My Planner for 2017-2018

Hello! Last year I purchased an EC planner for the first time and I didn't know what to expect. They are pricy and wasn't sure if I'd get my money's worth. I'm here to report that I absolutely loved my planner. I grew to rely on it and it kept me on track and organized at all times!

I got requests to show the inside pages, but last year I had already written student info and I couldn't show it. This year I decided to show you before I write in it :-) So here we go!

EC always does such a great job making their packages special! Look at how nicely wrapped everything is!

I went with this cover this year. I LOVE it! I choose not to put my school year on the cover so that I can reuse it in the future. Since the covers are removable, I can change them up and reuse older ones. I don't see myself getting tired of this beautiful cover, but just in case, I'm glad I can change it up when I want to. 

When you open it up, you'll find a teacher info sheet. I love the password info on the bottom. I'm horrible with remembering passwords. Now I can check right here!
Next up are these two pages. One with volunteer info and one page for sub info.

The year-at-a-glance is a great tool for me! I like to jot down our authors of the month, thematic units, and special events for each month.

And here is one of my favorite additions. Right before the monthly calendar, you have this sheet that can be used for all sorts of things. I'll be writing special events, goals for the month and important reminders. Love how the birthday list is right here too!

Check out the bottom left hand corner! All important dates are there AND author birthdays! Such a great idea! 

Below are the calendar spreads. Every month looks like this but with a different color way. I love the bright happy water colors they choose for this year. These are some of my most used pages.  I take my planner with me everywhere I go, so when a last minute meeting pops up, I can quickly jot it down and not have a chance to forget. This seriously made my life so much easier! 

One of my favorite improvements they've made over the past year is the new note pages for each month. I'm SO happy that they left them in place for this new design. As I mentioned earlier, I take this planner with me everywhere I go. I like to take meeting notes in here for committees, team meetings, staff meetings, and most importantly IEP/parent meetings. I jotted down my info that I wanted to share and wrote down notes from the meetings along with goals for the next time that we meet. I referred to these pages while I worked with my students and was able to reflect for the next meeting. Game changer! I used to jot them down in a separate place and guess what happened? I lost those notes. I don't have to worry about that anymore.

Next up are the lesson plan pages. It has a full seven time slots for different activities. I'm loving the new look. The old design had colored boxes and that limited the colors I could use when I planned. I like to color coordinate each day with a pen and it didn't work so well with colored boxes.

After the planning pages, you'll find checklists. It comes with seven but you can add more. I decided to add a few more because I did like using these to track my student data. 

And here are some things I like to use with my planner. One of them is my weekly checklist. I pop them into the planner using EC Coil Clips. I like to move this checklist from week to week. Mine is laminated so that I could use it over and over again. This checklist is a FREEBIE in my shop :-) Click on the picture to pick up a copy.
Free teacher checklist!

I also love to use this checklist with my planner. I realized that whenever I made a list of things I needed to get done, the list was pretty much the same. One day I realized I could just type all my info and have it ready to go each week. All I have to do is check things off as I get them done. I use EC wet eraser markers with my checklists. They work beautifully! You can find my editable pack in my shop by clicking on the image below.
Editable teacher checklists to stay organized throughout the year!

More fun stuff:

Throughout your planner, you will find these beautiful teacher quotes!
One of my favorite improvements are these stickers! Look at how fancy they are!

The back pocket is still there. I love this pocket! When I'm at a meeting, I just stick handouts in here so that I can't misplace them.
Right behind the pocket divider you'll find a page protector. I choose to add an extra one. I use one to hold our schedule and the other one for our school calendar that I can use while I plan.

I ordered early and got this free pin! So cute!
All planners come with this pouch. It comes with a coil clip so that you can decide where to put it in your planner.
I'm a sucker for pretty pens. I saw these new ones and just had to get them!
These super cute sticky notes were a must also!
If you'r looking for that checklist freebie, just click below:
Free teacher checklist!

Would you like to save $10 off your first order? Just click below and create a new account. You'll be emailed a discount code to use to save $10.

I hope you got a good glimpse of the EC planner :-) Let me know if you have any questions!

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Easy to Maintain Focus Wall

Do you use a focus wall in your classroom?  We've been using one for the past ten years and loved having it to refer to, but it was difficult to keep up with it because I had to staple and take it down each week. I finally found a solution for this problem this past year. Keep reading to learn about my solution! This post contains Amazon affiliate links for your convenience. By using these links, I receive a small commission for referring you.

This past year we got a new reading series and it was time to toss out our old focus wall. Instead of remaking it the same way, I started from scratch. I decided to make a focus wall that is easy to keep up with and looks great! This is what I ended up making:
Easy to maintain Focus Wall

I included the most important components on the cards:
  • The title with genre
  • Essentials question
  • Reading strategy focus
  • Reading skill
  • Vocabulary
  • High frequency words
  • Phonics skill
  • Spelling words
It's so nice having everything there for us to refer to during reading time and throughout the day.

