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Thursday, August 25, 2016

Stickers and Labels for Erin Condren Planner

I've had this Xyron machine for many years. It can laminate, make magnets, and make stickers depending on what cartridge you buy.  The cartridges are about $30 each, but I often bought them using one of my Michael's or Joanne's coupons.  
I was on Pinterest and found a bunch of websites for free Erin Condren planner stickers.  I started going to the website and printing them out.   I thought I'll give them a try and see which sizes and colors I like. 
I quickly ran them through my Xyron in full sheets. Normally, it is better to trim them a bit.  The first one I do usually comes out a bit wrinkled. The second run is usually fine.  I had two unopened cartridges of the adhesive. Wow, I could make thousands of stickers.

You just peel off the plastic cover.  
Then, the hard part is cutting out your new stickers. This is the type of thing that I do while watching TV.  I usually just get in a zone.  Peeling the bad off of your new stickers can be a pain.  I store the little labels in a pouch in my Erin Condren planner.  These turned out well, but I also had some Avery "Return Address Labels."  I basically just went to the Avery website, typed in the info., and then printer.  It was great not to have to cut the stickers out.  I need to get more Avery labels soon.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Erin Condren Teacher Planner Obsession

I'm in love with my Erin Condren teacher planner!  I was on the fence about ordering one because I was wondering if I needed it and would use it.  To answer that, yes, I need it and I'm already using it. I actually just brought my laptop and planner over to my mom's to show her.  Guess who is getting an early Christmas gift this year? Yep, I ordered her an Erin Condren life planner.  Sadly, my sister is claiming that she doesn't need one.  (Hmm...we shall see!) I now feel like everyone needs a paper planner.  
It only took about two weeks for me to get my planner. It comes in a lovely box and is wrapped in tissue paper.   I got free shipping because I went over $100.  Okay, the planner itself is $60-70 depending on your add-ons. However, I ordered a lot of other things like fun pens, stickers, and some dry eraser dividers.  I'm so glad I did too, because that is what makes it really interactive.  I just ordered more of that stuff, too.  You get 15% off on accessories if you order three. 

The teacher planner has a lot in it.  It has both a month calendar and a weekly lesson planner.  There are all types of grids, student lists, substitute information, and absentee tracker.  Some of that is more for elementary teachers.  However, I really need the weekly planner. I love the password section in the beginning. It's a small thing, but I am always getting locked out of my computer.  This will definitely be a big help.  I teach two subjects.  I also have four sections of language arts. I am really particular about marking where I left off in each class. Also, with assemblies and special events coming up, I need to know what is coming up.
The stickers are beautiful.  There are a variety of stickers in the back of the planner. You get some free ones.  I also love the ones I ordered. They are not just beautiful, but inspiration.   I am already using them, too.  The beauty of the planner is color coding and using the stickers to highlight things.
Pockets and folders!  This is the main reason I had to have this particular planner.   There is a pouch for pens, etc. I got two clear folders and one colorful folder.  I can shove a ton of stuff in here. As any teacher will tell you, we get a ton of paper on a daily basis. I get notes from kids, parents, administration, other teachers, fundraiser, and papers I need to fill out and return.  It is a real pain to keep all these papers together. Now, I am going to put them all in this planner.  
Okay, another thing I felt like I "had" to have was the wet erase boards.  I even ordered the cute wet erase markers.  I have so many places to make lists. I love and need lists to function. I have so many things to do.  Now, I can keep that list in ONE place.  I typically have five different lists going.  Yep, that is not good. 
I love the cover! It is a thick laminated plastic.  I spent a lot of time picking out the perfect cover.  My name is on it.  Hopefully, I will never left this planner out of my sight.  I do tend to leave things all over the place, so the name on the cover is a good thing. Weirdly, the planner also matches my new Mac Book Pro cover.  Now, if I could just dress as carefully, I would be much more stylish.
Calendar stickers.  You do have to stick on the days on the monthly calendar.  I didn't mind doing this.  However, I am still on summer vacation (until tomorrow!)...In my mind, stickers are pretty much always a good thing. 
Inserts.  For some reason, I wanted the weekly meal planner wet erase sheet.  I realized that I can use it to plan out my school lunches.  I always bring my lunch unless it is an inservice day.  However, at the grocery store, I am often just rolling around randomly buying coffee and bags of kale I never eat.    Now, I will have to have some sort of notion of what to pack.  I guess I could also eat it for dinner.  Most of my dinners are pretty much: frozen pizza, eat at mom's, Chik Filet, can of soup, slim jims, etc. 
I also ordered some really adorable post-it notes.  There are great because I can start adding things I know we will do that I am not sure when. For example, in language arts, we give a beginning of the year reading diagnostic exam.  I don't know what exact day so I can just write it on a post it note and move it to the correct day when I know.  There is always so much going on at the start of the year, that I want to make sure I don't forget anything important. With this planner, I am already off to a great start thanks to my new planner.  Well, goodbye SUMMER 2016!  It's time to move into School Year 2016-2017.  I believe that I can stay organized, calm, and inspired this entire year. 


Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Reading Rainbow Bulletin Board

For the last few years I had a loose theme of tie-dye in my classroom. This year I decided that I wanted to change that into a rainbow chalkboard theme. Last year I did a book recommendation board. I was considering doing a procedures book, but decided to stick with promoting reading.

The title is "Reading Rainbow." I played around with doing a curved rainbow.  However, since I was alone at school, it was really hard to get it "equal." So I decided to just go with a straight rainbow.  I like all of my bulletin board to be interactive. I still need to photocopy my book recommendation forms. Student are to take a blank slip,  write about a book they loved, and staple it under the correct genre.  At times, we also just use post-it notes that can be easily removed.
 The cloud says, "Share books you love on the rainbow." I used Microsoft Word (chalkboard font that I got online) in black on white paper. I use a glue stick to glue on the titles onto colored paper.  I really try to avoid using colored ink because it can be hard to see (plus expensive.)  I did not laminate the newer signs I made.  I probably should have.
I used part of last years bulletin board with the "This book is so..."   I have some adjectives that might help describe books on the top and genres on the bottom. 

I got a new border called Paint Chips from Really Good Stuff.  I simplified my classroom guidelines board.  I really want everything to look uncluttered.
As soon as possible, I invite students to share their favorite books and check out books from my classroom library.  For me, creating a culture of reading starts on day one.  We always make time to talk about books.  I try to provide some fun pens to write with and time so students can share their books and favorite genres.
This bulletin board is only effective if students get time to share.  I will probably give students a few slips to keep in their binders.  I will also make a folder to store the other slips with a stapler.  I would then like to transition over to a book recommendation on post-it note system as we will probably need this board for class. I try to stress that life-long readers try to have their next book lined up while they are reading their current book.  We try to maintain "Someday" lists of books they someday want to read. The idea is from Donalyn Miller's The Book Whisperer.  A book I highly recommend!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Summer's End

Well, I'm back in school mode.  I'm in the process of rewriting all my beginning of the year handouts and procedures.  I usually do a lot at the start of the year.  I follow a lot of the advice from the Wongs.  I even bought their new book on procedures.  I love stuff like this.  As I'm reading it, I am looking for  ways to streamline my procedures.  There is so much that I want to do, that I feel like I have no room for.  For example, keeping up with make up work is difficult.  Even after all of these years of teaching, I struggle with a way to catch up kids who miss class.  I've tried every method and I think this year, I will try again.  So far, I haven't found a whole lot of new things in this book.  I might even return it because it was $36.  Then again, I have a lot more to read.  
I'm excited to go back to using Edmodo, which is a safe online website where I can post things and kids can respond.  I didn't do it last year and I was going crazy.   I love being about to post polls, quizzes, links, videos, and even pictures that relate to class topics.  I can put all of the handouts there for students to download.  

I am excited to go back to school.  I guess I always have been my whole life.  Has there ever been an August since I was 6 or 7 when I wasn't buying new school supplies and clothes?  Either as a student or teacher, August has usually meant "getting ready." This summer has been so strange.  I spent so long cleaning out my house and getting organized.  Yet I really had no inspiration to start new projects. I haven't paint, sewn, or scrapbooked at all. I really haven't baked much.  I guess I need to go back to collage and make a huge mess.  Where is my inspiration? I have 10, 000+ pins on Pinterest.  Why haven't I made anything?  Am I in a rut?  Plus, once I get my inspiration back,  it will probably be for school things. Did I waste my summer?  It seemed too hot to garden most of the time.  No one was really around to eat if I cooked or baked.  I cleaned, but again, so what? I tried to get rid of my clutter and I physically can't lift most of it.  Waiting, wanting, and getting nothing done.  The border in the bedroom needs steamed off, so we can repaint. The front of the house needs painted and sanded (not in that order), but it is too humid.  So much needs done!  

I did relax though.  I guess that is more than I've ever done.  Oh, I read.  I really didn't even write that much this summer.  So I organized, read, dreamed, sleep, and watched tv.  I ate what I wanted and skipped the gym.  I played Civ 5.  I ordered things online.  I really didn't go out that much.   The kids were here and I was there, but where did the rest of the time go.  I gaze out the windows a lot.  The rose of sharon's are blooming. The woods behind my house were cut back a little by the company that owns them, they look different. I look at the sky and remember being 15 and painting with watercolors outside. I take long baths and read for as long as I want. I FaceTime with the kids and hear about their adventures.  I sometimes walk outside and find boxes of things I ordered and wonder how long they were out there.  I tire of watering my plants. Some of which look dead already.  This was my summer.  No, I didn't lose 100 pounds or make a bunch of money online.  I guess I just took it easy, for once.  The truth is that it is harder for me to relax than it is to be working on ten different things.  Relaxing is good, but you get nothing done.  It is intoxicating to watch Netflix on the couch, eating bad things, and not having a worry in the world.  This is my summer life.  Now, my work life is starting.  I will be stressed at times. I will not have enough time. I will dread certain things. I will worry again. However, I will awaken.  I will feel useful again.  
I go back to a box of wires that I must sort out.  A lot of work needs done.  Now I can stop the pretense of relaxing and recharging and do again. I need to make, I need to cut, print, laminate, and glue.  Without stress, I am a blob who can't function.  I can't wait until my Erin Condren planner comes. I am starting to get busy and I need it asap!

