July 23, 2012

Cheap Chair Pockets!


I am so, so excited about this project--it was cheap and easy (my two favorite words in teacher-language!!). I'm linking it up with the lovely and extremely creative Tara, over at...
So...I've been wanting chair pockets for a zillion years (or so it seems). Especially since I've gone to tables in the past year--I really want my students to have instant access to a book they are reading. 

But the store-bought ones are pretty costly and I am not too handy with the needle and thread...so sewing my own wasn't really a consideration. 

But...

this week I happened upon a wonderful post over at Miss Third Grade (check out her information about the chair pockets by clicking on the green link--she has some really cool ideas about them!). Courtney had found these oh-so-cheap nail aprons from Home Depot. The original idea came from this really cool blog that I'm loving: Confessions of a Nerdy Teacher (I love finding new blogs to read!).

So. These pockets are actually called nail aprons and they are (you will love this!) only $0.77 each!! The minute I hear something is less than a dollar, I'm sold! 

Here's some other really cool things about them:
  • They're pretty tough, for such an inexpensive little item.
  • Their long strings can be tied tightly around the chair.
  • The pockets can easily hold chapter books.
  • The pockets can also hold picture books (as long as they aren't too large).
  • The pockets (ok now I'm getting redundant) can also hold multiple copies of books and other small items (I'm thinking maybe even individual whiteboards, dry erase markers, pencils, etc).

I guess the only downside for me was the orange logo. Don't get me wrong, I love Home Depot and I am very grateful for all of the cheap teacherly items I get from there. But that shade of orange isn't quite the hue I'm using this year (I'm joking...well kind of). 

And I actually wanted the pockets to have numbers on them, because I am all about numbering my students this year (more to come on that later this week). 

But, again, I'm not crafty with painting or sewing, so I had to resort to computer-made labels...
...and some strategically-placed Velcro:

I placed the nail apron flat on the table without the books first, then applied the label with the Velcro pieces on it, so the label was lined up over the logo...
 
(You'll notice that the middle Velcro piece is coming up...I think I'm going to use slightly larger strips for the rest of the pockets instead, so they're a bit more secure).

The Velcro was my darling sister's idea and it's perfect, because it moves with the fabric and has some give as books are being taken in and out of the pockets.

I haven't had the chance to test these out on my chairs in school (I'm not in a rush to go back in this week!) but I will be tying them either to the chair backs, or possibly the top parts of the chair legs...I will be sure to share pictures of that soon.

What are some of your favorite ways to store books in your class? Would you try these chair pockets?

103 comments:

  1. I want to try chair pockets, however music class is held in my room and they are always moving around the chairs. Then it takes forever to put them back in the right spot and it drives me CRAZY! So I don't label the chairs at all. I love this though!
    Adventures in Room 5

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    1. Wow! I feel so sorry for the music teacher who doesn't have her own room. Been there....done that! It's not fun!

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  2. I love this idea!! I may just have to do this :) Thanks for sharing, great job!!

    Teaching and Tech

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  3. This is awesome! I am going to try this on one of my chairs and see if it will work and then get them! My students have desks to keep their books in but this would be an easy way to keep other workbooks/journals/folders/etc. easily accessible! Thanks for the wonderful idea!

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  4. I posted about this earlier this summer! I love how yours turned out!

    Layla

    Fancy Free in Fourth

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    1. I didn't realize that Layla--thank you! Did you get them for your whole class? :)

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  5. Whoa!! GREAT IDEA!! I am SO going to Home Depot and buying those aprons!!!

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    1. I totally DID go buy those aprons ;)

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  6. These are on my to do list for the upcoming weeks!

    Brandi
    Success in Second Grade

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  7. Oh my dear....these are adorable and brilliant with the numbers!!!! So cool!!! If I hadn't already bought my book luggage from last year I would be zipping out to buy these......I might zip out anyway:) Thanks for sharing and for linking up;)))

    4th Grade Frolics

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  8. Such a great idea! I agree about the lovely logo, not that I am not thankful for their wonderful things, but it just doesn't go with the many themes in a classroom. I had some made last year by a retired teacher, shes a sewer! However, I think I paid her $50 and they didn't really hold up all too well. Do you know if a folder would fit inside one of the pocket? Also, would you be willing to share your number signs?

