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A Kindergarten Teaching Blog

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  • 06/08/14--06:00: Stitch Fix #6 and A Giveaway
  • It's that time again. My latest shipment from Stitch Fix arrived in the mail earlier this week and I can't wait to show you what arrived. But before I do, I want to fill you in on some really big news from the company. You can now arrange to have a fix shipped every 2-3 weeks! No more waiting an entire month to see what new fashions my stylist has selected for me. Now my favorite mail delivery will arrive even more frequently. 
    Stitch Fix personal styling service for the busy woman

    Just in case you aren't already aware of Stitch Fix, let me fill you in! Stitch Fix is an online personal styling service. You complete a brief FREE style profile. This quick survey provides the Stitch Fix stylists with your sizes, clothing styles you prefer, and what kinds of items they should avoid. Then, for a $20 styling fee, a personal stylist will hand-select 5 items that she thinks will be perfect for you. 
    Stitch Fix personal styling service for the busy woman

    You have an opportunity to try the items on in the comfort of your home. Shipping is free. Mix the pieces with clothing and accessories that you already own to see what works for you. Keep the items you want, return the rest in the pre-addressed shipping envelope (returns are also free) and you are only billed for the items you wish to keep. It's that easy! PLUS, the $20 styling fee is deducted from the price of the clothes you choose to keep. Sign up with Stitch Fix today and get ready for some gorgeous clothes to come your way. 

    Let's dig into my most recent fix!  There were some truly stunning pieces in my latest shipment. Make sure you read all the way to the bottom of the post. I'm giving away a Stitch Fix gift card and I don't want you to miss out on the fun!
    Stitch Fix personal styling service for the busy woman

    The colors alone had me at hello. Couldn't you just stare at this photo all day? 
    gorgeous clothes from Stitch Fix personal styling service

    This week my stylist was Alyssa. I'm not sure what happened to Carmen or Connie, but I was excited to see what Alyssa had selected for my big trip to Vegas for the SDE Kindergarten Teachers Conference in July. 
    gorgeous clothes from Stitch Fix personal styling service

    This fix included blouses, a sweater, a casual top, and a gorgeous dress. I couldn't wait to try on each piece. 
     gorgeous clothes from Stitch Fix personal styling service

    At the top of the pile was a beautiful floral print blouse from Daniel Rainn.
    gorgeous floral print blouse from Stitch Fix

    The blouse was soft, flowing, and so feminine. 
    The colors in the floral print were simply stunning. 
    gorgeous floral print blouse from Stitch Fix

    A navy blue cardigan was also included in my fix. 
    This was a great match with the floral blouse. 
    navy blue cardigan from Stitch Fix

    Initially, I tried the cardigan and blouse on with a pair of dark skinny jeans from Kensie that were included in my April fix (that have since become my favorite pair of jeans). It turned out to be a lot of navy for one outfit, so I pulled a bright blue pair of cropped pants from my closet. The were the perfect compliment to the print blouse and dark cardigan!
    navy cardigan and floral print blouse from Stitch Fix

    I love how these pants made the colors in the blouse just POP.
    navy cardigan and floral print blouse from Stitch Fix

    Although I liked the color of the navy sweater, It was a little too shapeless for my style. I like pairing a loose blouse with a traditional fitted cardigan. I found a pale green cardigan in my closet that was a perfect compliment to my dark skinny jeans with the floral blouse. 
    floral print blouse from Stitch Fix

    My stylist also sent a beautiful coral crochet detail blouse from Under Skies.
    coral crochet detail blouse from Stitch Fix

    I love how the crochet panels make this lightweight top so feminine and the color was right up my alley. The coral shade is perfect for summer without being too bright.
    pretty coral crochet detail blouse from Stitch Fix

    This blouse was definitely a keeper. 
    pretty coral crochet detail blouse from Stitch Fix

    Next up was a printed top with stud details from Pomelo. 
     stud detail blouse from Stitch Fix

    I loved the studs and the blouse was easily paired with black pants and black accessories. 
    stud detail blouse from Stitch Fix

    Unfortunately, the top was just a little too boxy for me.
    It didn't look like my body had any shape at all under that blouse. 
    stud detail blouse from Stitch Fix with black accessories

    The fifth and final item selected by my stylist was a deep Fit & Flare from 41Hawthorn dress in a rich indigo color. 

    indigo fit & flare dress from Stitch Fix

    I was so excited about this dress and I wanted it to fit perfectly. Sadly, it was a tiny bit too tight and WAY too short. This is the only photo of myself in the dress that I was comfortable sharing with you. 
    indigo fit & flare dress from Stitch Fix

    The Breakdown

    Here is a quick summary of my most recent fix:
    Hydie Floral Print Crochet Detail Blouse from Daniel Rainn, $58, KEEP
    Abrianna Longsleeve Knit Cardigan from 41Hawthorn, $48, RETURN
    Mckenna Crochet Detail Blouse from Under Skies, $58, KEEP
    Moni Stud Detail Tile Print Top from Pomelo, $58, RETURN
    Bidy Fit and Flair Ponte Dress from 41Hawthorn, $78, RETURN

    gorgeous clothes from Stitch Fix personal styling service

    The Giveaway

    Enter to win a $20 Stitch Fix gift card. It's enough to cover your first styling fee so you can try Stitch Fix for yourself and discover the fun of receiving your own fix in the mail. 

    Enter to win a $20 Stitch Fix gift card!

    Use the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win! 
    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Make sure you also stop by A Differentiated Kindergarten
    My friend Marsha is giving away a $20 Stitch Fix gift card too!
    Enter to win a $20 Stitch Fix gift card!

    Sign up for Stitch Fix

    Are you considering signing up for your first fix? I would LOVE for you to get started with Stitch Fix using my referral link (included throughout this blog post). I receive a small credit each time someone signs up for the service with my link. The credits help me offset the clothing costs so I can continue to blog and share my finds with you! 

    Check out More Great Fixes
    Click here to see more fashions from my previous fixes!

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    Summer is here and it is time to get organized! Most elementary teachers have a classroom library for their students to use throughout the school year. Setting up, organizing, and making a classroom library look attractive can be a BIG job! 

    Fortunately, Classroom Library Labels from Kinder-Craze help you transform your classroom library into a beautiful space that you will love and your students can easily help you maintain!

    EDITABLE Classroom Library Labels

    New and Improved Library Labels

    When my Classroom Library Labels were launched this spring (available with either a traditional white or a bold black background), the original sets only contained thematic and Guided Reading leveled labels. That was a great start, but requests were rolling in to make the packs even better. It took several weeks and a lot of late nights, but the product improvements are now complete and the labels are now better than ever!  

    Both the {Black Series} and {White Series} now include leveled labels for DRA levels and  Accelerated Reader levels, in addition to the original Guided Reading levels. As an added bonus, BOTH SETS OF CLASSROOM LIBRARY LABELS NOW INCLUDED EDITABLE POWERPOINT FILES with embedded fonts so you can create any labels to accommodate your own thematic/organizational needs that will match the original labels perfectly. 

    EDITABLE Classroom Library Labels

    AR Labels Deliver Extra Customization

    As I worked on the library label updates, I often asked Kinder-Craze Facebook fans what product features would work best for their classroom needs. One thing I learned quickly is that many teachers have VERY SPECIFIC organizational needs for their Accelerated Reader levels. For example, schools often have pre-determined colors that coordinate with each level; some teachers prefer all Level 1 (which include sub levels 1.0 through 1.9) to be the same color; other teachers prefer to separate the sub-levels for easy student reference. 

    Although my Classroom Library Labels include the labels for organizing Accelerated Reader books, I decided to create a separate (much larger) product for teachers with very specific needs as they organize their Accelerated Reader books. 
    EDITABLE library labels for Accelerated Reader books

    Accelerated Reader Library Labels are available in {Black Series} or {White Series} and include labels for EVERY single sub-level (0.1 to 9.9) in SEVEN different colors… pink, orange, yellow, lime, teal, blue, and purple. The entire pack is bursting with options and includes OVER 1,000 PAGES to meet all of your labeling needs. 

    Two different sizes of box labels are included for each level/color combination in the set, as well as book labels that are formatted to print on Avery 5160 mailing labels. 

    EDITABLE and CUSTOMIZABLE library labels for Accelerated Reader books

    How to Effectively Label Your Classroom Library

    Now that you have seen what is included in the pack, let me show you how these labels work. The following photos use the Thematic labels included in the Classroom Library Labels pack as an example, but the same sizes and styles of labels are included throughout each pack. 
    EDITABLE Classroom Library Labels. Label your library in 6 easy steps!

    Print the box labels that best suit your needs. In this case, I printed the small box labels. The black series uses a lot of ink, but they look stunning when printed on a laser printer, such as the HP LaserJet Pro 400 that I use at home. 

    EDITABLE Classroom Library Labels

     Laminate the the box labels. I love the quality that my Scotch thermal laminator delivers.
    EDITABLE Classroom Library Labels

    Cut to separate box labels and remove white edges. 
    EDITABLE Classroom Library Labels

    Use a hot glue gun to apply the labels to plastic boxes. 
    This creates a firm bond, but also pops easily off when you want to remove the labels. 
    EDITABLE Classroom Library Labels

    Cut strips from coordinating book labels and attach to each book to be filed in the box. This enables students to easily and independently return books to the proper box when they are finished reading. 
    EDITABLE Classroom Library Labels

    I love, love, LOVE the finished look of my classroom library and you will too!
    gorgeous library labels!
    gorgeous classroom library

    Now that you have discovered the perfect labels for your classroom library, are you ready to level your books but have no idea where to begin? I have dedicated an entire blog post to helping you get started with amazing FREE and paid resources. Click the image below to find out more. 

    tools to help you level your classroom library

    Which other organizational projects are on your summer bucket list? 

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    It's not even July yet, and teachers (myself included) are already planning and getting ready for the 2014 Back to School frenzy. Educators from across the country have discovered my resources and are hungry for more; so I have been busy updating and adding to my {Black Series} and {White Series} classroom resource collections.
    (Did you know that you can always email me at with your product requests?)

     In anticipation of the upcoming school year, I would like to invite you to shop at my Dog Days of Summer Sale. You can save 20% on my ENTIRE TpT store!

    Save 20% on all Kinder-Craze classroom products!

    Alphabet Sound Chart FREEBIE

    I am so happy to FINALLY be able to share one of the best teacher-suggested additions to my TpT store with you today: my newest ALPHABET SOUND CHART. And the truly amazing thing is that it is a FREEBIE. Teachers know the importance and value of consistency throughout the classroom. Especially for young students that are just starting to learn the alphabet. That's why an all-new alphabet chart has been added to my TpT store that perfectly coordinates with my Alphabet Picture Cards and Word Wall Alphabet Headers. How perfect is that?!? Click the picture below to download your free Alphabet Sound Chart!

    FREE alphabet sound chart

    Click below to purchase any of the {White Series} alphabet products:

    Coordinating Alphabet Resources

    The {White Series} line of instructional classroom decor products is great alternative for teachers that are trying to conserve printer ink, but my heart belongs to the {Black Series} product line. Something about all of these pieces just adds an extra POP of color. The free alphabet chart download includes 2 charts: one with a traditional white background and another with a black background to provide the extra POP. I love, love, LOVE the black background.

    Just like the {White Series} line, every single picture in {Black Series} alphabet products provides the same images for each letter across all products. Whether your students are looking at the Alphabet Picture Cards, Word Wall Headers, or Alphabet Sound Chart; you can rest assured that they will make faster connections between each letter and their corresponding sounds because students will always see the same set of images to represent the letters of the alphabet.

