Getting Ready for Back to School and Freebies for You!

01 September 2013
School has not started for me yet.  We go back on Tuesday without students.  Then, the students come in on September 9th.  Ugh, I cannot even believe it is September.  The summer flew by!!!  I had so many things on my "To Do List" and only got to about half of them.  

I am particularly proud of accomplishing this task: I made my own teacher tool kit!  Ever since I saw Ladybug's Teacher Files post about her Teacher Toolbox, I have been wanting to make one!   This summer I got a new-used desk (more on that in future post) and it had less drawers, so I needed more storage.  I used a 24 Draw Organizer from and created labels to match my Bright Polka Dot Decor items.  Being a very visual person, I had to include pictures.  I really like this clipart by Teacher Laura.  I then took photographs of the items I could not find clip art for and then removed the background in Power Point.  I used Cara Carroll's OhNoSheDidn't font (LOVE IT) and also included a version in KG Primary Penmanship for those of you who want it to match the other Bright Polka Dot items.   

You can snag this packet for free by simply being a fan of my facebook fan page.  You need to click the picture that says "Freebies" and then click it again to download the file from Google Docs.  If you don't have FB you can purchase the packet here.   *Please, no complaining about not having FB or about wanting the freebie in a different color scheme/font.  It is what it is.  

To match my other decor items, I have made these toolbox labels in chevron print also. 

While searching for advice on how to re-do larger plastic drawers, I came across this awesome freebie by Learning in Wonderland

I decided to make my own version to match my decor.  I could only find wide drawers, like these, at Staples.
I posted it on Instagram and FB and many asked for the file.  I couldn't post the file without first contacting Maribel about it.  It was her idea and I was not about to go rip off her idea without giving her credit.  So I emailed her to see how she felt about me sharing.  She was so sweet and actually excited that I emailed her.   She agreed that I should sell it.  So, if you want a version that matches my decor items, you can buy mine by clicking here.  If you want an adorable and awesome freebie, you can go to Learning in Wonderland.  You should actually go there anyway to check out her adorable Box Tops Holder...sooo cute!  

Here are my other versions:

I ended up also using Modge Podge and tape to make these drawers.  I followed Maria at Kinder-Craze's tutorial and used basic scrapbook paper. 

While setting up my classroom, I revamped my door with a little help from my mom.  She thought of adding the cute bow!  I love it.
 The door decor kit I used was my "Look Who's Been Spotted Owl Door Decor."  For other fun door decor, click here.

Instead of trying to revamp my district purchased file cabinets, I broke down and bought two new ones from Staples.  I had bonus points and a coupon.  Still not cheap, but worth saving me hours of redo. I also feel so much better when I look at them.  The old ones (on the left) were so different from each other and the one on the way left was hard to open.

Then, I went and spent more money at Target on these adorable stools!  I bought four!  This is the problem when you are not married...there is no one to tell you not to spend money on your classroom.  I had to stop myself from buying four new bean bag chairs from Big Lots.  I bought four two years ago and they now look like pilly flat pancakes :(
 I also hung up my color posters.   I love making items for TpT...but cutting and laminating and cutting again...not so much!

I just did my first ever Donors Choose Project.  I would appreciate if you shared it!

Lastly, here is a freebie for you.  It is free in my TpT store.

I will be back with complete room photos and a desk update soon!   I hope you are having a smooth transition out of summer mode.


  1. I LOVE "the no husband to tell you to stop" comment....haha!! Been there!

  2. I have the same problem with not being married! I have no one to help me control my spending! And I am GOOD at spending! :-) Especially when it comes to my kiddos. And they're so good at wearing things down, aren't they?

    I love the drawer labels! Thanks for the freebie!

    Blooming In First

  3. Thanks so much for the freebie! Now I just have to get that organizer. Haha, I also have no hubbie to tell me to stop in this case being single worked for me, lol.

    Have a great first day of school. Your room looks great. I love the color posters.

    You Might Be a First Grader….

  4. Love everything, esp the part about not being married.....I think I could pay for a wedding cheaper than what I spent (still spending) on my room LOL.....Works for me !!!

  5. I love your teacher tool box. The labels are super cute! Thanks for sharing.


  6. I love the no complaining! It's driving me batty! haha!
    And I think my hubby has realized there's no point in telling me not to spend money on my room. I have to live there 8+ hours a day!

  7. I usually fix the flat beanbag problem by adding packing peanuts once a year to my classroom beanbag. It helps to fluff it up a bit. Hope it helps,

    Mrs. Jones Teaches

  8. Everything is amazing, quick question. I saw in another blog a poster box you made, where could It?

  9. Replies
    1. I covered a poster box I bought from Trend with black contact paper. It is really old now.

  10. Hey Erica! Your room is coming along! I am OBSESSED with your primary tool kit labels! I haven't seen any in primary yet. I have them on my wish list for next summer! No time for it now! Hahaha!

    Mrs. Wheeler’s First Grade
    Mrs. Wheeler TpT

  11. It is what is it is, lol! *LOVE* it all, Erica! =)

    A+ Firsties

  12. "This is the problem when you're not married." Haha, Erica! I'm unmarried, 28, and just bought a co-op. There's no one to tell me not to spend money on school stuff or stuff for my new place. Luckily I still don't have my own classroom, so that's not as much of an issue...but it totally still is. Whoops.

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  14. Erica-
    I love all your stuff. You have fabulous ideas. I wrote about you today on my blog. Stop by and check it out. Thanks for sharing your ideas.
    Stephanie from Principal Principles

  15. I'm so excited about the Teacher Tool Kit! I love all of the things you make and blog about. I do have one question...I mod podged the labels today, and now they're sitting overnight, but I noticed the ink ran a bit once I applied the sponge brush to the front of the label. How did you get yours so perfect?

    Lots of luck to you on Monday! I teach in Jersey and my Firsties come in on Tuesday...anxious!!

    1. Thanks Vivian! It could be because I use a laser color printer and the ink is pretty set in the paper. Good luck on Tuesday. I would love another day right now...haha

  16. I'm linking back to this blog post since this is the tutorial I used to make my Toolkit. Thanks for your help, it's been a lifesaver! (Mine isn't a tutorial it'll just be a shoutout during my classroom tour blog post) :)

    Hardcore Teacher Resources

  17. Hi Erica,
    I am so inspired by what you've done here. Your room is amazing. Even I want to be a student in your class! I did have a question about the teacher toolbox. I bought one last year that was very similar (it had some drawers that were narrow), but found it couldn't hold any pencils or markers due to the depth of it. Before I buy another one, are you finding that the drawers are large enough to hold your supplies?


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