Organized Charm

Saturday, June 23, 2018

How to Create Your Perfect Vision Board

One of my favorite pieces in our whole house is a bulletin board/chalkboard from Pottery Barn (PB Outlet, to be exact). We saw it on clearance and thought, “hey, we’ll use it for something.”

Flash forward five years, and I have used it for everything. It has been such a great investment for our home and life. It has helped us with school assignments, scheduling, decorating, and just looking cool.

And if you don’t want the one from Pottery Barn, you can always find similar pieces on Amazon, IKEA, and Target’s websites!

Here’s how I’m currently using it:

The first week of Summer Break, I took the time to really sit down and evaluate my goals. We've met some big ones in the past couple of years (buying a new house, getting a new job, having a baby), which is super exciting! 

But reaching big goals can also make you feel like, OK. Now what?!

So, I made a really elaborate mind map that started in my Passion Planner and eventually took up NINE blank pieces of paper (I mean, it's Summer Break).

Then I collected happy little pictures from my life:

- I printed pictures from my life that make me happy (friends, travelling, celebration).

- Lilly 5x5’s from Instagram to add some cheerful colors (with all the money I’ve spent on Lilly, I didn’t think they’d mind).

- Quotes I made on the Little Moments App by FatMumSlim (probably my favorite photo editing app ever).

- I also added notes and cards from people I care about. These are uplifting to read and a great way to start or end the day!

- I finished it off with clipping happy little phrases out of catalogs/magazines.

Each picture represents a specific goal: 

On the back of each one, I took a Sharpie and wrote the small goal that it represented. That way, when everyone else looks at my board, all they see are pretty images… but I secretly know that each one stands for a certain goal that I’m working towards!

As the year has gone on, I’ve added images and notes to the board. I don’t take anything off, I just tack, staple, or tape the new images right on top (I usually just try to cover up the darkest colors). Once I reach a goal, I add a photo of it, such as a photo of a travel destination, or my baby boy!

While the bulletin board is the “inspirational” part, the chalkboard part actual “productive” part! Over the years, I’ve used it for inspirational quotes, to do lists, Post-It calendars, weekly planning, etc. Here's what it currently looks like (sorry, it's a little smudged)!

The best office supplies to make it fit your needs!

-I love, love LOVE the Expo Neon chalk markers. They’re usually like $17, but I found a really great deal on them at Office Max last year. So I bought 4 packs, and I still haven’t used them all!

-I’ve also used them to write right on the front of our stainless steel fridge and to make a faux stained glass window in our guest bathroom.

-Sticky Notes are great for making your chalkboard into a calendar, too! I like the $1.99 pack from Target for this!

-I’ve also used Washi Tape to make a Priority Quadrant… which was really helpful in grad school!

No matter what stage of life I’ve been in, having a vision/inspiration board has made it feel less chaotic… hopefully, it will work for motherhood, too! J

Do you use a board like this to keep you on track? How do you use it? What are your favorite supplies?! Share them below! 

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Tips for Student Teaching

I recently received an email from a super sweet teaching student, who just happens to attend the same school I went to! She is starting her student teaching this Fall and looking for tips! 

Any tips for those of us going into Junior semester 2 that will start student teaching in the fall?

Well... of course I have advice for that! Here it is :) 

Have a Good Relationship with Your Mentor Teacher
First of all, keep in mind that you may or may not have a great relationship with your mentor teacher. It's kind of a tricky situation from both sides. You're coming into a classroom that he/she has probably worked in for years. Your mentor teacher has a preferred style of teaching, disciplining, routines/systems, classroom management, parent communication, etc. You'll have your own ideas about classroom management, the kinds of lessons you want to do etc. 

Listen to your mentor teacher, watch what they do (especially when it comes to classroom management). You'll learn so much more from him/her than you do in class! But keep in mind that it's probably been a while since he/she was in college. You'll have new, fresh, innovative ideas based on the most current research, so you're a valuable resource to your mentor teacher, too! It's all about balance, respect, communication, and having a good relationship :)

Focus on Classroom Management
Speaking of classroom management, that will probably be your biggest challenge, especially if you're student teaching in a public school. It can be hard. You will probably cry a few times, and that's ok! I would definitely, DEFINITELY recommend this website: Smart Classroom Management. Just go to it and read as many posts as you can! Also, pick up the book Teach Like a Champion, and start with the chapters on classroom management. I'm about to start my 8th year of teaching, and I still read/reread it frequently! 

