Thursday, July 21, 2016

5 CHEAP & Easy Hacks that will save you TIME

That photo says it all. 
For all the teachers out there reading this, you know exactly what I mean by the words Beginning of Year Teacher Tired. There is no other tired like it. 
Today I'm here to help you by sharing some CHEAP, SIMPLE, and EASY hacks that will help to save you time, keep you a little more organized and hopefully help you keep some of your sanity as you're kicking off this school year. 
The best thing about the things that I'm about to share with you today is that you can implement them ASAP. You won't need to head out to buy much because I'm sure you have most; if not all of these supplies lying around your home AND classroom. 
Let's get to it!
This hack is easy peasy! All you need to do is print out student names on address labels. You could also hand write them, but that would definitely take a LOT longer...we're all about saving you TIME in this post ;) 

You can use these labels to quickly and easily to label student supplies! For me, it was always crazy and hectic on the first day of school. In 3rd grade, parents still like to walk their kiddos to class...and talk to the teacher about how Johnny is going home. Also, students are still nervous. As a teacher, we are always busy calming those first day jitters of both student and parent. We get TONS of supply bags handed to us. AND lets face it, even though we ASK nicely for all supplies to be labeled (or even the bag)---they aren't. What I do is just slap a label onto the outside of the bag of supplies. This way, I won't accidentally give Johnny's supplies so Sarah :/ At the end of the day, I can quickly look at the outside label and put Johnny's supplies into his cubby. <--I usually don't waste any time on the first day having students unpack their own supplies. I wait until the end of the day to do this. 

Another way you could use these labels is to label expo pens, sharpies, or markers. In my classroom, we used our Expo pens all the time....and there were ALWAYS Expo pens all over the place! The worst thing about it though was that 1) nobody ever knew who it belonged to and 2) I always had at least 3 kids who were out of/couldn't find their pen. This way, anytime one ends up on the ground, whoever finds it can easily return it!

This next hack will also save you TONS of time with prepping for back to school. 

One thing that I always do is that I laminate everything before I write anything on it. I wrote student names on the lamination so that if there are any changes, I can easily change it (rather than having to make a new item and laminate again). 

These erasers are magical!

They take sharpie off on any laminated materials with so much ease! 

When my students turned in their notebooks, I always hated having to flip through all the pages to find the page I was looking for. I started to have them leave their books open to the page...on my kidney table. The thing I didn't like about that was that it took up so much space. 

A saw this genius idea in a 1st-grade teacher's classroom at my school. She uses rubber bands to mark the spot in student notebooks. 

This way, you can still collect your notebooks in bins (and have it be nice and organized). 
All you'll need for this next hack are envelopes and washi tape. All I did was cut the corner off of the envelope (you could 2 bookmarkers from each envelope).  Workbooks were also another things that I hated thumbing through. Since workbooks are flimsier than notebooks, the rubber band hack won't work for this. Instead, you could create bookmarks for workbooks. All students would need to do is slip the marker onto the page they just completed. 

If you use student numbers in your class, you could also go ahead and number each marker. This way, if any of them happen to go missing you'll know exactly who they belong to AND when that infamous No Name paper comes along, you won't need to thumb through and inspect the handwriting to figure out who it belongs to! 

This next hack is to help keep track of your disappearing supplies. Teachers spend so much of their own money buying school supplies--so that their students can use them if when they lose their own supplies. If your classroom is anything like mine, pencils disappear before my eyes! I finally got fed up with having to open up new boxes every other day......

Use Washi Tape to 'mark' your pencils. This will help teachers to keep track of their own stash--so students can't claim the pencil as their own! 

I simply use washi tape to make little pencil flags on my personal stash of pencils. This way, I can lend them out and easily see which are mine. I require all of my pencils to be returned at the end of the day---so that I can sharpen them. 

One of my follower on Instagram suggested also writing student numbers on each flag. That way, the student would borrow their designated pencil. She said that she does pencil checks throughout the day, to ensure that students still have it!

I hope that these tips I shared today can help you in this upcoming school year. If you decide to try out any of these hacks, I'd love to see them in action! Tag me on Instagram @Teachinginparadise

Until next time,

Monday, July 18, 2016

Oceans of Steals, Deals, and Giveaways {Week 2}

Aloha everyone and welcome back to a 2nd week of some great deals!!

If it's your first time here, this is how things are going to work:
 Each day of the week I (along with others) will be highlighting special deals in our TpT stores that will run for that day only. All you need to do is search the given #hashtag for the day on Teachers Pay Teachers.