The thing I disliked the most about my old focus wall was that I had to staple and unstable everything every single week. This time around I wanted something that could be quickly put up and taken down. I only stapled up the back header cards and those can stay up all year long! The cards that references the skills for each week can be slipped in and out. I used Stikkiclips to hold the cards in place. You can see them below:

Use StikkiClips to make easy to maintain bulletin boards.

Have you tried Stikkiclips before? You can find them on Amazon, teaching stores, Walmart, and Staples. They are removable and reusable. I wish I had found these sooner! Affiliate link below:

I store all the cards in a binder. I coded each card by unit and week so that if one gets misplaced, I know exactly where it belongs. You can either fill the cards in with your programs info or handwrite with a dry eraser marker. Which ever is easier for you.

The large back cards were originally created to fit onto tabloid paper but I had requests for 8 1/2x11" size paper. I included both in the kit.  The cards are blank so that they can be used with all programs and for any grade.

If you are interested in this bulletin board kit, please click HERE or on the image below:

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Monday Made It - June 19, 2017

Hi! This is my first Monday Made It for this summer! Thanks to Tara for starting this inspirational link up!

If you've looked around my blog, you might have noticed that I'm kind of obsessed with Melonheadz! I even changed my theme to Melonheadz because I loved them so much.

Made It #1
A few years ago I made some organizational items with a chevron background. I've gotten many requests for back/white and brights versions so I got to creating this summer and I am in love! This is my teacher toolbox:
Create your very own teacher toolbox to stay organized!

I love how the bright colors pop on the black. I couldn't decide between black or white background so I made two versions :-)
Create your very own teacher toolbox to stay organized!
Do you use a teacher toolbox in your classroom? If you don't, I am telling you to make one now! I don't have to dig around my desk EVER in order to find what I need. Everything is inside these drawers. There is nothing like knowing exactly where everything is.

Made It #1
A while back I made some monthly drawers and I used them a ton. When I moved over to my new classroom, they didn't match my new decor and I ran out of time to make new ones. Boy I missed them so much! I ended up with some missing master copies and other important documents that I couldn't replace. That told me I had to remake them this year. Here they are!
Use Sterilite 3 drawer bins to stay organized!

I made these to match the rest of my organizers I created this summer. You can see those below.
Use Sterilite 3 drawer bins to stay organized!

Use Sterilite 3 drawer bins to stay organized!

Use Sterilite 3 drawer bins to stay organized!
All these bins help me stay organized throughout the year. I don't know what I would do without them! If you want to read more about how I use these bins, you can click HERE and check out that post.

If you would like a copy of all these labels, you can pick them up HERE:

Have you ever linked up for MMI? If you haven't, make sure to link up! You can share crafts, resources, and any items you make for your classroom or home! It's fun to share your creations and see other teachers' creative ideas. Click below and check it out!

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Mini Lightbox Inserts

Do you use a lightbox in your classroom? Well, I recently found the mini version at Michael's and I'm in love! The size is just perfect. I recently shared some previews of my designs on IG and I got lots of  questions that I wanted to address :-) I'm sharing all my tips below. Some Amazon affiliate links are provided for your convenience. By using these links, I will receive a small commission for referring you to these products.

This is the lightbox. You can find it at your local Michael's or Amazon. It is much smaller than the standard sized one.  If you found that the standard size was a little too large, this one is probably perfect for your needs. It measures about 6.5 inches by 6.5 inches.

I got right to work on some designs and I'm in love!
Adorable lightbox slides for the classroom!
This set is filled with designs to use throughout the year! Click below to find it on TpT.

Mini Lightbox Inserts

You can take a peek at all the designs included below:

Mini Lightbox Inserts

Mini Lightbox Inserts

Mini Lightbox Inserts

Mini Lightbox Inserts

Mini Lightbox Inserts
As you can see, there are guidelines on each design so that you know exactly where to cut so that the designs fit perfectly into your lightbox. 

You can use scissors to cut them out. My favorite thing to use is this paper trimmer. 

What makes this trimmer so special is this metal wire right here.

You use that wire to guide you when cutting. Put it directly over the line you want to cut. Takes all the guess work out of it. You get perfect precise lines every time! You can get this trimmer from any craft store or Amazon.

Now let's talk about printing. The most important thing to know is that you must print it in actual size.  These slides were measured to fit perfectly in the lightbox. If your printer is shrinking the images, the slides won't fit. When you print your PDF pages, you'll see this:

Make sure "Actual Size" is clicked on. Some printers might say 100% or some variation of this.

When printing from PowerPoint, select the image you want to print and check to make sure that Scale to Fit Paper and Frame Slides are NOT checked on. Those two options will shrink your pages.

As far as the actual printing materials go, you have two choices. You can use translucent vellum or transparencies. I am going to recommend the transparencies for a couple of reasons. 
1. The colors are slightly brighter.
2. The light shines better behind this material.
3. The slides will last forever! 

When you get your transparencies, make sure to get the kind that are compatible with your printer. When I first printed, I used the wrong kind and the ink never dried. 

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 and it was pretty much dry instantly. (TIP: try not to touch any of the color when you pick up the slide off the printer because your finger prints will show.)

If you want any more info about lightboxes in general, head over to my Lightbox Tips and Tricks post by clicking HERE

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