Also, this post may help you once you're in the trenches of the semester: Encouragement for First Year Teachers

Balance Your Time
Organized Charm is a great resource for you (and I'm not just saying that!), particularly the "Studying" section. I wrote it while I was in grad school and student teaching or teaching full time. Every system that I used was designed to keep me on the right track between my education, professional life, and personal life. I wrote every post based on what worked for me so that others could benefit from my trial and error! 

from @mrshenryinfirst
Become Part of the Instagram Teacher Community
Now that I'm out of school, I'm focusing my attention on sharing routines/systems, etc. that have helped me stay organized in the classroom! I will be adding more to the "Teaching" section of OC! I also started a teaching Instagram @organizedcharm, if you want to check out those things! :) 

Take Risks and Have Fun!
Most importantly, this is your time to figure out what you like/don't like. What works/doesn't work in the classroom. Get to know your students. Enjoy every minute! December will be here before you know it and you'll miss those kids like crazy when you finish your semester! 

Do you have any advice for student teachers? Or do you have advice for anyone preparing to have a student teacher in his/her classroom? Add your advice in the comments below! 

Saturday, March 17, 2018

How to Create a Flexible Color-Coded Planning System

Im wondering how you handle changes within your color coded system.  For example if the professor pushed an assignment back or classes were canceled due to inclement weather. 

Great question! I get so annoyed when dates change, but then I remember “oh yeah, this is why I have a planner in the first place”. 

If the thought of writing every assignment/appointment/engagement in boring pencil in your planner gives you the heebie-jeebies, don’t worry! There are other (prettier) options!

Welcome to the wonderful world of flexible planning!

So, "flexible planning" has kind of become my thing over the past few years. I LOVE planning ahead. LOVE. IT. I love color-coding and timelines. I love being prepared and not having things sneak up on me. But... life, y'all. 

Life is full of surprises and things are always changing. Events get postponed. New things pop up. 

And since our planners are a reflection of our lives, shouldn't they be able to mirror those changes? 

Of course they should! 

So, what's my #1 secret weapon for creating a flexible planning system? 


Post-It’s have come a long way since Michele first invented them. Check out the amount of space in your planner’s monthly and weekly boxes. Then take a stroll down the office supply aisle of any store (or Amazon) to find some colorful sticky notes that will fit! 

These are the Post-It Tabs I use for the outside of my Teacher Planner. They're 3" (75mm).

My favorites are the Post-It Tabs. 
They were originally intended to keep on the edge of pages of books, but I have found that they’re the perfect way to keep my color-coded planning system neat and flexible (no more crossing things out)! I just flip them sideways and write on the colored and clear parts. 

Here are the different sizes I use in my Planner: 

I have found that these are the perfect size for the columns in the Plum Paper Planner! I have the ME Weekly Layout, and this kind of Post-It fills an entire section within a day. If you want multiple Post-It’s, try these:

These are a good alternative to the Tabs because they give you more room to write above/below, or have multiple flags in a particular section of your planner.

In school, I might suggest using the Tabs for bigger assignments, and the flags for smaller assignments… but just find the system that works best for you!

Here is what I like best about these two types of Post-Its:
-They are durable, so they’re easy to write on
-You can remove/replace them over and over again, and they still stick
-They’re easy to write on 
(I use a Black Tombow ABT N15, but Sharpie pens work well, too!)

Here are examples of how I use them:

In my teacher planner, I use Post-It Tabs for lesson ideas. Then I can easily move them if plans change.
(Side Note: First rule of teaching? Plans always change.)
In my personal planner, I use Sharpie Highlighters set-in-stone events, and Post-It Tabs for things that can be flexible.

Other Options:
Another option that I’m not quite as crazy about (but is more cost effective) are the Post-It Page Markers. The colors are pretty and you get way more for your money… but they aren’t as durable and won’t restick as easily. If you move it more than once, you'll probably have to rewrite it. So, I guess it’s good that you get more in a pack!

Using Post-Its has worked so well for me, that I haven’t really tried another system. Although, I have heard really great things about the Pilot Frixon Erasable Pens. If you've tried those, please chime in and let us know what you thought! 

If you’ve tried another system for flexible planning and color coding, please share it below! 

We’d love to know some other options! :) 

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