Getting Organized With Melonheadz!

I'm linking up with Tara for Monday Made It :)

Another busy and colorful week:
It seems like this summer my creative mode has been all about organization!  This has been my goal for a long time but I've always had so much going on during the summers (masters program, summer school, committee work) that I didn't have time to get it done.  This year I decided to have a free summer and it's been great having all this time to relax, create, and get organized!

One of the things I needed was a planner.  I've gotten the Erin Condren planner for the past two years.  I loved it, but I realized that all I ended up using was the monthly calenders.  So the weekly spreads went unused.  Something else I really needed was more note pages.  So I went shopping and found one at Target.  It wasn't very cute though and the boxes didn't give me much room to write in.  I figured there was no other option, but then I ran into The Colorful Apple's Instagram and one of her images caught my attention.  It was a picture of the calender set she created.  So I purchased it and I made my planner.

I love my new planner!  The cover is from Schoolgirl Style's I Love School collection.  I have a thing for wide horizontal stripes.
 Everything else is from The Colorful Apple.  Below you can see that she includes a year long calendar for future planning.  I printed it to the back of the cover so and then laminated it so that it couldn't get damaged.
 Then there are the monthly spreads.  I like blank spaces but Sara also includes lined spaces for each day.
 While at meetings, I enjoy having blank paper so that's what I put in it my planner for notes.  Before binding them I trimmed about half an inch off each of each page so that there would be room for the tabs and this way they won't show when it's closed.  Doing this also prevents the tabs from getting bent and destroyed.  The tabs were created using this paper punch.  There are a different number of pages for each section depending on how many would be needed for the year.
 On the back cover, I printed my school's year long calendar.  This always comes in handy.
 The back of the planner looks similar to the front and includs the year for future reference.
I love that I was able to create it to fit my needs!  Now I can keep all my notes in one place instead of looking through different notebooks for specific notes.  You can find this Calendar Notebook here at The Colorful Apple's Store.
Made It 2 is something on my to do list from two years ago.  I've been thinking on how to save my commonly used resources.  This summer I finally purchased a few sets of Melonheadz kidlette clip art and it inspired all sorts of stuff.  A couple weeks ago I made my subject drawers and it hit me that I could finally create my subject binders with these cute kidlettes too.  Here they are:
 I had to have spines too so that I can go right to the one I need.
The middle one is a different size binder, so the label is smaller.  I'm hoping to find an orange or yellow binder for it.  If any of you know where I could find one, please let me know :)

 My copies for units such as worksheets, lessons, and craft examples are located in these.  It makes it so easy to plan!
I also created a bunch more so that I can use them as parent communication logs, individual student portfolios, lesson plans, CCSS paperwork etc.  I'm so excited about these!
If you are interested in these, you can pick up a set HERE.
Finally, still on the getting organized theme, I finally created a desktop organizer that everyone is using.   I wish I would have taken a picture of my screen beforehand, it was a disaster. There were folders everywhere and I couldn't find anything when I needed it.  So I whipped up an organizer using my Melonheadz kids once again :) Here is what it looks like:
I posted this on my Instagram and had requests for a tutorial.  If you would like to see it, click on my videos tab to check it out.

 Now head over to 4th Grade Frolics and link up your Made It!

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Using Clothespins to Display Student Work


I'm linking up today with Owl-ways Be Inspired to show you how I am using clothespins in the classroom.  I use clothespins a few different ways.  One of my favorites is to display student work.

This is the display I created:
I created it with some scrapbook paper, clothespins and some ribbon. 
The clothes pins make it SO incredibly easy to put the work up and take it back down.  I love it!  I especially like these longer ones I've only been able to find at Target.  They were about $2 for a large pack.  
 The bows added some color without it being overwhelming.

The great thing about this display is that it looks good even when nothing is being displayed and when there is something to be displayed, it frames the work beautifully! 

Here is an example of one of my displays:
I got tons of compliments from teachers and the parents love looking at the work here.  Even my students said "Woah!" when they saw it all done.  I love that it's right by the door so parents can take a peek at our work in the morning while they drop off their kids. 

So how do you use clothespins in your class?  Link up your ideas over at Owl-ways Be Inspired :)


Monday Made It with a {Super} Freebie!

I had lots of things made this week! Monday Made It always gets me moving!
The first item is for my woodland themed classroom for this upcoming year.  I saw these little trash bins at the Dollar Tree.  When I saw them I realized they could be transformed into the perfect useful accents for my room.  I quickly purchased six of them.  I then ran around looking for white ones so that I could use red tops and white bottoms for the design, but just my white ones. So I decided to give spray paint a try.  Turns out, using spray paint is easier than I thought.

