Five for Friday 6.23.16

Happy Friday!

Here's a little recap.  First of all, it was my birthday this week and I loved how Google does this.  I know it's automatic, but it still made my day a little extra special :-)

To celebrate, hubby took me out for dinner and some ice cream to our new favorite ice cream place.  If you are ever in the Phoenix area, you must go to Sweet Republic!

On the same day hubby also agreed to go shopping with me to Target! Ummm…that never happens so I took advantage.  I scored the cutest find ever! Just look at this chalkboard wreath!

Somehow my Erin Condren order happened to arrive on the same day! It was a pretty magical birthday if I do say so myself :-)

I am in love with these wet erase markers you see on the left!  They are like Vis-a-Vis markers but in cute colors!  I took one of my checklists, laminated it, and stuck it in my lesson planner. Look how great it looks in there! I used the Coil Clips to attach it.
Stay organized with a cute teacher checklist! Pick up a freebie in this post!

 This is the other side.  The coil clips let me move it and reuse it week to week :-)
Stay organized with a cute teacher checklist! Pick up a freebie in this post!

I made this freebie below if you are a checklist fan:-)
Get this cute checklist for FREE! Laminate it and put it into your planner to use every week!

Last and but not least, I got a blog makeover that has blown my mind! I went with Alexis from Laugh Eat Learn.  She is amazing to work with! If you are ever searching for a blog designer, you will not regret going with her!

So that is it for me!  What have you been up to?  Make sure to link up with Doodlebugs Teaching to share your week!

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Organizational Goodies and a Freebie!

Are you a fan of all things organization?  I got a couple of tools this week that I am just loving and wanted to share! Hang in there for a freebie :-)

Stay organized with a cute teacher checklist! Pick up a freebie in this post!

I've always wanted to try an Erin Condren teacher planner and I decided to get one this year. 

Erin Condren Teacher Lesson Planner

 After ordering I fell in love and have found some awesome goodies to use with it!

These two items below were my favorite!

Coil Clips
Use coil clips to attach your checklists into your planner!

Wet Erase Markers
These wet erase markers will only erase with water! No more smudging!

My other favorite item is this set of markers! These wet eraser markers are like the Vis-a-Vis markers we used to use with overhead projectors.  Except these are cute and come in much better colors ;-) Just take a look at them!
These wet erase markers will only erase with water! No more smudging!

I made my teacher checklists a few weeks ago to help me stay on top of my weekly things to do.  This checklist includes the things I need to get done every week.  I printed it double sided, laminated, and trimmed it down to the edges.  I then adhered one of these coil clips to my checklist.
Use Coil Clips to attach your checklist to your planner!
It's perfect! Because of the coil clip, I can move it around from week to week!

This is how it turned out:
Use this free checklist to get organized!

The markers were perfect for this!  You could also use a regular Vis-a-Vis marker or a dry eraser marker. The nice thing about the EC and Vis-a-Vis markers is that they will not wipe off unless you use water.  

Take a peek below to see how they write.
Stay organized with these cute checklists!

Get this cute checklist for FREE! Laminate it and put it into your planner to use every week!

This set of checklists comes with a few more editable templates in both color and B&W.
Use these checklists to get everything done and stay organized!
Use these checklists to get everything done and stay organized!

Want to try out a checklist in your planner?  Try one by clicking below!

Get this cute checklist for FREE! Laminate it and put it into your planner to use every week!
You can also find them HERE.

Are you looking into getting an Erin Condren teacher planner or any accessories?  You can click below to save $10 off your first order.  If you do so, make sure to wait a few minutes for your email to come with your discount code.  When I first signed up, I thought it was supposed to appear in my cart automatically and ended up ordering without the code. 

Use this link to save $10 off an Erin Condren order!!!

