Protecting My Paperback Books

classroom library

You would never know it from the state of my dining room table, but I am very particular about my things. In my classroom, I train my students to empty pencil sharpeners certain ways to reduce pencil shaving spills. I expect them to wipe down desks following a specific system, so the name tags remain undisturbed. And, I have very particular requirements when it comes to borrowing books from my classroom library. Truth be told, I would prefer that we just look at the library and not touch anything, but the whole reason I have the library is to share with students.

covering books materialsSince I know many hands will be touching the books and jamming them into lockers and bookbags, I cover every book with clear contact paper to offer a little protection against all of the love the books receive. I have been perfecting my book covering technique for over 15 years. I wrote a POST on my collaborative teacher blog with step by step directions about covering books, and you can CLICK HERE to see my system.

covering books step 7What protective measures do you take to safeguard your prized possessions when little hands are involved?

 

Blasting Back to School: Giveaway and Teacher Emergency Kit

Blasting Back to School Blog Hop

I have my foot in two blogging worlds. I write about the projects I have going on at home with my family, and I write about my teacher world. This week, my foot is in the teacher blog world.

I am participating in a school blog hop. I have done giveaways before but never as part of a blog hop. Read on to find out how to enter the Back to School Giveaway and win this year’s RoomMom Teacher Emergency Kit. Visit other blogs in the hop for a chance to win more educational swag.

whats in your teacher emergency kit

Back to School Tip

At the beginning of the school year, stock a bag of emergency supplies to leave in your teacher desk. Think about items you need during the day that you would not be able to locate in the teacher workroom, the front office, or in the students’ school supplies.

Typically, the items I like to have on hand are a travel toothbrush or dental floss, hand lotion, chapstick, safety pins, Tylenol or Advil, Tums, an emery board, a few dollars worth of quarters for the soda machine, and (whispering) Tampax.

Enter my Rafflecopter giveaway for the chance to win TheRoomMom Teacher Emergency Kit! Two winners will be selected. Giveaway ends Saturday, August 9 at midnight (EST) and shipping addresses must be within the USA or Canada. Teachers, this is a great little holder to have on hand. Parents, be your child’s teacher’s best friend and give this as a teacher gift the first day of school.

teacher emergency kits

Go to RAFFLECOPTER to submit an entry! 

But wait, there’s more! You have the opportunity to win something different on each blog in our group, so make sure that you visit the next blog in the blog hop at the bottom of this page. To enter to win the HUGE gift certificate to Teachers Pay Teachers, visit our group blog, Lesson Delicatessen. Make sure you hop through every blog to read all of the great back to school tips and be entered to win over a dozen prizes.

Click over to the NEXT BLOG for the chance to win more prizes!

Paper Pockets

paper pockets tied

Awhile ago I found This Pin for paper pouches that could be used for party favors or little sirsees. It was an easy sewing project (only required one straight sewn edge) and even had the option to assemble without sewing. The pockets reminded me of May Day baskets, and I knew they were a crafty RoomMom idea waiting to happen, so I saved the pin for a rainy day.

paper pocket w lottery ticketsToday is the rainy day. It turns out the paper pockets are just right for scratch off lottery tickets, which I deemed the 2014 end of year gift idea for all of the teachers and support staff at school who work with my Mr. Star Wars and Miss Priss. I purchased a big stack of $1 scratch off lottery tickets and filled the little envelopes. My kids added Avery 8163 Thank You Gift Labels that I printed and signed their names. We hole punched and tied the end with curly ribbon. The Original Post with the paper pouch directions had a different suggestion for sealing the end closed.

paper pockets materials

Materials

  • scrapbook paper pieces (6″ x 7″)
  • double sided adhesive roller (I used Scotch brand)
  • hole punch
  • curly ribbon
  • Avery white shipping labels (#8163– 2″ x 4″)

Directions

  • Using a paper cutter (essential), cut scrapbook paper into 6″ x 7″ pieces.
  • Using the double sided adhesive roller, place a sticky strip down two adjacent sides of the paper. There will be tape down a 6″ side and a 7″ side, and they will meet at the corner.

paper pocket adhesive directions

  • Roll the paper up to look like a toilet paper roll with the 6″ sticky side on the outside of the roll. Carefully make sure the edges line up straight. Press the 6″ side, so it sticks to the length of the side of paper beneath it forming the roll.

paper pocket rolled

  • The inside of one end of the roll will have the remaining sticky edge exposed. On a hard surface, press the edge down flat sealing the end closed.

paper pockets pressed end

  • If desired, sew a zig zag stitch along the pressed end leaving a 3/8″ seam allowance. Backstitch at the beginning and end, so the thread does not unravel. The sewn edge adds detail to the pocket but is not necessary.

paper pockets sewing

  • As an additional decorative edge, you can cut with craft scissors to add a scalloped border. My (crappy dull) craft scissors did not cut through two layers of paper well, and I ruined some of my ends.

paper pockets fancy edge

  • Gently press the pocket flat and attach a label to the front.
  • Hole punch the center of the open end.
  • Fill with treats.
  • Tie curly ribbon through the hole and use scissors to curl.

paper pockets pile

Alternate Finish

  • Do not press flat after sewing the one ending closed.
  • Fill with treats.
  • Holding the pocket with the closed end flat on the table, pinch the opening closed the opposite direction (up and down) and press the corners slightly.

paper pocket closed

  • Roll a little adhesive in the center of the open top and press firmly.
  • Sew (or use more adhesive) to finish closing.

paper pockets sewn closed

I know you are probably thinking, “Her teacher gift label should say ‘I am so lucky to have had you as a teacher this year’ since it would go so well with a lottery ticket and that is what everybody on Pinterest would do.” I just don’t do play-on-word notes.

