It’s back to school season. For most of us with school aged children that means some sort of meet-the-teacher night with lots of handouts. Since I am a teacher too, I know the handouts have valuable information in them– when to wear PE clothes, lunch procedures, HW procedures, acceptable pencils… We all receive these pamphlets with key information that get dumped into that junk drawer in the kitchen. For the past few years, I created a flip book and attached a magnet to the back, so parents could hang the booklet on their refrigerator in plain sight. I still like that idea, but I was getting tired of making them, and my pages never lined up correctly (which bugged my OCD nature to no end).
This year I folded mini pocket folders with card stock and inserted individual cascading pages by modifying my old flip book file. You can see the headings of each page of information and pull out that insert to get the information you need. I think these folders will still get dumped into the kitchen junk drawer, but I like the construction of them, the final size, and the way you can view the information headings.
To Make the Folders:
- Use 8 1/2″ x 11″ card stock. Cut cardstock to 7 1/2″ x 11″ size. I found Astrobrights cardstock paper that was double colored, so each side has a coordinating color. It makes the final pocket folder more interesting.
- I have a paper scorer to make guidelines where I need to fold. You could use a ruler to measure and fold by hand. Set the paper in landscape direction. You will fold along the long edge of the paper at 5 1/2″ (bottom of the paper folds up 2″). You will fold the paper in half at 5 1/2″ down the center.
- After pre-folding, open the paper flat and cut a skinny triangle along the 2-inch flap. The tip of the triangle will be 2-inches into the paper at the 5 1/2″ fold. This will allow the bottom flap to fold up neatly without bending or buckling in the center.
To Make the Printed Inserts:
- I created THIS TEMPLATE in MSPowerPoint. There are 10 slides (plus one slide with teacher notes) with editable textboxes in different sizes.
- Fill the textboxes with the essential information for your classroom.
- Each slide page is 5 1/2″ x 5 1/2″. I printed on 8 1/2″ x 11″ paper, so lots of cutting is involved. Print the pages and cut to the correct sizes with a paper cutter. All pages will be 5 3/8″ wide. The heights vary by 1/2″. The tallest page is 5 1/2″. The shortest pages is 3 1/2″. You could add one more pair of pages for a total of 12 pages (6 on each side), and the shortest page would be 3″.
- I cut the width of the pages first. Then, I cut near the header next. For me, if I lined up the paper at 7″ on the paper cutter, it would cut at the perfect place above the header for all pages. After that cut, I would flip the page and cut my varying heights beginning with my largest page (5 1/2″is the tallest; 5″ is the next height; 4 1/2″ is the next… down to 3 1/2″).
- Cutting the pages down to size is time consuming, but I think the final result is well worth it!
- As a final step, print or write a title on the front of each folder. I printed a label on 2″ x 4″ Avery shipping labels and then cut the labels to 2″ x 2″ because I liked the square shape on the folder covers (and I happened to have that label size in my massive paper supply).
Since my children started attending elementary school, I have been cooking up some little back to school teacher emergency kit to give my kids’ homeroom teachers on the first day of school. Each year, the kits are a little different, but the contents are always based on items I need at school but don’t always have. I usually change up the bag or box to hold all of the items, but this fall, I am returning to the plastic bead box with removable divider slots that was the first container I ever used.
The Box: I purchase the bead storage boxes from Michael’s. It has ten slots with removable dividers. I remove a few of the dividers to make sections of the box bigger depending on what I have that needs to go in the box.
The Contents: Below is what I included in the kits this time. You could also consider adding things like mints, a good Flair pen or Sharpie pen, travel sized lotion, Advil or Tylenol, mini Windex wipes for electronics (I have seen these at Target), a Tide to Go pen… I browse the travel-sized aisle at places like CVS and Target for inspiration.
- cough drops
- safety pins
- soda money in quarters
- Pepto Bismol chewable tablets
- disposable toothbrush and paste (one time use)
- emery board
- hair bands
- dental flossers
The Labels: I printed THIS 2″x 4″ label for the lid of the box using a Red Cross style logo to make it look like an emergency kit. I created a table for the inside of the box and printed it on cardstock. Using a paper cutter, I cut it down to fit the inside lid and attached it with clear tape. I wanted the “map” on the inside to look like one of those lists they have in the big chocolate candy boxes, so you know what kind of chocolate you are eating. Here is a copy of the Teacher Emergency Kit Map.
To get more inspiration for Back to School Teacher Emergency Kits, take a look at some of mine from previous years by clicking the links below.
Teacher Emergency Kit 2012
Teacher Emergency Kit 2013
Teacher Emergency Kit 2014
Teacher Emergency Kit 2015
Teacher Emergency Kit 2016
Almost every teacher I know has the uncanny ability to take common household supplies and turn them into some sort of classroom supply. I do not go to the extremes of some of the teachers that I know, but I will admit, I get the DIY classroom supply itch now and again.
