8 Organization Faves for the Classroom from Amazon

This post contains affiliate links.

We all know staying organized is key when it comes to keeping classroom clutter at bay. Check out some of my organization faves, all available on Amazon!

1. Small Parts Storage The little drawers are perfect for holding brag tags.

2. Sterilite Baskets I bought 12 of these baskets my first year of teaching and have used them for so many things! They're perfect for leveled readers or printed books, but I've also used them for centers bins.

3. Wall Organizer  Get your weekly copies or other paperwork off your desk and somewhere you can see them at a glance with a wall organizer.

4. Command Hooks My organization strategy is to hang anything that can be hung. Seriously, I have a huge pegboard in my home office! You can use command hooks for hall passes, flashcards, pocket charts, and more.

5. Teacher Toolbox A teacher toolbox is definitely a must-have! Clear off all the bits and bobs on your desk, from paper clips to band-aids, in a pretty toolbox.

6. Expanding File Organizer I use expanding organizers to hold my weekly phonics lessons. I prefer them to a binder because they can hold pocket chart cards and other small pieces without worrying about them slipping out. 

7. Rolling Cart These rolling carts are so useful! If you're short on shelves, you can use one as a sight word station. It also makes a great "command center" for storing class-wide items like tissue, hand sanitizer, and pencils.

8. Paper Organizer This is one of my all time favorite purchases! It's such a delight to see your Astrobrights all pretty and organized. 

Don't have Amazon Prime? You can try it out with a free 30-day trial here!

December Teacher Care Crate Unboxing

Watch the video to see all the items that comes in this month's Teacher Care Crate, and read below for more details on each item!

Art Print: This month's 5 x 7 art print was designed by Jess Golz of Teacher Golz and Ink Chicago{Retail Value: $8}

Knitted Headband: Use this maroon headband to keep your ears warm all winter long! {Retail Value: $12}

Mint to Be Balm: Handcrafted by Me Time Botanicals, this balm is perfect for dry hands and feet. {Retail Value: $12}

TEACH ornament: Your handmade ornament from Cabin20 Creations can be displayed on a Christmas tree if you celebrate, or up in your classroom all year long! {Retail Value: $10}

Peppermint Cocoa Lip Balm: This delicious smelling lip balm from Shade Tree Naturals is perfect for swiping on between classes. {Retail Value: $4.50}

Christmas to Color: This activity book includes holiday postcards, gift tags, and ornaments you can color as you relax over break. {Retail Value: $9.99}

The December crate is all sold out, but head to teachercarecrate.com on December 26 at 8 pm EST to subscribe starting with the January crate! 

5 Ways to Beat the Winter Blues as a Teacher

This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

You get up and go to school and it's dark and freezing. When you leave school, it's also dark and freezing. Then you repeat, only seeing the sunlight on the weekends, and even then, it's still freezing. Sound familiar? If you find yourself suffering from the winter blues, try these tips:

1. Invest in warm clothes & outerwear. If you live somewhere freezing like me (Chicago!) go ahead and get the warmest of everything you can find. When I first moved here and bought $200 snow boots from L.L. Bean, it was the most expensive clothing purchase I had ever made. But this is my fifth winter wearing them every day, and L.L. Bean even fixed them for free for me when the back seam busted (I walked a mile plus to and from public transit every day). #worthit #notsponsored

2. Plan a trip or staycation. If it's in the budget, plan a quick trip somewhere warm over a long weekend. If it's not (and realistically for most teachers, it's not), try a "staycation" somewhere warm close by. My new favorite thing is to spend the day at the Korean spa. It's $35 for a day pass ($24 if you get your pass at the Asian grocery store next store, which obviously I do) and it's full of hot baths and saunas. No affordable spas near by? Try indoor botanical gardens or a conservatory. 

3. Exercise. Getting up and moving might be the last thing you feel like doing, but we all know it can energize you and boost your mood. If you hate the gym like me, try a yoga class or even a fitness video on YouTube. I find it especially effective to schedule that ish! I go to yoga twice a week on the same nights, which keeps me from having to re-motivate myself to go each time because it's already on the schedule.

