Archive for Organization

DIY: Dry Erasers

“Miss O., can I hand out the socks?!”

This may not be a normal request in your classroom, but it is in mine!

When I posted the other day about using page protectors to create instant dry erase boards, it reminded me of another idea! I got this idea from my cooperating teacher when I was student teaching. I was perplexed when all the students brought a sock with their school supplies, then Mrs. Huisman explained that the socks were used as dry erasers. Brilliant! Of course, I forgot about this until later…

When I started using page protector dry erase boards on a regular basis, I would hand out tissues to everyone to erase their boards. But then cold and flu season hit, and we did not have tissues to spare! Then I remembered those socks. I made a run walmart and picked up a class set of socks (only one per student, not a pair!). Then I put one skinny marker and one thick marker in each sock.

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Ok, clearly these socks have been used! 🙂 The great thing about storing your dry erase markers this way, is that you get your markers and erasers handed out in one step…and the kids can’t see what color marker they are getting, no arguing… perfect. I store my markers in a container like this:


Remember that container from my garage saling this summer?! I have put it to good use.

So there you go, DIY dry erase boards and dry erasers! Unfortunately, I do not have an idea DIY ideas for making dry erase board markers…we have these on our school supply list at the beginning of the year.


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Student Artwork

If your students are anything like mine, they LOVE giving you precious, original works of art. If your classroom is anything like mine, there is not enough wall space to display all this priceless artwork. My solution? I use my ELMO, or you could use a scanner or digital camera, and take a picture of the artwork. I save it in a folder aptly named, “Student Artwork”, then set my screen saver to scroll through the artwork when I’m idle. This usually only happens after lunch, and the kids love looking at their artwork up on the big screen!

Here is one of my favorites from this year so far:

Art 12

Please note that “Miss O” is the tank, not the person being shot.

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Always prepared! My Dropbox love.

Today I have a tool I just must share with you. If you are a teacher, student or person who ever works on more than one computer, ie: work computer and home computer, then Dropbox might be your new best friend. I have tried many means of syncing my files across my home computer, school desk top and school laptop. I tried using a “Briefcase” on my flashdrive, which works OK, as long as you remember to sync it everyday and remember to put it back in your purse, backpack, pocket, keychain, etc… that’s a lot of remembering for this absent minded teacher! The last few years I used “Windows Live Sync” but my computer on the other end had to be online for me to access the files, and it was recently blocked at school. Eh. Enter….DROPBOX.

This handy little tool is simple to use and has not failed me yet. All you do is go to and set up a FREE account. You get 2 gigs free, FREE! I have only used 18% of my 2 gigs, so it’s plenty for storing the files I need to access at home and school. Anyway, when you download dropbox you get a little folder in your “My Documents” or wherever you want to put it. All you do is start saving to that folder and it will automatically update the files online. You can also download the Dropbox folder on any computer and it will automatically update the files on that computer. I have created a file for my Master’s class and my “School Files 2010-11” folder where I’m saving all my school documents. So while I’ve been sitting here at Starbucks this morning, I’ve accessed files for my Master’s project and lesson plans. It makes me instantly prepared. Love it.

If you are working on a random computer that doesn’t have Dropbox downloaded, you can always access your files online at Working in the computer lab or library? No problem.

Want to know more about Dropbox? check out this quick video explaining everything much better than I can!  I love that they describe Dropbox as the “Magic Pocket”…so true.

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Woot-woot! Today my blog had its 300th unique hit…I know that’s not much compared to the thousands that other bloggers have, but for me it says, “Someone is reading this.” So, thanks for reading. This blog has been a great way for me to process this summer as I got ready to go back to the classroom, I hope I’m able to continue to post consistently once school starts.

I know I’ve been posting a lot of detail-oriented pictures lately, but that’s the stage of classroom planning I’m at right now…so here are some more:

Cushion I made for the egg chair, how cute did that turn out!?

My last crop of pillows–these ones are smaller. I have a grand total of 9 pillows, now all I need is some kiddos to snuggle with them!

