Pretty, Proficient Planners: Plum Paper

I am very particular about my planners. I had a great Martha Stewart planner from Staples then my world ended when they quit carrying them. It came with monthly calendars and there were weekly spreads big enough to write my lesson plans. But, the best part had to be that it was built to hold all the pages as inserts so I didn’t have to buy the binding each year.

Sure, I tried other planners, but they just weren’t like Martha’s. All of the planners I saw had weekly spreads that you could fit a paragraph on for each day. That just doesn’t cut it for me. Until one day, Ashley notified me about Plum Paper planners. Cue the singing angels. They are everything I had been looking for and more. There are a variety of cover designs you can choose from plus you can customize it. I chose the pink stripes with my name in grey.

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On the inside there are tabs for each month and each week is divided into classes! Plus, if you choose, you can have your classes actually printed onto the paper for weekly lesson plans.

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Love the colored tabs! This planner runs from August to July.

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Here is the weekly spread. I love this template, and it’s enough space to write what I’m doing in each class each day.

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Along the left side are the row boxes where you can have your classes printed.

There are also sections for class lists, contact information, and notes. The paper is also shiny and kind of feels luxurious compared to the usual lame paper my other planners had. I almost don’t want to write on it. The only thing about the planner that can’t touch Martha’s is that it isn’t reloadable. But, other than that, two thumbs up.

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They come in two different sizes, and I chose the large. I like my planners spacious enough to see everything.

I don’t even want to think what would happen if something happened to these planners. I can’t take another Staples debacle.

~Jess

Classroom BFF: The Quietest Pencil Sharpener

As I was planning what I would do for classroom management this year and how I would change it from last year, I couldn’t help but think about my students and how much they would sharpen their pencils. There were quite a few times last year when a student would go to the pencil sharpener (as I was speaking of course) to sharpen his or her “dull” pencil on either my mechanical or electric sharpener. Imagine me using air quotes around dull because, more often than not, the pencil did not need it. I think we all know what would happen then. The sharpener would be so loud I would have to pause as they sharpen so they could get a nice point to continue working. It was a big pet peeve of mine and I wanted none of it as I went into this new school year. This is when I heard about the “quietest classroom pencil sharpener” from my fellow teacher friend. I had to try it out.

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sharpener c/o Classroom Friendly Supplies

Every student who has tried the new pencil sharpener has loved it! They think it is so cool, because really it is. When you place the pencil in the sharpener, the metal holder actually comes out, and then as you crank the handle, the metal holder moves closer back in place until it is done sharpening. This is to prevent over sharpening done by nearly all students. If you are having trouble imagining this, watch this video!

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Once it is done, the pencil has the sharpest point my students and I have ever seen! They love it, and to clean it is simple. You just have to pull out the clear plastic disposable tray, dump it in the trash and replace.

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The pencil sharpener costs $24.99 and comes in a variety of colors. I love it because it has a retro look to it! There is also free shipping, and specials if you want to order more than one at a time.

This sharpener has definitely cut down on the noise in my room made by all of the previous sharpeners that are now in the past! Plus, it seems that my students have not needed to sharpen their pencils as often! Check out the website at Classroom Friendly Supplies.

To buy your own sharpener, click the link here!

Happy Teaching!

~Jess

 

Thursday Book Talk: Modern Romance

I love to read celebrities autobiographies. More specifically comedian’s autobiographies. So, I kind of assumed when Aziz Ansari came out with his new book, Modern Romance, it had to be some take on his love life. I was wrong. Instead, what I got was an interesting, researched read on today’s romantic life in the United States and a comparison to how it was decades ago. Ansari teamed up with sociologist Eric Klinenberg to investigate the topic of “finding romance.” And since it was written by Ansari, you know it’s not going to be some dull, droning piece that will put you to sleep. This book had some great insights into the modern dating life and how it has changed over the years.

As part of the study, Ansari and Klinenberg brought together a group of people from different generations to discuss dating. A quote that stuck out to me from the discussion came from an older woman who was in a successful marriage. She said, “We grew up and changed together. And here we are in our sixties, still together.” Even though they were young and faced challenges in their marriage, they worked through those hardships to grow together.

Ansari also talked about how that generation would get together for a date. The older generation almost always asked one another out over the phone or in person. Now, you can see people getting together over text, Facebook, or dating sites. And even though we have all of this new technology to bring us together…we have seen it can also keep us a part from people who are right in front of us. For instance, during one focus group, they split the room with kids on one side and adults on the other. And what happened? The adults were able to carry on conversations with one another, while the kids were on their phones. Is this a sign we losing the art of face-to-face conversation?

