Creating an Online Vision Board

“I’m going to speak to a group of women today.” said my mom. 

“I had it on my vision board. And in the picture, the audience was even a group of women!”

Although a vision board sounds like something that I would be all about, it’s something that I had never done until this year! 

Over the summer, I did a lot of planning and goal setting. I reevaluated longterm goals, wrote to-do lists for short term goals, and knew exactly what I wanted for the upcoming school year. However, I always thought vision boards were a little… cheesy. 


Then I found this website, Dream It Alive. I liked that I could create the board online, instead of dragging out scissors, glue, and a stack of old magazines. I also really liked that it gives you a checklist of different areas of your life (much like Feng Shui), so that your dreams/goals can be balanced! 

Once you choose an area of life, you follow the link to several stock photos that could represent what you envision for yourself. OR you can upload your own… which I probably would do next time. 


Goal Writing
For each photo, you write a short goal 1-3 sentences. Then you do what is possibly my favorite part: You select the feeling/emotion you will feel upon completion of this goal. I like this exercise because I have never thought about that before. 

Why is this goal important to me? What emotion will I feel once I’ve completed it? It really helped to put things in perspective. Then you can select whether your goal is private or public. I set all of mine to private, just because it felt weird to have them public. 

(I don’t mind sharing with you, though!)


Board Arrangement
I tried and tried, but I couldn’t find a way to rearranged the photos once they were on my board. They will “stack” from the bottom right corner and end at the top left corner. If you complete all 10 categories, your layout will stack in this order:

-Bottom Row: Right Corner, Middle, Left Corner
-Middle Row: Right Side, Right Middle, Left Middle, Left Side
-Top Row: Right Corner, Middle, Left Corner

I tell you this because I deleted and remade it a ton of times to get my photos in the order I wanted 🙂

Once you have your board, you can save/download it etc. for a small fee. Or you can just keep it on the website (for free) and go back anytime you want. You have your own account, which allows you to edit your board whenever you need to. 

You can even mark goals as “fulfilled” and keep a list of accomplished dreams, which I really like!

I definitely feel like seeing these goals every day is keeping me focused! 🙂 


Have you ever created a vision board? Did you choose online or a physical one at your home? Did you feel like it helped you reach your goals?!

My Weekly Lesson Planning Process

I recently received a request on how I lesson planning each week. I was really excited, and a little disappointed in myself for not thinking of it first! I LOVE lesson planning and I LOVE the lesson planning process that I’ve developed over the years! I’m so happy to share it! 
I’ll start “big” and go “small”, so that everything makes more sense 🙂 

1. I Look at Our Pacing Guides:

-Reading/Language Arts (4 days a week): Open Court
-Math (4 days a week): Everyday Math
-Handwriting (3 days a week): Handwriting Without Tears
*For writing, I use the writing checklist journal pages from One Sharp Bunch, she follows the Lucy Calkins writing curriculum. 
*As a Kindergarten team, we do a monthly “Artist Study,” where we study (you guessed it) a different artist every month! (example: September, Matisse… October, Picasso…)
*One day a week, we have “Discovery,” which is where each Kindergarten class rotates through all three Kindergarten classrooms and do a different activity in each one. For this, we either use articles from National Geographic Kids or a cute idea from Pinterest 🙂 

2. We Meet as a Team:
We meet as a team to plan once a week, while our classes are in P.E. and I am so proud to say that we get our planning for the upcoming week done in 45 minutes (and maybe a little chit chatting)! We schedule our lessons and come up with reading & math workshop ideas. 
During this time, we also plan any upcoming events (“Halloween party” or “Valentine’s Day crafts”). We usually spend some of this meeting time browsing Pinterest and looking through binders/notebooks of what was done last year. Then everyone’s ready to plan!
3. It’s Time to Plan:
Once we’ve discussed the pacing guides and chosen the crafty stuff, it’s time to actually fit it into the schedule. Everyone goes back to their classes and the real fun begins! It’s time to fit these lessons into our daily schedules. This is usually pretty simple (except when it’s not). 

