Monthly Archives: August 2012

Best Teacher Organization Ideas, Part I

by Elizabeth Cossick, M. Ed. 

Comment on this post and be entered to win a $20 School Box gift card. Just for sharing a lil’ ol’ comment. 

Every teacher (and parent) knows that trying to manage a classroom (or home) without organizational systems in place is just plain foolishness. So, we’ve been compiling our favorite classroom/home organization ideas to share with you, and in the next three posts, we’ll share the very best.

Favorite Idea #1: Teacher Toolbox

This idea is simple but genius: use an organizational toolbox (as in that big ol’ thing with tons of drawers that your grandaddy used to have parked next to his workbench) to stash all of your small supplies. Star stickers, paper clips, post-it-notes, first-aid kit, desk supplies: you name it, it can find a place in your teacher toolbox. This box also makes it super easy for subs and para-pros to find your essentials!

Search “teacher toolbox” in Pinterest to see a slew of examples, but here are a few of the very best we found in teacher blogger world:

Toolbox One: Down the Learning Road

She details the fonts and papers used in her blog post here.

A similar toolbox can be found at for between $25-$35. Try this one or this one.

Toolbox Two: Adventures of a Third Grade Teacher

Here’s the post about how to make this one. And here’s a link to the toolbox on

Toolbox 3: Apples and ABC’s

LOVE the step-by-step pictures on how to assemble this one!

Here’s an in-process shot:

Happy organizing! Check back for the next post on another fabulous organizational idea in Part 2 of this series.


Filed under Classroom Decor, Classroom Organization

gift card winner!

Look who just won a $20 gift card from The School Box, just for commenting on posts on A Learning Experience! How easy was that???

Winner: Lyssa Sahadevan

Commented on: “50 Top Twitter Feeds for Readers”


I love twitter and have connected with other educators, authors, and ed leaders. Thank you for sharing this list! Can’t wait to follow!

Thanks, Lyssa! Enjoy that gift card! 

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Filed under Free Stuff!

teacher self-care {take a minute for you}

by Elizabeth Cossick, M. Ed.

Comment on this post and be entered to win a $20 School Box gift card! Winners are drawn regularly. 

The hardest thing for me about back-to-school time is transitioning from summer relaxation to high-energy fall schedules. As teachers, we look forward to meeting our new classes, and there’s a certain unmatched energy about starting a new year with a new group. It’s fun! (Okay, most of it :).

But I find that if I don’t take a little time for self-care, I feel burned out come October. (Or September. Or August 30. :) Am I alone here, or can I get an Amen?

Here are some ideas for us educators who need a little R & R– even after our swimsuits have long ago dried and the sand is long gone from our flip-flops. These ideas don’t take long, but they provide a bit of happy in the midst of all the busy.

1. Get Social!

Fill the “off-hours” time in your calendar (evenings, weekends, Friday nights) with activities you authentically look forward to. Plan fun outings, girl’s nights out, date nights, or just solo trips to the coffee shop. Having these fun times planned and scheduled on the calendar gives you something to look forward to even on your longest days. At least you’ll know that a break is coming!

2. Just Say No.

In order to have space in your calendar (and mind) for things you enjoy doing, you may have to say “no” to invitations and activities that come your way…and that’s okay. Learning to say no is crucial to self-care. If you’re bad at it, here’s an article on how to do it well.

3. Play Music.

When you’re in your classroom during breaks or after school, put on some favorite music. It really is an endorphin booster! Here’s a play list of relaxing tunes. How pretty is Bella’s Lullaby??

4. Leave Work on Time. 

Sometimes you have to stay late at school (parent meetings, faculty meetings, PTA meetings, meetings meetings meetings). But, let’s be honest– sometimes it’s just a bad habit or a choice. Make a pact with yourself to leave on time at least three afternoons a week. It’s much more relaxing to grade papers at home with your fuzzy slippers kicked up in a recliner than with your aching feet still stuck underneath your metal teacher desk.

5. Get Physical. 

Exercise is a great stress reducer– this is no secret. But with newly packed schedules, it may be hard to find time to hit the gym or treadmill this fall. If so, try to at least get outside and take a walk, look up at the sky, notice the world around you. Even if it’s just a quick walk after dinner, getting out and moving is grounding and re-centering. 

6. Stay Inspired.

And finally, remember why you became a teacher to begin with. It wasn’t for the glory. And it sho wasn’t for the salary. It was to make a difference in the lives of children. Here’s an inspiring website that shares the stories of famous celebs and their favorite teachers. And here’s a video to remind us why we wipe down our boards, plan our lessons, grade those papers, put on a smile, and reach out and care.

Happy August! Let’s remember to invest in ourselves as we invest in our students. We’ll all be happier this month…and beyond. ♥


Filed under Motivation, Teacher Appreciation, Teacher Inspiration, Teaching