All the pillows in their home.

Here is another idea for your classroom maintenance:

I got these car wash mitts form the dollar store –my  kids use them to clean the whiteboards and they think they are the greatest things ever!

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Quick Update!

Here is a quick update of the things I did in my room on Friday, it was a pretty unproductive day because there were too many people back to talk to and catch up with 🙂 I guess it’s a good problem that I love my coworkers so much!

Remember when I got nail aprons FREE from Home Depot? Here is what the nail apron on the chair looks like.

Easy access for books, AND I can always see that the kids have books to read…no more excuses!

Here are the completed pillows (almost). I bought really cheap pillows at Wal-Mart and just sewed pillow cases from fabric I got at JoAnns. I wanted to be able to wash them occasionally since kids make things dirty! I am going to add some velcro to the top flap so that they stay closed. (I finished the pillow for the “egg” chair yesterday, I’ll take a pic of it, so cute!)

Finally, here the plants I bought at Home Depot last week. I think plants make any space so homey! Plus, my kids are in charge of watering them so it gives me another classroom job. (These plants sit in the BIGGEST, brightest window that literally bathes my classroom in natural light, love it.)

Teacher Workshops start tomorrow. Where did summer go! I will be teaching website and iTouch training tomorrow, and SMARTBoard training at the high school on Tuesday…trying not to be too nervous!

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Boardless Bulletin Board

All my boxes are unpacked and almost all my “stuff” has found a new home, and now it’s time to decorate and put things up.  Remember a while back I shared about my classroom economy? Well Monday, when I was at school, I put together my Scholar Dollar bulletin board and thought you might be interested.

This zoomed picture hopefully orients you in my classroom...see those nasty spots on the wall where they took down a bulletin board to put up the SMARTBoard?

This zoomed picture orients you in my classroom. See those nasty spots on the wall where they took down a bulletin board to put up the SMARTBoard? That’s where this bulletin board is going, right next to the door for easy access. Now, I actually don’t have a bulletin board for this, so I just staple everything straight into the wall with a heavy duty stapler.

I put up some fadeless paper and a cute butterfly border to cover up that ugly wall, then stapled up this green pocket chart.

We have a school-wide discipline plan called “Color Changes”. I know many teachers use a version of this system. Basically, the kids all start out on Green, then for any behavior issues they get “Color Changes”. Yellow is the first warning, then orange, red, and blue is an office referral. I made colored cards that fit in the pocket chart and laminated them.

Each pocket gets a stack of cards.

Now come the checkbooks! Each kiddo will get their own, and we will put their name on the pocket and on the top of the checkbook.

This serves as my attendance chart and behavior management system. The kids pick up their checkbook right when they walk in the door, when it’s time for attendance I glance at the chart, if there is a checkbook still there that kid is probably absent. Throughout the day if there are any behavioral issues I can quickly flip their color cards. And at the end of the day, the kids put their checkbooks back in the chart. If there is a color change they have to bring their checkbook up to me and we write it in their checkbook (they are fined a dollar for each color change) and then they change their color back to green and put their checkbook away. I love this system. Simple. Straightforward. Effective.

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Finishing touches

Today was day #2 of “Operation Organize Oelschlager Classroom”. On Tuesday I just made the mess messier, but today I actually made progress in de-messing the mess! Did ya get that?! I am nowhere near finished, but at least it’s starting to look like a classroom.

I’m still debating about how to set up my desks for the beginning of school, right now I’m experimenting with cluster groups. The jury is still out.

So anyway, I decided small victories is going to be the name of the game, and I worked on one small area at a time: unpack box, evaluate keep or throw, find place for item. It worked pretty well and at the end of the day I was able to put the finishing touches on my library:

This was one of my Ikea purchases last week, it is such a cute rug, I just couldn’t pass it up!

Library before finishing touches.

Library after finishing touches.

Don’t the Shoe Chair and rug look fantastic together?  I wish I had enough money in my classroom setup budget to get TWO of these rugs–it is so fun– but on will have to do for now.

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