5 more days of school where I work! Bring on summer…

Teacher Appreciation Dos and Don’ts

teacher emergency kit filled and gift tags

I spend way too much time analyzing what makes a good teacher gift, but I see it on both sides since I am a teacher and a parent with school aged children. Are teacher appreciation gifts required? NO. Do many families choose to give their teachers holiday gifts, teacher appreciation gifts, and end of year gifts? YES. Are you required to spend a lot of money? NO. Are teachers thankful for all small gifts and kind gestures from parents and students. YES. But, a cutesy, punny note does not a good teacher gift make.

In my experience, the best gifts for teachers are ones that show consideration for the teacher’s day at school. Remember, teachers have very little free time during the day to run out of the building to grab lunch or pick up some little item at the drug store. We can barely get to the water fountain that is in the school building. Here are a few guidelines and ideas that I believe make good teacher gifts. Based on the comments I get on my Crappy Teacher Gifts Pinterest Board, not everyone agrees with my good/bad teacher gift criteria. So, as a little disclaimer, these suggestions are TheRoomMom’s opinion and may not apply to every teacher or parent.

favorite books bookmark

Gifts that help a teacher remember a specific class are special. For the past several years, I sent an e-mail to the parents in my children’s classes asking for a favorite book name of a book read during the school year. I compiled the list into columns on a Word document and added a class picture. I used the list to make a Favorite Books Bookmark for the teacher and one for each student. Teachers need many bookmarks in the classroom for all of our teacher manuals and read aloud books. The bookmark creates an age appropriate book list for the group. I have also seen or used other ideas that would help teachers clip or mark classroom materials…

mason jar soup labels

Food based gifts can work well too. It is difficult to have food delivered or leave the building to grab a sandwich during the school day. Yes, teachers love chocolate, but if I have not packed a lunch (or eaten breakfast), I would rather have something with a little more substance. The nice thing about food gifts is they can often be made in bulk if you would like to give a gift to multiple teachers. Not only can you bring food items for during the school day, but I think all working families love to have low prep meals for when you get home. This year, I sent Mason Jar Soup Mixes to teachers, and I have also organized a Freezable Meal delivery for my children’s teachers during teacher appreciation week. Here are other food based gifts I have made or am thinking about making…

 

Back to School Teacher Emergency Kit

My favorite gifts are the ones that help a teacher with school day emergencies. These gifts include items that are great to have on hand for those little unexpected events. I have two versions– Teacher Emergency Kit 2012 and Teacher Emergency Kit 2013. You might also consider these kit ideas…

gift card wallet giveaway

And finally, you can never go wrong by giving a gift card. Chances are, you do not know your child’s teacher that well outside of the classroom, so a gift card covers a lot of bases. If several families want to contribute, you can pool resources into one gift card. Or, if you are giving a gift by yourself, there are so many gift cards that work well in small increments. Last year, I sewed little Gift Card Wallets, but I also found some non-sewing ideas that included thoughtful student notes…

As a wrap-up, I would just like to say again that families are not obligated to go to great lengths to give teacher gifts. It is always well received to write a note, send an e-mail, or simply say, “thank you” in person if you appreciate the work your child’s teacher has done during the school year.

Happy National Teacher Appreciation Week!

Teacher Appreciation Idea

banana bread teacher gift

Rather than throw away the two black bananas sitting on my counter, I baked banana bread. Teacher Appreciation Week is next week, so I used my mini loaf pans and wrapped up the loaves to bring as teacher thank you gifts for my children’s teachers. I always get hungry mid-morning at school and need a little breakfast-y bite. I thought my kids’ teachers might need a little snack too. The mini loaves are a good size for eating at school since they equal about two servings (and taste great with coffee). Teachers can share with a co-teacher or have a bite in the morning and finish the little banana loaf at lunch or at the end of the day.

ripe bananas

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 c. sugar
  • 1 1/2 t. baking powder
  • 1/4 t. baking soda
  • 1/4 t. salt
  • 3/4 c. regular oats (not instant)
  • 1 c. mashed ripe banana (about 2)
  • 1/3 c. buttermilk
  • 1/4 c. vegetable oil
  • 1 t. vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • Crisco or Pam
  • standard loaf pan (8″x 4″) or 3 mini loaf pans (5 3/4″ x 3 1/4″)

banana bread sliced

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl; stir well with a whisk. Stir in oats.

banana bread dry ingredients

  • In a separate bowl, combine mashed banana, vegetable oil, vanilla extract, and eggs.
  • Add wet mixture to dry mixture. Stir until just moist.

banana bread combining ingredients

  • Pour batter into an 8″ x 4″ loaf pan coated with cooking spray or greased with Crisco. Bake for 55 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan on a wire rack about 15 minutes and then gently turn pan over to drop the loaf out of the pan. Serve warm or let cool completely on the wire rack and wrap in foil to store.

banana bread mini pans

Notes

  • If using mini loaf pans, fill about halfway with batter. I get about 3 mini loaves per recipe. Reduce the cooking time for the mini size. After about 30 minutes, watch until the top is browned, then test the center to determine if the banana bread is baked through.
  • Wrap with parchment paper and have kids decorate with stickers if giving as gifts.
  • These work well as a teacher appreciation gift, hostess gift, and housewarming present.

banana bread cookedYou know I love teacher gift ideas!

I have a few ideas in the hopper for Teacher Appreciation Week and end of the year, but I like to keep the pipeline stocked. Any other suggestions out there?