Back to School: Teacher Essentials Gift

Whether you’re a parent or a fellow teacher, sometimes we all need to find a quick, thoughtful gift for the teachers in our lives.

One of my favourite things to make for my fellow team members has always been a ‘survival kit’ gift. Now, there are plenty of ideas on Pinterest for those of you who want to do a search and see what’s available for those. They came with cute little tags, usually with puns or phrases that match the items included.

While what I’m sharing with you is similar, I also wanted to keep it pretty practical. My good friend, Shanyn, from Classroom Chit Chat, recently shared a post for Graduate Teachers all about Classroom Essentials (it’s a great post, you should definitely go check it out), with lists of items that every teacher should consider keeping in their classroom to make everything run a bit smoother.

I’m piggy-backing off her ideas and creating a Teacher Essentials Gift that would make a great present to give a colleague, or to give to your child’s teacher. And the best thing? You probably have most of these things lying around your house!

In just two steps, you can create your own personalised teacher gift!

Step 1. Choose your container.
This could be a mug, a travel mug or even a small make-up purse/pouch.
A pro-tip, a travel mug is probably preferable to a mug, because it has a sealable lid, which means it can be carried safely to and from the classroom, minimising the risk of spilling hot liquid, but you’ll know your recipient better than I do, so go with something you think they’ll like.
You can pick up mugs and pouches all over the place for very reasonable prices, so just keep an eye out for something you like.

Step 2. Fill your container!
Be creative with this – there are so many different items you could include that will always be gratefully accepted by your teacher friend. Try and personalise it to their personality or preferences. These might range from treats to emergency essentials – remember, it’s the thought that counts!

You might like to include:

  • Hot chocolate sachets
  • Coffee sachets
  • Tea/tea bags
  • Tissues
  • Wet wipes
  • Handcream
  • Perfume
  • Hand sanitiser
  • Dry shampoo (travel size)
  • Body mist
  • Glasses wipes (if they wear glasses)
  • Lip balm
  • Colourful pens
  • Permanent markers
  • Fold-back clips
  • Rubber bands
  • Paperclips
  • Pushpins
  • Small chocolates
  • Mints
  • Safety pins
  • Stickers
  • Stamps

You can really customise this in any way you see fit, and that’s what makes it such a wonderful treat for any teacher to receive (because, believe me, every little bit of stationary helps and treats are always well-received!).

I hope that this inspires you to create your own teacher essentials gift for a teacher in your life!

What ‘essentials’ would YOU include?


DIY Glitter Paperclips! (Video)



Hi all!

Happy Easter to those of you who celebrate. I hope that you and your families have a marvellous day!

Just a quick post today to share a tutorial for making DIY Glitter Paperclips. Enjoy:

Thanks for watching!

If you have requests for any future DIY tutorials, just leave them in the comments!


An Assorted Update

Wow – two posts in one day. This won’t become a habit – I can promise you that!

Still, I have a couple of things to share with you, so I’m going to do it now, while I remember. Because chances are it’ll be next weekend by the time I can sit down and post again! (I tell you what, this start of year has really knocked me around a bit – hard to believe we’re already at Week 5 of a 10 week term!)


Today I made another batch of coloured pasta in six different colours – red, yellow, pink, blue, green and orange. It was absolutely beautiful weather outside (we’ve had some ‘cold’ weather the last few days) and it all dried completely in about an hour. Now it’s currently sitting all mixed up in some large ziplock bags ready to be carted in to work.

I really love the bright colours I got. I mostly used liquid food dyes (although the blue and the red both have some gel colour in there, too). I find that I get brighter colours from the liquid food dyes, probably because you can add more and it swirls around a lot in the bag. But there you have it.

To make coloured pasta you need: pasta (any kind –  be adventurous!), food dye (go with your preferred food dye – liquid or gel, whatever floats your boat!), ziplock bags to mix it all up in, and about a capful of rubbing alcohol per bag of colour (Aussies, you can get this in the medicine isle of your supermarket – I use Isocol, which comes in a bright green bottle!).


This year I am DETERMINED to be on top of all my records, especially with such a heavy focus (thank you State Government) on assessment. So, this is my plan – an anecdotal records notebook with a few pages for each student.

This is my Term 1 notebook, which I made up all pretty yesterday (because, believe it or not, I actually use things that look pretty as opposed to things that are just PLAIN. I don’t know, it’s a quirk!). It has sections for Reading/Writing/Maths/Social and I plan on using sticky notes to keep everything in place.

I have these fabulous reusable plastic sticky-note flags for each student section. The great thing about these flags is that I can move them from one notebook to the next without having to use another 22 flags next term. They’re like my ‘go-to’ for sticky-note flags (find them here at Officeworks.)

The other really nice thing about this book is that it’s SUPER LIGHT and skinny and will slide right into my bag at the end of the day, which is another bonus.


And, of course, I attacked it with washi tape to add to the cuteness of it! (Seriously, I have to use the tape I have… it’s getting slightly ridiculous!)


Finally, I thought I’d check in with my Erin Condren planner. I bought this at mid-year last year and have been using it.

OMG – the thing I said above about using Pretty Things… this is what I mean. I never used the standard teacher planners that my school used to supply because they were NOT pretty and were not sturdy at all.

But this? This is working for me.

Not only is it bright and gorgeous, but it’s fully functional, too. This planner has been dragged to and from work every day for the last six months and the laminated covers have lasted really well. I love the monthly overviews and the attached note pages (which I use for to-do lists). The weekly overview (in the pic above) I use to keep beside my while I teach to keep my on track. I only use it as an ‘overview’ – I do have electronic planners (maths, literacy and another overview), but I actually only update this every few days as things come up (as they do in teaching). That way, if an activity needs to be carried on over another day, I can add it in without too much scribbling out.

And yes, I’m attacking it with washi-tape, too! The bright pink strips are specialist classes (my kiddos have ICT, Sport, Art, Science and Japanese each week). The multi-coloured strip is Prep Investigations and this week I have PD on Monday so I just picked out another fun tape to highlight that.

I use the purple band (along with the ruler/divider) to keep track of the week I’m up to, but I do pull it off to use the checklist pages at the end. This year I’m going to be better with using the checklists and so far I lists for homework, spelling test results, Achievement of the Week/general, and handwriting/lowercase letters.

do need to get myself sorted with a blog/TPT planner (and I have purchased one), so I’ll update on that later.

So… that’s been my weekend. I’ve plugged away at my to-do list and OMG I think I’m nearly through it! (It’s a miracle!)

Don’t forget to leave a comment – I’d love to hear what you’re up to, or how you use your planners!

I hope you all enjoy your weekend!


Homemade number stamps

I’m (rather impatiently!) waiting for 4 sets of number stamps to arrive from Etsy for my classroom. One can never have too many alphabet or number stamps!

I need some for my Number Rotations this Wednesday, so I spent most of yesterday trying to find some ANYWHERE. No such luck.

My sister and I made a late-night trip out to K-Mart last night and I resolved to DIY my own number stamps for this week. It was quite easy, and pretty cheap, and I’m rather pleased with myself!


– 1 bag of foam numbers ($2)

– 2 packets of erasers ($4)

– Hot glue gun

See, easy peasy!

(And while I was there I also bought a packet of six coloured ink pads! No more students arguing over who gets to control the ‘shared’ ink pad!)

Click on the picture above for my Prep’s Stamp the Number recording sheet.

What is your best DIY classroom resource?

Enjoy your Sunday!