Here’s another interesting tidbit… Ansari discusses a finding by behavioral scientists on the “power of waiting techniques” as they are applied to messaging a potential date. According to the study, when the lab animal pushes a lever, it is “rewarded” with a treat. The animal continues to push the lever with a treat appearing each time. Eventually, the animal will wait longer between pushing the lever because it knows the treat will be waiting when it does. Hmmm….interesting. So, basically, if a person texts back immediately over and over again eventually the other person will start to take him or her for granted and won’t feel a strong urge to text back because he or she knows they will get an immediate response. This is basically kind of horrible because if a person doesn’t want to play games when getting to know someone you kind of have no choice. You have to strategically wait longer periods of time before texting someone back. Ugh, exhausting!

Ansari also shares some of the best advice he got for finding someone. He had been out to bars and was coming up with no luck. No girlfriend. Then, a friend told him to start acting like a “decent person.” “Go to the grocery store, buy your own food, take care of yourself. If you live a responsible life, you’ll run into responsible people.” Makes sense. Ansari does mention he now has a girlfriend.

This novel is filled with interesting insights into online dating, texting, love in other countries, and finally settling down. This is definitely worth a read if you would like to gain some understandings into modern dating, and how it has evolved from previous generations. I loved reading the stories from the older generation focus groups. Plus, it didn’t hurt that he had comedic tid-bits scattered throughout the book.

He concludes his research with his findings, and one that stuck out the most was: “Finding someone today is probably more complicated and stressful than it was for previous generations –but you’re also more likely to end up with someone you are really excited about.”

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Happy reading!

~Jess

Wednesday Wardrobe: First Day of School Outfit

I wanted to share my outfit that I wore for the first day of school! I chose one of my J. Crew Factory pencil skirts that I LOVE (they are so cute and comfy!) along with my striped tank from Loft. I topped it off with my yellow cardigan from J. Crew Factory.


I have taken on a 3 month no shopping challenge for myself, so you may see some of the same things pop up in my wardrobe pictures.

For one, I am getting married, trying to buy a house, etc., so my fun “shopping whenever I want to” days are over.

Furthermore, I’ve been inspired by other bloggers and their talk about having classic staple pieces in your wardrobe to wear in many different ways, so there is probably no reason for me to be constantly buying new pieces for my wardrobe (even if they are super, super cheap.)

My goal is to use the pieces I have and maybe from time to time (or every three months) buy a piece or two that I know will compliment my wardrobe and be a lasting piece for me to wear! If I don’t need it, I’m not buying it! I’ll let you know how this goes. 🙂

Anybody else doing a no shopping challenge? Or have any tips for me with my challenge?

Happy Wednesday!

~Ashley

New Adventures in First Grade

I’m so excited to start my new job teaching first grade! I will miss fourth grade very much, but I am ready for a fun and new opportunity! I wanted to share some pictures of my classroom and a few other fun things things.

I don’t have a theme, I just like anything bright and colorful!

LOVE my banners I found at Hobby Lobby!

I made my hula hoop chandelier a few years ago. One hula hoop and lots of ribbon and streamers! Thanks, Pinterest!

Love my writing center starter kit from  A Cupcake for the Teacher! You can get the super cute pencil for FREE from The Teacher Wife!

A sweet student brought in a few of my favorite things for me on open house 🙂   

One of the awesome teachers in my pod printed these out for us to use for our open house treats 🙂
  

Meet my new classroom pet…..Mr. Fish! He is without a name at the moment because we were so busy yesterday (our first day) that we didn’t get to name him! Hopefully we will get there today 🙂

I also wanted to share something new I am trying this year….Quiet Critters. I saw this on Relief Teaching Ideas. The Quiet Critters come out and sit on the students’ desks when they are working quietly. If the students get too loud, the Quiet Critters will leave. I tried mine out yesterday and the students loved them and the whole concept worked! I gave Class Dojo points to those students who still had a Quiet Critter on their desk when our quiet working time was over.

They are easy to make. All you need is the fuzzy pom poms, googly eyes, and foam heart stickers. 

I hot glued the eyes on the pom poms and the pom poms to the sticky hearts. Easy!
  

I got a cute jar from TJ Maxx to put them in.

I have them sitting on my desk. The students are already loving them 🙂

I also made a cute “First Day of 1st Grade” frame for all my sweet students. They were too cute in their pictures. 

I hope everyone has a wonderful year!

~Ashley