4. I Make a Weekly Plan:
You know all those cute, traditional lesson planners with the square grids that come out every summer? Yeah, those don’t work at our school. We joke that “no two days at our school are the same” but in reality, no two days at our school are the same. 

It’s more like a college schedule, and it looks a little different every day! Our kids to go 12 specials a week. Yes, you read that right: 12! They LOVE it that they are old enough to walk across campus to Art or P.E. like the “big kids”. Here was our specials schedule last year:
-Mondays: Science & Spanish
-Tuesdays: Music & P.E.
-Wednesdays: Chapel, Technology & Spanish
-Thursdays: Music & Library
-Fridays: Chapel, P.E. & Art
So, I created a different kind of lesson planning sheet specifically for our schedule. It has been a TREMENDOUS help! Once I get everything plugged in there, I begin typing out daily schedules. The daily schedule is like our “flight plan” and keeps us on track for the day!

5. I Type Out a Daily Schedule:
On the daily schedule, I include things like: “finish art journals during free choice” and “Grey check out at 2:45,” as well as normal daily stuff like “morning meeting,” “calendar,” “snack,” and “lunch.” I carry this around on a clipboard all day and pencil in changes as needed. 

So that (in a nutshell) is my planning process! If it seems super interesting, I’ll go into more detail in another post! For this next year, I’m working on color-coding each subject on the schedule and the storage containers that its materials are stored in. (priorities)
Until I started teaching, I never realized that lesson planning looks different at every school! 

What does lesson planning look like at your school? Are your days really consistent or do they look like “college schedules?”

Share your process below and follow @organizedcharm on Instagram 🙂 

How I Differentiate ELA Small Groups

A couple of years ago, I was working in a low income school with low literacy scores. My kids needed support in ELA and, with 29 students, it was ridiculously time-consuming to analyze their iStation data and try to create individual small group interventions for them. 

Enter: Miss DeCarbo on a white horse waving her ELA Intervention Binder in the air. 

Y’all. She is amazing and this binder helped my kids improve SO much during our second semester! In December, I think eight of my 29 students had consistently been Tier 3. By May, six of them had moved up to Tier 1 or 2! 

Here’s how I use the binder to provide individual instruction at my teacher table: 
I split up the ELA binder into several smaller binders. This makes it easy for multiple children to work at once. 

Split it Up
First of all, instead of putting all of the contents in one binder, I split up the eight sections into colorful 3-ring binders:

Red: Letter Identification & Letter Naming
Orange: Letter Sounds & Phoneme Segmentation
Green: CVC Words & Blends/Digraphs
Blue: Nonsense Words & Fluency

Pink: This is actually Edition 2 (it covers things like diphthongs and vowel teams) Kindergarten is NOT expected to get to these skills, but many of them do, so I tell them they’re getting a “head start” on 1st grade 🙂 

I put each and every sheet into a sheet protector. Did this take a long time? Yes. BUT I did it two years ago, when I first bought this packet and those same sheets are still going strong! My kids use dry erase markers to work in the books. Then we just wipe each page off with a tissue before flipping to the next one! It saves a ton of time and paper in the long run! 

(Related: Best Organization Containers for Your Classroom)

Each child has an envelope and a card that shows them which book to get out. Yellow means they are practicing fluency in our classroom decodable readers. 
Individualize It
Having the packet split up into different books makes it easier to have each child at the table working on their own individual level. I give each child a Post-It with their name on it to stick on the top of the page they’re on. When they sit down, they know exactly where to pick up! 

(Read: Best TPT Products for Classroom Organization)

Once a week (on Thursdays), I transfer the most important notes from their index cards into my Student Data binder. 

Track Their Progress
Next to my teacher table, I have a bulletin board of pocket envelopes with each child’s name. Inside each one is an index card that they bring when they sit down at my table. I write notes about what I observe while working with them, such as “mixes up lowercase t and j” or “confuses /a/ and /e/”. The colored index card on top just shows which color book I need to get out for each child. 