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Monday Made It 6.20.16

Hello! It's Monday Made It Time!
Today I have a couple of things I worked on this week.  I do a lot of School/TpT work during the summer.  I've been trying to keep my TpT notes in order but no matter what I did, my notes ended up everywhere.  I decided to go back to basics and just use a composition book.  I chose a gridline one because I like to sketch my ideas and those grids help me draw those straight lines :-) I've been using it for a while and my notebook was starting to become a bit of a mess!  So I went ahead and made tabs to help keep it organized. This is what it looks like: 
If you are starting up on Teachers Pay Teachers, I really suggest documenting your ideas any way you can.  This idea is super simple, but it works :-) 

I'm thinking of making a similar one for all my professional development notes at school.  That way everything PD will be in one place.

Do you own a light box yet? I'm just crazy about mine! I can't stop playing with it! I made some more designs that I'm loving in my home office.
Fun light box designs for the home and the classroom!

Fun light box designs for the home and the classroom!

I decided to keep this one at home and get a second one so I can take that it to my classroom! If you just picked up a light box for yourself, you can use my new freebie to display some fun designs :-) 

Have you made any fun items for your class or your home? Make sure to check out Monday Made It for more teacher inspiration and link up to share your Made-Its! 

Lightbox Tips, Tricks, and Ideas

Hello! If you have been on Instagram and Facebook lately, you may have noticed a huge craze going on with the Heidi Swapp lightbox!  I've received a lot of emails and messages asking about it so I wanted to answer all those questions for you in this post.  Keep reading to learn about the box itself and I'll be giving you some tips, tricks, and ideas for using your lightbox in your classroom :-) I have placed direct Amazon affiliate links in this post for your convenience.

The first half of this post is all about the lightbox and printing tips. If you would like to check out the ideas, please go to the bottom of this post :-)

  • First of all, what is a lightbox?
The Heidi Swapp lightbox is a marquee style box that literally lights up.  This is what it looks like in the package. 

**Edit- There are now many other lightboxes on the market! You can get one from Target and Walmart too! My inserts now fit all of them. I highly recommend the Walmart box because it includes a power cable, letters, and the price tag is unbeatable at $9.99**

  • Where can you get one?
I picked mine up from Michael's. It was on sale 40% off so it cost less than $25.  If you find that the box is not on sale, get a coupon from any craft store and you can use it at Michael's to get it 40% off.  Hobby Lobby also carries them and they always have 40% coupons on their website and their app.  Some teachers are having a hard time finding one in their area.  Jennifere from Heidi Swapp reached out and offered us some help in finding one!  You can email her at and she can help you out :-) 

If you don't have any local craft stores near you, another option is Amazon. You can order it below:

  • How is it powered? 
You can use batteries to power the lightbox.  You will need three C batteries. The great thing about this option is that you can put the box anywhere in your home/classroom!  It has two recessed holes along the top so you can hang even it up!  

The other option is to use the USB cord it comes with. The package does not include a wall charger so it needs to be plugged into a computer or a USB wall charger.  I've been using an old iPhone charger.  If you don't have one, you can get one pretty cheap from Target, Walmart, and Amazon.

Once you have the power source taken care of, you can turn it on and off with the power button on the side of the box. Do you have an "electrician" or "lights person" as a classroom job?  I have a student that takes care of the lights and lamps in the classroom, so this will be part of that job.  I think I'm going to have many kids wanting to be the electrician this year! 

  • What accessories can I use with a lightbox? 
LOTS! The lightbox does not include any letters or slides.  You get the box and the power cord in the package. If you head to your local craft store, you will find so many things for your lightbox!  Letters, slides, decorative tape, mini lights, cute images.  So much stuff! Just look below!

  • Can I make my own designs?
When I went to get my lightbox, I didn't see the fonts I wanted in the store. That inspired me to try some things out.  I decided to create my own designs and see how they worked.  My mind went straight to transparencies.  I got started and it worked out perfectly! 

Here are some of my favorite designs:

  • How did I print my own designs?

You can use transparencies (the kind we used to use with overhead projectors) or vellum.

Transparency Tips

Make sure to get the kind that is compatible with your printer.  I used laser jet transparencies with my inkjet printer and the ink bubbled up and smeared. I ordered some compatible transparencies and they worked perfectly! 

