Monday, April 9, 2012

Too soon? Not for this deal!

Today I was wondering around Office Max again. I think I might have an office supply shopping problem! I went there to get label tape for my label maker, which I totally forgot about when I was distracted ..... they had new academic planners!! I loved my planner this year and thought that I should pick up a new one. I grabbed this beauty from the shelf and was SHOCKED at the $19.99 price tag. I was hoping my "magical" teacher card would help, but when I got to the counter the only thing it took off was the tax. Sadly I was going to put it back, we always get some kind of good coupon at the beginning of the school year that I could use, but Robert saved the day! Robert, the cashier, whipped out this $10 off coupon as long as I spent one more cent. I grabbed the nearest thing -- the pen -- which ended up being $1.99 (I probably could've bought a pack with that). Robert reassured me that it was "worth the buy" as he LOVED this pen (Papermate InkJoy), I went with it. And YES after several minutes of testing it does ROCK! Now back to the COUPON! I got a $20 planner for $10! The pen probably wasn't the best buy, but I was kinda in a hurry and there was someone in line behind me. I still feel it was a good deal.

 $22 for $12!

So with that I thought I might share how I use my planner not only for planning but also to keep all of my notes together from meetings, meetings, and more meetings. Sometimes I feel like I should own a large stock in Post-its! Year after year I start off using a spiral notebook to keep dates, meeting notes, and long term plans, and some how misplace it or lose track and start a new. This past year I consolidated all of that into one place. I found this necessary as I am forgetful and always referring back to some misplaced note. This has kept it all together for me.

First I have always ALWAYS loved the monthly planner, but have found the monthly/weekly to be best for implementing this compiled new system. As shown below, I still keep meeting dates, times, and lesson planning in the monthly section, as seeing the full month plan is important.

Then, in the weekly section I keep all of my meeting notes under the date which I attended that meeting. Saturday's and Sunday's in this section are great for multiple meeting days which notes then tend to overflow! Also, if I ever attend an impromptu meeting and borrow a post it "sticky," I can just stick it on to that particular day of the week. Everything is kept in one place!

This WORKS! Especially if you are like me, one who is organized and on top of things in my mind, but maybe needs a reference place to check back for memory purposes!

On a side note: I had one of those "Ah - HA! That's why I am a teacher" moments today! About a month ago I began "book clubs" with my students. This is my perspective of a literature circle type program, but students get to choose their partners/groups for reading AND have their choice for which book they are going to read (which has to be within the reading level range for all students within the group). Today one of my lovely students told three of her classmates will be doing a book club this summer with her. They are planning to meet at each others houses and read, ask questions, and enjoy reading together. I can't stop grinning! Inspiring children to LOVE reading, so much that they are going to continue over the summer..... WHOOOHOOO! Happy Day!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Eight weeks left... let's start cleaning and saving!

Well, it's the beginning of the end of the year, EIGHT weeks left of school!! This is the time I refer to as "the down slope." I know many teachers dread this time of year, as the possibility of moving classrooms looms! Well, here is one of the moving files solutions that I just came up with, which not only saves on space, but if you have to move, it should save on time! First a fabulous teacher friend showed me her wonderful filing system. Using legal sized file jackets to store by units or subjects along with letter sized manila file folders which hold each chapter/standard inside the jackets. I have finally created a system which holds all my files nice and neat and easy to retrieve. Much better then the space consuming 3 inch binders holding all of my materials. Super thanks again teacher friend!!! After I finished organizing all my copies/samples in each subject and put them away I still felt as if it something wasn't quite as I was hoping. If I had to move to another classroom I would still need to pack up the filing in some boxes and that can get messy.  I don't like spending money, so I took a good look around the room for ideas.

Spotted were my blue crates! Walmart sells these easy to lift crates, which I know every teacher uses for one thing or another, for $5.00 around the time colleges go back to school (Augsust-ish). I have had these blue beauties forever, just holding mini whiteboards and clipboards, sitting on the floor for student access. I tested the file jacket in the crate and it fit perfectly, but I didn't just want to leave my files out in the open... guess what? THEY FIT IN THE FILE CABINET! Check that out!

Now, no one can see all my files as they hide neatly in the file cabinet!

I know what your thinking... Are these file jackets expensive? Well, teachers DO get discounts! You just have to know where to find them. Most school districts have contracts with specific stores, offering deals. Lucky for me Office Max has a deal with our district! They give us a "magical" little laminated card when we show a teacher I.D., to be used when purchasing supplies. This card is "magical" especially since I get many of supplies I want at close to cost! That's right most supplies with our card, along with copies and lamination, are offered at a much more reasonable price then to non-teacher customers. These jackets were about $35.00 for 50, which I bought with my "magical" card for about $14.00! That's more than half off! CHA-CHING!!

Today's Money Saving Tip: Ask your FTE in your office if there are any specific stores which your district partners with OR go to the store and ask someone that works there! The worst thing that can happen is they say no, but if they say YES, then you are on your way to saving money!