This is super helpful while writing report cards and during conferences because it allows me to remember all of the little things I might have otherwise forgotten! Once they fill up one card, I simply get another index card and staple it on top. I have a date stamper so I can keep track of the dates. I also like to record monthly videos of each child’s progress to post to their individual stories on Class Dojo! This helps the parents see just how much progress they’re making from month-to-month and lets them see how they can help at home!

(Related: How I Organize My Lesson Planner)

They LOVE getting to use these little items during their reading! I also have Miss Decarbo’s Text Evidence passages, (equally amazing as her ELA binder) which is what those highlighters are used for!

Make it Interactive
I love Miss DeCarbo’s ideas about using pointers and googly eyes to make this a more kinesthetic learning activity! I have little containers of magnetic letters, dry erase boards, Unifix cubes, mirrors, and other things to make intervention more hands-on. Whenever a child gets stuck on a certain skill/level, we stop and I reteach the material in a hands-on way until the he or she achieves 80% mastery or higher on the current page. 

(Read: How to Organize Google Drive for Your Classroom)

Signing up to work at rest time/free choice it 100% voluntary, and they watch this board like hawks for a spot to open up! 
Motivate Them
Originally, I let them choose a sticker each time they get to a new “level” (skill). However, as the year goes on, they get pretty driven by thinking about each section as a level, and they frequently ask if they can come work during free choice! My list of kids wanting to work during their free choice started getting so long that I created this little pocket chart as a “waiting list”. 

When they want to work during free choice, they just get out their laminated name card and put it on the list. Once I work with a child, I take his/her name off, and another spot opens up on the list. I have used this small group system for three years now, in a turnaround school and in a private school, and the student motivation to work on reading has been exactly the same! 

(Related: Encouragement for First Year Teachers)

If you want to see more posts like this, check out the Organized Teaching tab at the top of the page!
This intervention binder has worked in my Kindergarten room for intervention as well as a normal workshop rotation. By Spring, my Kindergarteners can get out the book, dry erase marker, and index card and work independently! I either check their work, or have a child who’s already passed that level check it. 

This binder is $21 on TpT, but I probably use it 160 days of the school year… which is worth it to me! 🙂

How do you run your small groups? Do you have any tips for differentiating or keeping your system efficient? Share them below! 

How to Create Your Perfect Vision Board

One of my favorite pieces in our whole house is a bulletin board/chalkboard from Pottery Barn (PB Outlet, to be exact). We saw it on clearance and thought, “hey, we’ll use it for something.”
Flash forward five years, and I have used it for everything. It has been such a great investment for our home and life. It has helped us with school assignments, scheduling, decorating, and just looking cool.
And if you don’t want the one from Pottery Barn, you can always find similar pieces on Amazon, IKEA, and Target’s websites!

Here’s how I’m currently using it:

The first week of Summer Break, I took the time to really sit down and evaluate my goals. We’ve met some big ones in the past couple of years (buying a new house, getting a new job, having a baby), which is super exciting! 

But reaching big goals can also make you feel like, OK. Now what?!
So, I made a really elaborate mind map that started in my Passion Planner and eventually took up NINE blank pieces of paper (I mean, it’s Summer Break).

Then I collected happy little pictures from my life:

– I printed pictures from my life that make me happy (friends, travelling, celebration).
– Lilly 5×5’s from Instagram to add some cheerful colors (with all the money I’ve spent on Lilly, I didn’t think they’d mind).
– Quotes I made on the Little Moments App by FatMumSlim (probably my favorite photo editing app ever).

– I also added notes and cards from people I care about. These are uplifting to read and a great way to start or end the day!
– I finished it off with clipping happy little phrases out of catalogs/magazines.

Each picture represents a specific goal: 

On the back of each one, I took a Sharpie and wrote the small goal that it represented. That way, when everyone else looks at my board, all they see are pretty images… but I secretly know that each one stands for a certain goal that I’m working towards!
As the year has gone on, I’ve added images and notes to the board. I don’t take anything off, I just tack, staple, or tape the new images right on top (I usually just try to cover up the darkest colors). Once I reach a goal, I add a photo of it, such as a photo of a travel destination, or my baby boy!
While the bulletin board is the “inspirational” part, the chalkboard part actual “productive” part! Over the years, I’ve used it for inspirational quotes, to do lists, Post-It calendars, weekly planning, etc. Here’s what it currently looks like (sorry, it’s a little smudged)!