Laser Jet Tips
The laser jet ones were super easy to use. The ink adhered to both sides.  Didn't matter how I fed the sheets into the printer.

Ink Jet Tips
When I was shopping for transparencies I found that they are more expensive then they were 10 years ago.  Make sure to shop around for them.  Office supply stores had them but they were very pricey.  I found a good deal on Amazon! These are the ones I picked up:

The ink jet ones required some testing.   I put them in upside down at first because I wasn't sure which side my printer would print on.
The kind I used had this removable white strip on them to help the printer pick them up.So when I put them in with the white strip facing down, the ink did not adhere because it printed on the smooth side.  I tried again and fed them in with the white strip facing up and that worked perfectly!  The ink adhered to the slightly rough side. No smearing at all!

  • Did I used a special printer?
I used my at home HP printer. No special kind! I tried multiple settings -glossy, matte, normal, and they all came out the same. I also used my black and white laser jet and it worked like a charm! 
  • Can I use anything else?
 My friend @cuteinsecond suggested vellum!  The translucent kind.  It worked well too.  This is the kind that I picked up:
I found it at Hobby Lobby.  Don't forget to use your coupon to get it 40% off.  

Here are some sample shots so that you can see how the two materials compare.

This is the transparency print:

This is the vellum print:

Here are a few shots of the two materials side by side.

This is what each type of material looks like in the lightbox. 

They are almost the same, but the transparencies are slightly brighter. Another pro for the transparencies is that they are durable and will last a long time.  You could laminate the vellum to make it last.

How can teachers use a lightbox in the classroom?

I ran a little giveaway a bit ago to win a lightbox.  In the comments teachers from around the world left ideas about how they would use one in their classroom.  So many terrific ideas! You might want to read through those comments HERE ;-) I tried to narrow the ideas down to 10, which was not easy!

As teachers, we love to find ways to make our students feel valued and special.  We want to make our classroom a positive and inviting environment. Here are some ways to accomplish that with a lightbox!

1. Birthdays
Imagine it's your birthday and you walk into the classroom and your NAME is displayed on the lightbox? I'm pretty sure that would make your day even more special!  I can't wait to do this for my kids this year!

2. Class Goals
Do you set goals for your class? Kindness goals, behavior goals, academic & testing goals?  Why not put them in the lightbox to place special focus on it?

3. Student of the Month/Week
Do you have a student of the month, week, special star student?  How awesome would it be to announce your student of the month that way?

4. Questions/Fact of the Day
Do you like to have special questions or Facts of the Day to discuss as a class? Display your question/fact in the box and have the students see it all day.

5. Welcoming New Students
I moved around a lot when I was a child.  Eleven schools between kindergarten-second grade. It was a bit scary and overwhelming when I met my new class.  Can you imagine having a welcome message with your name in the lightbox when you walk in to your new classroom?  You would know that you are welcomed and the teacher and students are happy to have you in their class! I know it would have made my day!

6. Book Quotes
Each month I focus on one Author of the Month and read one chapter book during read aloud time.  How awesome would it be to put a quote from the book in the lightbox or even the name of your Author of the Month on display here?

7. Positive Messages
Don't you love positive quotes? Take one of them and put it in the box.

8. Sight Words
Seeing a tricky word all lit up might make it a little more memorable :-)

9. Student Shout Outs
Have a student do something extra special or kind?  This would be the shout out of all time!

10. Photo Props
We love taking pictures of our kids and this lightbox would be so cute to use as a prop that they hold up!

11. Bonus
I think this would look amazing in the staff lounge displaying positive quotes, staff shout outs, and announcements for teachers to see!

The possibilities are endless!

This is probably the longest post of all time and for sure, the longest one I've written! Thank you for hanging in there and now it's time for a freebie! 

These three designs are part of my lightbox set from my TpT shop.  


You can now find many sets of inserts in my shop! Here are three that fit the Heidi Swapp, Target, and Walmart lightboxes. To pick up some fun sets, just click on the images below:

Let me know if you have any questions in the comments below. Have a great weekend!

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