4. Get a SAD lamp. While light therapy lamps are technically for people with Seasonal Affective Disorder, they can help the rest of us soak up a little faux sunlight too. I would put mine on as I was getting ready in the morning and eating my breakfast before going to school.

5. Stay social. Chicago winters make me want to curl up in a blanket and leave my apartment never. BUT ultimately this isn't going to help your mood, though of course you should rest when you need to! Try organizing a staff happy hour or attending a weekly club or class.

While hopefully these tips will help you get out of a winter funk, if you find you are suffering from depression during the winter months, be sure to talk to your doctor or psychiatrist. Seasonal Affective Disorder is a real thing! 

November Teacher Care Crate Unboxing

Watch my unboxing video above to see what comes in the November Teacher Care Crate, and read the descriptions below for more details.

Art Print Ashley of Teacher Dress Code wrote and designed this beautiful letter to teachers. {Retail Value: $8}

Coloring Book Thankfulness to Color by Zoe Ingram is a 96-page adult coloring book filled with beautiful illustrations and thoughtful quotes. {Retail Value: $15.99}

TEACH necklace This beautiful bar necklace is an elegant reminder that you're thankful to be a teacher. {Retail Value: $12}

Thankful Essential Oil Roller Blend This blend of bergamot, clove, orange, cinnamon, and coconut oils is perfect for rolling on to inspire gratitude. {Retail Value: $10}

Gingerbread Salt Scrub Handmade by Me Time Botanicals, this scrub exfoliates and softens your skin. {Retail Value: $12}

Magnets Designed by me, these two magnets can be used on your whiteboard at school or fridge at home. {Retail Value: $4}

Ginger Honey Chocolate Patty This delicious chocolate from Heavenly Organics is just the right amount of sweet. {Retail Value: $1}

The November Teacher Care Crate is sold out, but you can head to teachercarecrate.com on 11/25 at 8 PM EST to sign up for a subscription starting with the December Crate.

5 Ways to Differentiate in the Classroom

This post is brought to you by Study.com.

Whether you're a special education or general education teacher, differentiation has come to be expected in just about every classroom. According to Study.com, with differentiated instruction "teachers proactively create options to accommodate a diverse range of learners while keeping the whole class on track". Here a few ways I differentiate in an inclusion setting:

1. Small group instruction. While simply assisting struggling students isn't truly differentiation, building in leveled instruction for all students is. For example, when co-teaching in a general education math class, my co-teacher and I taught the mini-lesson to the whole class, and then provided leveled instruction to three different groups afterward. I differentiated for the below-level students by re-teaching the lesson and working on basic skills as needed. My co-teacher would work with the on-level students to address any misconceptions and provide additional guided practice. Above-level students would work on a leveled computer program. The next day, a different group would work on the computer program and the above-level group would have a chance to work on enrichment activities or more challenging problems. We adjusted these groups based on assessment.

2. Independent work. Sometimes differentiating independent work can be as simple as changing the length requirement. The standard requirement for a writing assignment might be one paragraph, but you can quietly let some students know that they will be writing three sentences and other students know that you will be expecting two paragraphs. At times, you may need to provide a different practice sheet or assignment altogether.

3. Visual cues. Providing visual cues is a great way to differentiate for students that are below-level or are simply visual learners. You can do this by making sure anchor charts are visible to them, or by providing personal references for those students, like an alphabet sound cue guide that provides a picture reminder of what sound each letter makes (apple/a, b/bat, etc.)

4. Different products of learning. For cumulative projects, allow students to choose how they display their knowledge. For example, if students are learning about life cycles in science, they could display their knowledge through an essay, a poster, a video, or a presentation. A student who struggles to write an essay may be more accurately able to display her knowledge through one of the other options. You can also do this using the "tic tac toe" method, where you provide a grid of options and students choose three they feel prepared to tackle.

5. Flexible environment. Students have different sensory and physical needs in addition to academic needs. Even if you aren't ready to go full on flexible seating, you can still provide a flexible environment that differentiates to student needs. For example, students who are uncomfortable sitting on the rug can be allowed to bring over a chair during a mini lesson. Wiggle seat cushions can work wonders for fidgety students.You can even provide a cool down corner for students who get overwhelmed.

