May 5, 2015

Getting labels ready BEFORE the next school year...

As many of you know, I have worked with the black, white, and brights scheme for several years now (since 2012!). Even after all this time, I still love how the colors pop and they have remained trendy enough to appeal to my 5th grade classes over the years.

I do like to evolve my room scheme a bit each year and add a few new elements into the mix...different posters and labels to change things up slightly. But I always try to do this in a small-scale way, so I'm not spending the entire summer redecorating my classroom.

Which is why I love getting my organizational labels ready BEFORE the next school year. It's actually a very easy process, as I find myself madly spring cleaning around this time each school year!

I start with the toolboxes. I have two for myself and six others for student supplies at their tables. 

I usually don't need to change much with my toolboxes...unless I find I didn't use a particular drawer that year and want to add in a new supply.
 click the photo to see these Editable Teacher Toolbox Labels

The student toolboxes I do keep pretty consistent because they have worked so well for us over the years. The only thing I will be changing out next year is the dry erase marker drawers...I have a different idea for that storage I'd like to use instead. So I will be adding a different supply, to have more options right at my students' fingertips:

click the photo to see these Student Toolbox Labels

Library labels...well I've had SO many over the years that I have loved. I usually change them out at the end of the school year as I weed through and re-sort my library. 

I will not be changing my labels from this year however, as I absolutely love them and they were so easy for my students to read from far away. They kept everything in order and really helped the traffic-flow in our library.

So I will just be adding a couple of new genres from my library resource based on my numerous book purchases this year (Dystopian for one!):

These old labels are in still in great shape. I have found if I print them on cardstock, laminate them, and hot glue them to the bins, they can last for years. And that helps a major part of my classroom to be sorted and ready to go for next year BEFORE next year...always a relief!
 click the photo to see these Editable Library Labels

I might have a lot of library labels in store, but I also have a ton of alphabet lines. I keep my various sets for a couple of years, again printing them on cardstock and laminating them for longevity. We are not allowed to keep things on our walls over the summer, so I always pack them up in order, so they are ready to display as soon as I can get back in my classroom:
 click the photos to see this Alphabet Line

It may not seem like a lot, but by organizing and prepping these labels and posters in May and June, I save myself so much time over the summer...some major parts of my room are already decorated, organized, and ready to go!

If you'd like to get a jump start on your decorating and organizing, now would be the perfect time to stop by my store! All of my decor items are on sale right now. If you are looking for an easy-to-use and customizable resource, my Classroom Organization Bundle features toolbox labels, schedule signs, and library labels (with many editable options to make the exact signs you need for your classroom):
Don't forget to use the promo code ThankYou when checking out for maximum saving! Thanks so much for stopping by...Happy Teachers Appreciation Week!!!

(read more)

May 3, 2015

❤ You Are Appreciated ❤

**Winning Name Announced**
 Congratulations Miranda, please check your email!

This is one of my favorite weeks in the entire school year...because it's all about saying thanks to the educators who make a difference each and every day. And there's nothing I love more than celebrating the incredible teachers I am privileged to speak to and learn from every day online...

All of you!

So, as a token of thanks and appreciation, several of my intermediate friends and I are joining together to send a teacher care package to one of you! Each package is unique and all were lovingly made with all kinds of teacher goodies, classroom resources, and a $25 gift certificate to Teachers Pay Teachers.

I am bringing a bit of my classroom to yours in my care package:

What can you win?
A Black with Brights Cursive Alphabet Line, all ready cut and laminated for you:

A beautiful chalkboard sign with a liquid chalk marker (I LOVE these markers!):

A chalkboard bucket (you can really write on it!) filled with highlighters, a pair of scrap booking scissors, and a star hole punch (perfect for marking student work, like those interactive notebook pages you've checked):

A vase of flowers to brighten up your desk (with a coordinating sign):

A container to organize your mentor texts (already labeled for you):

A set of bright chevron cards and envelopes (to match the Consistent Colors Decor Line):

A digital copy of Classroom Organization (over 550 pages, with many editable options):

As well as digital copies of these morphology resources:
And, last but not least, a gift certificate to Teachers Pay Teachers (just in time for the sitewide Teachers Appreciation sale!):

Would you like to enter? Check out the two easy options for entry below:
(Please Note: Due to shipping, this package is only available for citizens in the US and Canada)

And here's the best part...there are more care packages being given away right now! Please stop by my friends' blogs to check out all of their care packages here: 
(read more)

April 19, 2015

Making it Stick (Adhesives that Last in Class)

Have you spent countless minutes carefully hanging your classroom signs, only to find them slowly slipping from your walls?

They're tricky, aren't they? 

Sometimes they seem like they are perfectly attached and then, three months later, you walk into your room to find this:
It's so frustrating, isn't it? And we just don't have the time to keep re-hanging the signs and labels our students (and we) rely on! 