    FREE alphabet sound chart

    Click below to purchase any of the {Black Series} alphabet products:

    Classroom Rules Subway Art

    Have you seen my classroom rules? These are definitely a focal point of my kindergarten classroom and I love how they are posted at eye level for my students. Each time a student struggles with a specific rule, the two of us have a little meeting in front of the rules. We read the rule together and discuss better choices for behavior. I love my classroom rules and I adore how CUTE they look in my classroom. 

    adorable classroom rules

    People always have a TON of questions about where I purchased my picture frames and how I painted them. I recently answered ALL of those questions in a detailed blog post. You can read all about my classroom rules by clicking (here). 

    Classroom Rules Subway Art, available with a black or white background

    Classroom Rules Subway Art is available with a bold black background or a traditional white background. Regardless of the style you choose, I know that the rules will look absolutely stunning posted in your own classroom! 

    Click a link below to purchase Classroom Rules for your classroom:

    love these bold and bright classroom rules

    Classroom Library Labels: Organization Made Easy

    Organizing your classroom library this summer? Give your library a polished look with  EDITABLE Classroom Library Labels. The set is available in {Black Series} or {White Series} to coordinate with the rest of your classroom decor. I just finished a MAJOR update to this pack and it is currently one of my top-selling items. Check out what's included in the set!

    My own classroom library has organized and labels with the Editable {Black Series} set of classroom library labels. This is my favorite space in the classroom!
    {Black Series} Classroom Library Labels display book levels

    You can read more about my classroom library and how I successfully leveled my collection of books in this blog post. 

    organized kindergarten classroom library

    The original sets of Editable Classroom Library Labels include basic labels for Accelerated Reader, but  I have discovered that many teachers have their own elaborate systems and color schemes for organizing AR labels. A supplemental set of Accelerated Reader Library Labels have been created to help the teachers with more specific needs. The entire pack includes over 1,000 pages and provides seven different colors for every single leveled label in the set. Accelerated Reader Library Labels are available in {Black Series} or {White Series}

    Number Resources for the Classroom

    Help your students develop number recognition and number sense with coordinating products in the {Black Series} or {White Series} product line. From number lines, to domino cards; Kinder-Craze classroom resources have you covered.

    Number resources for the classroom

    Click to purchase {Black Series} Number Products:

    Click to purchase {White Series} Number Products:
    Number Line 121-200

    Additional Instructional Resources

    Do you discuss weather each day in your classroom? 
    Make note of the weather in a bright and colorful way with Daily Weather Cards. Whether you prefer the {Black Series} or {White Series} for classroom use, you will find coordinating pieces for both sets in this one weather product. It is the perfect enhancement to your classroom calendar! 

    perfect weather cards for calendar time

    Classroom Shape Posters, available with black OR white background

    Teach the basic shapes in a COLORFUL way...with Shape Posters! 

    Dog Days of Summer Sale

    The Dog Days of Summer Sale is one MEGA sale that you do not want to miss! Make sure you stop by my TpT store June 29 and 30th and fill your cart with lots of goodies to help you stock up and start your 2014 classroom planning on the right foot!

    Save 20% on all Kinder-Craze classroom products!

    While you're there, don't forget to grab your FREE Alphabet Sound Chart
    FREE alphabet chart

    Stay cool, everyone!

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    AAAAAAAHHHH! Have you ever been so excited you can just scream?
    That's exactly how I feel right now! Tomorrow is the first day of Vegas week and I COULD NOT BE MORE EXCITED.

    Freebielicious is coming to VEGAS and bringing plenty of FREEBIES and PRIZES

    Wondering what the fuss is all about? SDE is holding their annual I Teach K, I Teach 1st, and the FIRST EVER Teachers Pay Teachers Seller Conference all in one week. All of my favorite teacher-bloggers are flying out to present, share, and just be a part of the fun!

    I fly out later this week to join in the Vegas adventures, but the celebration begins TOMORROW for fans of the blog. I have a few special giveaways lined up for you this week, as well as some freebies. Even if you can't go to Vegas, you can definitely be a BIG part of the fun from your home computer.

    Be sure to follow Kinder-Craze on Facebook and Instagram so you don't miss a moment.
    Follow Kinder-Craze on Instagram

    Freebielicious has a few fun plans in store for our friends at home, as well as the fans that will be joining us in Vegas. YOU DO NOT WANT TO MISS OUT ON THE FUN.
    Be sure to follow Freebielicious on Facebook so you don't miss a thing!

    Kinder-Craze is coming to VEGAS! Stop by booth 115 for lots of fun and a photo booth!

    If you WILL be in Vegas for any of this week's events, make sure you stop by the exhibition hall and visit Booth 115. Freebielicious girls will be on-hand with free candy, giveaways, and even a few free products. We will have a photo booth set up so you can take some photos with your friends or favorite Freebie girls and join in the fun. Be sure to use hashtag #teacherslovevegas. We can't wait to see you there!


    Now that the week has officially begun, catch up on these great freebies and giveaways!

    Astrobrights and Office Depot Giveaway

    Enter to win a selection of papers from Astrobrights and a $50 Office Depot gift card. This blog post also describes how I set up my classroom word wall and has a great freebie to help you print your own flashcard labels.
    enter to WIN Astrobrights papers and a $50 gift card to Office Depot
    FREE printable dolch sight word flashcard labels

    Enter to WIN and iPad Mini

    The Freebielicious girls are also joining together to give away an iPad mini for all our friends joining the fun from home. Entering is easy, just visit the Freebielicious blog

    If you're joining us in Vegas, make sure you stop by booth 115 in the exhibit hall. You will find lots of friends from Freebielicious and we will be giving away ANOTHER iPad mini to one lucky fan that visits the booth! 

     Stay tuned for more fun this week! 
    There will be plenty of giveaways, freebies, and surprises! 

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    Today is the first day of VEGAS week for my teacher friends and I am so excited to bring you an AMAZING giveaway and answer a huge FAQ from Kinder-Craze fans about my classroom word wall. 

    Summer is the time to gear up for the new school ahead and DREAM of how beautiful your classroom will be in the fall. So when Astrobrights contacted me to help launch their #ColorizeYourClassroom campaign by inspiring my readers to include more color in their classroom and host a giveaway, I couldn't say no. 

    COLORIZE your classroom with Astrobrights papers GIVEAWAY

    It's no secret that I have a bit of a love affair with bright colors. My entire classroom is designed around Melanie's Rainbow Chalkboard collection at Schoolgirl Style. Yes, it safe to say I love to surround myself in COLOR.  In addition to my personal preference, there are several convincing arguments for the value of including lots of bright colors into the learning environment. 

    According to the Color Marketing Group, studies have shown that: 
     COLOR can make learning a more fun and impactful experience
    COLOR accelerateslearning by 55 to 78 percent 
    COLOR increases student comprehension by 73 percent

    colorful kindergarten classroom

    Now that you know a little about my color obsession, imagine my delight when I opened a giant box FILLED with all of these gorgeous paper and cardstock colors. 
    Astrobrights #ColorizeYourClassroom giveaway

    The sweet people at Astrobrights were even generous enough to supply me with a $50 Gift Card to Office Depot. I ran right out and stocked up on another one of my classroom essentials: Avery 5163 labels. Enter to WIN an Office Depot gift card

    Fans always take note and ask about the beautiful alphabet word wall they see in the back of my classroom and I am frequently asked to share more detailed photos of the word wall.

    At the beginning of the year, my word wall looks like this. Just a bunch of blank letters of the alphabet on an otherwise empty board.
    bright kindergarten word wall

    As new sight words are introduced in class, they are added beside the appropriate beginning letter. The actual letters fill with collages throughout the year as well. You can read more about the alphabet aspect of my word wall by checking out this blog post. 
    colorful kindergarten word wall

    Each of the words on the word wall is easy to create using two of my favorite classroom supplies: Astrobrights cardstock and Avery 5163 labels. I'll walk you through the process in the next few photos. 

    I printed my desired sight words for my word wall on the Avery 5163 labels, and I used my trusted paper cutter to cut cardstock into 3x5" pieces. 

    create your own brightly colored flashcards

    These brightly colored cards grab a lot more attention that your standard white or pastel index cards. 
    create your own brightly colored flashcards with Astrobrights papers

    From there, its as simple as "peel and stick" to create the words to display on my classroom word wall. 

    create your own brightly colored flashcards
    create your own brightly colored flashcards

    What I love most about the multicolored word backgrounds is that the colors are SOLID. Some critics of color argue that the use of bright colors in the classroom can lead to overstimulation and be distracting for children. I believe that colorizing with a PURPOSE has a tremendous value. 

    These sight word cards are a bold addition to my word wall, but the fact that they do not have a busy pattern around them helps hold student attention. I love that when a student is staring at 6 different words by the letter W, struggling to find "was", I can instruct that student to look at the blue word. That instant recognition is the key to helping my students master their sight words without staring blankly at a wall of uniformly colored words. 

    create your own brightly colored flashcards

    After seeing how GORGEOUS these word cards turned out, I have also decided to create a duplicate set of words with the exact same colors to use as flashcards in the classroom. 

    Now my sight word flash cards will go from this:
    flashcards in the kindergarten classroom

    To this:
    create your own brightly colored flashcards

    Which do you think my students will prefer? Also, if a student always confuses the words "look" and "like" but I keep reminding the student that "like is the purple word,"which set of flashcards will be help that struggling student to master the word "like" more quickly? 

    Download FREE Sight Word Labels

    Use color to teach your students sight words. Dolch Sight Word flashcards (just like mine) have been added to my TpT store. Now you can print, peel, and stick to help your students master their sight words too! Each set of flashcard labels has been formatted to print on Avery 5163 labels.

    FREE labels to make your own sight word flash cards!
     Click any of the links below to download your FREE flashcard labels. 

    Astrobrights and Office Depot Giveaway

    Now that you have seen the impact that color can have in the classroom, are you ready for an amazing giveaway? Astrobrights will award one lucky Kinder-Craze fan with a customized package of Astrobrights papers PLUS a $50 Gift Card to Office Depot, which carries the largest selection of Astrobrights papers of any retailer - all aimed at helping you colorize any project. 
    Astrobrights Paper GIVEAWAY

    Use the Rafflecopter below for your chance to WIN!

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    #ColorizeYourClassroom Contest

    Ready for more chances to win and a chance to share your own creativity? Astrobrights is helping teachers in every state get started sharing their COLORFUL ideas with a Back to School #ColorizeYourClassroom contest.

    #ColorizeYourClassroom contest from Astrobrights

    Entering is easy! Just share a photo of how you Colorize your Classroom at the Astrobrights Facebook page now thru September 12, 2014. If your winning idea is selected, Astrobrights will help you Colorize Your Classroom ALL YEAR LONG! One winner per state will be awarded, PLUS a Grand Prize winner. You can also earn bonus entries for each original lesson plan you upload to the page. 

    For complete information, visit

    This is a sponsored post. Kinder-Craze has received payment, trade and/or products from Astrobrights in exchange for promoting, however all opinions stated are my own. Open to US residents only. Winner will be chosen and posted on this original post within three days of contest end. 

    How do you intend to COLORIZE your classroom? 

    create your own brightly colored flashcards

    Join Me for Vegas Week

    Today is the first day of Freebielicious VEGAS Week. Be sure to stop the blog throughout the week for lots of fun surprises. If you will be in Vegas this week for I Teach K, I Teach 1st, or the bit TpT conference, make sure you stop by the exhibition hall and visit booth 115. The Freebielicious girls will be handing out free candy, running giveaways, and having lots of fun. I will even have a an EXCLUSIVE freebie on-hand for people that find me. It is gong to be SO much fun! 

    Not going to Vegas? Don't worry! We have plenty of giveaways and freebies ready to share with you too! Make sure you follow me on Instagram and Facebook so you don't miss out on any of the fun! 

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    It's my favorite time of the month… Stitch Fix time. Admittedly, this wonderful gem of a box arrived last week but I wanted to wait until today to share it with you. I'm not sure if you've heard, but I'm on my way to VEGAS for the I Teach K and Teachers Pay Teachers conferences. I didn't want to the the only one having fun, so I thought it would be extra special to have a special DOUBLE Stitch Fix giveaway this time around. You can read more about the giveaway at the bottom of this post. For now, check out my latest fix!
    New to Stitch Fix? Allow me to fill you in!