If you're interested in learning more about differentiated instruction, Study.com has an entire course on this topic called Using Differentiated Instruction in the Classroom. And as a little giveaway to our readers, if you like their resources you can use the promo code StudyComTeacherDiffPromo to get 20% off the first three months of their teacher plan!

October Teacher Care Crate Unboxing

Find out exactly what comes in the October Teacher Care Crate in my unboxing video, and read below for more details on each item.

Autumn Bucket List: Designed by Jillian Starr of the The Starr Spangled Planner, this 5 x 7 bucket list is full of ways to take care of yourself and enjoy the season. {Retail Value: $8}

Fall Stickers: These stickers are a collaboration with Amanda Newsome of A Perfect Blend. The stickers are perfect for your planner or journal. {Retail Value: $4}

Knotted Headband: This knotted headband from Shabby Flowers is perfect for wearing to school! {Retail Value: $10}

Teach Candle: Made especially for Teacher Care Crate by Guideless Candle Company, this mini candle smells like coffee, cinnamon, and vanilla-- pure fall! {Retail Value: $5}

Vegan Leather Earrings: Handmade by me, these vegan leather earrings are super light and made with stainless steel findings. {Retail Value: $15}

Pumpkin Spice Latte Bath Bomb: This bath bomb from Plainly Simply looks just like a tiny pumpkin spice latte! {Retail Value: $6}

Pumpkin Pie Tea: This loose leaf tea from The Country Muffin is perfect for fall. I've included three tea bags for you to use to brew your tea, or you can use a tea strainer. {Retail Value: $4}

The October Teacher Care Crate is sold out! You can head to teachercarecrate.com on 10/15 to subscribe starting with the November Crate.

September Favorites

I'm starting a new series of monthly favorites! Here's what I'm loving this month:
This post contains affiliate links.

1. Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson I had multiple people list this book as one that changed their lives on this Instagram post, so I decided to read it! Not a light read, but so, so important. The author shares stories of his work with prisoners on death row and the racism that is so embedded in the criminal justice system. There are some truly shocking statistics in the book, but it's mostly personal stories of actual cases. Be prepared to cry and shake your fist at society.

2. Naranjas Puzzle I just completed this puzzle and it's one of my favorites! It's a 1000 pieces and on the challenging side, but not crazy hard like some of the puzzles of paintings I've done.

3. Daily Harvest Smoothies These smoothies come frozen to your door, and you just add liquid and blend! They're a little pricey, but they've been working out really well for me since I'm kind of bad about keeping food in the house or eating at all when I'm home by myself. I get 6 every two weeks and they're great to have on hand for breakfast or as a snack. I try not to eat added sugar, so it's great that there are plenty of options without it. My favorite flavors are Acai + Cherry and Cold Brew + Almond. You can try it out and get three free cups with this link!

4. To All the Boys I've Loved Before This Netflix original movie is the cutest! Tons of you recommended it to me on Instagram so I watched it one night when my husband wasn't home so he wouldn't ruin it. 

5. Veggie Grain Bowls This is one of my favorite recipes to meal prep ahead and eat for lunch all week. I've only ever had the first one (there's two listed in this recipe), but it's SO good. I'm not sure in what world sweet potato takes the same amount of time to cook as all the other veggies though, so pop those sweet potatoes in first.

6. Neko Case's Hell-On This album is a couple months old but I'm just getting into it now. I'm a sucker for songs with my name, so Halls of Sarah is my personal favorite from the album.

7. Paper Mate Fine Gel Pens I know everyone has strong feelings about their flairs and Inkjoys, but these are my go-to pens! Ever since I started bullet journaling, I've been on the hunt for the perfect pen for me, and I think these are it!

What are your favorites this month?

