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As July wraps up, most teachers are already buying or making lists of things they need for their classroom for the new year.  Office supplies?  Uh...YES, please :).  Over the years I have hoarded collected many different teaching tools or supplies and feel that the ones listed below are absolutely essential.

1.  Personal Laminator / Laminating Pouches

Y'all...I don't know how I lived my life before buying my own personal laminator.  I guess I liked spending my time always waiting for the school's laminator to heat up...or for someone to order new lamination.  

Teacher confession time:  I may have 3 laminators.  If you are a teacher and you don't own one of these yet, buy one!  You will not be disappointed.  The laminator pictured is the one I use the most.  It heats up quickly and is a great size for storage.  If you are interested in buying it - check it out HERE on Amazon.

Cheap Teacher Tip:  The Scotch brand laminating pouches are wonderful, but they are expensive.  Save yourself some money and order a large pack of off-brand pouches from Amazon.  The 3 mil and 5 mil thickness are both great.  I've tried and tested the following pouches and give them 5 stars.  Click on the pictures to go to the Amazon link.

2.  Colorful Pens

I don't know about you...but colorful pens make writing so much better.  Anecdotal notes become pleasing to the eye.  Tackling that calendar?  Look how organized it is with your colors!  Doodling Taking notes during a staff meeting?  Perfect!  

Flair pens are in most Teacher bags.  I love Flair pens, but I'm going to let you in on a little secret.  I found some pens that I like EVEN MORE than the glorious Flairs.  

Staedtler Triplus Fineliner Pens
These pens are amazing.  They don't smudge or bleed.  The tip is very fine for those itty-bitty spaces.  You can buy the 20 pack (it comes with the awesome case that turns into a stand) HERE or the mega 36 pack HERE.  

3.  Sheet Protectors

Don't have time to laminate?  Throw it in a sheet protector!  Let's get real people...we don't always have time to laminate, but you know better than giving your students a page without some kind of sticky hand barrier.  

I love to put games in sheet protectors!  I can quickly store the set of games in a binder or in a folder. Students can also use dry erase makers right on the sheet protector.  If you get the glossy ones, they wipe off beautifully!  
These are heavy duty and last a long time!  Pick some of these up HERE.

4.  Mr. Sketch Markers

Anchor charts NEED Mr. Sketch Markers.  They are vibrant and bold.  I also love to walk around and put a dot on papers of the ON TASK students.  They sniff that little dot like they won a Grand Prize!  

Pick some up HERE.

5.  Staple Gun

I spent 8 years of my teaching career in a portable.  This portable had wood paneling on the walls.  Boring, brown, wood paneling.  As a teacher who likes the room to be bright and colorful, I had to cover up most of the walls.  I learned that the quickest way to get your anchor charts and cute bulletin boards up is with a staple gun.  Sure your normal Swingline will work just fine...but a staple gun gets everything done in a snap!

This is the one that I've had for 10 years of teaching.  It is basic, but gets the job done!
Buy that HERE.
Those 5 supplies are used almost daily in my classroom.  What supplies do you consider to be your Must-Haves?
January is always a time for reflecting on the previous year and dreaming of the future.
I’m beginning 2016 by reflecting on the progress my students have made this year. Even though it often seems like a slow crawl up a mountain, my firsties have made giant gains!

Most of my class entered First Grade BELOW an A (Fountas & Pinnell) reading level and the majority are now reading on or above an F! This was a true team effort. I can’t say Thank YOU enough to the wonderful staff that works with all of our struggling readers.

The 2015-2016 school year brought big changes for me. I changed grades and schools! My team is SUPER-DUPER-AWESOME!
December was packed full of fun. Our school had a Nutcracker themed month. Our students were lucky ducks and got to see the Nutcracker Ballet. One of the teachers helped to bring in a local Ballet Company to perform right at school! The amazing librarian coordinated a Nutcracker themed RIF. She worked with a few other crafty individuals and turned the library into the Land of Sweets.
I can’t wait to see what 2016 has to offer. I know my students will continue progressing. They are an inspiration!

Hello! I'm linking up with Schroeder Shenanigans and Lucky Little Learners to talk to you about Bulletin Boards! I'm sure many of you are busy working away on creating beautiful bulletin boards to welcome your students back to school.
I spent the last three years in a Dual Language Classroom.  My district follows the Gomez and Gomez model for dual language which has many "classroom environment" requirements.  One of those requirements was having a Student Generated Alphabet.  A Student Generated Alphabet (SGA) is basically alphabet cards that the students illustrate and come up with the words.  

English and Spanish Bundle

I like my bulletin boards to be interactive and easy to use.  One of the ways I make the SGA easy to use is I've made alphabet template cards. 

The templates are set-up to have the perfect space for a 4x6 index card!  I cut out the templates, laminate them so they last years, and then make a little slit at the top.  I place a paperclip in the slit and then put the cards on my bulletin board.  It makes the frequent changing of cards QUICK and EASY! You just change the index card and not the template. 

Cut a little slit.

Put in a paper clip.

Place your index card under the paper clip.
I'm moving schools and have not been able to enter my new classroom yet, so I don't have any finished pictures.  I will add a picture as soon as I get this up at my new school.  

In the past, this set up has made it possible to change our alphabet cards with different units.  My students loved to see their artwork and vocabulary on the bulletin boards!  

This idea by no means has to be for Dual Language classrooms only!  I will not be teaching Dual Language this year but plan on putting up a Student Generated Alphabet bulletin board.  

You can check out the templates in my TpT store.  I have an English set, Spanish set, and a bundle of both.  Click on the links to take you there!

If you would like to see other awesome bulletin board ideas, check out the #2getherwearebetter linky party at Schroeder Shenanigans or Lucky Little Learners.

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