Here's a sneak peek at what I'll be offering this week:
On Monday I'll be slashing prices on Unit 1, Week 1 of my Reading Wonders resource and my August Morning Math.  Be sure to search TpT for #MondayMadness to find all of the other $1 deals!!
Whale of a Sale on Teachers Pay Teachers.  A different sale each day.
On Tuesday it'll be 2 for Tuesday. You will find 2 products from my store listed for half price! This week you can get a steal on my Rounding Task Cards and my  Elapsed Time Task Cards 

On Wednesday, I'll post random flash freebies on my FB Page! I'll be setting certain goals for each flash freebie--if we can meet them, I'll continue to post new flash freebies throughout the day!! 

 Thursday is thrifty Thursday! When searching the hashtag, you'll be able to get some MAJOR steals on BUNDLES!! I'l be marking my Unit 1 Bundle down to only $12.50.

Last but not least, the best day of all will be FREE Stuff Friday! 
We will again be giving away $350 worth of gift cards. By entering in the Rafflecopter below, you have the opportunity to win a $50 gift card (from one of the places below).

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Pinterest Aprroved Recipe Link-Up: July Edition

Hi friends! Welcome back to another month of sharing our quick, easy, and yummy Pinterest Approved recipes. 

I'm entering my last week of summer vacation :( This is a perfect time to link up and browse around for some easy recipes to do throughout the year! I've tried quite a few recipes from Pinterest that were just o-kay...or not so good at all. After a long day at work, I want to come home and eat something G-O-O-D. I'm anticipating a busy year ahead as our school is getting accredited with WASC ....and lucky me, I'm on the writing committee :/  I'll really need to work ahead on my meal planning so that I'm not buying take out every night!! 
Enough with my blabbing...let's get started!

If you're new to this link up, the rules are easy! 

photo and recipe via Budget Savvy Diva
This spanish rice is SO good and super simple to make! It definitely tastes a lot better (and is probably better for you) than the boxed version of spanish rice. 

Spanish Rice

Spanish Rice Recipe- slightly adapted
  1.  1 1/2 cups uncooked white rice 
  2. 1/2 medium size onion (chopped)
  3. 1 tablespoon oil 
  4. 1 teaspoon cumin
  5. 1 cup hot salsa (we like spicy foods--and hot gives a pretty good kick! If you aren't a spice fan or have kids, I'd knock it down a notch or two with mild or medium)
  6. 2 cups of chicken broth

  • Add oil to a hot skillet on medium heat- add onions and cook for 5 minutes
  • Add rice and stir. You want to brown the rice a bit
  • Once rice is a bit brown (about 5 minutes)- add cumin, salsa, and chicken broth.
  • Cover and reduce heat to low
  • Check on it 20 minutes later. Have yourself a sample--it should be cooked. If not, cook for a few more minutes. 
photo and recipe via Chocolate Therapy
This is the EASIEST thing to EVER! There basically is like no work invovled with this crockpot recipe!!

Simple Crockpot Chicken Tacos

  1. 6 boneless skinless chicken breast, thawed
  2. 1 1oz. envelope of taco seasoning
  3. 16 oz. jar of salsa
  • Dump all the ingredients into your crockpot. Give it a stir to mix up the seasoning and salsa. 
  • Cook on high for 4-6 hours or low for 6-8 hours
  • When done, pull the chicken out, throw it into a bowl and use a hand mixer to shread the chicken!
  • Place chicken in tortilla and ENJOY! 

These recipes go perfectly together and will take you no time to whip up. We usually start the rice and then take our dogs out for a walk while it cooks. When we get home, the house smells amazing and dinner is ready! 

I look forward to bringing you more yummy recipes on the 3rd Sunday of next month! If you'd like to check out my past Pinterest Approved Recipes you can find that herehere, and here.

Please consider following me on Pinterest, I have tons of food boards, education boards, organization, and wedding boards! 

I hope you'll take the time today to share YOUR favorite Pinterest Approved Recipes :) 

    Monday, July 4, 2016

    Oceans of Steals, Deals, and Giveaways {Week 1}

    Good Morning and Happy 4th of July, Friends! 
    I'm spending the weekend on the beautiful island of Kaua'i soaking up the sun, sand and enjoying time lounging at this beautiful pool! 

    Before I head on out, I wanted to let you all know about some fabulous DEALS and Givewaways that will be happening throughout the next 8 weeks to help teachers get ready for back to school!!
    I'm teaming up with a bunch of other TpT Sellers/Bloggers to bring you our Oceans of Steals, Deals, and Giveaways!
    How it works is that each day of the week I (along with others) will be highlighting special deals in our TpT stores that will run for that day only. All you need to do is search the given #hashtag for the day on Teachers Pay Teachers.
    Here's a sneak peek at what I'll be offering this week:
    On Monday I'll be offering up my Editable Rainbow Labels and one of my top sellers, my Measurement Worksheets for $1 each.  Be sure to search TpT for #MondayMadness to find all of the other $1 deals!!
    On Tuesday it'll be 2 for Tuesday. You will find 2 products from my store listed for half price! This week you can get a steal on my Chalkboard and Quatrefoil Lesson Plan Book and my Rainbow Brights Lesson Plan Book (both have editable covers). 