The best office supplies to make it fit your needs!

-I love, love LOVE the Expo Neon chalk markers. They’re usually like $17, but I found a really great deal on them at Office Max last year. So I bought 4 packs, and I still haven’t used them all!
-I’ve also used them to write right on the front of our stainless steel fridge and to make a faux stained glass window in our guest bathroom.
-Sticky Notes are great for making your chalkboard into a calendar, too! I like the $1.99 pack from Target for this!
-I’ve also used Washi Tape to make a Priority Quadrant… which was really helpful in grad school!

No matter what stage of life I’ve been in, having a vision/inspiration board has made it feel less chaotic… hopefully, it will work for motherhood, too! J

Do you use a board like this to keep you on track? How do you use it? What are your favorite supplies?! Share them below! 

Tips for Student Teaching

I recently received an email from a super sweet teaching student, who just happens to attend the same school I went to! She is starting her student teaching this Fall and looking for tips! 

Any tips for those of us going into Junior semester 2 that will start student teaching in the fall?

Well… of course I have advice for that! Here it is 🙂 


Have a Good Relationship with Your Mentor Teacher
First of all, keep in mind that you may or may not have a great relationship with your mentor teacher. It’s kind of a tricky situation from both sides. You’re coming into a classroom that he/she has probably worked in for years. Your mentor teacher has a preferred style of teaching, disciplining, routines/systems, classroom management, parent communication, etc. You’ll have your own ideas about classroom management, the kinds of lessons you want to do etc. 

Listen to your mentor teacher, watch what they do (especially when it comes to classroom management). You’ll learn so much more from him/her than you do in class! But keep in mind that it’s probably been a while since he/she was in college. You’ll have new, fresh, innovative ideas based on the most current research, so you’re a valuable resource to your mentor teacher, too! It’s all about balance, respect, communication, and having a good relationship 🙂


Focus on Classroom Management
Speaking of classroom management, that will probably be your biggest challenge, especially if you’re student teaching in a public school. It can be hard. You will probably cry a few times, and that’s ok! I would definitely, DEFINITELY recommend this website: Smart Classroom Management. Just go to it and read as many posts as you can! Also, pick up the book Teach Like a Champion, and start with the chapters on classroom management. I’m about to start my 8th year of teaching, and I still read/reread it frequently! 

Also, this post may help you once you’re in the trenches of the semester: Encouragement for First Year Teachers


Balance Your Time
Organized Charm is a great resource for you (and I’m not just saying that!), particularly the “Studying” section. I wrote it while I was in grad school and student teaching or teaching full time. Every system that I used was designed to keep me on the right track between my education, professional life, and personal life. I wrote every post based on what worked for me so that others could benefit from my trial and error! 

from @mrshenryinfirst
Become Part of the Instagram Teacher Community
Now that I’m out of school, I’m focusing my attention on sharing routines/systems, etc. that have helped me stay organized in the classroom! I will be adding more to the “Teaching” section of OC! I also started a teaching Instagram @organizedcharm, if you want to check out those things! 🙂 




Take Risks and Have Fun!
Most importantly, this is your time to figure out what you like/don’t like. What works/doesn’t work in the classroom. Get to know your students. Enjoy every minute! December will be here before you know it and you’ll miss those kids like crazy when you finish your semester! 


Do you have any advice for student teachers? Or do you have advice for anyone preparing to have a student teacher in his/her classroom? Add your advice in the comments below! 

How to Create a Flexible Color-Coded Planning System

I’m wondering how you handle changes within your color-coded system.  For example, if the professor pushed an assignment back or classes were canceled due to inclement weather. 
-Tiffany
 
Great question! I get so annoyed when dates change, but then I remember “oh yeah, this is why I have a planner in the first place”. 
 
If the thought of writing every assignment/appointment/engagement in boring pencil in your planner gives you the heebie-jeebies, don’t worry! There are other (prettier) options!
 
 
 
Welcome to the wonderful world of flexible planning!
 
