Sunday, July 31, 2011

Weekend Where Abouts... Major Deals!

This weekend I am actually in the midst of moving into my new house in this dreadful heat. To take a break from the smouldering sun, we took a trip to my favorite store and found this wall of goodies!

Can you guess where we were?

Weekly Deals

Composition Notebooks- 10 cent (25 max for teachers and $5 spending minimum)
$5.99 SanDisk 4GB flash drive (GREAT deal!)
5-6 drawer rolling cabinet- $14

Office Depot:
2 pocket folders- 5 cent
Vinyl Pencil Pouch- 5 cent
Metal Storage Bins- $1 (love love these)


6 pack Elmer's glue sticks- $1
3 drawer rolling storage cart- $10 (these are great for storing station games!!)

Friday, July 29, 2011

Fashion Friday: No Limit to Your Wardrobe

I am the first person to jump to the occasion of any sale... but a discount on top of a sale... nothing will get in my way. Luckily there is such a clothing company that will actually provide teachers with an extra discount on any purchase; even sale items. The Limited offers a 15% off discount on all purchases (full price or sale items) for teachers. This is very beneficial because The Limited has constant sales, including semi annual 50% off sales. With an extra discount, you can add some flare to your wardrobe and bring it up to date without making a dent in your wallet. What are you waiting for? Get in the car and go get some deals... and don't feel guilty for treating yourself.

With Style and Savings,
The Penny Pinching Teacher

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Thrifty Thursday: Pinterest Inspiration

I just might deem myself the title of Pinterest Princess... and I'm sure you're not far behind me if you've already joined in on the Pinterest Party Craze that has taken over the world.

Okay, I might be exaggerating just a bit but it seems that everyone and their sister (maybe even brother) has jumped on the Pinterest bandwagon lately and I'm loving it!

Recently I posted on my personal blog, Mimosas on Mondays, the projects that I've completed for my new house with some help from my Pinterest inspirations. Now I have a few Teacher Pinterest inspirations to add to that list. Ever since I started following Pinterest, I walk around constantly saying, (insert sarcastic tone) "Oh I could make that..." And usual I actually can.

Has anyone else fallen craze to this amazing world of ideas? I hope so! Here a few Pinterest inspirations that I plan to complete before the school year begins.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Wardrobe Essential Wednesday: Not So Little Black Dress

I'm sure you have heard from every fashion magazine and What Not to Wear too that every female should have a little black dress in her closet. Well ladies, the new little black dress is not so little anymore. As Oprah's fashion team said so well on one of their specials, a black dress does not necessarily need to be little, instead it needs to fit YOU (not the girl sitting beside you). 

You know your body type; and you know what dress silhouette fits you perfectly. So why would you buy a "little" black dress that doesn't flatter you?

When searching for that perfect "little" black dress, you need to first look for fit. I am rather petite so I know that I need to look for a dress that is covering at the top and a little shorter in length. That way I can extend my leg line to add "height."

After you find the perfect fit, match that fit with a style that will match your life. If you are a socialite, you might want to buy a dress that can be worn to a cocktail and then transformed into work wear with a touch of color from a cardigan. If you are not one to go out on the town, then buy a simple dress that is timeless. The less the embellishment, the more years wear you will get from it.
Not So Little Black Dress

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Target Dollar Spot Spree

Target's Dollar Spot is a teacher's dream come true right now... especially if you teach lower elementary. Being a 5th Grade teacher, I have to be a little picky with the classroom decorations that I buy so that my room doesn't look "uncool" or "babyish" for my older big kids.

I find myself grabbing things that I know are too young for my classroom and I always have to send pictures to my teacher buddies so that they can snag these amazing deals. So far this week, these are the fabulous finds that I've come across.

Days of the week= $1

Calendar Set... each component is $1 so $3 for the whole thing... NOT BAD!

Weather Chart= $1

Class Dry Erase Schedule (currently in my classroom) =$1

"Welcome To Our Classroom" Banner =$1
If you're a lower elementary teacher then get to Target ASAP and grab these fabulous finds! What have you found in Target Dollar Spot lately?

To Do Tuesday: Hand Signs

To each their own and to every classroom its own... but sharing your classroom management ideas and learning from others is the best way to get a near perfect classroom management system...for you.
Classroom management doesn't just consist of rules and rewards; it is a combination of all of the components that make your classroom run smoothly. Along with my classroom rules... or rule rather (RESPECT)... I have classroom hand signals that help make my day easier. You might be thinking to yourself that this sounds sketchy but I am here to say that it is one of the best things I have ever implemented in my classroom. Plus my students LOVE it and my principal seems to like it as well.

