Best Teacher Gifts Under $25

Teacher gifts can be challenging. Whether your child’s teacher’s birthday is coming up, or you’re a teacher participating in Secret Santa, it’s always tough to know what others will like. If you’re looking to get a little more creative than the traditional Starbucks gift card (and support small business), then here are some of the best teacher gifts for you!

Book Lovers’ Soy Candles from Frostbeard

Do you know what most teachers love? Books and candles. When you find something that combines the two, it is truly exciting! Frostbeard is a candle shop based in Minneapolis, Minnesota that focuses on candles for book lovers. You can choose from scents like Bookstore, Old Books, Oxford Library, and Headmaster’s Office, just to name a few! They also offer several sizes, so you can go big or tiny based on your teacher gift needs 🙂

Laptop Stickers from Coffeein5th & NewHampshireBelle

Laptop stickers are perfect teacher gifts! Teachers love motivational quotes and cute illustrations. It’s part of the job. Laptop stickers are the perfect way to gift a teacher with a pretty little dose of positivity each time he or she opens up a laptop to take attendance. And speaking of that, NewHampshireBelle has the perfect sticker reminding them to do that, too… admin will thank you 😉

( Get better at taking attendance here —> Tips for Forming Good Habits )

iPhone Charger Decal from FourPandas

This shop out of Jacksonville, Florida offers all kinds of monogrammed teacher gift ideas! Teachers (and I can only speak for the Southern ones) LOVE monogrammed gifts! I love monogrammed gifts because they show that you put some thought into it ahead of time. Plus, teachers (along with everyone else) can never have enough chargers!

Personalized Notebook from OldWaysFuss&Feathers

I feel comfortable telling you that, no matter the teacher you’re thinking about, he or she is a list-maker. Teachers just can’t help it. There are a million and one things to remember: Notes to take in meetings, things to copy, children to send to the office early next Tuesday at 11:10. #teacherlife is impossible without lists and notes, which is why notebooks are one of the best teacher gifts! These sweet notebooks out of North Vernon, Indiana just add an extra little bright spot to list-making! 

Read: Weekly Lesson-Planning Process

Teacher T-Shirts from uniquebelletique

“Wait a minute…” you may be thinking. “Teachers wear t-shirts about teaching?” Yes. Yes, we do. On a dress down day, a teacher shirt, jeans, and cute tennis shoes are the most Instagrammable teacher outfit you can imagine! Teacher t-shirts make great teacher gifts! Luckily, Etsy is FULL of cute shops with tons of options, like uniquebelletique out of Midlothian, Texas, and whimsyandwhiteboards out of Salem, Oregon. 

Bonus

No teacher gift is complete without a meaningful card. In fact, you could really get away with this being your ONLY gift. And I’m not talking about a card that says, “Thanks for being the best teacher ever,” but a truly meaningful card. One where you list the things he or she does from day-to-day that you appreciate. It could be how your child’s teacher has worked really hard with him/her on handwriting over the past few months, or how your coworker across the hall always offers to make your copies.

Teachers like kindness and inspirational words, right? (see above) I still have cards hanging over my desk at home that are 3-4 years old. Those kids are almost in middle school now! But the kind words that those parents took the time to write me have been some of the most lasting gifts I’ve ever received.

You might also like: School Supply Shopping List

What gift ideas would you like to add to this list?! Please share them in the comments section 🙂

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Best 2020 Planners

It’s time for 2020 planners! Ahh… all those fresh, new possibilities. The fresh packages of color-coded pens. The cute stickers. The goal-setting. I cannot even begin to describe how excited this season makes me! I’m so excited to share my favorite 2020 planners this year with you!! Here we go! 

Emily Ley Simplified Planner | $48

I bought one of these at the beginning of the school year, and I was really pleased with the design, size, and priority activities at the front. If you get overwhelmed by too many boxes and detailed lists in your planner, this one is for you! It is easy to carry around. The paper is of excellent quality, and the overall brand is just super cute and happy. Emily Ley also offers a few books that pair nicely with the planner to help you prioritize your tasks and set goals

Erin Condren Softcover Life Planner | $30-$35

After admittedly not being the biggest fan of Erin Condren planners, I have to say that the new softbound option has drawn me back to Erin Condren. I LOVE how sleek and easy softbound planners are to carry around. I love not having to worry about big, bulky coils. Plus, as always, the colors and designs are beautiful. The 2020 planners come in three different layouts so that you can choose the one that works best for you! 

Happy Planner | $21-$39

Even though I don’t necessarily love big-coil binding, The Happy Planner is one I can really get excited about! I am using the lesson planner this year, and I absolutely love the colors, the layout, the quotes, and doodles. It truly makes you feel… well, happy. These also work well as scrapbooks or journals. There are TONS of gorgeous planner stickers on the Happy Planner website and Michael’s (usually accompanied by great deals, too!). 