    On Wednesday, you'll have to keep your eyes open for some flash freebies that may happen at any time throughout the day. I'll post about it on my FB Page, so be sure to follow me so  you won't miss out! I may or may not be having 2 Flash Freebies that you won't want to miss out on! (wink, wink) 

    On Thursday my Morning Math Bundle {August-December} will be on sale for only $6.25

    Friday is the day that you DON'T want to miss out on! We will be giving away $350 worth of gift cards!! Be sure to enter below for a chance to enter and WIN a $50 gift card to one of the 7 places below!! 

    Tuesday, June 28, 2016

    Tech. Tip Tuesday-Google Translate

    Aloha, friends! I hope that you are all enjoying your summer break!!

    I'm back today with another technology tip :) Today we are talking all about Google Translate.

    Have you ever used Google Translate? If not, here are 5 great ways that it can be a tremendous help in your classroom!
    Is there more than one language spoken in your class? Maybe the primary language for your class is English, but you also have non-English speakers or English Language Learners in  your classroom? Are you thrilled to have more diversity, but wonder how to handle the challenges it brings, and more importantly, how to best help those second language students? HELP, in the form of Google Translate, is only a finger click away!

    Whether you're a classroom teacher, or just someone who enjoys traveling and learning other languages, Google Translate has many amazing features!

    For teachers, some of the best features of Google Translate are:
    1. Google Translate works both online and offline. If you're not online, or you're out and about, Google Translate has an app that's FREE in the iTunes store!
    2. Google Translate has a Common Phrasebook option (for commonly used/translated words & phrases) and an audio pronunciation guide to make learning so much easier for your second language learners!
    3. Need to send home a school-issued document like a notice, form or a class newsletter? The camera function on the Google Translate app will translate the printed documents, posters, & even street signs! If you're online, you can upload the entire document in the Google Translator Toolkit and it will instantly translate it for you, then it's ready to print in the target language!
    4. The Google Translate app can even translate a handwritten note! (For example: a parent sends in a note to you in another language) #Amazing 
    5. Do you often need to send home a personal note to parents who speak another language? Google Translate will instantly translate your text into the target language. (Over 90 languages are available!)
    Whenever you have students in your class whose first language is not English (or differs from the primary language spoken in your class) it's essential to make sure that their parents feel connected to what's going on in your classroom. Here's an even better way to save 'teacher-time' with Google Translate: Teach a student (choose one who's always an early finisher), how to use Google Translate, then you can have them translate all the school documents/classwork that will go home to parents!

    Another benefit of making the effort to communicate with parents whose first language is not English, (or the primary language of the class), is that it also reflects well on you during your yearly evaluation! You made the effort to keep those parents informed and feel welcomed! (Make sure you point out to your principal/administrators that you've been proactive in reaching out to parents in this way!)

    You can also broaden your students' view of the world by establishing a global pen-pal program! Google Translate will make it EASY for your class to communicate with other children from around the world! Your students will love taking ownership of sending and receiving (& translating!) their global pen-pal emails! Think of the tangential learning that could come from this--geography lessons, government/history/culture lessons, are lessons, climate lessons, animals & their habitats--the possibilities for learning are endless! 

    Here's a brief 'how-to' on Google Translate to get you started:

    There are two ways to get to Google Translate, go to , or you can go to the Goole Sign-in page (no sign-in needed) and...
    1. Look for a small blue sign-in box in the top right corner. Next to it, you'll see a "waffle" looking icon with nine tiny boxes.
    2. Click on the waffle and a separate window will open.
    3. Look at the bottom of the set of icons and you'll see the button that says Translate, this opens up Google Translate. 
    4. From there, a new window will open and you'll see two smaller text windows. 
    5. The window on the left side is where you type in the text to be translated -- (or click 'upload' for a document) and you'll notice that it pops up automatically in the window on the right side. 
    6. In the window on the right-hand side, simply click the box above it for the target language you need. 
    7. Another awesome feature: There's a little speaker icon at the bottom of the text window, simply click on that speaker and the words in the target language will be spoken aloud to demonstrate the correct pronunciation!

    Here is a link if you want to give it a try!

    Do you know of other ways that Google Translate can be helpful in a classroom setting? If so, I'd love it if you took a moment to share your ideas in the comment section below!
    Until next time,

    Sunday, June 19, 2016

    Pinterest Approved Recipe Link-Up: June Edition

    Good Morning!! 
    I'm back again with my friends Angelia, Tonya, and Nicole for another:

    If you're new to this link up, the rules are easy! 