Have you ever been frustrated to the point of wanting to pull out your hair because students are constantly interrupting your lessons? Do you see numerous hands fly up with a plea to go to the restroom right in the middle of your teacher input? Are you tired of having to stop your directions so that students can sharpen their pencils? Does it frustrate you when students ask to get water in the middle of your explanation of key concepts?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions then I have your solution... HAND SIGNALS! In my class, we have 3 hand signals. One to sharpen pencils, one to use the restroom and another to get water. I teach these hand signals at the beginning of the year and they catch on quickly. Instead of stopping my lesson to listen to a student's request, I just nod my head as an okay when I see a student hold up a hand signal and they know that they can go ahead with what they need to do. My to-do for today is to make a hand signal poster to hang in my classroom.

Hand Signals:

W = Water
O = Bathroom
Pencil = Sharpen

Monday, July 25, 2011

Plan It Out... Writing Style

My 5th Grade students had to complete a science research writing prompt last year. The hardest part of this process was not the actual writing, it was more of the research and planning. Two tools that I believe helped my students the most were Alpha Boxes and Prompt Plans.

I use Alpha Boxes in both my teaching of reading and writing. During Guided Reading, I have my small groups keep an alpha box for each book that they read. The students record the book title or topic in the middle of the alpha box. As we progress through the book, the students add 5 vocabulary words each day that I have pulled from their text. These are are key vocabulary that we discuss and use context clues to decipher the meaning of. Students then can add more important words to their alpha boxes as they read independently. Not only is this a great tool to keep the students refreshed on their vocabulary, but it also is a running record of the key words from each book.

In the writing process, alpha boxes can come in hand when the students are researching. Instead of jotting down pages of notes in their writing notebooks, I often have students write down key words that they find in their research on alpha boxes. This tool is great when students are beginning their rough drafts so that they have a "thesaurus" so to say of the key words that they need to use in their own writing. 

This planning graphic organizer is another helpful tool for students in the pre-writing process. It is especially helpful when there is a specific prompt given to students for a writing test.

Monday Deal: 114 Items for $2.75

Please say I'm not the only one who is jumping at every opportunity to find a good deal on supplies this summer! Are you having any luck finding extreme deals?

Today I hit the jackpot thanks to some fabulous bloggers. I stopped by Staples on my errand run this morning to get the 2 pocket folders that are on sale for a penny this week. The only downfall to Staples penny sales is that you have to spend $5 in order to get the items for a penny. But on the plus side, they will allow teachers to get 25 of each of the penny items instead of just 10.

The only penny sale items that my Staples store had in their sales ad this week were folders but thanks to Rebecca at Create.Teach.Share I found out that other Staples had pencils, notecards and highlights also for a penny. Well this happened to be my lucky day because they price matched the other store's deals. I ended up getting much than I had planned to but spent very little.
sidebar: I wish you could've seen my face when the sales clerk rang up the sales promo wrong and the register said that my bill was $26,457.00!!!

Here's what ended up in my shopping cart:

25 packs of 100 index cards = $0.25

4 Sharpies= $1

25 packs of 2 Sharpie Highlighters= $0.25

4 White Outs= $1
25 Pocket Folders- $0.25
25 packs of 8 pencils= $0.25
Big Purchase of the day: Hanging Files for my Target Crates= $10
Without the hanging files, my total for 114 items was $2.75!

The Penny Pinching Teacher

Monday Meltdown: Field Trip Idea Emergency

Who would've thought that the hardest part of the school year for a teacher isn't actually preparing for the EOGs but is quite possibly a whole nother (like that southern coming out) preparation instead... field trips!

I'm in charge of my grade level's one big field trip this coming year and I thought I had gotten lucky and not drawn the short straw (IST rep or Science Chair) but who am I kidding. What in the world have I gotten myself into?! The school year is still a month away from starting and I'm already stressing out about this epic field trip. This task would be much easier if I could narrow down my decision on the destination.

The reason why I am jumping into this planning head first is because the Target Field Trip Grant applications start on August 1st and I want to make sure that I have my grant proposal completed before school starts back and life gets hectic once again. Target offers up to $700 to help fund educational field trips to those lucky applicants who are chosen.
 I teach 5th Grade in NC so I am looking for a field trip that will not only fit our standard course of study but also keep us within the state lines. Science seems to be the subject to go to when coordinating field trips with curriculum so I've come up with a few ideas but I would love to get your input!

Where have you taken your students on a field trip? What destination do you think would be perfect for the 5th Grade? I'd love to hear your ideas!

Thank you in advance,
The Penny Pinching Teacher

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Weekly Deals: Supplies and More

2 Pocket Folders- 1 cent each (limit 10 per customer and a $5 minimum purchase required)
12 Pack Pencil Tip Erasers- 50 cent
2 Pack White Out- 50 cent
5 Pack Dry Erase markers- $2

Office Depot:
2 Hole Pencil Sharpener- 1 cent2 Pocket Poly Folders- 25 cent (limit 10 per customer)
4 Pack Glue Sticks- 50 cent

12 Count Crayola Colored Pencils- 99cent
Stackable Storage Bins- $3 (I just went and bought 2 yesterday and wish I would've waited!)
TI30X Texas Calculators- $9

Friday, July 22, 2011

Post It Party

I successful got my free Scotch Tape at Target and a Post-It Note Cube for $3 (they also have great colors of Post-Its for only $1) along with a few other get deals!  My favorite purchase of the day of course came from the Dollar Spot in Target. I've been searching for a new Recess Equipment bag to replace my one from last year which has sadly seen its better days.