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    1. I was actually debating on putting them in my shop, but wasn't sure if anyone would be interested in them??

      Thanks for stopping by :)

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    2. I use numbers in my room and could use these for a lot of different things. If you have them made you might as well :) I am sure a lot of people would purchase them!

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  9. Hey, these are GREAT!!! Fab Find. :)

    Why not use hot glue for the labels? I am pretty sure it will come off the canvas and will will stick a bit more than the velcro glue. Just a thought.

    M

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    1. Hey! Long time no speak ;)

      I like the Velcro because it allows the tag to move a lot without falling off--I'm afraid hot glue won't have the same give (and you know I love hot glue!!).

      :)

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    2. LOL I almost sent it to you in an email and thought that would be silly of me. LOL

      Yep, I understand what you mean. I thought you wanted them stuck but if you want them to move the definitely the Velcro. :)

      M

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  10. I love this idea! I have been looking at chair pockets for forever but this is much more affordable. Thanks for sharing Kristen!

    Swimming into Second

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  11. I love this and just pinned it! I've been trying to figure out what my kids are going to use for Read to Self this year and this is perfect for housing their book choices! Thanks for the idea :)

    Jamie at 2nd Grade Stuff

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  12. Great idea!! Please put the number signs in your store.

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  13. That's such a bargain! The store bought ones are at least $6 eachl, geez! Do you think they'll stay tied pretty well? And I also wondered if they'd hold a folder.
    F is For First Grade

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  14. you can also use heat and bond sheets to print your design on, cut it out and iron on your label right over the home depot one. Since the aprons are canvas material you can also use RIT to dye it to match your color scheme.
    Modern Kindergarten

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    1. Cool idea! I actually bought the RIT dye and it's sitting on my table, but it just seemed like too much work for me--ha!!

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    2. But I love the heat and bond sheet idea--I'm going to look into that--thanks Perrine!

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  15. These are so great and a lot of people have shared good ideas in the comments, too! I personally have been thinking about using one of these aprons to wear myself and keep all that junk that my pockets end up dumping into my washing machine in it! @Perrine - good idea with the RIT dye!

    -Carol
    Mrs. Cobb's Kinder Sprouts

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  16. Love these! The orange emblem would drive me crazy too. I wonder if an iron-on would work too. Maybe I'll try it out.
    Katie
    http://iwanttobeasuperteacher.blogspot.com/

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  17. I really like this idea! I will have desks but it will save my books from being crammed into the desk with other papers and supplies!
    Amy
    Where Seconds Count

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  18. Love the look of these! I'm tempted to go out to Home Depot to buy some. I would love the numbers too if you put them up in your store. :)

    Lisa

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  19. Fabulous!!!!!!!!!! Doin' it!!! Thanks!

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  20. Love the chair pockets!! I just got rid of book boxes so if my 5th graders desks are too full I now have a back-up plan. Quick questions. Where do you, or how do you print all of those amazing anchor charts? I am new to typing charts and making printables but would love a tip.

    Thanks! Kelly

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    1. Hi Kelly, thanks! I make everything in ppt and just print them at home. I have some info on making printables in ppt, I don't know if that will be of help to you: http://www.ladybugsteacherfiles.com/2012/04/designing-printables-with-powerpoint.html

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    2. Excellent tutorial and so easy to translate into PC since you verbally annotated each step. Thank you sooo much!

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  21. Hi Kristen!
    I've recently discovered your blog, and can I just say, WOW! You are so creative and it is very inspiring. I'm wondering how you print your fabulous signs and labels...do you send them somewhere like Office Max, or do you print them yourself on a home printer? I loved your post today about the chair pockets. I also think you should put your numbers in your shop. They're awesome! Thanks for doing what you do! :)

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    1. Hi Melissa, thank you for the very sweet words! I just print them at home on my printer...I really enjoy it as a hobby! Thanks again, you made my day :)

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  22. I would also be interested in these labels! I don't use numbers with my students, but I do use them for other things. They'd also be great for calendar numbers.

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  23. I was half way through making DIY chair pockets last year... and then a wonderful teacher friend GAVE me a whole class set of the Aussie pockets... which is probably for the better since mine were not NEARLY as cute as yours!!

