Monthly Archives: July 2011

The Everything Teacher Binder TOTE Tute

This is a very basic tutorial that anyone who has beginner sewing skills can master! You can see the way I use my ETBT below in yesterday’s post. If you are not a sew-er,  you can purchase a custom one at my etsy store!

Supplies:

  • 1/2 yard fabric (I prefer oilcloth for this, but any heavy fabric will work) A directional print will require more yardage.
  • Additional 1/8 yard matching or contrasting fabric or webbing for handles
  • 18″ coordinating ribbon
  • 3 or 4 inch binder
  • a swivel hook

Sewing Tools/ Supplies you will need also

  • Matching thread
  • measuring tool
  • chalk or dressmaker’s pen
  • scissors
  • pins

To begin, lay your fabric out flat wrong side up and place your binder on top of it. Measure 1/2 around each edge of the binder. Mark with chalk or dressmaker’s pencil. Remove your binder and cut along your markings.

Put the binder back on your fabric. Lay the remaining fabric out on top of the binder to measure the inside of the tote. You will want your fabric to end about 1/2″ to 1″ away from the binder fold. You can finish the inner edge with a hem, or leave it raw if the fabric doesn’t fray. I like to use my selvege edges here for a fun finished look.

Cut the inside piece to size. Then cut another piece the same size. Now you will need the right side inside piece (this will be the back inside cover of your binder) and your ribbon. Gather up various pens and pencils here too. Take your ribbon and thread your swivel hook onto it. Place the hook at the middle of your ribbon and pull the ends until they meet. Sew the two pieces of ribbon together at the top and bottom edge.

Now you will create the pen holders. Place about 4 of your favorite writing utensils on the fabric. Place the ribbon on top of them, pinning between each pen.

Remove pens carefully so as to not pull out the pins. Sew where each pin is.

You can create handles by cutting two four inch strips the length you want your handles. Then fold each length wise and iron. Fold the raw edges in again and iron. Your finished handles will be one inch wide with four layers of fabric inside. Sew close to both long  edges to finish the handles. You can also use webbing or ready made purse handles.

On right side of inside piece, measure two and half inches from the bottom and top edges. Pin your handles aligning the raw egdes. make sure that your handle is not twisted.

Now sew the handles down using 3/8 in seam allowance. Back stitch several times to add stability.

Now place large piece of fabric right side up (the front of your binder tote that you cut). Place the inside pieces on top, right sides down. Make sure that your finished edges face the middle. Pin all the way around making sure not to catch your handles in the top or bottom seams. Sew.

Clip corners then turn tote right side out.

Carefully push corners out with the a bone turner or capped pen. Smooth all edges out. Then fold down 1/2 at the top and bottom between the two pockets. Sew.

Slide one side of your binder half way into one pocket.

Fold Binder open backwards and slide other side into pocket.

Fold your binder closed and try on your new tote!

Fill it up with your teacher goodies and enjoy the ease of toting it to and from!

Feel free to comment and or ask for clarification if I missed a step!

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Yearn to Learn Linky Party (yes I am late to the game!)

I realize I’m about two weeks late to join this party, and that it may be long forgotten in some blogsospheres. However, I was so excited to find such a wealth of teacher bloggers at Yearn to Learn that I wanted to be a part of this! I have a list a mile long of blogs I like to read, but I am always looking for more inspiration.

1.  A blogger who is a “New Kid on the Blog”   Jack of all Trades… seriously just spent an hour perusing this blog!

2.  Post a blogger in your same grade level : The Teacher’s Lane has great printables and fabulous ideas. Plus it is so hard to find 5th grade blogs! When I find a good one I bookmark it right away!
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3.  Post a blogger in a different grade level:  Fabulous Fourth Grade Froggies: I love this blog for two main reasons: My fourth grade teacher’s name was Mrs. Haupt so we had a frog themed classroom and it brings back great memories, and she is a brand new blogger who has shared so much and been very inspiring in a short amount of time!