September Teacher Care Crate Unboxing

Teach Mug I know it's a cliche that teachers get tons of mugs as gifts, but I, for one, have never once received a teacher mug! Regardless, this campfire style ceramic mug is perfect for your morning coffee or for keeping at school! {Retail Value: $15}

Face Mask This Charcoal Detox Sea & White Clay Mask from True Beauty Organics soothes skin and removes dirt and impurities. {Retail Value: $2.75}

Art Print Naturally the queen of teacher farmhouse style, Jessica of The Magnolia Teacher, designed this month's 5" x 7" art print! {Retail Value: $8}

Oatmeal Soap This gentle oatmeal soap from Serenity + Blossom is perfect for sensitive skin. {Retail Value: $4}

Matcha Chai Latte Mix Chai is the perfect fall drink, and this special mix from Teapigs combines it with healthful matcha! {Retail Value: $2.25}

Wooden Sign I polled the Teacher Care Crate Instagram audience about whether they would like a sign for your classroom or home-- and you choose classroom! These beautiful wooden signs were handmade by Cabin20 Creations. {Retail Value: $11}

{Total Retail Value: $43}

While the September crate is sold out, you can visit teachercarecrate.com on September 15 to sign up to receive the October Teacher Care Crate!

9 Items of Clothing from Amazon to Complete Your Teacher Wardrobe

This post contains affiliate links.

Amazon has some surprisingly cute and inexpensive (okay, that part's not surprising) clothing options for teachers! Unfortunately it can be kinda hard to hunt down items that are actually your style since Amazon is so vast! I did the work for you and found nine items perfect for teaching! They're all under $50, and most of them are WAY below that. My biggest tip for shopping for clothes on Amazon is to the check the brand's size chart and read the reviews. The clothes are often coming straight from Asia and the sizes tend to run quite small. For example, I'm usually a US extra small, and often wear a small or medium in many Amazon brands. Happy shopping!

1. Tote Bag This tote looks basic, but can hold a ton and has lots of useful features like dividers, pockets, and a keychain strap.
2. Striped Button Down This button down would look great untied with skinny pants or tied with a skirt!
3. Black Midi Skirt Speaking of skirts, a black midi is easy to wear and goes with everything.
4. Striped Long Sleeve Tee This top is a little more casual, but still appropriate for most schools.
5. Ballet Flats Some of the colors of these Tieks look-alikes are as low as $14!
6. Open Front Cardigan A neutral cardigan is a must for dealing with eccentric school heating systems.
7. Black Drawstring Pants Can't wear jeans? Why not wear something even comfier, like these drawstring pants!? 
8. Sloth Dress Look, what's even the point of being a teacher if you're not wearing whimsical prints à la Ms. Frizzle? 
9. Long Sleeve Ruffle Top So cute and would look great with a statement necklace!

Cultural Appropriation in the Classroom

From teepees as reading nooks to Drake decor, cultural appropriation is rampant in the classroom. Before I give some examples, let's make sure we all know what cultural appropriation is. The Cambridge Dictionary defines it as, "the act of taking or using things from a culture that is not your own, especially without showing that you understand or respect this culture." I actually like this addition from Wikipedia as well: "It is distinguished from an equal cultural exchange due to an imbalance of power, often as a byproduct of colonialism and oppression."

As teachers, and particularly if you're a white teacher, it can be difficult to find the line between cultural appreciation vs. appropriation. Teaching your students about other cultures is important and absolutely not appropriation when you're doing it in a respectful and accurate manner. So how can you tell when you're taking part in cultural appropriation? Consider the intent AND the impact. Is your intent just to be trendy and cute, or is to truly and accurately teach about a culture? Is your intent to gain attention and profit (thinking TPT sellers here!) or is it to honor the culture? Now, consider the impact. Could the impact of your actions be negative, even if your intent is good? If a person of the culture you are appropriating tells you it's appropriation, listen to them! If you are a white educator teaching about marginalized cultures, you need to come at it from a place of humility. If you make a mistake, stop doing it, apologize, and make amends. 