    This month was the start of the Whole 30 for me. It actually isn't as bad as I had anticipated things to be. I definitely have a ton of cravings, but the further I get into this (I'm currently on day 12) the more the cravings diminish. I've been having to do a ton of food prep and cooking (with the help of my fabulous hubby) since I get tired of eating the same things quickly!! 

    The thing about The Whole 30 though is that it isn't like a 'diet'. I think of it more as a cleanse to reset your body but cleaning it out of all things bad. The surprising, yet amazing thing about it is that the food actually tastes good delicious! I truly look forward to eating my prepped meals and nightly dinners....the best thing about it is that I have been eating more than normal and dropping weight all at the same time! 

    All of my recipes today are Whole 30 approved! 

    One of the best thing about the Whole 30 is that you can eat potatoes!! I love potatoes!!

    photo and recipe via Sweet Little Bluebird

    These potatoes are to die for!! I eat them for dinner AND for breakfast! 

    Roasted Garlic Potatoes

    Ina Garten Recipe- Slightly adapted

    1. 2 1/2 to 3 pounds of Yukon Gold Potatoes (you could really use any potato, but this is what we used). Cut into quarters.
    2. 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (we used quite a bit less because didn't want it too oily).
    3. 5-6 garlic cloves, minced.
    4. Black pepper, to taste
    5. 1 tsp. Himalayan Sea Salt
    6. 2 tsp. dry parsley flakes

      • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
      • In a large bowl, toss potatoes in EVOO, garlic, parsley, salt and pepper. Be sure to coat potatoes evenly.
      • Place potatoes on a cookie sheet in a single layer.
      • Place on the middle rack of oven and bake for approximately 40 minutes, turning the potatoes two times while baking.  (cooking times will vary depending on oven)

      And it's that simple!
      Next up is the yummiest shrimp you'll have tasted!
      photo and recipe via From Cats to Cooking

      This was recipe was SO SIMPLE yet so DELICIOUS! 

      Roasted Garlic & Herb Shrimp

      1. 2 lbs shrimp, peeled, deveined, tail off.
      2. 1.5 tsp paprika
      3. 1.5 tsp Italian Seasoning
      4. 4 cloves garlic, minced
      5. 1.5 tsp dried basil
      6. 1 tsp black pepper
      7. 1 tbsp lime juice
      8. 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
      9. 1 tsp salt (I used Tabasco Salt for an added kick)
      10. wooden skewers
      • Toss mixture with shrimp in a large bowl. Add about half of the seasoning to start, and keep adding until shrimp is coated to your liking. (I had quite a bit of seasoning left over)
      • Cover and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
      • Meanwhile, soak skewers in water.
      • Preheat grill to medium heat.
      • Thread shrimp onto skewers and cook about 3 minutes on each side. 

      That's it for today! I look forward to bringing you more yummy recipes on the 3rd Sunday of next month! If you'd like to check out my past Pinterest Approved Recipes you can find that here and here.

      Please consider following me on Pinterest, I have tons of food boards, education boards, organization, and wedding boards! 

      I hope you'll take the time today to share YOUR favorite Pinterest Approved Recipes :) 

        Thursday, June 16, 2016

        Organization Tips

        Aloha Everyone! 

        Today I'm here to talk about organization. I know that many of you are officially on  your summer break, but what better time than now to plan ahead!

        When I get my classroom ready I want it to be a visually appealing space as well as an organized space. I try to set up organization systems over the summer that will help me to tame the clutter that happens throughout the day/week/months. When we're busy teaching, we do NOT have time to be tidying up our rooms. Heck! Sometimes I'm so exhausted after the day is done, I can't muster up the energy to even clean up. :/

        In my classroom, I like to have everything labeled and organization systems in place where my students can easily help to tidy things up and/or know exactly where things belong. 

        Here are a few of my favorite organization systems I use in my classroom. 

        I LOVE these supply drawers. This cut down on the amount of random crayons, colored pencils and markers I would find on the floor everyday after school. It also cut down on the "I found this crayon but I don't know who it belongs to…what should I do with it?" questions. LOL

        To the left is where I store all of my math centers. I have the drawers labeled by skill. When the students are done with the games- they know exactly where to return them. 

        To the right is where I store all of my copies for the week. Towards the bottom is also where student reading logs, spelling contracts, boggle boards, and daily 5 checklists can be found. I usually just make a bunch of extra copies and students pick them up from the drawers. 

        These drawers are used to store ALL of my task cards. I love how neat and uniformed it all looks…and that the cards are all neatly hidden away :) 

        Thanks for stopping by today!