4.  It’s all about the button. Find a cute blog button and post it.

And for the button: Teaching in High Heels! because I do, every day. If I don’t wear high heels, I am afraid that I will get asked for my hall pass. So I am very happy to find a kindred spirit in this blog!

Thanks for giving us the opportunity to collaborate, Denise!

The Everything Teacher Binder Tote! ETBT

I have a deep seeded desire to be organized. I don’t always succeed, especially by Halloween when things have gotten pretty hectic. But I feel that if I give a home to my most important information, I’ll do okay. I am a little binder obsessed as well. I love how easily you can add things to them, and switch them around. However, I hated that I had to carry a bag big enough to carry a large binder, plus pens, pencils, sticky notes, calculator, keys, and all the other things teachers can’t live without.

So being the crafty diy-er that I am, I came up with the perfect solution. I made a fabric case for my binder that included everything I needed- even handles! Now I can head to a staff meeting with only my binder and I am the organizational envy of my coworkers! (I don’t know this for sure, but I would be envious if I saw someone else with my cool system!)

From Binder to Tote!

Supplies to make a ETBT
3-4 inch binder
5 dividers
5 plastic binder pockets
Binder 3- hole punch
Binder calculator
Binder Sticky Note sheet (Dollar Tree!)
Binder pencil case
ETBT cover (tutorial will be posted tomorrow! or order a custom from etsy)

At the very front of my binder I keep my pencil case. I made my own, but any 3-hole case with a zipper will work. In this I include many essential items:
pink grading pens
pink highlighter
whiteout correction tape
paperclips
lipgloss

Calculator that fits into three ring binder (if you can not find one like this, you should be able to fit a calculator into your pencil pouch)

Sheet of sticky notes that fits in binder. I found mine at Dollar Tree and want to go back and buy a lifetime supply. It is so handy! http://www.dollartree.com/school-office-supplies/Desk-Supplies/School-Supplies/Sticky-Note-Sets/291c434c428p308540/index.pro?method=search

Next, in front of my first tab I keep the monthly calendars handed out to me at the beginning of the year by my principal. I also include my daily schedule and any schedules given to me by specialist teachers, such as Title I Math or Reading.

First Tab: Plans
I print out my plan book that I made myself.Naturally I copy my pages on pink paper. Here is my plan page one, and here is page two. I type only the permanent things in. I write my daily plans in pencil a week at a time. Things come up often and its easy to erase and change plans! I will include a separate post soon on the ins and outs of my planning.
In pocket at end of section: My yearly curriculum map and lesson
plan book masters. I print my masters in white because it is easier to copy.

Second Tab: Class Info

I still keep a paper gradebook, even though my school requires us to use Thinkwave. I realize this is more work for me. But my classroom internet is shotty at best  and I am a pencil to paper person at heart. This allows me to see quickly who is missing what assignment if I haven’t graded it yet. I will describe more about my grading system next week. At the beginning of the year after I assign numbers, I add the names into my checklist here, and run copies for each subject as needed.

I also keep a student at a glance sheet that includes vital information on one sheet. Name, birthday, guardian names, phone number, first language, allergies and photo release information. I also record which students have IEPs, etc, but I do not keep the actual paperwork in my binder.

In pocket at end of section: Master of student checklist and several extra copies.

Third Tab: Procedures

Here I include all the paperwork I send home in my Family Handbook. My procedures are detailed and by the end of the year, covered in penciled notes of what to change for next year! I also include the list of textbooks that my school uses for each subject.

In pocket at end of section: Master of procedures that don’t have my pencil scratches!

Fourth Tab: Professional Development

I keep a log of all the professional development hours I accumulate. Since I am now at a private school, we get a lot less of this than when I was at public school, but it is helpful for induction programs and licensure. I keep a record of notes and handouts from these PD meetings as well. However, if it is an ongoing PD then it usually gets its own folder in my filing cabinet. Our ELL trainer usually hands out an entire ream of paper by the end of the trainings!