    What is Stitch Fix?

    Stitch Fix is an online personal styling service created with busy women in mind. Joining the site is free. Once you join, you will complete a style profile that lets your stylist know which fashions you find  love, which fashions you hate, and your clothing sizes. It only takes a few minutes and it's actually pretty fun! 
    Stitch Fix logo

    How Much Does it Cost?

    Whenever you are ready, you can schedule a fix. Your personal stylist will hand-select five items for you (based on your style profile) for a $20 styling fee. Then the fix is shipped direct to your door. Shipping is free. SO ARE RETURNS. You have three days to try on the clothes in your fix and "check out" online. The service is amazing. Not only because it saves time, but also because it allows you to pair the clothes in your fix with your existing wardrobe, shoes, and accessories to see if it works for you. Here's the best part. Remember that $20 fee? It is deducted from the price of any clothes you wish to keep. Yup, as long as you choose to keep at least one item, the styling fee is removed from your  total cost when you check out. If you choose to keep ALL of the clothes in your fix, you get to save 25% on your entire order! I had one perfect fix that I chose to keep all of the items. Click HERE to read more about that legendary fix. 

    Getting Fixed for VEGAS

    Since I knew I would be heading to Vegas this week, I asked my stylist to send a few items my way that she thought would be indispensable. (YES, you can request pieces to fit a special occasion.) I received a personal note from Connie, my latest stylist, explaining why she selected each of the pieces in this month's fix. I love that she included a few items with longer sleeves because she knows I get cold easily. 

    Once again, the sight of my neatly folded clothes (and accessories) took my breath away. They were so pretty stacked up, a part of me didn't want to move them. 
    I got over that pretty quickly. 

    First up was the Illina Crochet Detail Dress from Pomelo. I loved the color. (Coral is so HOT right now) and the lace details were just lovely so I was excited to try it on. 

    The dress fit me perfectly, and went well with a pale peach cardigan. 
    Because every teacher needs a cardigan :)
    I added some long necklaces to give it a little sparkle. 

    As much as I loved the color and the idea of lace, this dress wasn't quite my style. It felt a little bit like I was wearing a nightie. I think it was the lace at the bottom of the dress that got to me. 

    Ultimately, I decided to return the dress. It's a shame though because the dress fit so well and the lace along the top was very feminine and right up my ally. 
    I would have done better with this as a top than a whole dress. 

    Next up was the Ida 3/4 Sleeve Striped Shirt Dress from LA MADE. I don't own any wrap dresses and horizontal stripes make me nervous, but I adore the color navy and the fabric was so lightweight and comfortable, I was willing to give this dress a try. 

    The navy wrap dress fit but it definitely isn't me. It just felt a little too casual. 
    And a little too old for me. 
    I might be ready to wear this dress when I have kids, but I'm not quite there yet. 

    Next up, was the Alexia Chambray Belted Shirt Dress from Market and Spruce. 

    This dress was definitely not for me. It wasn't bad exactly. It just wasn't me. I know how much you love seeing me wear each piece of clothing in my fix. Yes, I read all of those comments that say "I wish you would have tried on… it looked like such a cute dress!"

    To all my wonderful fans, this photo is for you. I wasn't comfortable in the dress but I know it makes you happy. And knowing that makes me happy :)

    My next item to try on was an easy one: these Fantasia Rhinestone Deco Earrings from Pixley.

    I tried the earrings on, and they were super-chic, but the pearls on the end were just a little too big for my taste. It made the earrings seem a little heavy. 

    The final item in my fix was the Caroline Water Chevron Maxi Skirt from Tart. I ADORED the Tart henley that was included in Fix #5. Just like that comfortable henley, this skirt was made from a fabric that was surprisingly soft. 

    I have been LOOKING for the perfect Maxi skirt to wear in Vegas. 
    I couldn't try this skirt on fast enough! 

    Here is a quick breakdown of what was included in my latest fix
    Illina Crochet Detail Dress, Pomelo, $88, return
    Ida 3/4 Sleeve Striped Shirt Dress,  LA MADE, $98, return
    Alexia Chambray Belted Shirt Dress, Market and Spruce, $78, return
    Fantasia Rhinestone Deco Earrings, Pixley, $34, return
    Caroline Water Chevron Maxi Skirt, Tart, $128, KEEP

    Stitch Fix Double Giveaway

    How would you like to win a Stitch Fix gift card? Since this week is Vegas week for myself and so many other teachers, I am spreading the Stitch Fix joy on the blog AND in Las Vegas. Use the rafflecopter below for your chance to WIN a $50 Stitch Fix gift card
    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    What makes this a DOUBLE giveaway? 

    I will also be giving away a $20 Stitch Fix gift card at the Freebielicious booth (#115) in the exhibit hall for the I Teack K/I Teach 1st conference tomorrow. 
    Make sure you stop by for your chance to win! 

    My good friend Marsha from A Differentiated Kindergarten will also be giving away a $20 Stitch Fix gift card at the booth AND she is currently hosting a $50 giveaway on her blog too! Make sure you stop by A Differentiated Kindergarten for ANOTHER chance to win! 

    I am also linking up with The Pleated Poppy for What I Wore Wednesday. 

    Give Stitch Fix a Try

    Ready to try out Stitch Fix for yourself? Please consider using my referral link (included throughout this post) to sign up for your first Fix. I receive a small credit toward future purchases, which helps me to keep sharing my fixes with you! You can also read more about my previous fixes.

    How Should I Style It?

    I leave for Vegas today and this gorgeous skirt will definitely be making an appearance. I can't decide which tank top to wear it with. Which would you choose? 

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    Freebielicious Vegas Week is coming to a close but the fun's not over yet!
    I still have one more surprise giveaway to share with you.

    For this giveaway, I dove deep into the Kinder-Craze archives (aka my bedroom closet) to share actual  organizational materials that I have created and used in my own classroom. You may remember when I posted about my "Cutest Ever Supply Pails" last year on the blog. Now, one lucky fan can enter to WIN my own classroom pails.

    ENTER TO WIN this adorable set of classroom supply pails

    The winner of this giveaway will win the same set of 5 pails that I created and used in my own classroom. The pails are labeled regular scissors, markers, pencils, crayons, and fancy scissors. Please note that you will receive this set of pails as-is. I won't be able to change or personalize them to meet your personal preferences. 
    (Plus, that would kinda take the fun out of winning my original classroom creations.)

    ENTER TO WIN this adorable set of classroom supply pails

    Entering is easy! Just use the Rafflecopter below for your chance to WIN! 
    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Create Your Own Supply Pails

    Do you want to create a similar set of supply pails for your own classroom? Stop by Michaels to pick up some plastic paint pails and then check out the tutorial I shared in the original blog post.

    Create your own adorable set of classroom supply containers using vinyl and plastic paint pails

    Are there other items from my classroom that you wish you could have a chance to win? I would love to hear from you!

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    Can you BELIEVE it is already time to start getting ready for back to school? I am spending these next few weeks collecting great ideas for when I get back into my classroom so I can hit the ground running when I return. Classroom decor and organization is my favorite part of the back to school process. 

    brightly colored and well-organized kindergarten classroom. Looks like such a fun place to learn!

    EVERYONE wants to know if I will be keeping my current classroom design (created in partnership with Melanie from Schoolgirl Style) or doing something totally new and different this year. I love my classroom SO much, that I have decided to keep it as-is for another year. 


    If you know me at all, you know that I won't be able to resist the urge to make a few classroom improvements. 

    In fact,  I have already made my annual trip to Big Lots to stock up on magazine boxes. They are perfect for storing oversize picture books in my classroom library and I never seem to have enough of these wonderful boxes. 

    pink and blue storage containers from Big Lots

    Back to School Pinterest Board

    What better way to prepare for Back to School than to see dozens of tips and ideas from teachers across the country? You can bet I'm scrolling through my Back to School Pinterest board as I prepare to my new batch of students. Be sure to follow the board so you don't miss out on any great ideas! 
    Back to School Pinterest board… a must-folloow!

    Alphabet Word Wall Preparation

    I have also begun to prep the supplies for my Alphabet Word Wall. I use the wall to simultaneously remind students of letter sounds AND provide an anchor for all the sight words we learn throughout the year. 

    This is how my classroom Alphabet Word Wall looks during the first week of school.
    Alphabet Wall that doubles as a Word Wall. Cute!

    This is how the word wall looks in late spring. 
    Alphabet Wall that doubles as a Word Wall. LOVE THIS IDEA!

    Create Your Own Sight Word Cards

    Creating the sight words is easy, I just print the word cards on Sight Word Flashcard Labels (available for FREE in my TpT store), then peel and stick the labels to 3x5" pieces of Astrobrights cardstock
    Free printables to make your own sight word flashcards
    Click {here} to read more about how to create these word cards for your own classroom. 

    Classroom Alphabet Collage

    I have also begun to prepare the alphabet portion of my word wall. We do Letter of the Week in my kindergarten classroom. Each Monday, I inform my parents of the current letter and one of my students' weekly homework assignments is to find a picture in a magazine or newspaper that begins with that letter. As pictures trickle in throughout the week, we glue them onto a big cutout of that letter. 
    Classroom Alphabet Collage. Great for learning Letter of the Week

    Click {here} to read more about my alphabet board and download FREE alphabet templates to create a similar board in your own classroom. 

    Classroom Calendar Set Up

    The calendar area in my kindergarten classroom is one of the most important spaces of the room. I meet with my students daily in this area to discuss reading strategies, math concepts, and build community (all in addition to discussing traditional calendar topics).

    My students love it when I let them lead the class in calendar updates. 
    Cute ideas and resources for creating a classroom calendar area

    My TpT store has EVERYTHING you need to set up an adorable classroom Calendar. From number cards, to monthly calendar headers, to displaying what year it is, observing the weather, and MORE; Kinder-Craze calendar products will help your students learn in a clean and stylish format. 
    Cute ideas and resources for creating a classroom calendar area

    FREE Events at School Calendar Reminder Cards

    Remind your students (and yourself) of upcoming changes in the school calendar with my FREE Events at School Calendar Reminder Cards. Post these cards on your monthly calendar for easy reminders at-a-glance of half days, late start days, birthdays, assemblies, and MORE! Download Events at School for FREE in my TpT store. 

    FREE cards to remind your students of upcoming special days on the classroom calendar

    Through the Year Calendar Holiday Cards

    After you grab your freebie, be sure to check out Through the Year Calendar Holiday Cards. This comprehensive set of calendar cards includes holidays and so many more special school events that allow you to build anticipation and remind students of upcoming events. This has become one of my top-selling products on TpT and I know you will love it too! Purchase Through the Year Calendar Holiday cards today! 

    A year's worth of holidays and special occasions to display on your classroom calendar

    Go Back to School With Freebielicious and Educents

    Are you ready to SAVE BIG while you score some great classroom resources for back to school?  Freebielicious have teamed up with Educents with some instant downloads for you! Loaded with great products for back to school including book studies, craftivities, classroom prep, and content materials for back to school!  With 23 instant downloads... you have to check it out!  

    SAVE BIG with this Back to School bundle on Educents. Save over 60% on 23 great teaching resources

    In addition to 22 other amazing products, the Freebielicious Back to School Bundle includes an item for your classroom calendar! Help your students keep track of the days of the week with my Through the Week Daily Label Cards. The set includes signs that say Today isYesterday was… and Tomorrow will be… Whether you prefer your sings to have a black background (shown here) or a white background, this set includes everything you need to review the days of the week. 

    calendar days of the week classroom display

    calendar days of the week classroom display

    Purchase the Freebielicious Back to School bundle on Educents  today! The bundle is available for a very limited time with a very special price of $34.99,  which is 69% off!  Twenty-three products for your kinder and first grade classrooms and over 1200 pages of materials from some of your favorite teachers!  It's a bundle (and a bargain) you are sure to LOVE!