They went from this:
To this:
Here is a closeup:
I am so happy with how they turned out!  The white dots were cut out of vinyl using a paper punch and a circle die cut.

Each table will have a trash bin so that the kids don't have to get up to throw their scraps away.  One person can throw the trash out at the end of the day.  This will cut down the time wasted when doing interactive journals and craftivities :) Thanks to Lauren from Sunglasses on My Head for sharing this idea!
My next made it is for my students' birthdays.  I thought of making one of these a very long time ago and decided to make one this summer.  While I was browsing around for my trash bins I saw these:
 I picked up two for a girl and boy.  The only problem was that they are too big for student chairs :( They're even too large for my dinning room chairs as you can see below.
 Since I recently learned how to sew, I decided to customize them and make them fit my student chairs.  Unfortunately I didn't have the dimensions at home, so I winged it.
On Friday I was able to stop by school and try ou tthe covers and they fit!
I am so glad I found these!  Finding them all made saved me lots of time and money.  Trimming them down and sewing them back up took me about 15 minutes :)
My friend Kris, decided she's going to do a Super Hero theme this upcoming year.  She asked if I could make her some organizational boxes, so I got right to it.  First up is the toolbox:
Next are the weekly drawers for lesson printables:
Last up, a freebie for all of you.  I love making freebies :)  Click on the picture below for your copy.
My birthday and anniversary were on Saturday and I made our cake.  I'm still learning how to work with buttercream, but I was happy with it.
Now make sure to link up with Tara and check out everyone's projects.  See you next Monday!  

Two for Tuesday

It's time for Two for Tuesday again!  For this week I chose one of my most popular items to put on sale 50%.  This first one is perfect for those of you wrapping up the year, if you are currently on summer vacation, you can save it for next year :)

This craftivity is called Owl-ways Remember and the point is for the kids to think back to what they did this year and write about their favorite memories.  The kids loved it and we had a great time recapping the year.

Before having them write, we gathered on the carpet and we talked things that we did, what we learned about etc... Lots of fun memories came up.

We then got to writing and made our owls.  They had so much fun.  This provided a great opportunity to talk about puns because the title of their writing is "I'll Owl-ways Remember Second Grade."
You can make the owls in different colors, this little girl wanted a blue one instead of a pink one.  Turned out adorable!

The next item that is up for today is my Ant Unit titled Life on the Ant Farm.  This one is focused around an ant farm, but you can certainly use many parts of it without an ant farm.  Here is a peek:

My kids loved every bit of it! Both items are half off for today :)

 Want some more awesome deals?  Head over to The Teaching Tribune and you will find many more teachers offering a big discount for today :) 


Bathroom Sticks (Classroom Management)

One of my favorite classroom tools are popsicle sticks.  There are so many ways to use them.  If you also love to use them, head over to Owl-ways Be Inspired to get more ideas on how to use them.

One of my favorite ways to use them is as bathroom sticks.

This is how I developed them. Back in the day, when I first began teaching, I let the kids use the bathroom as much as they wanted to. There were no limits, no expectations with it, nothing... They just went when they wanted to.  And I learned from that...Big TIME!

On top of the kids going and missing tons of instruction, I also shared a bathroom with the classroom next door.  She didn't have any rules for the bathroom either.  So what we ended up with was two stinky classrooms and tons of wasted time, plus lots of distracting flushing throughout the day.  So my second year I decided I had to do something about it.  

Enter my bathroom sticks.

You see them here on the side of the bathroom.  
The purpose of these sticks is for the kids to be accountable for how many times they are going to the bathroom.  We have tons of talks at the beginning of the year about being a responsible student and learner.  We go over when the appropriate time is for them to go to the bathroom and when it's not a good time to go.  So they know that if I'm in  the middle of a math lesson, they can't go.  The stick should only be used once in the classroom because they can go before school starts, walking to specials, during specials and walking back to class.  Also on the way to lunch, during lunch, recess and on our way back.  They see how many opportunities they have to go to the bathroom so they shouldn't be going much during class time.  