Today I found a laundry bag that I thought might work but I was skeptical until I took it out of the bag. Don't let the packaging fool you.

This bag is perfect for the few pieces of recess equipment that we take out each day and it even has a strap to hang from a hook in my classroom. Plus at a price of only $2.50, I don't have to worry about it getting ruined on trips to the playground each day.

Create Teach Share is hosting a Post It Party... you must head on over and check out the creative ways that amazing teachers are putting my favorite classroom supply to good use... Post It Party!
I'm planning to use my Post-Its to make Reading Strategy Cards for my 5th Graders to travel from book to book. Along with Teacher Memos to send back and forth between classrooms during the day... we all know that note passing doesn't only happen with the students!!

Friday Target Finds

What better way to start off my Friday than another trip to Target! Today I'm planning to raid the dollar section for the third time this week and see if there is anything new to fit my fancy. And I just saw on Target Treasures that there are a few school supply freebies for the week... who doesn't want to jump on the opportunity to get something free!

First on my list is my freebie "purchase" of the day:
Scotch Tape
On sale for 50 cent + Target online coupon for 50 cent off = FREE

I also might pick up some Post Its to try printing Reading Strategies on. I learned yesterday over at Lady Bug's Teacher Files that I could actually print text on my beloved sticky notes (my favorite thing every... just ask my students!) And to top it off... Target has there multicolored Post-It Notes cubes on sale for $3.

If you know me well... then you know that these will not be the only things in my cart today. Who knows what I'll find on today's shopping spree!

Also make sure you check back on Sunday to see what school supply deals of the week I've found... hopefully they will includes several Penny Sales...

With Target Teasures,
The Penny Pinching Teacher

Fashion Friday: Big Apple for the Teacher

Are you an avid New York & Co. shopper. I'm definitely a fan of their classy structured tops that look great with any sleek pair of black pants. One thing you might not know about New York & Co. is that they offer a 15% off discount to teachers. All you need to do is present the cashier with your teacher ID and the discount is yours. Beware though, this offer is only valid at participating locations so be sure to call your store before making a spree out of your day. Why not enjoy a New York sense of style on a smart budget?

On top of this great discount everyday, you can sign up to recieve other great deals including a 20% coupon just for signing up here.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Thrifty Thursday: Folder Overload

Of course I had to take advantage of my weekly biweekly trip to Target's dollar section. Yesterday I found the same magazine holders that I got so excited about last year. To top it all off... they were GREEN which coordinates with my classroom! These folders were a life saver this past year and all of my colleagues ran to Target as soon as I spread the news about this bargain.

These folders are great for storing my class's science folders for each of our four units. What better way to get 100 folders out of the way.
*Sidebar: Now if Office Depot would hurry up and put their folders on sale for a penny then I can get the 150 folders that I need for the upcoming year...patience is a virtue!

Since this was such a steal, I even managed to snag a few for my new bookshelf/desk unit that I got at IKEA this weekend for my home office.
I'm in love with this new purchase and cannot wait to fill the shelves.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Wardrobe Essential Wednesday: Flats Under 50

Every teacher's closet should hold at least one pair of colored, closed toes flats. The color is up to you. Blue, Green, Pink, Yellow... the bolder the better. Now some of you are cringing at the thought of wearing a colored pair of shoes with just any outfit, but I'm hear to ease your fears and let you know that it can be done. One pop of color can brighten up and tie together any outfit. Don't be scared to pair a set of bright green flats with khakis and a sweater. If you're not so daring as I, you can substitute the bright colors with a classic tan or camel colored pair of flats.

The key to finding the right flats is comfort, color and cost. Make sure you try on several pairs of flats and actually walk around the store in them before purchasing. If you're a teacher then you know that there is nothing worse than a painful pair of shoes when you spend over 90% of your work day standing. Also make sure that you're in love with the color of the flats or else they will probably gather dust in your closet. Finally the cost is the most important element. Why spend hundreds of dollars on a pair of shoes that you are going to wear to the bone. I can testify to the fact that my teaching shoes rarely last more than a year because I wear them every day! My rule of thumb is $50 or under for flats. Here are just a few that I fell in love with.
Every teacher's closet should hold at least one pair of colored, closed toes flats. The color is up to you. Blue, Green, Pink, Yellow... the bolder the better. Now some of you are cringing at the thought of wearing a colored pair of shoes with just any outfit, but I'm hear to ease your fears and let you know that it can be done. One pop of color can brighten up and tie together any outfit. Don't be scared to pair a set of bright green flats with khakis and a sweater. If you're not so daring as I, you can substitute the bright colors with a classic tan or camel colored pair of flats.
Flats Under 50
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