    SAVE BIG with this Back to School bundle on Educents. Save over 60% on 23 great teaching resources

    Check out some of my other Freebielicious friends! See what they are doing to get ready for back to school and read more about their products included in this deal as well! 

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    Right before I flew out to Vegas, I listened to the audiobook of #GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso. In it, the 30 year old entrepreneur and founder of Nasty Gal narrates her journey from Ebay seller to CEO of Nasty Gal, a wildly successful fashion retailer. The book is AMAZING and is a must-read for any woman that wants to succeed in the business world (as an employee or CEO). I can't stop talking about being a #GIRLBOSS.

    Don't' believe me?
    Just ask my fiancé.
    The poor guy can't escape my #GIRLBOSS revelations.

    #GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso… a must read for any woman hoping to succeed in business

    One message from #GIRLBOSS that continues to leave an impression on me is what it means to be an introvert. Sophia identifies herself as an introvert and explains that introverts are fully capable of socializing, networking, and being out in the world in a big way among large groups, but they process those experiences in smaller groups or when they are alone.

    I loved every moment of my Trip to Vegas. I loved the hugs, group events, and meeting throngs of educators within a relatively short amount of time. I even found myself squealing with glee during many of these events. But my mind is still processing every moment of the trip while I sit in the peace (and relative solitude) of my little apartment.

    An update on all things VEGAS is coming soon, I promise. 

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    As I reflect on my experiences in Las Vegas for the FIRST EVER TpT conference, so many words come to mind: people, sellers, friendships, Freebielicious, TpT, energy, joy… the list goes on and on. I have been back in Michigan for a week and my body has finally recovered from the time change, but my mind is still racing. As I explained in yesterday's blog post,  it took several days for me to write this post because I have been trying so hard to process my experience in Las Vegas. 

    Fortunately, a picture is worth 1,000 words. So allow me to take you on a photographic journey and (hopefully) keep the words to a minimum. 

    One highlight of the trip was FINALLY meeting so many of my Freebielicious friends in person. For many of us, this was our first face-to-face encounter. We share so many of our hopes, joys, ambitions, and sorrows in our little online community, but finally meeting so many of the girls face to face was HUGE. Several of our flights to Vegas arrived within a few hours of each other so we were able to exchange hugs and excitement right away. We rented a limo to our hotel so we could arrive in STYLE. I was beyond excited to meet Jennifer White from First Grade Blue Skies in real life. And of course, this was another chance to hang out with fellow Michigan blogger and TpTer, Marsha MaGuire from A Differentiated Kindergarten. She is one of my all-time best blogging friends and one AMAZING kindergarten teacher. 
    Jennifer White, Maria Manore, and Marsha MaGuire, amazing kindergarten and first grade teacher-bloggers
    Marsha and I were actually roommates on this trip. You will see a LOT of her in these photos. Whenever I get a chance to see that lady, I just can't pry myself away!

    The Freebielicious girls had a booth (with free candy) during the I Teach K and I Teach 1st conferences. I spent a few days in the booth meeting fans and fellow bloggers alike. 
    Freebielicious fun at the TpT Vegas Conference
    We had so much fun at the booth! 
    Do you recognize any of your favorite bloggers in these photos? Linda, Greg, Katie, Lisa, Tanya, Lita-Lita, Stacy and SO many more! 

    top Kindergarten and First Grade teacher-bloggers

    Even the dynamic duo of DeeDee Wills and Deanna Jump stopped by for a photo. 
    I want to be just like them when I grow up! 

    Kindergarten teacher-bloggers with Deanna Jump

    On Wednesday night, Rachelle and Natalie from What the Teacher Wants hosted a Teacher-Blogger meet up. This event was packed with educators. The turnout (and enthusiasm) was truly amazing. Natalie also happens to be a very talented photographer. I just LOVE this photo that Natalie shot of myself with a few freebie girls: Marsha, Mary, and Jodi

    top Kindergarten and First Grade teacher-bloggers

    All night long, people came up and asked if my dress was from Stitch Fix. It wasn't! It was actually a $20 bargain dress from TJ Maxx, but I loved that everyone naturally assumed that Stitch Fix had styled me. (PS if you don't know about Stitch Fix, you are missing out! These blog posts will catch you up in a jiffy!)

    I also finally got to meet the ever-so-sweet Laura Martin!
    top Kindergarten and First Grade teacher-bloggers

    My night was made complete when I was able to hug Cara Caroll with her heart the size of Texas! 
    top Kindergarten and First Grade teacher-bloggers

    The following night, I went to a hypnotist show with several of the Freeblielicious girls, their husbands, and many other bloggy friends. Viva Las Vegas!
    Teacher bloggers in Vegas

    The First-Ever Teachers Pay Teachers Sellers Conference

    On Friday, the big day had finally arrived! It was time to attend the first-ever Teachers Pay Teachers conference! One of the highlights from my trip was definitely being able to meet Paul Edelman, the founder of Teachers Pay Teachers. His vision for an unprecedented way to empower creativity and the entrepreneurial spirit among educators has completely changed my life and I am forever grateful.

    Maria Manore and Paul Edelman, the founder of Teachers Pay Teachers

    This was actually a selfie taken during one of the TpT conference sessions that I attended with Marsha and the adorable Annie Moffatt
     Kindergarten and First grade teacher-bloggers in Vegas

    We even had time for a quick group photo of all of the Freebielicious girls that were able to fly out to Vegas for the event. It was WONDERFUL to finally be face-to-face with this very talented group of bloggers.
    Freebielicious girls in Vegas

    What I Learned at the TpT Conference

    I have been SO busy talking about the amazing friends and colleagues I met during the conference, I haven't even mentioned what I learned! I attended sessions to help me build a marketing plan with help from Rachel Lynette, learn advanced Pinterest tips from Mel D, improve the visual appeal of the products in my store thanks to tips from Deanna and DeeDee, and I discovered a treasure trove of information about how to make the most of TpT search function thanks to from Ryan Van Meter at TpT and the wonderful Kelly Dolling

    An important lesson to remember from all of this is to follow your dreams and passions; and to do so with honesty and integrity. The most successful sellers on TpT did not join the site to become wildly rich. They became TpT sellers because they had passion for their profession and ideas to share. They got creative, worked hard, and now have something to show for their passion and determination. 

    That One Rule for following dreams and passion

    Those were my takeaways from Vegas.
    TpT Vegas travel memories

    I'm linking up with Deirdre's Vegas linky party at A Burst of First! Come see what everyone else was up to during that amazing week.
    TpT Vegas Linky Party

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    Get ready friends because I have some big news about how you can earn some extra cash for your school. PAINLESSLY. 
    It's called Shoparoo and it's pretty much the best thing since Box Tops. 

    Do you go grocery shopping?
    Do you own a smartphone?
    Do you teach or send your kids to school? 

    If you answered YES to those questions, you NEED to know about Shoparoo

    Earn Cash for Your School with Shoparoo. No more fundraising!

    What is Shoparoo?

    Shoparoo is a free app for smartphones and tablets that allows users to turn photos of shopping receipts into dollars for you school. It really is that simple. Every grocery receipt is accepted: from big chain stores to family owned convenience stores. All of the tracking is handled through the app. No parent volunteers are needed to clip, count, ship or record any information. Shaparoo keeps track of earnings for you! 

    Getting Started with Shoparoo

    It's easy to get started with Shoparoo is easy! Just download the FREE app from iTunes or GooglePlay, select your school, and start scanning receipts!

    How Shoparoo Works

    I know you're super-busy (and perhaps a bit skeptical) so I took some photos of my most recent receipt upload to Shoparoo. I'll walk you through the process so you can see how simple it is for you help your school earn fast and easy cash. 

    Earn Cash for Your School with Shoparoo. No more fundraising!

    When you first open the Shoparoo app, the home screen provides a quick overview of your school's financial progress with Shoparoo. My school has only been using the program for a few months, and in that time (as you can see from the graph above) we have earned nearly $225. Each receipt scan delivers a specified amount of "Roo Points" depending on the total of your grocery bill. All receipts earn a minimum of 10 Roo Points. As your school hits certain milestones, those Roo Points equate to cash for your school! 

    The app keeps track of how many Roo Points other individuals within the community have raised for your school. The School Leaderboard always displays this information, as well as your own personal rank. In the above image on the right, you can see that I am currently ranked in 17th place for the year. If you don't your own spending to be public for other members of the school community to see, you can always sign up as an anonymous user. 

    Scanning Receipts

    When you've made a trip to the store and are ready to scan  your receipt, the process is fast and simple. Simply push the green camera icon that appears at the bottom of the Shoparoo home screen. 

    Hold your phone flat and line up the receipt within the on-screen guidelines. It doesn't have to be perfect.
    Shoparoo turns photos of grocery receipts into cash for schools!

    Once the receipts is in position, push the blue "snap" button on the screen. If you have a long receipt that doesn't fit within the photo, you can take multiple photos of the receipt. Once you are all set, push the "Done" button on the lower right corner of the screen.  

    Next, a preview of your scan appears and asks if the quality is good. At this point you have the option of retaking the photo (do this if your receipt is blurry) or submitting it. If all is well with the photo click "Looks Good" in the lower right corner. 
    Shoparoo turns photos of grocery receipts into cash for schools!

    As one final measure, users are asked about who purchased the groceries on the receipt (adult male, adult female, boy, or girl) and how you would rate the shopping experience (on a scale of 1 to 5 stars). Answer the questions, then touch "Done" to proceed.

    Shoparoo turns photos of grocery receipts into cash for schools!

    THAT'S IT! The process literally takes less than 15 seconds. 
    the next screen provides a summary of your recent receipt scans. 

    See the little clock beside my Meijer transaction on the top of the list? That simply means that Shoparoo is busy analyzing the data from that receipt and I haven't earned any Roo Points on it yet. In my experience, most receipt data appears within 24 hours. 

    Shoparoo turns photos of grocery receipts into cash for schools!

    Earn Bonus Points for Your School

    As if free money for scanning receipts wasn't enough, you can also earn BONUS points for your school with Shoparoo. Once you sign up and log in to Shoparoo, you can invite your friends to join too. Shoparoo will credit your school with 150 extra Roo Points for every person that signs up using your referral code, even if they choose a different school to support. I added my own referral link in this post. (If you sign up for Shoparoo using my link, it will help BOTH of our schools.)

    More Questions, Answered!

    I know you may still have a few questions about Shoparoo and how it works. This video explains how Shoparoo offers "Fundraising in a Snap!". You can also visit the Shoparoo FAQ page for even more information about this great way to earn money for your school. 

    Just in case you were wondering…
    Shoparoo did not contact me to write this blog post and I am not getting paid in any way. I wrote this post because I genuinely believe Shoparoo offers a great, painless way to help schools earn some extra money and I wanted to spread the word so your school can benefit from Shoparoo too!

    Earn Cash for Your School with Shoparoo. No more fundraising!

    So what do you think? Are you ready to start earning cash for your school? 

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    Hello everyone! I am so, so, SO happy to share a brand new (and highly anticipated) organizational product for your classroom on the blog today. Editable Classroom Supply Labels are finally here!

    gorgeous labels and tips on organizing the classroom

    Fans have been BEGGING me to list the Classroom Supply Labels on TpT ever since they saw this photo on Instagram several months ago.  I snapped it on a Friday afternoon on my way out the door to start the weekend.

    (PS, are you following me on Instagram? You totally should. I often give sneak peeks of my upcoming projects and share glimpses into my personal life!)

