Wednesday, July 24, 2013

File Folder Fun!

This week's money saving teacher tip is all about the file folder! Every year I like to make two things with file folders; binder pocket dividers, and student blockers. The best thing about file folders is that they are really cheap! A pack of 100 folders only costs about $5.

Every year I like my students to stay organized with a binder. We use the SOAR binder in my classroom because I have an owl theme. I ask my students to use the binder pocket dividers to help us stay organized. I love the extra folder space these give the students. A set of five of these can cost $5. However, you can make these for a fraction of the cost. To make a set of five, you will need five file folders and some Duck Tape. I  found the cutest roll of owl Duck Tape at Wal-Mart for $3.37, but you could use plain Duck Tape.

The first thing you need to do is cut the folder in half along the fold.
Next, take the half without the tab and fold it like a hotdog.

Then slide the unfolded tab in the middle of the folded half.

Make sure to line the up the edge of the hot dog fold with the edge of the other half. The cut off the part of the hot dog fold that goes past the side with the tab.

Then take the hot dog folded part and line the two outer edges with Duck Tape.

Place the tab part back in the middle of the hot dog folded part.
Then you will need to tape the two side edges to create a pocket. Be sure to seal the sides with the tape, so you can store papers in the pockets.

Finally, use a hole puncher to punch holes in the folder on the side without the tab. Place the divider in your binder, and you are done! You have created a two-sided pocket divider for a fraction of the price of buying them already made!

The next project is really easy! I use blockers every year to help my students protect their work, and ward off the wondering eye. At the beginning of the year, I give them two file folders. I have them take the two folders and open them on their desk. Then I have them overlap two halves and staple them together in the middle.

When they have finished, they can open the folders and stand up their blockers to protect their work. They fold back up for easy storage in their desk or cubby. You can even have them decorate their blockers when they have finished.
I hope that you find these money saving tips helpful in your classroom! Here's to a wonderful year!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Homemade Dry Erase Clipboards

This week's money saving trick is one of my favorites! I love using individual whiteboards in my classroom. They are great to use for assessment, centers, and games. The only problem with individual whiteboards is that a class set of 30 boards costs $100 if you buy them from a teacher supply store! If you make them yourself you will only spend $13.00 on a set of 32 boards!

To make the boards, go to your local Lowes or Home Depot. In the lumber section, they have sheets of white panel board. The white panel board is just like a dry erase board. I went to Lowes and found a sheet that was 4 feet by 8 feet for $12.98. I then found a friendly sales person who cut the sheet into 12 inch by 12 inch boards.  This gave me a set of 32 boards to use in my classroom.

I have used these boards for years, and they work great. At the beginning of the school year, I have my students bring in a clean old sock. I know it sounds gross, but they make the best erasers when using these boards. I have my students keep their socks in their desks. When we use the boards, I have the students take out their socks and put them on their hands to use as erasers. This is great when you need to quickly assess the students.

While I was shopping the other day, I came up with another use for these whiteboards.  If you spend an extra $4.00 on binder clips, you can make these whiteboards into whiteboard clipboards. Just fasten the binder clip to the top of the board and your students will have a whiteboard and a clipboard! Just think of all of the space this will save!

The grand total for this project was just $17.00. If I was to buy whiteboards from a supply company I would have spent $100, and the clipboards would have been another $30. By making my own, I was able to save $113! I hope this tip helps you in the classroom.

Happy Teaching!

Monday, July 1, 2013

My Favorite Money Saving Teacher Tricks

Now that it is summer, it is time to relax, enjoy the time off, and gradually get ready for the upcoming school year. I have found that doing a couple things throughout the summer helps me stay organized during the mad rush of the beginning of the school year. Now that I have a new baby, I need to be more organized than ever!

In a quest to stay more organized, I have decided to share my favorite money saving teacher projects as I complete them this summer. My goal is to share at least one project a week. I hope that you find these tips and tricks helpful as you prepare for the upcoming school year!

This week's project is creating number tiles. Number tiles are a great hands-on tool! I use them for math, in centers, and in games. I like using the digits 0 through 9 when using number tiles. The only problem with number tiles is that they are so expensive! In the past, I have tried to reduce that cost by printing my number tiles on cardstock and laminating them. This method is cheap, but my students are always losing the one inch paper squares. So this year I am making my own number tiles.

Yesterday I went to Lowes and found some great one inch square tiles. They come on a 12 by 12 sheet for $3.98. That is 144 tiles for $3.98! I want to make 30 sets of the digits 0-9 for my classroom. So, I bought three sheets of tiles for a grand total of $12.66. That is so much cheaper than the $50 you would spend to buy them from a teacher supply company.

They come in a couple of different colors, but I went with the color dune. I want my numbers to really stand out.
Once I got the tiles home, I used a permanent marker to write the digits 0-9 on my tiles.

Once the permanent marker dried, I grouped the tiles into sets and stored them into Ziploc bags.

With the three 12 by 12 sheets, I was able to make 42 sets for my classroom. With the cost of the tiles ($12.66), and the cost of the Ziploc bags (I got two boxes of 25 bags from a local dollar store), my project only cost $14.66! That is $35.34 less than buying them from a teacher supply company! I can't wait to use these number tiles in my classroom! You could use the same tiles to create letter tiles too!

Happy Teaching!