    Susan
    T.G.I.F. (Thank God it's First Grade!)

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  24. I'm with you, cheap and easy? Love them, I hadn't seen them before. As always, I love your tutorials, so much so that you inspired me to give it a go, and posted my first tutorial here http://dualkinderteacher.blogspot.com/2012/07/cute-ify-your-desktop.html
    ☼Libby
    First Grade Dual

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    1. Libby! I was just coming over to your blog to talk you about this--hold on, I'll comment there!

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  25. These are awesome!! I have desks so my kiddos store everything in there... but I am looking for a better way to store MY books that they're reading, so they don't get destroyed!!
    ❤Teri
    A Cupcake for the Teacher

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  26. You are amazing! These look so great!!
    ☼ Kate
    To The Square Inch

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  27. I have some gorgeous chair pouches, but I have to have them resewn each summer. I never got around to dropping them off so they are still all ripped up on the sides {the chair back eventually pops the seams each year}, this may be my next route!
    Rachel

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  28. This is super smart. My favorite thing is that not a lot of books will fit... I had a hoarder last year that is coming back to me for second grade!!! :)

    Marvelous Multiagers!

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  29. LOVE this idea! Thanks for sharing!!! =)

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  30. These are great!! :) I am making up a "To Buy" list for home depot now lol

    One question, do your students stack their chairs at the end of the day? If so, do you (or your students) plan on retying them each morning? I teach 1st grade and I definitely want to use something like this, but I'm concerned with the logistics. What do you think?

    Thanks!!

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    1. Oh gosh, Amanda! I didn't even think of that! It's ok though, we have tables and they could put their chairs right-side up on them. I'm guessing they could stack as well if we were careful...I'll have to try it out when I stop by school. I won't be retying them, that's for sure, lol!! I'll try to post an update when I put them all on my chairs in school. :)

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    2. That's my problem with chair pockets! I had my sister sew a few for me a few years ago. When I tried them out, ugh! Everything fell out when I put the chairs up! Sadly no chair pockets for us.

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    3. someone posted on another blog to hot glue the ties after you tie them so that they won't come untied all the time.

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  31. Would love to see ou numbers in your shop! Thanks for the great idea. Love it!

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  32. That is such a great idea Kristen!! We have desks but that would be ideal for extra space. I like the velcro idea over the emblem. You have my wheels turning! Great job!! :)
    Lisa
    Learning Is Something to Treasure

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  33. Kristen
    Thank you for the tutorial. I was wondering how do you do the border around the circle. Also, did you take down your facebook page?

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    1. It's a line you can create with the other shapes in Powerpoint, thanks! I did take the page down...it might or might not be permanent. I am working on finding a balance for my blogging life--one I can handle when I get back to school :)

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  34. Love your flipped signs! How muck ink do you go through with those?

    Diane
    http://fifthinthemiddle.blogspot.com/

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    1. Thanks Diane! Not as much as I worried about initially. I guess it's because the black ink cartridge is larger than the colored ones. In complete honesty though, I always have printed off my stuff so I am accustomed to going through ink as I create things.

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  35. Kristen--Those look great! I have debated going to get some nail aprons for the past year, but just haven't brought myself to do it.

    Let us know how they work out--you just might convince me!

    Jillian
    LittleMissWhimsical.Blogspot.com

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  36. I love your numbers! If they appear in your shop you can be sure they will "accidentally" fall into my cart!

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  37. Would also love to see your number labels in your shop. I have numbered my students for the last 4 years and it is just an amazing way to organize. Heading to Home Depot in the morning to pick these up!

    www.wevebeendoingthesesinceseptember.blogspot.com

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  38. I have my students use a large fabric/stretchable book cover as a chair sack. You can usually get them pretty cheap during back-to-school sales. You take one of the sides and turn it inside out and pull it over the back of the chair, then the other side hangs down like a pocket. If necessary they can turn the entire cover around so that the pocket part is against the back of the chair so that the stuff doesn't fall out. My students keep all of their math stuff in it: 2 notebooks, math journal, math folder, ruler, and math template. They do sometimes start ripping late in the year, but are easy and quick to replace. Every once in a while if I need to have them put their chair upside down on their desk they can just take the whole thing off and everything stays in it and then they place it on top of the chair.