Here are a few common forms of cultural appropriation in the classroom:

1. Using a whole culture or aspects of a culture as decor. "Tribal" is not a classroom theme. Sadly, if you search tribal decor on Teachers Pay Teachers, hundreds of results come up! There are many different Native American tribes that have all different customs and forms of art. They should not be reduced to some zigzag patterns and arrows for the sake of decorating a bulletin board. In the same vein, I also see tons of "teepees" being used as reading nooks! Just because something is sold at Target doesn't make it okay. You can learn more about this specifically in @readlikearockstar's Instagram post on the topic

2. Cultural dress as costumes. This can come up at Halloween, as well as throughout the year. Dressing up as a specific culture or nationality often turns into a stereotype that doesn't promote true understanding. When it comes down to it, traditional cultural clothing (such as Native American headdresses or Japanese kimonos) just are not costumes. When we treat them as such, we are not being respectful.

3. Creating crafts inspired by a culture, but not explaining the significance or incorrectly interpreting it. Most teachers like cute crafts, and there's nothing wrong with that! However, sometimes these crafts are inaccurate or reduce the culture to just one aspect. When you have your kids make a sombrero-and-mustache craft for Cinco de Mayo, you're promoting an inaccurate and often hurtful stereotype. Creating sugar skulls for Dias de los Muertos can also be a form of cultural appropriation. Again, consider both the intent and the impact. Is your intent just to make something cute or is to truly learn about and honor Mexican culture? 

4. Rapping. There's been a trend recently of white teachers taking rap songs and changing the lyrics to be educational or about school. Rap is a uniquely and powerfully Black form of music. It's been used to address social, political, and economic issues and can be seen as a voice of a marginalized group. If you want to listen to and appreciate rap music, great! If you want to study rap lyrics with your students and treat the art form with respect, great! But don't steal from a culture that isn't yours and turn it into something silly.

5. Phrases. Thankfully, many culturally appropriative or racist sayings are no longer socially acceptable to say. Unfortunately there are still quite a few floating around, some of which you might be using at school. I see sooo many shirts that say "teacher tribe" on them. Guess what? Unless you're referring to an actual cultural, regional tribe, you're not in a tribe. A group. You're in a group. Spirit animal is another one I see thrown around a lot, and unfortunately is something I used to say as well. A sloth is not your spirit animal, coffee is not your spirit animal-- NOTHING is your spirit animal, unless you are Native American and it is part of your religion. Also, I really hope no one is still saying this, but your students shouldn't be sitting "indian style"-- just say cross-legged! 

Wondering how to teach about other cultures without culturally appropriating? Consider using teaching resources created by members of the cultures you're teaching about. You still have a responsibility as an educator to do your own work, but this can be a great jumping off point. LaNesha Tabb and Naomi O'Brien have created an amazing K-3 Social Studies Curriculum that would be a great place to start. Jillian of The Starr Spangled Planner also has a great instagram post on cultural appropriation as well.

If you're not sure if something you're doing constitutes cultural appropriation, do some research or just don't do it!

August Teacher Care Crate Unboxing

Find out exactly what comes in the August Teacher Care Crate in this video, and then read below for more details and the retail value of each item. Subscribe by 7/14 at teachercarecrate.com to get the crate shown! 

Beaded Lanyard Handmade by me, this lanyard is both cute and functional! The cord is elastic so you that you can scan your ID and unlock your classroom without having to bend over or take off the lanyard. {Retail Value: $18}

Bath Bomb You all have been asking for another bath bomb since I first included one back in January, so here it is! This one was made by Pink Tub Boutique and contains baking soda, citric acid, rose petals, rose pink clay, jojoba oil, rose essential oil and witch hazel. {Retail Value: $3}

Self Care Pouch This zippered pouch is perfect for keeping in your teacher desk as a place to store your self care items! {Retail Value: $12}

Hand Sanitizer This French Lavender hand sanitizer spray from EO Products is all natural and 99.9% effective against most common germs. {Retail Value: $3}

Art Print Jess from The Social Speechie designed this beautiful 5 x 7, professionally printed art print! {Retail Value: $8}

Self Care Schedule Notepad I designed this notepad as a way for you to schedule out your self care each week! It contains 50 pages-- plenty to take you through the school year! {Retail Value: $6}

Adaptogen Coffee This instant coffee from Four Sigmatic is blended with tulsi, astralagus, and cinnamon. {Retail Value: $2}

This month's Teacher Care Crate is a great way to start taking your self care seriously this school year! With a retail value of $52, it's also a great deal. 