    About the Classroom Supply Labels

    This editable set of classroom labels is available with a  bold, black background or with a clean, white background to conserve printer ink. Each set includes a PDF jam packed with pre-formatted labels in two different sizes: small labels measuring 3.3x1.9" and larger labels measuring 4.5x3.5". 

    organize your entire classroom with Classroom Supply Labels

    A separate PowerPoint file provides and editable version of the labels so you can easily create endless labels to meet your own personal classroom rules. Editing the files is simple: just replace the text in the text boxes (or add additional text boxes).

    Preparing the Labels for Classroom Use

    Using Classroom Supply Labels labels is simple. Just print your desired labels, laminate the pages and cut to separate. Then trim to remove any excess white margins, and attach the labels to any desired classroom objects. They are great for plastic bins, but will also work well on table boxes, file cabinets, student cubbies… the sky is the LIMIT!

    GORGEOUS labels for organizing classroom supplies

    I use the black labels in my classroom in my own classroom. Most of these bins are from Big Lots (go shopping for them NOW because they sell out FAST). The two different label sizes are PERFECT for when you have multiple box sizes in your own classroom.

    I love how organized this teacher is. Read the blog post to learn how to recreate the look in your own classroom

    When you use multiple colors of storage containers in the classroom (like I do) it is important to create some type of visual consistency to keep the classroom from looking too cluttered. This set of Classroom Supply Labels does just the trick!

    great ideas for classroom organization!

    The teacher's space can EASILY become the most cluttered space in the entire classroom. I love how easily I can store my guided reading supplies, materials for a week's worth of work, future book orders, instructional manuals and SO MUCH MORE neatly behind the tall bins from Big Lots and all visitors see is a row of magazine bins neatly lined up and clearly labeled.

    gorgeous supply organization in this kindergarten classroom
    The entire bookshelf looks simply stunning.

    I love how organized this Kindergarten teacher's classroom supplies are

    I even used the labels on the front of my file cabinets. I wanted to make a BOLD statement so I used the large label size. I was worried about using a strong adhesive that would damage my spray painted file cabinets, so I just used a little scotch tape in each corner. This was perfect for applying my labels and I am certain that the hold will be durable enough for my purposes. 

    Looking for more tips and inspiration to help you get (and stay) organized this year in the classroom? Follow my Orgranization Made Easy Pinterest Board. 

    Follow Maria Manore (Kinder-Craze)'s board Organization Made Easy on Pinterest.

    Have you heard the news? I'm having a 2-Day sale in my TpT store. Everything is marked down 20% (including my brand new Classroom Supply Labels). The best way to beat the back to school blues is with a little retail therapy, so stop by my TpT store and fill your shopping cart!

    SAVE 20% on all Kinder-Craze products on TpT

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    Summer is winding down and teachers across the country know exactly what that means… time to get ready for Back to School! What better way to prepare for a return to the classroom than with new clothes? I sent a note to my personal stylist at Stitch Fix requesting a fix with appropriate clothes for the classroom. 
    Just like always, I couldn't WAIT to see what arrived in my fix!
    No time to shop for new clothes? Sign up for Stitch Fix - an online personal styling service for women

    This month I had a new stylist. Even though she had never styled for me before, Margaret had clearly read through all of my previous style notes. She knew that I had recently requested a fix for my trip to Vegas and was getting ready to head back into the classroom. She even knew that I get cold in air conditioning! 

    My personal note from Margaret informed me that she had specifically selected items that would have appropriate styles (and hemlines) for the classroom. Let's dig in and see what arrived in my latest fix!
    No time to shop for new clothes? Stitch Fix delivers hand-picked styles direct to your door

    First up was the Jillian Crochet Detail Tank from Pomelo. I loved the deep blue shade of this tank top and couldn't wait to try it on.
    Stitch Fix royal blue Jillian Crochet Detail Tank from Pomelo

    My style card suggested pairing the tank with jeans. I liked the simplicity of this look since I wear jeans all the time. I grabbed one of my go-to white tanks to add an extra later and tried on the Jillian tank. LOVE! The color, cut, fit, and crochet detail in the back were lovely. This tank was absolutely perfect for me. 
    Stitch Fix royal blue Jillian Crochet Detail Tank from Pomelo
    Margaret also suggested pairing another item from my fix with this tank: the Bryan Short Sleeve Open-Front Cardigan from 41Hawthorn. I definitely had doubts about this cardigan. For one, it had short sleeves and all I could think was, "What good does a cardigan do me if all it has is short sleeves? Cardigans are intended to keep you warm!" 

    Since I always try on each piece in my fix so I decided to give the cardigan a try...
    Stitch Fix white Bryan Short Sleeve Open Front Cardigan from 41Hawthorn
    Thank goodness I tried it on, because I this white short-sleeved cardigan is my new FAVORITE cardigan. It fit perfectly, draped beautifully, and is the perfect way to transition all of fun tank tops from summer fun to professional attire. And doesn't it just look GORGEOUS with the deep blue tank?
    Stitch Fix white Bryan Short Sleeve Open Front Cardigan from 41Hawthorn paired with royal blue Pomelo tank and denim
    Item number 3 was the Diana Diagonal Striped Colorblocked Swing Skirt from Mystree. 
    Sttich Fix Diana black and white Diagonal Striped Colorblocked swing skirt from Mystree
    Just like the white cardigan, I was a little nervous about this skirt. The fabric was a little slinky and it wasn't really my style. But I trusted my stylist, dug into my closet for fun clothes and accessories to pair it with, and went to town. The only shoes I had that were tall enough to compliment the skirt were this pair of very dressy open toe pumps. While the outfit was cute, I'm not sure when I would have occasion to dress like this at school. Especially since I dress in pants 99% of the time. 
    Sttich Fix Diana black and white Diagonal Striped Colorblocked swing skirt from Mystree paired with a bright yellow top and heels
    Margaret mentioned that she intentionally sent pieces with hemlines that were more kindergarten friendly so naturally, I had to test it out. Yes, the skirt is plenty long enough for hanging out on the level of a 5 year old!
    Sttich Fix Diana black and white Diagonal Striped Colorblocked swing skirt from Mystree paired with a bright yellow top, black fossil watch and heels
    I couldn't resist paring the white cardigan from 41Hawthorn with the skirt and my bright yellow top and bold striped skirt. Once again, it looked great! 
    Sttich Fix Diana black and white Diagonal Striped Colorblocked swing skirt from Mystree paired with a bright yellow top and 41Hawthorn short sleeve cardigan
    My fix also contained the Anabelle 3/4 Abstract Chevron Belted Dress from 41Hawthorn. I don't own any dresses like this one, and the style was reminiscent of the navy wrap dress I received (and returned) in my previous fix.  I was unsure about this pink belted dress but I knew I had to give it a try. 
    Stitch Fix Anabelle 3/4 Abstract Chevron Belted Dress from 41Hawthorn

    The pink dress fit perfectly and was flattering.
    Stitch Fix pink Anabelle 3/4 Abstract Chevron Belted Dress from 41Hawthorn paired with flats and a black bubble necklace

    There were just a few issues I had with the dress. It wasn't any actual problem with the dress, just my own style. 

    First off, I never wear v-neck tops. 

    The dress fit great and was flattering, vneck is simply not a style that I feel comfortable in. Also, the fabric was just a little too clingy for my comfort. I prefer to wear dresses with a bit more structure and slinky dresses that cling to the body are simply not my style. 

    Even though it was pretty and flattering, I wasn't comfortable in this dress. 
    It was destined to be returned. 

    Stitch Fix pink Anabelle 3/4 Abstract Chevron Belted Dress from 41Hawthorn paired with a black bubble necklace

    My fifth and final piece included in the fix was the Elaine Ikat Print Pocket-Front Knit Shirt. I love, love, LOVE dressing in cotton knit tops. Especially tops that feel like a t-shirt but are just dressy enough for school. It's a clothing style that is ideal for the hazards of a kindergarten classroom. I couldn't wait to try this shirt on. 
    Stitch Fix Elaine Ikat Print Pocket Front Knit Shirt from Market and Spruce

    Just as I suspected, the ikat print top was unbelievably comfortable and the fun print is perfect for an elementary school atmosphere. Since the colors of the top are a bit washed out, I paired it with my light gray broken in straight pants from the Gap (my current favorite pants). I can totally see myself wearing this outfit to school on a regular basis. 
    Stitch Fix Elaine Ikat Print Pocket Front Knit Shirt from Market and Spruce paired with Broken in Straight crop pants from the Gap

    What I Kept: The Breakdown

    Here's a quick summary of my most recent fix:
    Pomelo Jillian Crochet Detail Tank, $48, KEEP
    41Hawthorn Bryan Short Sleeve Open Front Cardigan, $42, KEEP
    Mystree Diana Diagonal Striped Colorblocked Swing Skirt, $68, RETURN
    41Hawthorn Anabelle 3/4 Abstract Chevron Belted Dress, $88, RETURN
    Market and Sprice Elaine Ikat Print Pocket-Front Knit Shirt, $48, KEEP

    No time to shop for new clothes? Sign up for Stitch Fix - an online personal styling service for women

    How Stitch Fix Works

    If you're new to Stitch Fix, I'm sure you have a LOT of questions. Let me fill you in on all of the details. Stitch fix is an online personal styling service for women. Getting started is easy and free. Just go to and complete an online style profile. It takes about 10 minutes. You will answer several questions about your clothing taste, sizes, and color preferences. You also set price limits for different types of clothing. Whenever you are ready, you can schedule a fix. Your new personal stylist will hand-select 5 items that she thinks are perfect for you. Shipping is free. Once your items arrive you have 3 days to try the clothes on and decide what to keep.

    No time to shop for new clothes? Sign up for Stitch Fix - an online personal styling service for women

    Unlike mall shopping, Stitch Fix is wonderful because you have an opportunity to try the pieces on with your existing wardrobe. Accessorize  that new blouse with jewelry you already own and pair those skinny jeans with your favorite pair of flats. Not sure what to pair that bright blue tank top with? Styling cards for each item are included in your fix with suggestions on how to wear it best. After you have tried everything on, log into your Stitch Fix account and check out. Fill out a quick form telling your stylist which items you are going to keep. The checkout process also allows you to give input on the color, style, cut, fit and PRICE. If you thought a pair of jeans was overpriced, this is your chance to let your stylist know that you are working on a lower clothing budget. Keep the items you love (you will be charged for them when you check out) and place the items you wish to return into the prepaid mailing envelope that was also tucked into your fix.
    That's right, returns are also free.

    If you purchase every item in your fix, your order is automatically discounted and you get to save 25% on everything. I had one perfect fix and the savings were awesome! You can see more about that fix here.

    Try Stitch Fix Today

    Are you ready to get started with Stitch Fix? Click here to create your style profile. If you sign up using my link (included throughout this post) I receive a small credit toward my future fixes so I can keep on photographing and sharing my Stitch Fix fashions on the blog. If you have already signed up using my referral link, THANK YOU!

    Stitch Fix Giveaway

    Now that you are completely informed on the AMAZING service known as Stitch Fix, it's time for a giveaway!
    Use the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win a $20 Stitch Fix gift card!

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    This was my 8th delivery from Stitch Fix. Want to see my previous fixes? Click here to read all about them and see lots more photos!

    I'm linking up with the Pleated Poppy for What I Wore Wednesday. Check out the other great fashions in this linky.

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    Have you heard the news? The TpT site-wide Back to School sale is coming! On Monday, August 4 and Tuesday, August 5 you will have the opportunity to save 28% on EVERYTHING in my TpT store. All items will automatically be marked down 20% and you can save an extra 10% when you use discount code BTS14 at checkout.

    Save 28% on all Kinder-Craze products on TpT

    This is a great time to stock up on all of your favorite Kinder-Craze products, especially those items to help your classroom look fabulous (just like mine!) I created two separate lines of instructional decor: The {Black Series} which offers a bold pop of color on a black background. For the more ink-conscious teachers, the {White Series} is also available. The {White Series} features all of the same images and style of the {Black Series}, it just requires significantly less ink to print. 