So, “flexible planning” has kind of become my thing over the past few years. I LOVE planning ahead. LOVE. IT. I love color-coding and timelines. I love being prepared and not having things sneak up on me. But… life, y’all. 
 
Life is full of surprises and things are always changing. Events get postponed. New things pop up.
And since our planners are a reflection of our lives, shouldn’t they be able to mirror those changes?
Of course, they should!
So, what’s my #1 secret weapon for creating a flexible planning system?
Post-Its.
 
Post-It’s have come a long way since Michele first invented them. Check out the amount of space in your planner’s monthly and weekly boxes. Then take a stroll down the office supply aisle of any store (or Amazon) to find some colorful sticky notes that will fit! 
 
These are the Post-It Tabs I use for the outside of my Teacher Planner. They’re 3″ (75mm).
 
My favorites are the Post-It Tabs.
They were originally intended to keep on the edge of pages of books, but I have found that they’re the perfect way to keep my color-coded planning system neat and flexible (no more crossing things out)! I just flip them sideways and write on the colored and clear parts. 
Here are the different sizes I use in my Planner: 
 
 
I have found that these are the perfect size for the columns in the Plum Paper Planner! I have the ME Weekly Layout, and this kind of Post-It fills an entire section within a day. If you want multiple Post-It’s, try these:
 
These are a good alternative to the Tabs because they give you more room to write above/below or have multiple flags in a particular section of your planner.
In school, I might suggest using the Tabs for bigger assignments, and the flags for smaller assignments… but just find the system that works best for you!
 
 
 
Here is what I like best about these two types of Post-Its:
-They are durable, so they’re easy to write on
-You can remove/replace them over and over again, and they still stick
-They’re easy to write on
(I use a Black Tombow ABT N15, but Sharpie pens work well, too!)
Here are examples of how I use them:
 
In my teacher planner, I use Post-It Tabs for lesson ideas. Then I can easily move them if plans change.
(Side Note: First rule of teaching? Plans always change.)
In my personal planner, I use Sharpie Highlighters set-in-stone events and Post-It Tabs for things that can be flexible.
 
 
 
 
Other Options:
Another option that I’m not quite as crazy about (but is more cost effective) is the Post-It Page Markers. The colors are pretty and you get way more for your money… but they aren’t as durable and won’t re-stick as easily. If you move it more than once, you’ll probably have to rewrite it. So, I guess it’s good that you get more in a pack!
 
 
Using Post-Its has worked so well for me, that I haven’t really tried another system. Although, I have heard really great things about the Pilot Frixon Erasable Pens. If you’ve tried those, please chime in and let us know what you thought! 
(UPDATE: I have tried these and they are beyond incredible! They actually do erase really cleanly and the colors are fun. The only downside is that they dry out a little faster than other pens. But it may be worth it for the convenience!)
 


If you’ve tried another system for flexible planning and color coding, please share it below! 
 
We’d love to know some other options! 🙂 
 

How to Organize Your Class Binders

 
 
Reader Question: “What are your suggestions to keep organize for my college binder such as labels on dividers, notes, and assignments? I prefer to use binder instead of the folder. I like to bring everything in the class.” -Amanda
It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of opting for class folders over binders. But what if a folder just isn’t practical for your class? Or what if you get really annoyed by the bent up corners and you just can’t take it anymore? 
If you’re the kind of person who prefers to use binders, this post is for you!
 
 
1 | Label your binders for quick access
This may seem really obvious, but you’d be surprised how much of a difference it makes! Make sure to clearly label your binder on the front cover as well as the spine. This way, whether you have them standing in a locker or tossed in the backseat of your car, you can quickly grab the right one! 
2 | Follow the same format in each binder
Make up a consistent system and use it in each binder. What I mean by this is, plan the “layout” of your binders and use the same format in each one. Here’s an example:
-Front Pocket: Upcoming Assignments
-Back Pocket: Graded Assignments
-Back Cover: Class Grad Sheet
Pull out the 3 things you’ll need/use the most over the semester and put them in these easy-to-access locations! In the photo below, I used the first page of my binder as an “actionable steps” list. Just use whatever you need and whatever works best for you! 
 
