Monday, August 11, 2014

Dollar Saving Teachers {Part 1}

What teacher out there ISN'T a dollar saving teacher? We're always looking for ways to pinch our pennies and stretch our dollars that's for sure. I don't know a single teacher out there that doesn't spend a considerable amount of money from their own pockets on their classroom and supplies throughout the school year. And not just supplies for learning, but supplies for creating a fun and warm environment.

I was contacted by Teacher Created Resources with a challenge. Combine their learning materials with some of my favorite dollar store finds to create learning activities or functional pieces for my classroom environment. I basically live in the dollar store and I love TCR products, so, uh, challenge accepted!

TCR has also created a Dollar Saving Teachers pinterest board where you can find other dollar saving ideas created by teachers for their classrooms. To kick off the launch of the board I'm picking my FAVORITE project that I completed to share with you first. Don't worry I'll share my others with you too :)

Recently I did a post about the work boxes I use in my classroom. If you missed it you can read about it {here}. Each day I have to set up a new schedule for my students. I never write down the boxes I want the children to do I just grab whatever box I know they can complete and remember which ones they did the day before so I'm not giving them the same box again. BUT I wanted to have a way to display the schedules for each child for the week so I can easily have a classroom assistant set up their schedules for the next day too, and it doesn't have to be me.

Did you know you can get a small cookie sheet for .97 cents at Walmart? I have several of them in the classroom already for various activities. Combining them with some TCR products seemed like a great idea. These black and white polka dot labels are already everywhere else in my classroom so why not use them on these too. I knew they would be perfect to label each board with the day of the week.

Now there were all kinds of ideas/thoughts that crossed my mind for writing/labeling on the trays. Magnets, velcro, etc. BUT I knew I would need multiples of each item in order to make that work because it I would be using boxes more than once throughout the week. So that seemed like more work than I needed to do. I thought of white vinyl. It's adhesive and I can use a dry erase marker on it. Trying to stretch my dollars, I opted to purchase a roll of white contact paper instead. This was the most expensive part of the project at $5.97 for the roll. I used such a minimal amount, but have plenty left over for future projects.

I grabbed a bag of clothespins--also super cheap at Walmart or available at your local dollar store. I happened to already have the mini circle accents, but they are also from TCR.

First step was to measure out the contact paper to put on each tray. Since contact paper comes with cutting guidelines on the back of it this was super easy. Once I had the first piece cut, I lined it up on the back of the contact paper to measure out the next three pieces. (I don't have students on Friday's which is why I only have 4 boards!)

Once my paper was on each tray, I worked on my labels for the days of week. I simply picked a favorite font and printed out each day. I attached it to the name tags and then laminated them. You could use any type of adhesive to put them on the tray. I opted for some glue dots since I had them handy.

I liked the idea of being able to move the names around, take them off, add more etc., so that is why I decided to clip the names onto the trays. The side of the tray has a very small edging, just enough for the clip to stay in place. A full circle was too large, and a half circle was still a wee bit too big to fit all the names on. I trimmed down a half circle just a little bit to get the perfect size. Then I needed 4 each for every student.

I drew lines across my boards to create sections for each name. Now I have the spaces to write in what task boxes that child will do on that day. When it's time to set up for the next day, myself, or a para, just needs to reference this board for what boxes to put down on the schedule.

I decided to hang these with some ribbon that I already had, but it can be purchased at Wal-mart. I also attached command hooks to the wall to hang the ribbon on. I actually always try to have command hooks on hand in the classroom because they come in handy for so many things.

So here's the price breakdown for this project.

Black Polka Dot Name Plates: $4.99 (pack of 36 so I have plenty left over to use elsewhere in the room)
4 Cookie Trays: $3.88 (.97 cents each)
1 Roll White Contact Paper: $5.97 (with PLENTY left over)
1 Pack Clothespins: $1.00
Total: $15.84

Remember, the circles and ribbon, I already had on hand. AND I have left overs of everything I used except for the trays. The end result was totally worth it. I LOVE how this project turned out! :)



Mrs. Lohmer said...

I love that you used the puzzle piece ribbon. That is my "theme" in the classroom this year. And I have tons of puzzle pieces from puzzles that have lost their pieces. I am using them in crafts throughout the year.

Erin Murphy said...

Wow, that's an amazing project!! You did a great job, and I love how it will help you be organized and also brings bright spots of color to your room. You could even color-code the dry erase markers you use to match your name tags!! (too OCD??) :-) Can't wait to see what else you have created!!

Warmest Wishes, Erin from Kindergarten Dragons

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