    Editable Classroom Supply Labels

    Let's start with the essentials: classroom supplies. Now you can label and organize your classroom in style the Kinder-Craze way with Editable Classroom Supply Labels. Just print, laminate, and hot glue the labels to all of your bins, file cabinets, and storage containers. for instant style and organization. 
    Classroom supply labels. Available for purchase on TpT

    Click on a product cover below to purchase Editable Classroom Supply Labels!
    Classroom Supply Labels Black SeriesClassroom Supply Labels White Series

    Editable Classroom Library Labels

    Give your classroom library the attention and organization it deserves with Editable Classroom Library Labels. These coordinate perfectly with Classroom Supply Labels and include everything you need to organize your library and help your students KEEP it organized: large bin labels, small bin labels, and coordinating book labels. With hundreds of label options included in the set, there is a label for virtually every library need. And just in case a label you need is missing, you can create your own with the editable label files. 

    MUST HAVE classroom library labels!

    Click on a product cover below to purchase Editable Classroom Library Labels!

    Classroom Library Labels Black Series Classroom Library Labels White Series

    Instructional Classroom Decor

    Give your classroom the ultimate facelift with Kinder-Craze Instructional Classroom Resources. From Alphabets and Number Lines, to coordinating Color Word Signs and Name Tags; there is a product to suit all of your Instructional Decor needs. 

    Coordinating Alphabet Resources

    Every elementary classroom needs an alphabet! Now you can reinforce letter sounds with a consistent alphabet throughout the classroom environment. Alphabet Picture Cards, Word Wall headers, and coordinating desk nameplates provide the EXACT same images on each resource to help students master the alphabet and letter sounds more easily. Click a cover below to start shopping!
    Alphabet Picture Cards Traditional Black Series Alphabet Picture Cards Traditional White Series
    Alphabet Headers Traditional Black SeriesAlphabet Headers Traditional White Series

    Provide an easy reference for students to use at their seats with coordinating Desk Nametags
    Desk Nametags Black Series
    Desk Nametags White Series
    Alphabet Sound Chart - FREE DOWNLOAD! Alphabet Sound Chart - FREE DOWNLOAD!

    D'Nealian Formation Alphabet Resources

    Do you teach D'Nealian instead of traditional letter formation in your classroom? There are several italic formation alphabet products available to meet your classroom needs too! 
    Word Wall Alphabet Headers Italics Black Series Word Wall Alphabet Headers Italics White Series
    Alphabet Picture Cards Italics Black Series Alphabet Picture Cards Italics White Series

    Simple Alphabet Cards without Pictures

    Pictureless alphabet cards are also available for older students that no longer rely on the alphabet as a resource for letter-sound identification.
    Classroom Rainbow Alphabet Traditional Black Series Classroom Rainbow Alphabet Traditional White Series

    Number Resources for the Classroom

    Are you looking to foster number recognition, subitizing ability, counting, and other number skills in the classroom? Kinder-Craze math decor is the perfect solution for your classroom! 

    Teach Ten Frame and Domino array recognition with Ten Frame Number Cards and Domino Number Cards
    Ten Frame Number Cards Black Series Ten Frame Number Cards White Series
    Domino Number Cards Black SeriesDomino Number Cards White Series

    Preschool teachers that don't wish to confuse children by introducing number words too soon will LOVE my Domino Numeral Cards. These cards simply display a dot array and the corresponding numeral.
    Domino Numeral Cards Black Series Domino Numeral Cards White Series

    Colorful Number Lines

    Number Line 0-120 White Series
    Number Line 0-120 Black Series

    Number Lines to 200

    Number Line 121-200 Black Series
    Number Line 121-200 White Series

    Negative Number Lines

    Negative Number Line -1 to -50 Black Series
    Negative Number Line -1 to -50 White Series

    Even/Odd Number Lines

    Number Line Even/Odd 0-120 White Series
    Number Line Even/Odd 0-120 Black Series

    Shape Posters

    Teach 2D and 3D shapes with Shape Posters, also available in the {Black Series} and {White Series}.

    2D and 3D Shape Posters Black Series2D and 3D Shape Posters White Series

    Color Words

    Help students learn to read and write color words with these bold and beautiful Color Word Signs. These are formatted to print on legal size paper to make a big impact in your classroom. 
    Color Word Classroom Signs Black Series
    Color Word Classroom Signs White Series

    Classroom Rules Subway Art Poster Set

    Display your classroom rules in a stylish and colorful way: with subway art!

    Classroom Rules Subway Art Poster Set Black SeriesClassroom Rules Subway Art Poster Set White Series

    Calendar Resources

    No classroom would be complete without a calendar! Coordinate your entire calendar area with my line of Through the Year calendar products.
    Year-Long Set of Calendar Numbers Black Series Year-Long Set of Calendar Numbers White Series

    Monthly Calendar Headers Black Series

    Yearly Label Cards for Classroom Calendar Weekly Set of Daily Label Cards for Classroom Calendar
    Monthly Label Cards for Classroom Calendar Weather Cards

    Are you ready to stock up and transform your classroom? Click the button below to start shopping! Remember to use discount code BTS14 at checkout to save an extra 10%!

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    For the past several months I have had several questions about the devices I use as a teacher, blogger, and TpT seller. This seemed like the perfect time to provide answers to all of your questions about my gadgets, devices, and favorite computer programs.

    I Heart My MacBook Pro

    Since I spend more time on my computer than anywhere else, let's begin with my laptop. I have a 15" MacBook Pro, which I absolutely love. I it is portable as a laptop; but powerful enough to handle my photo editing, product creation, and everything else I do on my computer. The 15" is heavier to carry around than the 13", but this is my primary computer and I love having a larger screen while I work. My laptop is 2 years old. Since then, Apple had decided to only carry 15" MacBooks with a retina display. This new line of MacBooks looks AMAZING.
    15" MacBook Pro with Retina Display
    I create nearly all of my products in Pages. It's a lot like Microsoft Word merged with Publisher without any of the bugs that make you want to throw your computer out the window. I haven't upgraded to Mavericks yet because I have heard many less-than-stellar reviews for the newest version of Pages. So my computer still has Mountain Lion installed and I don't intend to change it any time soon! 
    Pages for Mac icon

    If you have already upgraded to Mavericks (or if you intend to purchase a new Mac computer) this is the image for Pages you will see: It's the same program. Just with a fancy new icon. And a few different features. 
    Pages for Mac

    My Other Laptop

    I am a Mac girl at heart but I recently broke down and bought my first PC in years. Occasionally it is helpful to have a spare computer handy and I wanted a PC so I could appreciate the experience that my customers with PCs have when they purchase and use my products. I also wanted to find something that most closely resembled the feel of my MacBook. Especially the trackpad. Ultimately, I decided to go with the Lenovo Yoga 2. There is no actual substitute for a MacBook, but the Lenovo isn't bad. 

    For a PC. 
    Lenovo Yoga 2 laptop

    The Lenovo Yoga 2 is also nice because it has a touch screen and the screen pivots ALL the way backward so it can also be used as a tablet. I rarely use the touch screen or the tablet mode, but they are nice features to have access to… just in case.
    Lenovo Yoga 2 laptop

    Printing Like a Pro with a Laserjet

    When I need to print classroom resources, I ALWAYS prefer to print on a laser printer. The colors are so much more vivid on a laser printer than an inkjet printer, and the price per page is SO MUCH CHEAPER. I have an inkjet printer in my classroom, but I made countless trips across the hall to my school's laser printer each time I had something ink-heavy to print. In fact, I made SO many trips across the hall that I  finally decided to bite the bullet and purchase a laser printer for my home office (which also doubles as my bedroom).  

    print beautiful full-color pages on a laser jet printer

    I personally own the Hewlett Packard M451DN Laserjet Enterprise 400 Color Printer It's not a network (wireless) printer, but I solved that issue by adding a signal boosting router to it, which gave me wireless printing ability. This wonderful machine has a second paper tray that makes printing on cardstock. labels, and specialty papers a breeze. It also prints duplex (2-sided pages). And I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the printer arrived with all four toner colors installed to get me started. A wireless version with all of these features is also available. 
    HP M45iDN laserjet printer

    The toughest pill to swallow when a person considers switching to a laser printer is the cost of toner. With an inkjet printer, you can purchase a replacement cartridge for about $35 and that will get you through for a little while. It's not a big investment. With a laser printer, however, there are  4 different toner cartridges (black, yellow, blue, and magenta). I'm not gonna lie to you. The toner is expensive. 

    Most of them run about $100. 
    For each color. 

    But the thing to keep in mind is that you can print about 1,000 pages from a single toner cartridge. It's a big initial investment, but it pays off in the end. I have printed DOZENS of pages from my {Black Series} product line on TpT and I still haven't had to replace my black toner. I wholeheartedly believe that a laser printer is better quality and more affordable in the long-run.

    HP 305A Laserjet toner

    Let's Talk Lamination

    Once you print all of those fabulous resources, they need be laminated before they enter the classroom. I actually own 2 thermal laminators. Both are Scotch brand, although they are different models. I keep one at home and the other in my classroom. 

    At home, I have a Scotch TL901 thermal laminator. I prefer this one. Probably because I purchased this one first and am more accustomed to it. I like it because the tray that holds the sheet to be laminated feels durable and not likely to break. (I often find myself in a rush and not as gentle as I ought to be.)
    Scotch TL901 Thermal Laminator
    In my classroom, I have a Scotch TL902 personal laminator. It's great because the feeder tray folds in and makes this model easier to store. The tray itself is just a bit less sturdy so I handle this model with more care than my at-home laminator.

    Scotch Thermal Laminator TL902

    When it's time to order new laminating pouches, I always order generic brand pouches from Amazon. They are the cheapest and they work just as well as the name brand pouches. 

    Shooting Photos Like a Pro

    I have already answered all of your camera-related questions in a previous blog post, but I can't dish about my devices without mentioning my camera. People ALWAYS want to know what kind of camera I use to capture such memorable photos on the blog.

    I shoot with a Canon Rebel T3i. I have owned my current camera for over a year and I absolutely love it. I occasionally use an 18-55mm lens (which comes standard with many Canon DSLR cameras) but most of my photos are taken with a 50mm lens. It has a 1.8f setting and I LOVE how opening the aperture gives my photos a nice blurry artistic quality.You can read more about my camera and my lens in this blog post.

    Canon Rebel T3i camera
    Canon 50 mm lens

    What I'm Wishing For

    I have so many wonderful tools to help me work, but even I have a wish list. At the top of my list is a MacBook Air. I don't want it to be my primary computer, just the computer that I use when I travel. Right now I am living on a tight budget, so a Macbook Air is not in my immediate future.

    Maybe next year...

    MacBook Air

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    Friends, I have confession to share with you today. It's about my classroom.
    You know… my beautiful classroom.

    Last year, it wasn't ready on the first day of school.

    Oh it was pretty and lanterns were hanging. And people walked in the room and gushed about how lovely it was. But it wasn't READY. I didn't even have an alphabet posted. Or numbers, for that matter. There were so many factors involved with moving into our new building that my school could not control and so many changes I had to make along the way. The result? An incomplete classroom. And a very sad teacher. Each time there was a new setback (and there were many, many setbacks) I found myself in tears because my classroom would not be complete by the first day of school.

    But you know what? It was ok.
    My students learned, I finished decorating the classroom slightly behind schedule, and we all loved the classroom a little more as a result of the delay.

    a kindergarten classroom transformation during the school year

    The above photo was taken during my students first few days in the classroom. We were just getting started with daily 5. The space above my whiteboard for showcasing the alphabet was still a work in progress, there were no number cards displayed on my freshly painted cabinet, and "classroom rules" poster wasn't hanging beside my framed subway art. Despite being in the midst of an incomplete classroom, every child had a book box and was engaged in learning. The decorations are wonderful, but at the end of the day, it's the engagement with new knowledge that really matters.

