Classroom Mailboxes

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During my first year of teaching, I made the mistake of not sending enough graded work home and some parents were shocked during conference time when they saw their child's grades. I learned a huge lesson from that year. Grades should never be a surprise on conference night. And so, I was on a mission to figure out a system that was easy for me and for my kids to implement to ensure enough work was going home to keep parents apprised and aware of grades, while at the same time, keeping enough work at school go over during conferences. These class mailboxes were the answer! I included direct links to my labels as well as Amazon Affiliate links to the bins I used for your convenience. If you use my link, I receive a very small commission for referring you over to Amazon. 

Class Mailboxes

How our mailboxes work:

We collect work samples in these bins. One week all graded work goes home, and the following week, my students file their work in these mailboxes. Come conference time, lots of work samples are ready to go! 

By sending home graded work every other week, parents have an opportunity to see how their child is progressing. Saving work on the alternating weeks provides material to discuss during our parent teacher conference. Therefore, the grades on the report card will not come as a surprise to any parent since they've been seeing graded work every other week. 

Last Minute Meeting Life SAVERS

These are also lifesavers when you get those last minute IEP meetings. I've been stuck in those situations where a meeting is scheduled for the same week and I have no work. I'm left scrambling to find anything I can to bring to our meetings. That no longer happens because there are always work samples in these bin ready to go.

Maintenance

This teacher does NOT enjoy filing, but did you know that all my kids love it?  I pass out the work and each child files away their own papers. If time doesn't permit, a classroom helper takes care of it! I'm a big fan of ideas that don't require extra work for the teacher. 

FAQ's

There were some questions I received on IG when I posted about this idea. 

  • Do you only place graded work here?
    • Yes, pretty much just graded work. If I notice something on non-graded classwork that would be worth holding onto, I'll also place it in there. Other good things to place in our mailboxes are behavior plans, IEP notes, intervention notes, tardy passes, etc. Anything that you might need down the road. 
  • Where are the bins from?
    • You can get them from multiple places. I found that the most reasonable place is Amazon. They sell them in sets of four with free Prime delivery. Click on the image below to check them out.

  • How do you attach the labels?
    • I attach them using double sided tape from Scotch and sticky dots. I made a video if you'd like to see how I do this.

  • Where is this cubby system from?
    • We are fortunate to have these built into our wall. When I didn't have these, I put the bins along our countertop. I've also seen teachers put them on the floor or in cubbies from Ikea or Target. 
  • What if parents want all graded work going home?
    • I haven't had a problem with this in the years I've been using this system. If I did have parents asking about this, I would let them know at the beginning of the year of my plans for graded work so that they know what to expect going home. If you have a parent that prefers all work to go home, it might be good to photocopy this work or maybe that parent is fine with not having work samples during parent conference time.  Another idea might be to send all the work home and have that child return certain samples after the parents have taken a look at everything. I prefer options that don't require copies and wasting paper. This might be the perfect idea for those families. The key is to communicate with parents.
  • How about a filing cabinet or filing bin? 
    • I recommend filing cabinets/bins if you have a smaller classroom. 
  • Why not binders?
    • I've tried binders. First of all sturdy binders that last the whole year aren't cheap. My kids took a long time opening and closing them every single time to put their work in there. By the end of the year the binders were ready to be tossed so I ended up giving them to the kids to take home and then had to replace them for the next year. The bins can be kept forever and they hold up well even when children aren't careful with them. 

Our mailboxes are just so easy for us. Each child's name and image is on the front and there is no way to get confused. Plus, they are so stinkin' cute. My kids love being able to use their mailbox. 

If you would like to get a set of these labels (they include over 400 choices of kid clip art), you can pick them up by clicking on the image below:





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Whiteboard Horseshoe Table

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Did you know that whiteboard horseshoe tables exist? I didn't prior to a few months ago. Recently our principal asked us if there was something we'd want or need for our classrooms. You see, for the past ten years or so, AZ has been in a education budget crisis. We have had cut after cut which led to teachers not getting raises for years. This also meant that budgets were for supplies and furniture (much of what you see in my room was purchased by me) were cut as well.

When the opportunity came up to request something we'd like, I knew exactly that I would ask for! I asked for a whiteboard horseshoe table! It came in and we fell in love. 


Many teachers on IG were asking where it came from. You can find it via School Specialty. Click HERE for the link for this exact table. If you need one, I suggest asking your admin if there is a budget for a special request. If not, and you are teaching at a public school, I recommend trying to get one via a grant on DonorsChoose.

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Easy Valentine's Day Mailboxes

Office Depot compensated me for this sponsored post, but all thoughts and opinions are my own.One of my favorite February projects are these cute Valentine's Day Mailboxes! They are super easy and the kids love them so much! If you're looking for a craft that your kids will enjoy and is easy to get done, this project is for you!


How to make these boxes:



1. Ask students to bring in a box from home. Shoe boxes are the perfect size! It is so easy to get the boxes in now because we get packages in the mail all the time. Some students brought in a few for their friends. I just ask the kids to check and see if the box fits in a backpack to make sure they aren't too big.

2. Get some bulletin board paper and wrap up the boxes. Wrap up a few each day or even better, have a volunteer to come in to help. Parents love to volunteer for this project!

3. Get some fun supplies for your kids! I got all the supplies I needed for my Valentine's Day project at Office Depot to treat my students. AND I used the Teacher Special Savings promotion they are running right now to get 20% back in rewards toward future purchases. Shopping at Office Depot for school craft supplies can help me save money for my classroom.


4. Let the kids decorate away! I had small groups of four or five working at a time on their boxes. They had so much fun putting them together.



I typed up their names as large as I could fit on a sheet of paper and had the kids decorate them before gluing onto their box. Then they were able to add glitter and other embellishments.




5. Use a box cutter and cut an opening at the top.

Just trace a rectangular opening and cut.

They are now ready to be stuffed with valentines! This is such an easy project that my kids always enjoy!


Some things to keep in mind:

  • If you go to OfficeDepot or OfficeMax and make a qualifying purchase you'll get 20% back in Rewards to use on future purchases! Teachers can receive 20% back in rewards on select purchases at Office Depot when they shop in-store now through February 28th.
  • You must present this coupon, your teacher ID and Office Depot® OfficeMax® Rewards # to cashier in-store. Valid in-store till 2/28/19
  • Non-members can sign up online or in store at any time and be eligible to receive the offer. To learn more, visit officedepot.com/rewards

    Materials Used:


    If you are looking for more Valentine's Day gift ideas, you can find lots more here!




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