Our principal hands out agendas for every meeting. I love this! All I have to do is hole punch it and stick it in this section. I take notes on it during the meeting for my own information, and transfer any event dates from it straight to my monthly calendars or my plan book. One staff member takes minutes from our meetings and emails them to us, so I always have an official back up file on my computer as well.

In pocket at end of section: Master of Professional Development log

Fifth Tab: Forms/ Passes

Many of the forms and passes I use have been downloaded from the internet over the last few years. I do not have sources for all of them, but I will give credit where I can!   I mark each master with an M in yellow highlighter (this way I do not use my last copy of anything, and the M will not copy!) The forms I currently include are:

  • Bathroom Passes (I copy these on bright yellow)
  • Restroom/ Water log checkout
  • Wow report (I copy these on bright orange) upload
  • Oops report (I copy these on light blue) upload
  • Student Behavior Log
  • Parent Contact Log
  • Absent Folder Work List
  • Substitute Teacher information
  • Passes to sharpen pencils, get a drink of water, play games at recess, or have lunch with teacher (I sell these with behavior points)
  • I’m Telling sheet (I wish I could find the origin of this paper- I love it!)
  • Weekly and Daily behavior contracts for students who need them later in the year!
  • Material Check Out List

In pocket at end of section: copies of new forms or passes that I have not started using yet- that I download from all of you!

End of Binder: Misc

Anything that comes my way through out the year that does not fit in any particular section gets stuck in the back of my binder. Also my extremely handy binder 3 hole punch lives here too.

My binder tote includes a loop for a mechanical pencil, stick eraser, grading pen, and highlighter. This way I have my essentials handy at all times. I also have a key clip here. So when I go to staff meetings or trainings I can clip my keys on if I don’t want/ need to also take my whole purse.

The End, for now. That’s my work in progress for how I stay organized. I usually have to replace the binder after a year or two, but the cover has lasted longer than any binder inside it. It is very easy to make if you follow my tutorial. If you are a non sew-er or prefer to have it asap, you can check out my etsy store and order on for yourself.
Stay tuned for tomorrow’s tutorial! Read the rest of this entry

Summer’s End

Okay, well I still have a few more weeks of summer left, but once August 1st comes, I sure do feel like summer is over! From the outsider’s (non teachers) point of view, three weeks off is still huge. But as teachers we know that three weeks left of summer means days filled with lesson planning and bulletin board making and fine tuning all the things that didn’t quite turn out right last year! I was blessed enough to get new carpet in my room this year, but that means that I have to go back even earlier since every single piece of furniture from my classroom is sitting in my hallway! I keep having dreams of going in and someone else set it up for me, or that my materials are missing from the hallway when I get there. Or dreams that I show up on the first day of school and my room is still a mess. Once the dreams of school come, I know my summer vacation is over.

I am currently working on my teacher binder. This is my everything! I carry it with my at all times. Sometimes I even sleep with it. (I’ve been known to plan late into the night and doze with my binder on my lap). I have seen many similar ideas on other blogs, but as with anything else, we each have our own way of doing things. What makes mine special is a surprise that I will be showing a tutorial for tomorrow! I will also include some uploaded documents that you can edit and use to your liking! Stay tuned!

Introducing Teaching in Pink!

If you ask my students about me, two things that will be on the list will surely be drinking coffee and wearing pink! Hopefully on the list as well is great teacher, inspiring, fun, and strict! But due to the fact that “drinks a lot of coffee” and “wears a lot of pink” are facts, where as the others are a matter of opinion, I have named my blog Teaching in Pink!

I am a full time mother of two, part time fashion designer and overtime teacher. I currently work in a small Catholic school teaching fifth grade. I love the added responsibility of modeling and teaching faith to my students. I hope this blog can help other Catholic school teachers with ideas, but also that public, charter and non Christian private schools can benefit from some of my ideas!

I look forward to documenting my school year and sharing ideas with the other wonderful teachers in the Blogosphere!