    By now, you probably know every well-decorated detail of my kindergarten classroom. Today I invite you to join me for a behind the scenes peek into our days working and playing inside my incomplete classroom during the first weeks of school.

    Adding Trees and a Number Line

    By the first week of school, I had completed two of the black vinyl trees on my walls, but a lot of blank space still remained that I wanted to fill with two more decorative trees. I was also eager to put a sign on the door to the restroom and finally hang a number line in the classroom. It took a few weeks, but that corner of the classroom finally came together.
    a kindergarten classroom transformation during the school year

    Completing the Window Decorations

    Another big project to tackle was the completion of my classroom window decorations. By the first day of school, but boards above my winders were complete and included silhouettes of children playing (available from Schoolgirl Style), but the windows themselves needed a little pizzaz. I added rainbow pennants and a striped border above each window (also from Schoolgirl Style.) The finished result was perfect - just slightly behind schedule. 

    a kindergarten classroom transformation during the school year

    Alphabet, Numbers and Calendar Finishing Touches

    Of all the items missing from my classroom, the missing alphabet saddened me the most. Here you can see one of my students working on a puzzle to sequence numbers and the alphabet is completely missing from the classroom.
    kindergarten classroom decorations completed during the school year

    The alphabet display was my biggest priority to complete as quickly as I could once students entered the classroom. I don't have an actual bulletin board above my whiteboard, so I needed to construct a space on the wall to resemble one. Below, you can see another photo from the first week of Read to SElf. Note that the mock bulletin board was slowly coming together. 

    kindergarten classroom decorations completed during the school year

    My calendar area and number display also needed a lot of work to fine-tune once students were in the classroom.  It wasn't long before those details were complete as well.

    kindergarten classroom decorations completed during the school year

    Updating the Classroom Library

    Of all the projects in my kindergarten classroom, updating my classroom library was the most time consuming. In late October, I added a few decorative touches to my IKEA bench. I used black ribbon to fasten the cushion in place so it wouldn't slide around each time someone sat on the bench. I also added a strip of magenta ribbon to the front of each box to give the bench a little added POP.

    The real task lay in labeling my classroom library. Prior to the first day of school, I made sure all of the books were sorted, leveled and arranged in my brand new colorful bins. The books were even labeled from my first attempt at library organization several years ago. 

    I had a vision for how I wanted my new library to look, complete with new box labels and coordinating book labels. I knew this was going to be a big project to take on from scratch and I had a lot of other things going on (you know, things like lesson planning, teaching, maintaining the blog and spending time with my boyfriend/fiancé) so this task took a long time to complete. Students were given access to the library and they were well-trained in how to care for it. The library stayed in great shape, even without any book labels. Slowly, new labels were added to the books and library bins throughout the year. 

    It took seven long months but by April, my library was finally complete! 
    kindergarten classroom decorations completed during the school year

    The Classroom as a Work-in-Progress

    Starting out the school year with an incomplete classroom is definitely not the ideal. It was stressful, frustrating, and left me feeling like I had failed. But you know what? It was ok. My students thought the classroom was beautiful from the moment they stepped through the door. I told my class (as I always do) that I worked hard to make the classroom a really fun place for us to learn each day and I asked the each student to please do their best to take care of our classroom. I even made it into a rule. 

    I have never taught a group of students that was more in love with their classroom. They knew I was working hard to make it even more beautiful for all of us. Each time I added something new, my class noticed. They actually came into the classroom each day and immediately searched for new decorations. They noticed even the smallest of details and loved every single one of them. When we did  art projects, the children always proudly talked about how it was THEIR turn to make new decorations for our classroom. 

    This kindergarten classroom wasn't completely decorated during the first week of school and it was ok. Blog post shows the transformation.

    Looking Ahead to This Year

    This year, my classroom will be 100% ready for my students when school begins. I taught summer school classes in my room throughout the summer so the decor stayed pretty much intact. The only thing that was truly shuffled around was the furniture.

    This is how the classroom looked when I stepped in the door to begin setting up. As every teacher knows, being able to keep my walls decorated throughout the summer is truly a blessing and I won't start the year in tears because my classroom will be all set and ready to go. But if it gets to be crunch time and you find your classroom far from where you hoped it would be, don't fret! Just keep working on all of those details during the school year and your students will love the classroom (and you) all the more for it.

    Are you following Kinder-Craze on Instagam? Come follow along to see sneak peeks of my upcoming projects and life behind the screen.

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    Do you love the look of layered borders on a classroom bulletin board but are stumped about how to get them just right? Did you try the "staple and tuck" method, only to end up with creases all over your beautiful borders? Today am thrilled to bring you a video AND photographic tutorial guiding you step-by-step through creating a beautifully layered border for your bulletin boards without having to pull your hair out in frustration. 
    Are you ready? Let's do it!

    how to layer bulletin board borders like a pro

    This tutorial contains photos and videos to deliver the most complete information for your needs. Watch the video and then scroll through the photos in the rest of this post. You will become an expert in creating perfectly layered borders by the time you are finished. 

    To begin, you will want to measure all of your classroom bulletin boards ahead of time and pre-cut the desired colors of border to fit each edge. Be sure to add an extra 6" or so onto each strip that you cut. You want to have the extra space for lining up your scallops. Once you are ready, lift one edge of the top layer and place a thin line of hot glue on top of the bottom border. Don't do the whole border. You are just setting this up and the little bit of hot glue will hold your positioning.

    tips for creating perfectly layered borders around your classroom bulletin board
    An easy way to layer multiple borders around your classroom bulletin board

    After a few of the stacked borders are glued in place, flip the entire strip over so you are looking at the back of the borders. Go ahead and lift the entire unglued portion up and place a thin layer of glue along the entire bottom layer then set the lifted piece on top of the glue, being careful to lay the top piece in a straight line. 

    An easy way to layer multiple borders around your classroom bulletin board

    I know a few people will probably wonder:
    "Why on Earth is she flipping the border over? Wouldn't it be easier to just glue the whole thing while looking at the top of the borders?" 

    Yes it is possible to do all of the gluing while looking at the colored side of the border. But something about the scallops plays tricks on your eyes and makes it more difficult to ensure that you are applying the top layer in a straight line. I have had far more success flipping the border over to apply the glue. Remember, the look we are trying to achieve is PERFECTLY SPACED LAYERS. 

    An easy way to layer multiple borders around your classroom bulletin board

    Once you have two layers of border glued together, you can repeat the steps as many times as you desire. Start each new layer face-up and glue 6-8" along one edge to hold your spacing. Then flip the whole thing order and let the straight lines guide you as you glue the rest of the strip. Many of my classroom board have 4-5 layers of border. It works even when you have that many pieces. 

    An easy way to layer multiple borders around your classroom bulletin board
    An easy way to layer multiple borders around your classroom bulletin board

    If you accidentally glue a border crooked or have any other mishaps along the way, just give a gentle tug to separate the glued layers. If you used a thin line of hot glue, they will come apart (even if the glue has dried). Reposition your strips of border and apply a new line of hot glue to re-adhere the strips. This project is very forgiving of mistakes. 

    An easy way to layer multiple borders around your classroom bulletin board

    Photos and video by BTW Photography. Brian Weitzel from BTW Photography is one of the most talented people I know and I was so pleased to hand the camera off to Brian and his assistant, Eric for this tutorial. Thank you gentlemen!

    Hanging Your Perfectly Layered Borders

    Once your borders are finished, they are ready to hang! I use staples to attach the pieces just like any other bulletin board. Sections of border that are only a few feet long are very easy to hang. I created several faux-bulletin boards around my classroom and trimmed them with layered border as well. In those spaces, I used hot glue or packing tape to attach the borders to the paper backing. Both adhesives worked just fine.

    An easy way to layer multiple borders around your classroom bulletin board

    If you find yourself with REALLY long pieces of border (like the ones you see on my classroom alphabet wall), I highly recommend having some friends help you hold the border while you staple it. For this particularly bulletin board, my mom and another teacher at my school held help me lift the the very long section of border without bending and creasing it. Then I grabbed a stapler and quickly attached the layered border to my board while they held it in place. It can be a little stressful to hang pieces of border this big, but don't worry. With help, it look less than 10 minutes to hang the border around my entire bulletin board.

    If you look carefully at the birds in my classroom, you will see that the corners are sort of woven together. To achieve this look, I  the border around the bulletin board but did not staple the ends of each strip to the board. The ends of each strip were hot glued together, but they easily tugged apart to separate each layer.  Start from inner layers and weave the edges to create the desired look, applying hot glue to set the corners in place.

    tutorial for creating beautifully layered borders around a classroom bulletin board

    Where to Shop

    I trimmed all of the bulletin boards in my kindergarten classroom with Bordette. I love it because it is bold, cheap, and comes in a rainbow of colors. You can purchase Bordette on Amazon or from Schoolgirl Style. The silhouettes of children playing that are on display in my window, pennant banners in my classroom, and even the sign above my desk that says "Miss Manore" all came from Schoolgirl Style. The Schoolgirl Style online store is the best place to stock up on beautiful decorations and Schoolgirl Style blog provides limitless classroom inspiration.

    Maria Manore from Kinder-Craze

    Find out More

    Have a question about something you saw in my classroom? 
    You will find answers in one of these blog posts:

    Take a Tour of My Classroom

    Take a peek into every nook and cranny of my kindergarten classroom with my 2013 classroom tour. You will also find a shopping list so you can track down materials to recreate my space in your own learning environment.  

    Spray Painted File Cabinets

    Fans always ask about my bright yellow file cabinets. I painted them. Read more to discover step by step directions and essential tools for painting your own cabinets.

    Silhouettes of Children Playing

    Don't you just love the beautiful silhouettes that are displayed above my classroom windows? These cuties can be found throughout the room. Read all about them in this blog post

    Brightly Colored Alphabet Wall

    The alphabet wall you see behind me is part of the Letter of the Week study we do in my classroom. Each letter is a collage of pictures beginning with that sound. Discover how I use the alphabet wall in the classroom and download a FREE template to help you create your own alphabet wall. 

    Word Wall Printables

    The brightly colored cards you see beside the letters on my alphabet wall are kindergarten sight words. The alphabet wall in my classroom doubles as our word wall. Read more about how I use color to help students master sight words and download FREE sight word labels to create your own word wall cards.  

    Shelf Storage Bins and Labels

    Aren't the brightly colored bins not the shelf behind me beautiful? They are my favorite way to store all of those necessary teacher materials and they look so much nicer than stacks of paper. Read all about how I stay organized with Classroom Supply Labels and storage bins in this blog post

    Share Your Thoughts

    Before you go, I would love to hear what you think! Would you like to see more tutorials like this one? Do you have any specific projects that you would like to see me present on? Do you enjoy blog posts with video or would you prefer that I just stick to the basics of text and photos?

     I create all of my content with you, the readers, in mind. Please take a moment to leave a comment telling me what kind of content you prefer.
    Thank you so much. xoxo

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    Summer is quickly coming to an end and I have teamed up with some of my favorite teacher-bloggers to help you go back to school in style - TEACHER STYLE!

    April, Melanie, Adrianne, and I have an amazing prize pack lined up for you. Are you ready to hear all the goodies that are up for grabs?!? You are going to LOVE them!

    $50 Kate Spade gift card
    $50 LOFT gift card
    $50 Target gift card

    But that's not all! You could also win some very stylish prizes from chic boutiques to help you put your best food forward on those first days back in the classroom.

    A trendy chevron tote from Oh Baby Designs
    A beautiful infinity scarf from Cents of Style
    A "Brave" bracelet (because we all need a little extra bravery when we reenter the classroom) from Lisa Leonard Designs.

    Enter to win Kate Spade, Target and LOFT gift cards in the Teacher Style GIVEAWAY!

    One lucky winner gets to win it all, so hurry up and enter before time runs out!

      a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Wishing you a very STYLISH start to the 2014-2015 school year!