So I'd like to share a couple of adhesives that have worked very well in my classroom over the years. And, believe me, it's a great test site for adhesives. We have no air conditioning and VERY humid weather each fall and spring. And these two adhesives last!

My first and most favorite is hot glue. If I could write a love poem to an adhesive, it would be an ode to hot glue.

Hot glue works very well on any classroom surface that is smooth and shiny, especially those plastic containers so many of us use. If your label is laminated, the hot glue will hold it flat against the container and last through years of classroom wear and tear:
    You know what the best part is?

    When you want to remove the labels, they come off cleanly! Well, sort of. It requires a bit of tugging, but the label usually stays in good shape. The container may have some glue left behind:

    But this glue can be peeled off and the container will be unharmed. The same is true for the back of the label:
    Another adhesive (a newer love of mine!) that works so well during the changing temperatures and humidity is sticky tack (also known as Blu-Tack or Fun-Tak). You know, that blue sticky stuff your students might think is gum.  ;)
    I've been using sticky tack for my anchor charts this year and it has worked so well. None of my anchor charts have fallen, despite temperature changes in our classroom. And this is the best adhesive for moving things easily, so it is ideal for moving those anchor charts to make room for new ones.

    Well, only on a teacher blog could you go on and on about classroom adhesives. Which is really why I love blogging! I hope this was of help to some of you...and I hope it saves you time in picking up signs and labels that have fallen on the floor! 

    Do you have any favorite adhesives you use in your classroom?
    (read more)

    February 28, 2015

    Make Instagram Videos with PowerPoint and QuickTime

    Make Instagram Videos with PowerPoint and QuickTime

    Hello Ladybug Friends! I've been spending a lot of time learning about making videos on Instagram lately. And this is thanks to my sweet sister, Melissa, over at Fashion Craze Learning Days. My sister showed me how to use a PowerPoint slideshow as a video and then upload it to Instagram. Then, in that maddening thing that younger sisters do, absolutely refused to listen to me when I told her to blog about it! Why don't they listen?! Here's her blog if you'd like to stop by and say hello, since this is really her idea:
    Anyhow, Melissa  told me to go ahead and blog about it. So I learned some new tricks along the way after making MANY mistakes…and I would love to share what we have learned with all of you!

    You will need PowerPoint and QuickTime in order to follow this tutorial. And an Instagram account, of course!

    First, create a short slideshow of what you would like to show in your video. I used the cover of my newest product as the first slide:

    Then I edited a few slides to show the features of the product:

    On the last slide, I used the cover again:

    Next, open QuickTime to record a video of your PowerPoint slideshow. Leave your PowerPoint file open as is and go to QuickTime. Choose File, then New Screen Recording:

    You will see a recording box pop up:

    Slide this box down to the bottom of the page, where it won't be in your way but you can still click "record":

    Click the record button and you will see a message pop up asking you to click to record the full screen, or to select part of the screen to record. Choose the full screen option, since you will be recording your slideshow:

    After clicking this message, quickly click on your PowerPoint and go down to the Slideshow icon (this will launch your slideshow right away):

    Now QuickTime will record as your slideshow plays:

    Once your slideshow is finished, click stop on the recorder. Then go to Edit and Trim…this will help you cut out the parts of the recording you don't wish to see:

    Since QuickTime records everything from that first click, it will have recorded your PowerPoint file before the slideshow even began…so you will want to get rid of those extra parts. Plus, Instagram only allows up to 15 seconds of video. Go to the trimmer at the bottom of the screen and move the slider to capture the parts of the video you would like seen:

    You can trim from the beginning and the end of your slideshow. I made sure it began and ended with my cover, so it looked complete:

    Once you have trimmed the video, go to File and Export:

    Name your video and choose the Format for iPad, iPhone, and Apple TV:

    Now you must get the video to your phone or iPad to upload to Instagram. You can email the video to yourself and save it from there, or use DropBox.

    You may also need a free app: Insta No Crop Video. This app automatically sized my video so it would fit on the screen…otherwise it was getting cut off.

    Open the video in Insta No Crop:

    You can choose a border color (of course I chose black!). Then save your video. It does say "post to Instagram" but then prompted me to save it first…so I saved it to my camera roll:

    Head into Instagram and click on the video camera:

    Select the video you just edited:

    Click Next (you've already trimmed and cropped with the app):

    Keep on clicking Next until you get to your Share screen. Now you are all set to share your new video with the world!

    You can see my finished video here: Ladybug's Teacher Files Instagram

    I hope this was of help to you!

    I have another PowerPoint tutorial to share with you as well. It's a new one over at Blog Hoppin' (it's my very first post there and I'm so excited to be blogging with those incredible women!). Click on the image below to hop over:
    (read more)