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Product Review: Dirt Devil Simpi Stik

Whereas others may foster kids and pets, I foster house plants.  I bought a lovely mother-in-laws tongue/snake plant (Sansevieria) for myself years ago.  My brother really liked it and wanted to take it to his shop. I gave it to him and forgot about it.  Years later, he brings it back and plops it on the fire place at the house.  It sits there and starts to die.  Plant fosterer to the rescue.  I brought home the plant and immediately repotted it.  It did well.  I like to put my plants on my deck if they can handle the sun.  This is probably one of the easiest house plants to care for, but they do better in full sun.  So I picked up the plant and it toppled over. Ah, I should have remembered that they have shallow roots that can store water.  (Don't over water them. In low light, the roots can rot.)
It turned out the roots are very shallow.  Now I had a mess on my hands.  I have an Oreck vacuum that I usually use. However, my mom gave me this Dirt Devil Simpi Stik. I looked on the website and I didn't even see this version.  I think I used it once and wasn't crazy about it. I shoved it in the closet and forgot about it.  Hmm, would it work to suck up this dirt?  

The first thing I like was that it was very light.  It was easy to pick up.  I emptied the filter realizing that it was full.  That could possibly be the reason I didn't like it the first time.  I remember how everyone had a handheld dirt devil when I was a kid.  We used that thing constantly.  
The dirt was a little damp. It fell on my oriental carpet under my dining room table and on my hardwood floor.
Wow, I was impressed by the power of this vacuum.  It sucked up the dirt quickly on the floor and the carpet.
I also did the area as far as the cord would reach.  It sucked up everything even a rogue lego piece.  I should use this more often.  It seemed perfect for my kitchen floor.  
It took the whole load and had more room to spare. I emptied the filter back into the plant.  I really like how you don't have to buy any filters.  For my Oreck, you need to buy vacuum bags.  
I tapped the filter outside a few times. It was really easy to empty the filter and snap it back in. 
I repotted the plant and stuck it outside.  So far, it is still alive and well.  For more information about this plant, check here.

Overall, I give this vacuum a thumb's up. I like the lightness, the suction, and the fact you can empty the filter.  There are a lot of cordless vacs out there. However, I really don't like messing around chargers.  I will keep testing it.  It will be nice not to drag my Oreck up and down the stairs.

Lost & Not Found Yet

So I guess it is not surprising since I boxed up at least 15 plastic tubs of stuff that I would lose something.  Well, I lost that Glass iPhone 6s plus case that I need to mail in.  I got an email yesterday saying something like "if we don't get your old Glass plastic screen cover, we are going to charge you for a new one."  At first I was thinking that I had mailed it in.  Ah, I didn't.  I don't know why I waiting to do it, but I didn't even switch the cover.  What was I waiting for?  This could become a $60 problem.  I am going to look through my stuff in the art room and office today. I do know that I put it in a "safe" place.  I know that I didn't toss it.  This is one of the reasons I decided to get organized.  I hate always feeling like I am looking for something.  Always looking, and then finding things after I don't need them anymore. [Update: I found it in my office sitting neatly on a shelf.  I was able to send it in on time.]

Starting to smile a lot:) Love her!
So in my frustration, I broke down. Yes, I finally ordered an Erin Condren planner. I love planners. I remember when I got a beautiful planner from my cousin's  fantastic wife.  It was a small leather planner that she swore by.  I was not good at using it. I tend to carry a very small cross body purse that I couldn't fit the planner in.  I know I still have that gorgeous little planner somewhere.  I was thinking I could revamp it like so many other bloggers have.  However, guess what? I can't find it.  I wish I would have changed back then when I was 25 and been a planner user.  Some many hours of searching for a number or appointment card would have been saved.  The most important thing would have been an absence of stress.  I often think, "What am I forgetting?" as I try to sleep. That could be why I was up till 5 am last night.  I'm back in school mode. I already made a type of one page welcome paper for school this morning. It feels good to get something solid done.  Back to my planner, I broke my rule and spent WAY TOO MUCH MONEY on this lovely planner.  I ordered the Teacher Planner, but now I am thinking of the life planner.  (Wait a second, I basically have no life. Ha.) I told my mom that I think she needs a life planner. She has at least 25 blank books she writes in. Oh, and she keeps all her old blah planners because "important numbers" are in them. That is a whole other story. UPDATE: Here is my planner!
Dancing at the doctor's

I spent last week at my sister's.  Kids were great.  It's amazing how much energy they have to play.  I really need to get back in the scrapbooking game.  There are so many creative ideas out there.  Kids are so adorable that we have thousands of pictures.  Also, I would love to do something with the little iPhone videos we have.  I have never been good at making little Dvd movies.  I think I used to make them and then we literally never watched them. How do people even make videos now?  I really dislike iMovie.  I guess I should find a 12 year old who is an expert in it and ask them to help me.
In the ball pit!
I want to do this...Is this a chalkboard? I took a screenshot and have no clue where I took it from.