teacher asked me a question in Sunday School. In front of a small group of girls. That I saw every week. And I am talking panic attack level, here. 

Today: I can still be quiet(ish) but I have no problem talking to people. I don't even mind public speaking... in fact, I even enjoy it!

Why? Because I simply decided to be something else. 

Reason #2: When I was in high school, I was the worst. student. ever. Do you hear me? EVER. I was always failing at least one class (usually math), I would copy someone else's homework 24 seconds before we had to turn it in, and I NEVER knew when we had tests. Tests!

I studied (read) for a test once and it turned out to be the wrong chapter. My teacher and classmates thought it was hilarious. Being a bad student kind of became my identity in high school, so I just went with it. Worst if all? I didn't even have a planner! (Oh, the horror!)

Today: I have multiple (color-coded) planners. I NEVER miss a deadline. In fact, I remind others about deadlines. I mades straight A's in college, and I finished grad school with a 4.0 GPA. I even made an A in a math class for the first time ever! 

So what changed? How did I go from being the girl that was never prepared to the girl who was overly prepared? 

I simply decided to be something else. 

Reason #3: Senior year, I took a Mock Trial class and decided that I LOVED law! I loved the research. I loved reading through scenarios and pulling out the rule of law that applied. I loved Elle Woods (obviously)! I declared my major Legal Studies during my first semester of college and never looked back.

But guess what? When I started to actually work for attorneys, I HATED it. I hated being inside all day. I hated the nonstop calls. I hated it that I didn't actually get to interact with people... everything was mostly over the phone. And I hated sitting at a desk all day. 

Today: I am in my seventh year of teaching Kindergarten, and I couldn't be happier! I still get to do research but I also get to run around, use silly voices, give hugs, draw, go outside, and do a million different things with my students. I love everything about my job!

I'm SO GLAD I simply decided to DO SOMETHING ELSE! 

So, if you have an area of your life that you're currently unhappy with, I think you know what to do! One of my favorite quotes is "never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway."! 

What area of your life would like to commit to changing in this new year? 

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Saturday, November 18, 2017

5 Tips for Setting Up the Perfect Holiday Table

I'm so excited about this! Today, we have a guest post from the lovely and talented Jessica Kane! If you're like me, you plan beautiful seasonal d├ęcor in your head, but the real execution can be... well, not what you envisioned. Thankfully, Jessica is here to help us and make sure that we have the "tools of the trade" to make our Pinterest party boards really come to life! Enjoy! :)

If you enjoy having a beautiful holiday table for your everyday use or special events such as family get-togethers, then it is important to use a variety of helpful tips. 

By using these tips, you can have an attractive table for several different holidays without spending a fortune on the items needed for your family and guests.

Holiday Tip 1: Look For Table Setting Clearance Sales After a Holiday Is Over

In order to save money on special dishes, glassware and table linens, look for sales after a holiday ends. The day after a holiday ends, you can find beautiful items for the table at deep discounts. Not only can you stock up on holiday paper goods such as plates and plastic eating utensils, but also, you can find durable items such as candy dishes, candleholders and wineglasses. 

Make sure that you have a lot of storage space for consumable and permanent holiday table settings. In addition, store the breakable items inside cardboard boxes or plastic totes after wrapping the items in protective tissue paper and plastic wrap.

Holiday Tip 2: Find Items That You Can Use For Multiple Holidays Throughout the Year

After the Fourth of July, you can find an assortment of red table linens such as place mats, tablecloths and fabric napkins. You can buy these items to use for other holidays, including Christmas and Valentine’s Day. When Easter is over, you can find beautiful pink coffee cups or dessert plates that you also use for Valentine’s Day for your holiday table settings. 

During the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday season, you can shop for numerous things for the table that are silver or gold, and you can also use these things on Memorial Day or the Fourth of July.

Holiday Tip 3: Buy Table Setting Items In Plain Colors As Much as Possible

Rather than buying table-setting items that have decorative designs such as Christmas trees, Easter eggs or American flags, select single-color soup bowls, dessert plates or cake plates. If you want to create an attractive theme with designs for a particular holiday, then use consumable and inexpensive items such as candles, live plants or paper napkins. 

At Thanksgiving, you can create an autumn theme by placing tiny orange pumpkins on the table, and at Christmas, you can place red ornaments on the table.

Holiday Tip 4: Layer Your Holiday Table To Create an Attractive Appearance

Layer a holiday table by using plate chargers underneath classic good bone china dinner plates, salad plates and soup bowls. With this method, you only need to buy and store sets of plate chargers instead of full sets of specialty holiday dishware. You can follow the same layering idea with table linens by using a plain white tablecloth, but you can use a colorful place mat underneath the dishes and eating utensils. 

If you want to create a more attractive holiday table, then you can add textured table linens or decorated place mats.

Holiday Tip 5: Have a Dazzling Centerpiece For a Holiday Table

You should have at least one dazzling centerpiece on a holiday table, and if you have a longer table that is ready for numerous guests, then you might want to have more than one centerpiece. Visit a nearby hobby store to buy inexpensive glass cylinders along with an assortment of small holiday decorative items for the containers. 

For Thanksgiving, you can fill the large glass cylinders with acorns, pinecones or miniature pumpkins, and you can use the same containers at Christmas to hold colorful tree ornaments. For a Valentine’s Day table, fill the glass cylinders with bright red heart-shaped candies before placing long-stemmed artificial red and white roses in the container. 

Use your imagination to fill the same containers for each holiday so that you can have a gorgeous table on a daily basis or for special occasions.

Jessica Kane is a writer for SIlver Superstore, home of the internet’s best flatware.
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