Panda Planner | $34

I recently discovered this planner and am pretty obsessed with it! The layout reminds me of a cross between Passion Planner and Day Designer. I LOVE that helps you cultivate a positive attitude (and who couldn’t use a little more of that?)! There are different options to choose from, but I like the pre-dated, weekly layout the best! I love that it offers places for you to list your priorities, as well as the day’s wine wins. ( hey, sometimes wine may be your win 😉

Read: Flexible Long-Term Planning Solutions

Passion Planner | $30-35

Year after year, I check out (and usually buy) all kinds of new planners. I always want to be sure I’m not missing out on something that could be helping me keep my life together. But I ALWAYS seem to come back to the Passion Planner. I love the goal-setting exercises that the beginning and how they keep you focused throughout the year. The 2020 planners have gorgeous color choices. This year, they also have sticker packs and a daily layout!

You might also like: How I Organize My Planner

Planners are more than just a pretty place to keep track of your commitments. They are visible evidence of how you spend your most precious resource: your time. I am always on the lookout for planners that help people identify their long-term goals, and break them down into smaller steps. How you spend your time now ends up being how you spent your life. Make sure you’re being proactive and in control of your time! 

There are a MILLION other planners out there, and plenty I don’t know about yet! Please share them in the comments so I can buy them all check them out 🙂 

HAPPY (almost) 2020!! Follow Organized Charm on Instagram for all kinds of planner tips! 

Also check out: Ordering a Plum Planner

How to Study a Foreign Language

studying foreign language

I love your post about taking notes from a textbook, however I’m currently taking Spanish and the book isn’t set up in paragraphs.  Any tips on how to study a foreign language?

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It can be frustrating to study a class/subject that isn’t set up the “traditional” way. For example, we get used to textbooks being set up like a hierarchy with heading and subheadings. On the other hand, foreign languages are more about acquisition and proficiency of the language than they are about learning information.

Foreign Language textbooks tend to focus on grammar rules, conjugating verbs, etc. BUT they don’t always teach you HOW to speak the language.

Another thing that’s weird about  language is the vocabulary terms. For example, the vocabulary terms are usually pretty random and not necessarily what you would need in day-to-day life. I’ll never forget a Spanish class I had my freshman year when my teacher had us saying sentences from the textbook, like “Necesito  mochila” (I need a backpack). We were in tears laughing because they were so random!

Language acquisition happens for us in other languages the same way that it happens in our primary language. How did you learn the language you speak now? You listened to others speak it, you read short children’s books, you played games where you matched 3-letter words to pictures. Learning a foreign language is very similar to teaching yourself Kindergarten!

High Frequency Verbs

In Kindergarten, we teach High Frequency Words. These are words that appear most frequently in the Engligh language: words like a, to, the, are, you, is, etc. Similarly, Terry Waltz came up with the idea of teaching the seven most common verbs first, so that you can create more sentences that you might actually use. Here are the “Super 7” for Spanish:

1. está (is at a place / is feeling)

2. hay (there is / there are)

3. tiene (has)

4. es (is)

5. le gusta (likes / is pleasing to) 2

6. va (goes / is going)

7. quiere (wants)

Read: Study Tips for High School Students

Keep a Notebook

First, track what you’re learning in a notebook, and be sure to use a pencil! Color-coded notes may not work as well for foreign language like they would for science. Next, dedicate different sections of your notebook to what you learn about grammar rules and vocabulary. Finally, give yourself the challenge of writing 10 sentences for every new vocabulary word you learn.

Related: 4 Rules for Effective Studying

Give Yourself Homework

I’m sure your professor gives you homework but is it effective? In college, I always found it easier to teach myself than to try to learn from a professor (no offense, professors!). For example, ordering a simple workbook that’s designed for elementary Spanish-speaking students would be a great (and kind of fun) way to apply and practice what you’re learning!

You might also like: Crash Course in Visual Note-Taking

Use Google Translate

Throughout your day, what sentences do you find yourself saying over and over again in your primary language? Things like, “Do you want to go to…” “Would you please hand me a…” “What time do you want to…” As you start to recognize your recurring sentences, just Google the translation and practice saying that. Likewise, you can also record it on your Voice Memos app to help you remember in the future.

Read: How I Color Code My Notes

Practice!

Foreign languages are all about growing your vocabulary, practicing fluency, learning to read, and practicing correct grammar rules. These are all the things you did in Kindergarten! Don’t just do something once then move on to the next chapter. Keep practicing and applying what you’ve learned! I even used to have the “Siri” voice on my navigation app turned on in Spanish so that I would have to actively listen and comprehend basic instructions (and I only got lost a few times). As a result, my listening comprehension improved and I was able to differentiate between words more easily!

Related: How to Take Better Class Notes

In short, the more you practice, the better you will be! And don’t forget to keep practicing even after you finish this class. Foreign languages are a real “adult” skill that will benefit you for the rest of your life!