3 | Get a sheet protector
I love sheet protectors! I recommend using one as your very first page in the binder. I would put a semester assignment spreadsheet for the class in there, just to make sure you’re always on track! You could also use wet/dry erase markers to write on them, like below!
 
4 | Don’t be afraid to rework your syllabus
What I don’t like about syllabi is that each professor uses a different format. I like to take the syllabus, get rid of all of the university guidelines, and re-type the important parts, like assignment due dates and class meeting dates. This keeps is clean and concise. 
5 | Use tabs
The amount of tabbed notebook dividers I find all over my house is ridiculous. I usually just get the ones that have 5 dividers, but you can use more or less depending on your needs! Here are the categories I usually use:
Class Information- Hole punch and save the original syllabus
Handouts- Any handouts your professor gives you, newest on top
Notes- Neatly rewritten notes from class, newest on top
Graded Assignments- Papers/tests that have been graded & returned, newest on top
Blank Paper- If you’re not bringing a separate notebook, bring blank notebook paper 🙂 
Binders are a great way to stay organized throughout the semester! They are a little bulkier and a little more awkward to deal with in class (all that snapping!), but if that doesn’t bother you, then bind away! 🙂 
How do you organize your class binders or folders?!
 

How to Style Kitchen Shelves

In our kitchen, we have these really fantastic shelves from Restoration Hardware. I love them because they add a rustic, farmhouse-y feel (without the cost of a renovation- yay!).


However, the problem with any kind of surface in a house is that it can eventually attract the most dreaded of all things… clutter.

Our shelves slowly got stocked with baguettes that were too long for the pantry, produce, and every glass container we owned. I found myself getting annoyed at the sight of them and their contents. So the other morning, before my 10:00 doctor appointment, I decided to do something about them!

(Related: Clear to Neutral)

If you have some shelves that are out of control, too… here’s how you can make them pretty and organized again 🙂 




Step 1 | Remove EVERYTHING from the Shelves

I took down every little baguette, book, and bowl. I just LOVE the way that surfaces look when they’re empty and free of clutter! This allowed me to see the exact amount of space available and to try my best to recapture the feeling of openness!

(Related: Dorm Room Organization)

Step 2 | Dust

While you’ve got all that stuff cleared off the surface, you might as well dust it, right? Two birds with one stone, as they say.

(Related: Office Organization Tips)



Step 3 | Categorize Decorative Pieces

This is one of the most helpful ways to restyle a space. Choose whatever categories work best for you and the items! Sometimes, I categorize by height or overall size, sometimes by color.
When I took the items off of this particular shelf, I noticed that they were mostly glass (makes sense because it is a kitchen!). So, I organized them by material: earth (fruits, plants) glass (mason jars, pitchers), metal (champagne bucket, watering can), wood (serving dishes, trays).
Organizing by material allowed me to create some balance on the heavy metal and wood shelves.

(Related: How to Feng Shui Your Study Space)

Step 4 | Place Items

The fun part! Start arranging your items in groups of threes. Also, try to notice potential ways to put them together that you may not have thought of before! When I took down all of my items, I noticed I had a stack of rectangular, white serving dishes. So, I used these to hold items on the different shelves.

(Related: How to Make Your Workspace Work for YOU)



Step 5 | Find Another Home for the Rest of Your Items

Just because you have an item does not mean that you have to return it to your shelves! Look for other places in your home that could benefit from a new piece! My glass pitchers looked great stacked with cookbooks on top of my fridge! A metal sculpture from these shelves gets more attention on our dining room buffet!
And of course, donate any items that just aren’t your style anymore. You don’t have to keep it all!

(Related: 8 Simple Things to Organize This Month!)


Now, I feel like our shelves are light, airy, and organized. 3 words I’d use to describe my dream kitchen 🙂 

(Related: 5 Fresh Starts for the First of Each Month)



Do you have any tips or advice for styling or restyling shelves? Share them below!! 🙂 

Follow Organized Charm on Pinterest for home organization ideas! 

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! 

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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