Subscribe at teachercarecrate.com by 7/14 to get the August Teacher Care Crate!

3 Bulletin Board Ideas for Back to School

These ideas will get your hallway bulletin board looking back-to-school night worthy in a snap! Each of these ideas would work for just about any subject or any grade K-8, plus they all include differentiated prep and writing options!

1. Growth Goals Cactus Bulletin Board
Students cut out the cactus templates and then write a goal for the year. There are even blank cacti if you prefer just to write student names!

These llamas are both on trend and an easy craftivity. Students answer the prompt "I will make this year great by..." on the llama's blanket. 

Students put together these rainbows and write something that makes them unique on each color. This is a great activity for the beginning of the year to show students that diversity is valued in your classroom.

All three of these bulletin board kits are available in my Teachers Pay Teachers store separately or as part of my Monthly Bulletin Board Kit Bundle. Each kit includes the craftivity versions shown here, as well as a B&W no-prep version that students can color in. 

Happy Bulletin Board-ing! 

5 Tips for Getting Along with Your Co-Teacher

Inclusion (sometimes called "push-in") is the ideal least restrictive environment for many our student with IEPs, but having two teachers in one classroom can be... difficult. As an introvert and someone with strong opinions, I honestly preferred teaching in my own resource room! But getting along with your co-teacher can go a long way towards making inclusion more pleasant, and ultimately making the classroom a better environment for students.

1. COMMUNICATE. This one is first and in all caps because it's the most crucial. You have to talk to your co-teacher outside of your teaching time. I wish this went without saying, but if you just show up during your scheduled "push in" time and that's the only time you speak to your general education co-teacher, things. will. not. go. well. And I say this as someone who's done it. At points, I was working with 5+ co-teachers, some of whom clearly did not want me in the room. You have to push past it and insist on meeting at least once a week or things are never going to get better.

2. Give gifts. Yep, I blatantly ingratiate myself with co-teachers throughout the year. Gift giving is my love language and I really do enjoy making and giving gifts, but it can also be a great way to start things off on the right foot! I give little gifts at the beginning of the year, the holidays, and the end of the year, at a minimum.

3. Take on tasks. Some general education co-teachers might be unsure of how much you're willing to do. Show you're a team player by offering to take over certain tasks. That could be lesson planning for a subject (I lesson planned a quarter of gen ed Social Studies for the whole grade level because I was the most passionate about the subject, which was Black History in Illinois), completing running records, or changing the bulletin board each month.

4. Exchange phone numbers. I genuinely hope you're thinking, "Duh," but I'm including this because it definitely wasn't the case for me with some co-teachers. Having each other's phone numbers means you can communicate last minute when you need to, and I think can lead to becoming friends as well. When you have someone's phone number, you can text them from Starbucks before school and see if they want anything. And we all know coffee leads to friendship.

5. Share & care. Your co-teacher doesn't need to know all the ins and outs of your personal life, but sharing some information can help you become closer. While some might think this is TMI, I truly think sharing with certain co-teachers that I have Generalized Anxiety Disorder helped them to be more understanding of me. Of course, it doesn't have to be that personal. It can just be talking about your pets, or kids, or your new apartment. And this goes both ways! Show that you care about your co-teacher as a human being by asking about their life (in a non-prying way) outside of school. Ask what they're doing this weekend, remember their kids' names, and ask if they're feeling better when they have a cold. Some of you are probably thinking, "Thanks for the primer on being a normal, nice human being, Sarah," but I know it's not always easy when you're nervous or new! There will be some co-teachers that this all comes naturally with, and others with whom you'll really need to make an effort.

As I developed relationships with co-teachers, it became clear that some of them were a bit chilly towards me at first because they were used to special education teachers who in their minds, didn't do anything. Keep that in mind if you think that your co-teachers don't like you at first! Show them that you truly want to be a co-teacher, not just an assistant-- and hopefully even a friend! 

