Monday, August 24

Back to School GIVEAWAY- KleenSlate Whiteboard Paddles

Hi friends!  I'm back today to tell you about a new classroom tool of mine that I just LOVE!  When I was at the TPT Conference in Vegas this summer, there was an educational expo being held at the hotel.  My friend Erica and I were checking out the booths one morning when we came across the coolest product- KleenSlate Whiteboard Paddles!
One side of the paddle is a whiteboard, and the other is a dry erase sleeve that comes with a 2 sided template (handwriting lines or graphing paper).  BUT here's the coolest thing...the template comes out and you can insert ANY template or graphic organizer that you need!  I was seriously excited when we found this out.  I was already picturing how I could use these in my could use math templates with ten frames and number bonds to show their thinking, write down their answers to our Question of the Day, plan out the details of their writing, use a T-chart to sort words during phonics, and pretty much any other type of formative assessment I might need to do.
While I was busy oohing and aahing over the versatility of the dry erase sleeve, Erica was most impressed with the markers.  Because the ink tube goes all the way to the end of the marker, it is impossible for kids to push the points in.  YES, you heard that right!  No more throwing out markers because kids pushed too hard.  How great is that?!
Another awesome feature?  Everything is attached, so you don't waste precious instructional time passing out materials!  The marker attaches to the handle, and there's a cleaning cloth that clips to the board with a ring.
I was so impressed with these boards after I saw them at the expo that I just HAD to splurge on a class set.  I chose to get all blue to match my classroom (and to eliminate issues of arguing about color), but they have a variety of colors to choose from.
Is your teacher heart geeking out now as much as mine was?! is the absolute BEST part....KleenSlate is letting me give away a set of 12 whiteboard paddles to one lucky teacher!  How awesome is that?!  Just enter the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win!

*Full Disclosure: KleenSlate provided me with a few extra boards & markers in exchange for writing this post and hosting the giveaway.  All opinions stated are my own.
*Full, Full Disclosure: I would've written about them for free...they are just that awesome.  ;)

Sunday, August 23

Birthday Bags - 20 gifts for $20!

Hi friends!  As I am prepping things for the new year, I wanted to stop in & share a few tips about birthday bags.  If you're like me, you want to give your kiddos something to help them celebrate their special day, but you want it to BE cheap without actually LOOKING cheap.  (Now that I think about it, that's kinda my motto with all gifts...)  Anyway, here are some tips to putting together cheap (but not cheap looking) student birthday gifts.

Tip 1: Look in the party sections at Target, Walmart, Michaels, etc.  They often have 6 or 8 packs of small toys for only a few dollars! I've also found fun stuff like bubbles, notepads, googly eye rings, and crazy straws.  You do have to be careful, as some of it isn't the best quality, but there are some hidden gems too.

 Tip 2: Look in the Target Dollar Spot over the summer.  I know this tip probably isn't new (anyone else religiously stalk browse the dollar spot over the summer looking for cool things?), but it's still worth mentioning.  The past few years, I did a Dr. Seuss birthday theme with Dr. Seuss pencils, erasers, & bookmarks...all from the Dollar Spot!

Tip 3: Put the items in a fun birthday bag...I got 20 bags for $1 from the Walmart party section!  It just makes it look more festive and less like a bag of trinkets. :)

Tip 4:  My last in bulk.  If I see a good deal or a cool item, I buy 2-3 years worth at a time.  That way, I don't have to worry about going out to find birthday items every summer.  The items are already waiting to be assembled in my classroom. :)

So, what to see what mine turned out like?  Take a peek!

Here's what's in this year's bags...
- Cupcake stickers (24 for $1 from Target Dollar Spot)
- Glitter Pencils (8 for $1 from Target Dollar Spot...needed 3 packs)
- Colorful Erasers (8 for $1 from Target Dollar Spot...needed 3 packs)
- Googly eye rings (20 for $3 from Michael's)
- Bubbles (20 for $3 from Michael's)
- Birthday Bookmarks (24 for $1 from Target Dollar Spot)
- Crazy Straws (6 for $1 from Michael's...needed 4 packs)
- Fun birthday bags (20 for $1 from Walmart party section)
- Birthday certificate (24 for $1 from Target Dollar Spot...not pictured...oops)
TOTAL: $20...and I even have some leftovers! :)

When you assemble your birthday bags, I recommend setting up an "assembly line" with all of the items lined up in front of you.  Grab a bag, go down the line and put the items in, tie it off with a twist tie (comes with the bags), and viola!  20 birthday bags...ready to go for my kiddos!

I hope this gives you some new ideas for student birthday gifts!  Tell I missing anything?  I'd love another reason to go to the Dollar Spot! ;)

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