Over the past few years, I manufactured DIY Ziploc flashcard pouches for back to school. Using quart-sized Ziploc bags and some duct tape, I make a pouch that clips into student binders to hold loose materials. At the beginning of the year, I give each student a pouch to hold vocabulary and grammar flashcard rings in their binders. The pouches also work well for math facts flashcards, sight word flashcards, username/PW information for school apps, and a variety of other everyday classroom items. Written directions are below or watch THIS 5-MINUTE VIDEO that walks you through the steps.
- quart-sized Ziploc bags (go for heavy duty, so they don’t rip before the end of the school year)
- duct tape in a fun color/pattern (I like Duck Tape brand that has the crazy patterns)
- single hole punch
- sharp scissors
- one piece of notebook paper to measure the distance to punch holes
- Put one Ziploc bag on a flat surface, front of the bag facing up.
- Eyeball the length of a piece of duct tape that reaches from the bottom of the Ziploc bag to the “collar” or area where the bag snaps together.
- Cut the length of duct tape you need and place the duct tape on the flat surface, sticky side up.
- Place Ziploc bag on top of the sticky side of the duct tape only covering half of the width of the tape strip.
- Fold the remaining exposed part of the duct tape strip over the top of the plastic bag, so the left edge is covered with a strip of duct tape.
- Hold the notebook paper with the bottom two holes over the duct taped edge of the bag. Line up the bottom of the piece of notebook paper with the bottom edge of the Ziploc bag.
- Hole punch two holes into the Ziploc bag.
- Clip into binder.
One Lucky Winner Will Receive TWO Back to School Teacher Emergency Kits!
I am giving away two (2) Teacher Emergency Kits to one (1) lucky winner! You can keep one kit and give one to a teacher friend (or make two teachers, friends, co-workers, neighbors… super happy and give both as gifts). Click HERE to enter. Giveaway ends this Wednesday, August 17 at midnight (EST). Shipping addresses must be within the USA or Canada.
Winner will receive 2 vinyl pouches and emergency kit contents. Each kit contains a $10 Starbucks giftcard, travel sized lip gloss, travel sized Shout and Windex wipes, travel sized Advil, Tums, Band-aids, nail file, and peppermints. See this BLOG POST for more details about the Teacher Emergency Kits.
Click this RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY LINK and follow me on various social media and/or share the giveaway using #theroommom to be entered to win!
You may have been concerned that I had not posted this year’s Back to School Teacher Emergency Kit, but fear not, I would not let you down. If you recall, the Teacher Emergency Kit is my favorite first day of school gift to a teacher, and I have been delivering them since my children entered elementary school. Now that my kids are getting a little bit older, it is more important that I keep this tradition going because teachers of older students always get jipped in the teacher gift department.
This year’s emergency kit pouch is made of clear vinyl (possibly a poor choice when you sew in a climate with 8,000% humidity), and it reminds me of a small make-up bag. Like my previous kits, it is supposed to be a handy little bag to store in a desk or teacher bag for daily emergencies.
This Year’s Contents
- individually wrapped mints
- tinted Vaseline in an oh-so-sweet mini container
- Windex wipes for electronics
- Shout wipes
- emery board
Other Content Ideas
- quarters for soda money
- travel sewing kit
- Tide to go stain remover stick
- cough drops
- Sharpie pen
- travel sized hand lotion
- travel sized toothbrush and toothpaste
- dental floss
- hair clip, hair tie, or rubberband
- smartphone charger
- ear buds
- safety pins
The Vinyl Pouch
- If you sew, visit BONJOUR QUILTS for the pattern and directions. You can register on the site to download a measurement guide to make bigger and smaller pouch sizes. I followed the sizes given in the blog post, and the finished bag is about 4″ x 5″. As you may have gleaned from my comment above, sewing with vinyl in hot and humid weather is not easy. I even had my special teflon sewing foot.
- I purchased the lightest gauge of clear vinyl available at Hobby Lobby.
- The FLEXIBLE FRAMES that create the opening at the top of the pouch are the same material that is in a metal measuring tape (or a slap bracelet). I ordered the flexible frames online because I could not find them in any store locally. My sewing store told me that I could cut a measuring tape into the pieces I need and slide them into the fabric sleeves as a back up idea if I couldn’t find the frames.
Other Packaging Ideas
- Use a bead box from a store like Michael’s Crafts. Sew a potholder clutch or foldover cloth bag. Pick up a small cosmetics bag; I saw some in the bins near the door at Bed, Bath & Beyond. Fill a simple paper gift bag. Click on the images below to read about other versions of the Back to School Teacher Emergency Kits!