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  39. Wow! What an awesome idea. Might have to steal it!

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  40. I love Pam Muñoz Ryan! Esperanza Rising is one of my faves! The book really makes the bag! ;)
    Laura

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  41. Super cute! I love how these turned out for you!

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  42. A friend of mine and I were just talking about these the other day. I pinned them and she commented "What do we do about the logo?" I would totally be interested in your labels. I have a bunch of stuff on my wishlist right now...what's one more! :) I love the idea of using velcro to attach the student numbers!

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  43. I really wish I didn't have to turn my chairs upside down every night for cleaning... Maybe at the reading table...

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  44. I use these in my art room except that I tied them to the end of my tables since I don't have desks and the chairs have to be upside down on the tables at the end of the day. I have 6 different classes through my door every day, so one apron at the end of the table serves the two kids that sit at that end (4 kids per table). I have a zip loc in each pocket, and each zip loc contains a pencil, a pair of scissors, and a bottle of glue. Just the essentials. But they've been an amazing way to keep up with everything and allow the students to keep up with their own materials!

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  45. I really wish I didn't have to turn my chairs upside down every night for cleaning... Maybe at the reading table...

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  46. Those rock, and I'm with you on covering up that LOUD orange logo! I am so tempted to run out to Home Depot and pick these up myself but then I know it would be too much of a compulsive buy when we have to stack chairs daily for our dear custodians. Thanks for sharing these with us!
    :) Antonia @ forkin4th

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  47. looks like I need to make a trip to home de-pot! lol
    we stack our chairs at night, but I bet they'd be an easy slip on/slip off...what do you think???

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    1. p.s...still waiting on my blue/green signs - hahaha!

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  48. Those pockets look great. I would use them! But sadly we can't have chair pockets on our chairs because the students are required to put the on the table upside down when they leave.

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  49. I was thinking the same things...about stacking chairs and the ease of chair pockets while doing this. After reading about someone tying them at the end of the table, I think I could tie them to the side of the desk. That's my plan now!

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    1. Now there's an idea that would work for me!! Thanks!

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  50. Hi there!

    I hope you can join me in my first ever Linky Party on "Preparing for School" over at {6th Grade} All-Stars

    Hope to see you there!

    Mrs. Crouse :)

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  51. This is wonderful! I can't wait to try it. I was contemplating buying the chair pockets and I am so glad I didn't!
    You are right about the blaring orange, it doesn't really go with my theme either and your number Velcro idea is genius! Your sister rocked it!

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  52. Great idea! I'm going to have to look for some. That has long been a frusteration of mine with tables is where to store the kiddo's stuff. I have tried crates for tables, individual tubs, going communal for everything and have never found anything I love. I think this may be just the ticket. :)
    Jean
    Diving Into 2nd Grade

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  53. Any chance you will put the Number icons in your teacher store?

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    1. yup, I'll be adding later this afternoon/evening. Thanks for the interest in them!

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  54. I made my own chair pockets out of twill. They took forever! Yours are so quick and easy. Great job!

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  55. Brilliant! Also, I love your numbers. Would love to see them in your store.

    Tricia

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  56. Awesome! I saw the Home Depot nail aprons on Pinterest (my guilty pleasure this summer!) and I too could not handle the HD logo on all the chairs. Your numbers look great!

    Angie
    The First Grade Scoop

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  57. Oh my goodness!! These look AWESOME!!! I am also a 5th grade teacher, and agree- easy access to books is HUGE. I literally had these in my hand the other day at Home Depot, after having them on my Pinterest board since last year. I "himmed" and "hawed" (sp?) and decided to put them back. What was I thinking?! You give them a whole new look! I love what you did with the velcro!!! Thank you for being a constant inspiration!!!

    Young Teacher Love 5th Grade Blog

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  58. WOWOWOWOOWWO!!!! That's seriously amazing and GENIUS!!!!! I just love it!!!!

    One day... I'll find out your secret about how you make those cute tags {I'm obsessed about the way they cut off the image without looking unfinished...does that make sense?}! They look professional! OH WAIT, YOU ARE A PROFESSIONAL!!!!!! Love everything you do!

