My newest find is this retractable magnetic clip for my lanyard. The set of sweet mini buttons allow me to effortlessly change the look of the lanyard at any time. The best part? The buttons are made by kids -- three siblings to be exact. I encountered their booth at a farmer's market on the Oregon Coast, and could't resist purchasing a few buttons for embellishment.
You can find 3bs Buttons & Things on Instagram: 3bs_buttons or you can email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tools for Planning
I am a sucker for cute things. And I love a good planner. When you combine the versatility of Plum Paper's design choices with a quality, spiral bound, tabbed planner designed for teachers, you can't go wrong.
Planboard by Chalk is the BEST online planner I've found. I used it for years, and loved the way I could attach standards to my lessons, plan units, share my plans, and even pull them up on my ipad. It's designed with collaboration in mind, and it is FREE!
Teachers are notoriously picky about their pencils, and there's a reason for that. Cheap pencils break (quickly, frequently, often -- take your pick) and end up costing more in time, energy and money, than buying quality pencils to begin with. It's not unusual to open a box of cheap pencils, and find that the graphite inside the barrels has already broken into a thousand pieces, making it impossible to properly sharpen a single one. So, here are my three favorite classroom pencils. (I'm not providing links to stores, because I always have to shop around to get the best price.)
Pencil #1 By far, most teachers prefer the Ticonderoga brand, and this is what I request or buy for my kiddos. They also have some great options, including larger sizes for little hands and triangular grips. I always buy some black Ticonderogas for myself, so I can tell what pencil's I've loaned out.
Pencil #2 Normally, I don't care for mechanical pencils in the elementary classroom, because the leads are so thin, that students are constantly breaking and fumbling to replace them. But, these are different! The Paper Mate Mates are mechanical pencils designed for kids. They have a triangular barrel and 1.3mm lead, making them just as sturdy as a traditional pencil. These are the pencils I buy for prize drawings or rewards. Students covet these pencils, save them, and continue to use them year after year. This summer, I found them in packs of five at The Dollar Tree, making it easy to stock up!
Each pencil comes with lead inside, but the trick is having additional leads on-hand for refills. The lead is hard to find, so I shop Amazon and stock up on replacement leads and erasers when prices are cheap.
Pencil #3 The Staedtler Wopex pencils are my absolute favorites. They are extruded pencils, made with plastic and recycled wood. They feel heavier than normal pencils, and last an incredibly long time. I use these for my small group reading rotations, and only need to sharpen them once a week. I only need to purchase them once a year. Yes, they last that long.
Who doesn't love a pretty, patterned tape? I use it in my planner, as a border to sub-divide bulletin boards, and as the occasional reward for students. (Kids love getting a piece of tape (instead of a sticker) to wrap around their pencils.)