If you're looking for more tips on teaching in an inclusion setting, check out these 7 Things You Can Do as an Inclusion Teacher.

7 Amazon Items for the Best Bulletin Board Ever

This post contains affiliate links.

For when you want that bomb bulletin board, but you don't want to leave the house: 

1. Corrugated Black Border I love old school bordette for adding texture without being too busy.
2. Fadeless Bulletin Board Paper Fadeless bulletin board paper is totally worth the cost. It can last you the whole year instead of ripping as soon as a student so much as glances at it.
3. Burlap Banner
4. Woodgrain Background Paper This woodgrain paper is actually a photo backdrop, but it's big enough for a bulletin board!
5. Teal Paper Fans
6. Mini Clothespins I love mini clothespins for banners and easily changing out student work.
Gold Paper Fans Gold is festive while still going with everything.

You can find out more tips for setting up your bulletin board here: 5 Ways to Set Your Bulletin Board Up for Success.

Once you've got your bulletin board set up, you can make sure you always have a fresh + display ready to go with my Monthly Bulletin Board Bundle.

It includes a seasonal and meaningful activity for each month of the year suitable for grades K-8, plus three bonus kits! Each kit includes a craftivity option, as well as a no prep version. Find it here

5 Ways to Set Your Bulletin Board Up For Success

This post contains affiliate links.

1. Use a long-lasting background. It's tempting to just use whatever butcher paper you can scrounge up in the teacher's lounge, but you'll ultimately save yourself time and maybe even money if you use fadeless paper or fabric. If you go the fabric route, it can even last for years! 

2. Use neutral colors. I'm not saying your board has to be beige, but pick a background and borders that won't need to be changed seasonally or because they clash with your displays. One year I used a solid mint fabric, which looked great with every display I had up throughout the year. I also think black is a great choice for borders!

3. Don't mix patterns. I might be in the minority on this, but I think multiple patterns on one bulletin board is overkill. If you're going to do a patterned background (I like using a woodgrain pattern), choose a solid border. If you're using a patterned border, go with a solid background. Sure, you want your board to be bright and attractive, but you don't want it to overwhelm student work. 

4. Over-staple. Kids are going to touch your bulletin board when they walk by it-- it's unavoidable. So go ahead and staple, staple, staple those borders. You can even get really crazy and laminate your borders first, though I've never taken it that far.

5. Try corrugated borders. I used to think these were too old school, but now I love them! They're often a bit sturdier than the flat kind and they're so cheap! They also look great layered and add some texture without being too over the top. 

If you follow these tips, you can leave the basics of your bulletin board the same ALL YEAR!

Just change out the student work monthly and you're set! You can even grab my Monthly Bulletin Board Bundle so you have a fresh + fun activity ready to go each month. 

It includes a seasonal and meaningful activity for each month of the year suitable for grades K-8, plus three bonus kits! Each kit includes a craftivity option, as well as a no prep version. Check it out here!

July Teacher Care Crate Unboxing

Find out exactly what comes in the July Teacher Care Crate in my unboxing video, and read on for even more details!

Happy Essential Oil Roller This blend of orange, lavender, ylang ylang, and coconut oils is the perfect summer scent. Use any time you need a little mood boost! {Retail Value: $12}

Seed Bombs Each crate includes a pouch with four beautiful seed bombs from Plantables and Paper. Plant indoors or outdoors for a burst of wildflowers and a reminder to keep growing! {Retail Value: $6}

Yoga Card Becca of The Teacher's Passport designed this yoga and meditation card-- perfect for relaxing over the summer or during the school year! {Retail Value: $2}

Knotted Headband This stretchy headband is great for keeping your hair back during the summer heat, or for rocking with a messy bun during the school year. {Retail Value: $10}

Succulent Earrings These darling earrings are handmade (by me!) with stainless steel, nickel-free posts. They also go great with the headband! {Retail Value: $12}

Lavender Mint Lip Balm This handmade lip balm from With Love By KM will keep your lips smooth and has a refreshing scent. {Retail Value: $5}

Recharge Candle Guideless Candles created this rose-scented candle just for Teacher Care Crate! {Retail Value: $5}

Moscow Mule Mixer Just mix soda water (I used Lacroix!) and vodka with this cocktail mixer from Minute Mixology to make a delicious Moscow Mule. {Retail Value: $1} 

With a retail value of over $50, this month's Teacher Care Crate is the perfect way to continue your #selfcaresummer, as well as a great deal! 