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    Gearing up for back to school is hard work and it can be seriously stressful. Especially when papers are getting thrown your way all day long. I have a ton of forms, lists, procedural instructions, assessment paperwork and other important information that flows into my classroom for weeks! It all starts with staff meetings and professional development before school begins and it lasts throughout the entire school year. This year I vow to have control over every single important piece of paper. I will know exactly where each important piece of paper is filed for quick easy, and stress-free access at a moment's notice. You can do the same with a little help from Avery products and some really cute FREE editable binder covers from yours truly. 

    FREE editable binder covers

    When Avery contacted me this summer to share organizational tips and inspiration using their products, I was thrilled. You already know how obsessed I am with Avery labels. I also use their binders, dividers, and binder pockets for quick access to all my essential school documents. Avery generously sent a boatload of materials my way to get started and I went right to town! 

    My shipment included several different colors of Avery's Clear Cover Durable View Binders. I like this binder style because they are durable enough to hold up in my kindergarten classroom. I also adore the bright colors! 

    FREE editable binder covers

    Class Information Binder

    Let's begin with my "Class Information" binder. This binder is like my second bible. I have it with me at school each day and I carry it home every night. It contains all of my student contact information, schedules, parent volunteers, calling tree information, and so much more. Organizing this binder was my first priority.
    This binder is essentially separated into two parts: school information and student information. I used Avery's 11200 Style Edge Insertable Plastic Dividers. I flip through these pages often and I needed something durable that would hold up for a few year's worth of flipping. I love these dividers because they are made of a lightweight translucent plastic. These will hold up much better than traditional paper dividers. I also love the rounded style of the divider labels and their beautiful bright colors. 

    Creating the labels for my dividers was easy with Avery Templates. I was able to design my labels with just a few clicks using their free, Mac-friendly online software.  
    tips to help teachers stay organized

    The second part of my Class Information binder is dedicated to information about students. I send home a student questionnaire during the first week of school. This form contains parent contact information, allergies information, special family circumstances, and more. I separate this section of my binder by student using Avery's 11129 Ready Index Durable Table of Contents Dividers. These numbered dividers are AWESOME. Like so many teachers, I assign a number to each of my students. That child's information is stored below the corresponding numbered divider. 

    teacher organization for back to school

    FREE editable binder coversBe Prepared for Extra Practice

    When I notice that one student is struggling with a skill or concept that the rest of the class has mastered, I often assign that child extra practice as a homework assignment. The homework isn't intended to be punitive and the last thing I want to do is bog down a struggling student with too much work. Often, these extra practice sheets are just a half page long so the student can gain some quick practice, then get back to enjoying childhood.

    I keep all of these half sheets of paper organized using one of Avery's Protect & Store mini binders. It is half the size of a regular binder (only 5.5x8.5") and is the perfect way to store all of those pre-printed half sheets of paper for easy access to my extra practice pages. 

    FREE editable binder covers

    At my school, proper handwriting formation is a part of the curriculum. If I notice that a child routinely struggles with the same letter, I send home a half sheet of paper with a little extra practice. I go through many of these half sheets in a week, so I have them all prepped and stored in one of my Avery mini-binders. I used Avery's 16180 Write-On Plastic Dividers to separate the binder by letter for quick access. Now if I see that a child needs to work on a certain letter, I can move the practice page out of my binder and into a child's folder within a matter of seconds. 

    teacher tips to stay organized this school year

    FREE editable binder covers

    Easy Assessment Organization

    Assessment is a big part of any teacher's life. For Kindergarten teachers, assessments are what we do. I have a separate binder completely dedicated to my student assessments. I use a 1.5" binder, but I usually have a small class (only ten students last year). Most teachers would probably need a 2" or 3" binder to hold all of their assessment materials. 

    In the front of my assessment binder, I once again used Avery's 11129 Ready Index Durable Table of Contents Dividers to create a section for each student within the binder. The set goes up to 31, but I only use 11 of them since I have 11 students enrolled in my class this year.

    organize your student assessment tools and data… great tips

    Recording sheets for all of my assessments are included behind each students' tab. 

    tips to stay organized this school year

    The back of my binder contains the materials I use to assess my students. I print all of these materials on cardstock and laminate them so they last through frequent reuse. Avery's 16179 Durable Write-On Plastic Dividers with Pockets were perfect for this task. The plastic pockets are durable and hold all of my materials. I can quickly pull them out without having to open and close the rings on my binder. Every minute counts when I am running assessments and I love how convenient the pockets are. 

    great tips for organizing student assessment tools and data

    Are you looking to start your own assessment binder but don't know where to begin? 
    Here are a few FREE resources from some of my favorite bloggers:

    Mandy's Dolch Pre-Primer Word Assessment Pack from A Special Kind of Class
    Simply Kinder's Monster Data Book

    My assessment sheets are created around my school's kindergarten report card. If you are looking to revamp your schools' report card, this FREE report card template from DeeDee Wills is a great place to start. 

    Quick and Easy Access to School Forms

    If your school is anything like mine, you probably have a form for EVERYTHING. I gathered copies of the forms I use most often and organized them into an entire binder dedicated to managing all of them. 

    FREE editable binder covers

    For this project, I used Avery's 81824 Two Pocket Insertable Plastic Dividers. Master copies of each form were placed within the corresponding labeled pocket, and additional copies are stored behind the pocket. I never want to write on my last blank form. By placing master copies in the pockets, I can always be certain that I won't use my master copy by mistake.

    tips for organizing all of those school forms

    Download Free Editable Binder Covers

    Now that you have been treated to a little organizational inspiration, I'm sure you are eager to start organizing all of that paperwork in your classroom so you can start the new school year on the right foot. Get organized in style with my FREE Editable Binder Covers. This freebie includes all of the binder covers I used in my own classroom, coordinating spines, and an editable PowerPoint file. This allows you to design matching covers and spines for all of your classroom needs.

    FREE binder covers and coordinating spines to get you organized for Back to School

    Click the cover image below to download your FREE Binder Covers!
    FREE binder covers and coordinating spines to get you organized for Back to School

    Avery Products Giveaway

    I have even MORE great news to share with you!
    You can enter to WIN some great organizational goodies from Avery.
    a Rafflecopter giveaway
    *This was a sponsored blog post. I received products and compensation from Avery.
    As always, this post reflects my 100% honest opinion :)

    FREE binder covers and coordinating spines to get you organized for Back to School

    Which Avery products are your favorite to use in the classroom?

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    Have you heard the news? Shoparoo is my favorite way to earn cash for my school and now the free iPhone and Android app has even more amazing features to support your school! The app also has a whole new look. 

    Don't worry though, all of the basic features that you love are still there. The new version just has a LOT more ways for your school to earn some extra cash. Prepare to be amazed!

    Painlessly earn CASH for your school with the new and improved Shoparoo app!

    Kinder-Craze fans first learned about my great love for Shoparoo in this blog post a few months ago. You can read all about it, but basically Shoparoo allows users to painlessly earn cash for their school by  snapping a quick photo of their shopping receipts. That's it! Shoparoo keeps track of all receipts linked to your school and sends a check at the end of the school year. It's like box tops, but better because there is no counting, clipping, or shipping involved. It truly is painless. 

    The New and Improved Shoparoo App

    Here is a quick peek at the new look of Shoparoo. I will walk you through each of the screens step by step so you can see all of the new features.  
    Painlessly earn CASH for your school with the new and improved Shoparoo app!
    Once you have downloaded the FREE Shoparoo app, you can quickly set up an account and select the school you wish you support. The app's home screen provides and overview of how many Roo Points your school has earned so far this year. If you scroll down, the home screen also shows who has earned the most points in your grade level this month. 

    That's right… Shoparoo now lets members designate a grade level. The grade level feature allows schools to boost motivation by setting up competitions between grade levels. I teach in a private school and jean days are a powerful motivational tool at my school. Imagine how many more scans our school would receive if students asked all of their relatives to join in the cause and scan their receipts to help their class earn an extra jean day!

    Painlessly earn CASH for your school with the new and improved Shoparoo app!
    The Shoparoo app provides an overview of the top earners for the entire school, as well as within your designated grade level. Users that don't wish to make their data public to the school have the option to sign up as "anonymous" users. 

    Painlessly earn CASH for your school with the new and improved Shoparoo app!

    Scanning receipts is still easy in the new Shoparoo app. Use your phone's camera and take a photo of your receipt in the app and push the "Snap" button. If your receipt looks good, push the "done" button when you are finished. It's that simple!  

    Painlessly earn CASH for your school with the new and improved Shoparoo app!

    Start Scanning Non-Grorcery Receipts

    The new Shoparoo is no longer limited to grocery receipts. You can now scan receipts from restaurants, department stores, hardware stores, even fast food chains. As long as you have an itemized receipt with a time and date stamp, you can scan it! 

    Non-grocery receipts are sort of like bonus receipts in the system.These receipts do not earn Roo points, but they are entered into Shoparoo's monthly sweepstakes to earn $1,000 in cash for your school. Each month, Shoparoo will choose a new winner from the non-grocery receipt entries. You can see photos from sweepstakes winners if you follow Shoparoo on Instagram. I REALLY want my school to win one of those giant checks.  

    You can also follow Shoparoo on Facebook and Twitter!

    The Shoparoo app allows users to easily see how many sweepstakes entries your school has earned this month. 

    Painlessly earn CASH for your school with the new and improved Shoparoo app!

    Check the Status of Your Scanned Receipts

    You an always check the status of your receipt scans in the Shoparoo app. The little cart beside the receipt total indicates that it is a grocery receipt that earned Roo Points. The little blue ticket icon shows that this receipt serves as a sweepstakes entry. 

    Painlessly earn CASH for your school with the new and improved Shoparoo app!

    Earn Shoparoo Bonus Points

    There are even more ways to earn extra Roo Points to support your school. Just tap the little "earn" tab at the bottom of the screen. Sometimes you can scan the barcode from a particular product you recently purchased to earn extra Roo Points. There are also quick survey opportunities (each survey is about 5 questions long and only takes 2 minutes to complete) and you can earn extra points by connecting Shoparoo to your facebook account to earn extra cash for your school.

    Plus, if you upload a receipt for 5 consecutive weeks, you can start earning +5 extra Roo Points per receipt as a frequent user BONUS. 

    Refer Your Friends

    Want to earn some extra points in a big hurry? 
    Invite your friends to join Shoparoo

    You earn 150 Roo points each time someone signs up using your link. I embedded my own referral link in my previous blog post and earned 3,000 extra points for my school! You might not have a blog, but you do have email and facebook. Go ahead and invite your friends. You will earn 150 points for each person you refer and that person will automatically earn 100 points for their school just for signing up. It's win-win! 

    Painlessly earn CASH for your school with the new and improved Shoparoo app!

    Referring your friends is easy. You can email or text them right through the app. Or, you can use word of mouth to tell them about the app and provide your friends with your personal referral code. Just click on the "invite friends" button in the "earn" screen to get your personal referral code or contact friends through the app. 

    Be The First to Support Your School and Earn $10

    Shoparoo has extended a very special offer for Kinder-Craze fans that are pioneer supporters of their school. If you are the very first member of your school community to sign up for Shoparoo, you can earn $10 immediately for your school (that's the equivalent of 5,000 Roo Points!). Just use the code KINDER100 when you create your account. Download the Shoparoo app from iTunes or Google Play and push the "I Have a Code" button when the app opens. 

    Painlessly earn CASH for your school with the new and improved Shoparoo app!

    If people at your school already have an account, don't worry. You won't be able to scoop up the $10 bonus, but you will earn 100 Roo Points automatically just for signing up.
    Painlessly earn CASH for your school with the new and improved Shoparoo app!

    Are you ready to start earning money for your school? 
    Download the Shoparoo app and start scanning receipts today! 

    If your school already uses Shoparoo to use the raise money, I would love to hear from you. Leave a comment and share your story! 

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