The first two weeks we also take bathroom breaks between long periods of time.  I know it's difficult going from being at home and begin able to go all the time to having to seriously think about when they need to go.  I then hand them their bathroom stick.  It's just a popsicle stick with a magnet on the back. When they go to the bathroom it goes on the right side of the door.  That tells us that someone is in the bathroom.  When they leave the bathroom it goes on the left side of the door frame.  The kids put the sticks in the order of who used the bathroom.  I like having them in order because if the next student goes in and sees a mess in there, the last kid that went goes in and cleans up the mess that they made.  I love this system!  

Once in a while I reward those students that remembered to use the bathroom during good times.  Some days none of the kids go to the bathroom.  I give them a compliment for the star jar for that and I even throw some table points at them.  

The first week of school I have lots of kids going to the bathroom, even with our bathroom break, so I pass out a treat to the ones who didn't go the bathroom!  This stops the bathroom usage quick. 

To make sure I don't have any problems with this I send a note about this in my class welcome letter. I explain how this system is used and how it's only meant to increase learning time.  I also let the parents know that if their child has a medical issue and has to use the bathroom frequently, it's no problem as long as I know.  

Teachers have asked me if I make the kids hold it if they have an emergency.  Ummm, of course not! I let them go if they need to go.  No one wants an accident.  They just get their stick and put it on the right side of the door again.  If it's a kid that I can tell is just going because they want to waste time and they tell me it's because it's an emergency and it's really not, (as teachers we can tell) I may have them move their clip down.  This is usually when the kid says, never mind, it's not an emergency after all.  

I am pretty flexible with this because I don't want any kids to have accidents, but for the most part, it works really well and controls a lot of that bathroom usage.  The bathroom sticks are kept inside their desk so that when they have to go to the bathroom, they just lift their stick up into the air and I nod my head to give them permission to go.  

So these are the procedures for going:
1. Make sure it's a smart time to go (The teacher is not talking/teaching).
2. Hold the stick up.
3. Put the stick on the right side of the door.
4. Move the stick to the left side of the door when you're done. 

Extra Tips:
If you don't have a bathroom in your classroom, you could have the kids put the sticks on a designated spot on the whiteboard.  I used to do that back when I first began using this system. 

You could also put this on some kind of a clip chart with all the clips on one side of the chart and then have the kids move the clip to the other side when they have used the restroom.

I always remake my sticks year after year, I finally found the magic of numbering my students, so this upcoming year should be the last time I have to make them :)

Head over to Owl-ways Be Inspired to see how other teachers use popsicle sticks.


Getting Organized in Style!

I'm super excited about some new additions I have made to my TpT shop. I love cute things, and I think most teachers do, but I also believe that decor can be made functional.

My newest bundle of labels is a life saver for me. Not only does it look great, it helps me stay organized while taming the paper piles all over my room!

I've included a wide variety of labels that are all editable with PowerPoint. Take a peek below at what is included:

Teacher Toolbox
My most favorite thing is my teacher toolbox. I use my toolbox to store all sorts of odds and ends that would normally be roaming inside my desk.  When I need anything, I know exactly where it is instead of wasting time looking through my desk drawer.

Subject Drawers
 Do you like to copy ahead of time? I definitely love to have my copies ready to go when I need them.  I noticed that when I made copies ahead of time, they would end up under stacks or misplaced in the classroom.  I needed a place to sort those copies until they were ready to be sorted into the upcoming week's bin.  This was the perfect solution!

Weekly Drawers
When I am planning my upcoming weeks lessons, I take the copies from the drawers above and move them into these bins below.  I love that I have everything I need for the day all inside one drawer.  This makes it super easy on subs too, because if I have an emergency, all my copies are ready to go inside the day's drawer.  I left a bottom drawer that reads sub bin.  That is where I put all the copies that we didn't have time to do at the end of the day.  I can pull from there to create sub plans for future absences.  This system works so well! 

 To Do Drawers
One of my most used bins are my to do drawers.  The labels are pretty self explanatory, but these are what really cut down the paper piles in my room.  I used to lose master copies of things back in the day.  Now they go in this bin until I am ready to file them away where they belong.  Same goes for items that need to be copied and graded.  So easy!

Monthly Drawers

Longer Labels

My most recent additions have been my mini drawer labels.  They were specially measured to fit mini 
Sterilite bins.

A freebie for you!

 If you only need the grade, copy, file drawers, I have a freebie in my shop, just for you!
Staying organized is so important.  It will cut down on transitions and downtime.  Two things that lead to behavior problems and teacher stress.  When I am organized, my day goes much smoother!  I hope these ideas help you tame the paper piles and stay organized!

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