Subscribe at teachercarecrate.com by 7/14 to receive this special Flower Child themed Teacher Care Crate!

9 Amazon Items For Your Pineapple Classroom

Whether you're going for a full on pineapple theme or just want a few tropical touches, there are some cute classroom finds on Amazon!
This post contains affiliate links.

1. Golden Pineapple Banner I love this banner for a bulletin board or whiteboard.
2. Pineapple Squishie This would be great for a cool down corner!
3. Pineapple Lanyard Wearing your classroom key and ID is a little more fun when you have a pink pineapple lanyard!
4. Pineapple Mat A welcome mat makes your classroom extra homey. 
5. Pineapple Wall Hanging This tapestry would be perfect for covering up any unsightly areas of your classroom walls.
6. Pineapple Pen Holder How fun is this pencil holder for your desk!?
7. Pineapple Lamps These pretty lamps would add a gentle glow to your library area.
8. Pineapple Pens These would be great for a VIP student desk or even parent sign-in at conferences.
9. Pineapple Pillow So cute for a library area or cool down corner!

Complete the look with my Pineapple Classroom Decor Pack!

3 Ways to Help Children at the Border

As teachers, we are used to loving and taking care of children other than our own. Regardless of your views on immigration or who you voted for, tearing children away from their families because their parents are seeking a better life for them is unnecessary, cruel, and wrong. 

1. Start by calling and writing your congress people TODAY to let them know you want them to support the Keep Families Together Act. If you have any Republican representatives or senators, this is particularly important, as no Republicans currently support the bill. You can use Resistbot to easily write your reps right from you phone. You can use 5 Calls to call your reps by just pressing a button.

2. After you contact your reps, SHARE this information. We want reps to be so overwhelmed with calls and letters that they feel compelled to act. You're welcome to share this blog post, or my Facebook post with the same information.

3. Then, if you're in a position to do so, donate to an organization helping the children at the border. Personally, I donated to Together Rising, an organization providing advocates and legal representation to children at the border. 

Let's do this, teacher-friends!

June Teacher Care Crate Unboxing

Want to know exactly what comes in the June Teacher Care Crate? Watch my quick unboxing video and find even more details, including retail value, below. Just be sure to subscribe by June 14 to get the crate shown here! 

Sweet Summer Tote Bag The Hipster Art Teacher, known for her hand lettered clipboards, applied her gorgeous hand lettering and illustration style to design this fun summer tote! It's perfect for wherever your summer errands take you, whether it's the library, beach, or grocery store. {Retail Value: $16}

Summer Bucket List Print Use this list to make the most of your summer! It features 17 suggestions for summer activities, plus two blank spaces for you to fill in your own summer bucket list items. {Retail Value: $8}

Citrus Mojito Soap This refreshing, handmade soap from Voss Botanicals has the perfect summery scent. {Retail Value: $6}

Tropical Tattoos The June Teacher Care Crate includes a full page of tropical tattoos from Ducky Street Tattoos! Pineapples, monstera leaves, and flamingos will look great as you head to a summer festival or just the pool! They're easily applied with water and can be washed off whenever you wish. If you avoid washing the area, your tattoos can last 2-3 days. {Retail Value: $3}

Teacher on Break Koozie Jamie from Little Miss and Company made the adorable mint koozies in this month's crate! They're perfect for keeping your LaCroix (or can of wine!) cool. {Retail Value: $5}

Shower Steamer Place your handmade shower steamer from Blue Oak Farm in the corner of your shower outside the direct stream of water for a spa-like aromatherapy experience that will last several showers. {Retail Value: $3}

Pique Tea Crystals Pour these mint green tea crystals in hot or cold water for instant tea without dealing with a tea bag. {Retail Value: $1}

Kick off your summer of self care with the June Teacher Care Crate
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