Saturday, August 2, 2014

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things

What's your favorite back to school "have-to" items?
Hello's time to be getting our classrooms ready!  
Andi and I (Jill, the sister) have joined in the linky fun of sharing a few of our 
B2S favorites.  Hope it sparks some good ideas for you too!  We are so glad that you stopped by to see what our must-have items are for back to school.  When you are done browsing through all of our blogs, we hope that you enter to win one of our Amazon gift vouchers so that you can buy some new back to school items too!  We have $370 to give away.  Don't forget that the more you enter, the higher your chances of winning are!

1 - Getting Organized
 Bins, bins, bins, people!  Why do I still need bins?!?!  Really? mmmm-yes! I love these clear rectangular ones.  I put a label on the front, but I can still see if it really has what I need.  I have all sizes.  The sweater size hold books nicely because the sides are not at an angle- no squishing the bottom book.  Let me also tell you my new favorite- TWIST top bowls.  Kindergarteners can open these and not bust the lid.  This makes me happy and now everyone has one for their daily math manips:)  Electrical tape also makes me happy.  Goes on and peels off clean.  It partitions areas so nicely - dry erase boards, cabinets and ~my favorite~ the darlings that need to learn "personal space" at the tables.  ahhhh 

2- Pretty Paper
Pretty paper ~ I have a large collection of paper, yet I am still a MISER when it comes to using it.  I am also very particular- it must be for just the right occasion and, well, if the document just needs a little jazz, but doesn't merit color- I make one and then copy B/W so I still see cute stuff.  Now, I am newly addicted to cute clip art too, but pretty paper is a favorite. Dollar store even surprises me with some fun paper which I might feel I can share with the children :).  SortKwik goes along with the paper theme and calms my germ issues while sorting and collating stacks of paper.

3 - The COVETED Mr. Sketch
 My most special summer purchase each year ~barring budget~ is Mr. Sketch markers.  Last year, Office Depot had them 50% OFF!!! I got a box for Andi too (awww).  Now I share a lot of things with the dear children ~ HOWEVER, these are called "teacher tools".  DARE NOT TOUCH Teacher Tools.  I know Scentos are great too, but I'm old and sentimental.  I am devoted to Mr. Sketch ~ my first true love.  Perhaps, if you truly are a wonderful and trustworthy child, you MIGHT get to touch my old Mr. Sketch (yes, they are labeled each year), but don't try pushing boundries- I don't budge.

The story goes... I am not allowed to paint my walls.  They are teal, not white or something that flows well with primary colors.  No, they are teal.  
The crazy hodge podge of colors was getting to me, soooo 2 summers ago~ 
I accepted teal into my life - "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em"
And since I have a few obsessive issues -  If it's not teal or brown, it does not stay.
I even reupholstered my 30 year old, discarded from my old school's office, couch 
- stitch by stitch- Sewed all new cushions and even reused the original zippers!
When I went to get some brown leather material, I told the lady my room color and her face lit up - "oh, we have this lovely teal on sale over here...." 
OMGG my couch is teal, but I love it and I will NOT be re-doing it in the next 30 years.
So back to the sheets... Do you use these for your bulletin boards?? I used to use fabric, but flat sheets are so much cheaper and they fit better! 
Love, Love, Love & lasts through tons of stapling - highly recommended!
And now onto Andi's Favs
(btw, I second her recommendations- good stuff)


Hey, this is Andi! I wanted to share a few of my favorite things, too! I'm sure some, or all, of my favorite things are on your list as well because they are just so darn handy!

Number 1

Contact Paper

I love me some contact paper. Every summer, I pick up a new roll (or two!) The name tags you see in the picture were purchased in the year, hmmm... let me see... it must have been in the year 2004. They are still in great condition. This is because I don't tape them onto the desks. First, I laminated them and then I used the contact paper to stick them to the desks. I've done this every year I've taught so I have 14 years of experience sticking them to the desks without bubbles! It takes some muscle, but it is well worth it to not hear little pucker noises if you leave air bubbles!

Number 2

My Yearly Planner
I've gone through many a planner and so far these planners by BlueSky are my favorite. I've even had the expensive one (you KNOW which one I'm talking about.) Although, it was super cute - it was too bulky. Too heavy for my purse. Too wide for my teacher bag with my teachers editions and grade book. This one is slender enough to fit in my teacher bag and yet big enough for me to schedule my scope and sequence, school events, personal events, and I use the weekly spots for note taking during those very "important" school meetings. It's a win-win in my book.

Number 3

Personal Laminator
I'm sure this one is a no brainer. But you know what??? I waited several years before buying one. What was I thinking? This thing is so handy. I'm kicking myself for waiting so long. My laminator is by Fellows. I purchased it at Staples (with a coupon.) It costs more than the Scotch one at Walmart, but I'm hoping it will last longer. Of course, I buy my pouches at SAM's Club. Twenty bucks for two hundred pouches is a great deal. :)

Number 4

Paper Cutter

My goodness this bad boy is so old! I purchased it at SAM's Club in the year 2002, and I have yet to change the slicing blade. I don't NEED to! This thing slices paper beautifully. It is perfect for our large 18x11 construction paper. I'm very frugal with my school supplies, so I like to pre-cut my construction paper into smaller sizes. There's less waste and it's more manageable for little hands.

Well, those are my most favorite things.
Can't wait to see what yours are and steal some ideas!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

**If you've read this far... I also have a very special bundle fundraiser for COTA in honor of one of my students who has been listed for heart transplant**
Check that out here for your chance to help change a life - thanks xoxox

Enjoy~ Jill and Andi

Currently - August 2014

It's already the dog days of August, and I'm asking myself where did my summer go?
Well, let me tell you that the summer of 2014 will go down in the record books as a winner for me! Hands down so much fun to have a little one to share your summer with. Granted, I still have zero free time. I haven't gone running in forever. I didn't get to do anything for school. However, I did get to love on my Max. Wouldn't trade that for a million bucks!

  Alas, this will all come to an end soon. Very soon. Like tomorrow! So, I'm soaking up as much love as I can and heading to my classroom with a very heavy heart to get my room in some sort of a workable state. Ho hum. #whereismyassistantalready

Anywho, I'm linking up with the ever so fabulous Farley for her Currently Par-Tay!
Listening: I usually have a pretty quiet neighborhood, but tonight someone is having a rager! At first I thought it was a dog fight! Ha!

Loving: We traded in my gnarly Jeep for the mom mobile and I LOVE it! Truth be told, I've always wanted a minivan. There's just SO much room. It's the best.

Thinking: I love teaching like more than anything in the world, but I hate the first six weeks of behavior training! Saying and modeling the same thing over and over and over and over and over... It's mind numbing.

Wanting: I don't know why we have school during August because our air conditioning is always broken. One simply cannot learn in one hundred degree humidity. It just can't be done!

Needing: This may have to be a permanent answer to the needing spot. I need a clone. Or two.

First day back: Technically, teachers start back on the 12th but our k/1 teachers are heading in early for kinder camp and some preplanning workdays. It's a good thing I LOVE my team or I would be one sad mama!

I hope you all are enjoying your last bits of summer with your loved ones! Don't forget to join the linky and follow the rule of three.