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  59. Thank you so much for this. I always wanted chair bags, but never able to afford them. Today, I went to Home Depot, got the nail aprons for 77 cents as you said. I printed number and name plate, and used safety pins (from the back for safety), and it just looks wonderful!!!!!! I teach kinder, and the chairs are a little bit narrower than the aprons, but it should be still great. I am thinking to use the pocket for sightword cards, and the other one is still hmmm stage. Thank you again.

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  60. Question....you must have a really nice printer to print your beautiful number cards and other labels. Mine isn't the best. Any idea of a cheap place to print on cardstock?? Thanks!!

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    1. I have a regular printer, I just really like how things come out on it. It's an HP Officejet Wireless 6000.

      Another reader just shared recently how she had her items printed at Staples. She said there were a variety of options as to paper type, etc. The prices ranged based on these options. I hope this helps :)

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  61. I love these -only wish Home Depot was closer than 6 hours away! Might have to snatch some up if we get close to one to use in the future.
    Kristen
    www.cowgirlteacher.blogspot.com

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  62. I love the idea! Be careful with chair size, my 1st graders chairs are not wide enough. When I tried to tie them the pockets folded over the sides. I am using them on the edges of my tables.

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  63. I'm new here but I am buying those number labels ASAP. First question: did you print those labels on stock label sheets? They look plasticized? And AWESOME!

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  64. I like these number sizes best of all. Thank you for making 2 different number sizes on one page. It works perfect for numbering my students hooks, cubbies, and book boxes. Perfect! My favorite so far.

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  65. I love, love, loved this idea! I went to Home Depot and they even gave me 20% off because I told them what I was using them for! Boo yah!

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  66. Has anyone tried them on the chairs that have the two metal poles on the back? Our school only has those types of chairs and I'm wondering if it will still work.

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  68. What an awesome idea. I homeschool but also teach in a co-op and want chair pockets on a budget. I will have to check our local hardware store as well as Walmart to find these little aprons.

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  69. I love this idea and I love your blog!

    For those teachers who have to stack chairs, many teachers at my school have students remove chair bags at the end of the day. They sit the chair bags on top of their desks.

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  70. This is such a great resource that you are providing and you give it away free. I love seeing website that understands the value of providing a quality resource for free.
    Regards
    About a chair

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  71. Such a cute idea!! Can someone please share how to attach these to the ends of the tables? I teach Art for K-5, and would love to have art supplies at each table using these cute little aprons. We also have to stack our chairs at the end of each day.
    Thanks,
    Vintage Teacher - 29 years and counting...
    mgarrison@gauseisd.net

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  72. In my kdg classroom, we use these HD aprons on the backs of our chairs for our crayons, scissors, & glue. Using these aprons greatly decreased the noise of 25 kinders opening & closing their plastic school boxes. I cringe now just thinking of all that noise! Having the aprons on the back of the chairs has also helped them take ownership of their supplies and I hear fewer comments like "Hey, that's mine!" They've held up well this year so I am quite satisfied.

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  73. so, the question is, did they hold up all year? And will you be tweaking them for the coming year?

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  74. We are a BYOT (Bring Your Own Technology) middle school and I need a way for students to put away their devices until I want them used. Some teachers are using a large calculator caddy but I don't want the responsibility for these expensive gadgets. This could be a solution for me!

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  75. Love this idea! Do you think I can squeeze a one inch binder in there?

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  76. Love it! I purchased the seat sacks for my classroom, and they wound up getting extremely dirty (I would even venture to say "nasty") and the fabric faded terribly. I wonder if this would hold a 3-ring binder?

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  77. I just did this for my class! I actually cut the seam to make it one pocket and not two so they can put a folder and larger whiteboard in it. Hoping it goes well!

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  78. I've been making my chair pockets for years. If you get some durable fabric they should last several years. (Except Kindergarten students might have wandering scissors). They aren't really hard to make. If you can find someone that has them and copy their pattern you should be able to make them in a few hours and for quite a bit cheaper than $11 each. I make enough for my class for around $25.




    Office Chair

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  79. You could put velcro strips on the ties to make them easier to take off and put them back on.

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