We Love Teachers & Giving Back!

ecxdonorschoose_960We’re honored to announce that we will be partnering with DonorsChoose.org again this year to celebrate the unofficial Back to School season.  For every Teacher Lesson Planner sold now through June 30th, we will be donating $1 to projects of YOUR choosing.  In August we will open up a nomination period in which we will ask you, our customers, to nominate projects on the DonorsChoose.org platform that you think are deserving of being funded.  The Erin Condren staff will then select projects from those nominations and other projects near and dear to our hearts to fund using the money raised.  

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BLOGGER TAKEOVER: Teacher of the Year Becca Foxwell!

Becca-Foxwell-Headshot-205x300Becca Foxwell is not only the 2016 Pennsylvania Teacher of the Year, she’s the blogger behind foxwellforest.com, an education-based blog chronicling the adventures of teaching in a first grade classroom.

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When I started teaching first grade seven years ago, I knew I was beginning a great adventure, but I had no idea of all that would be in store.

 

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Throughout my life I have been blessed to have teachers who invested in me, believed in my best, and helped give my dreams the wings to soar. Teachers who left Forever Fingerprints on my life and now inspire me to leave Forever Fingerprints on the hearts of my students. When it comes down to it, I think that teaching is truly all about changed lives, changing lives. True life change comes through relationships, and I am so blessed that I get to spend my days investing in and making a difference in the lives of my students. They are the best part of my job! They challenge me, inspire me, and daily cause me to be the best teacher that I can be. Each one of my students holds such a special place in my heart and the Forever Fingerprints they leave on my life have changed me as well.

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Last December, a new teaching adventure began when I was named the 2016 Pennsylvania Teacher of the Year. My responsibilities take me all around the state as I have the privilege of speaking to others about the amazing profession of which I am so blessed to be a part! Starting in January 2017 I will be the Pennsylvania representative for the National Teacher of the Year competition and will be traveling around the country for different engagements throughout the year.

My Erin Condren LifePlanner™ has been a lifesaver as I have had to balance my teaching schedule, my traveling schedule for Teacher of the Year events, and my personal schedule. Even though I love technology, when it comes to organizing my life I need to be able to see and physically touch my calendar. When I was named Pennsylvania Teacher of the Year I knew I was going to need an effective tool that would help me streamline everything so that I could still have time to focus on the important relationships and things in life. I love Erin Condren’s mantra “Let’s get it done so we can have some fun!” Time is our most precious commodity. Erin Condren’s planner is a must have tool that I use to manage my time so that I can work smarter and not harder!

While there are many life planner options, the one that I love the best is the vertical planner. It allows me to see all of the 3 main areas of my week at one glance.

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  • Top Row is for my teaching/school dates–meetings, deadlines, student birthdays, school functions, etc.
  • Middle Row is for my personal dates–doctors appointment, date nights with my hubby (a weekly favorite!), hair cuts (yes please! Does anyone else besides me just love getting your hair cut?) church activities, time with friends and family, etc.
  • Bottom Row is for my teacher of the year responsibilities–speaking engagements, phone calls, newsletter/blog deadlines, etc.

The awesome thing is that you can make your LifePlanner™ fit your needs! Some ideas on how to use the 3 rows in the vertical planner are:

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  • Bottom Row: Meals for the Week
  • Middle Row: Home Schedule
  • Top Row: Work Schedule
  • Top Row: Morning Schedule
  • Middle Row: Afternoon Schedule
  • Bottom Row: Evening Schedule
  • Top Row: Work Schedule
  • Middle Row: Kids/Sports Schedule
  • Bottom Row: Exercise Schedule

Truly the possibilities are endless!

I also LOVE that you can personalize your planner and change the covers of your planners. While I loved my “and so the adventure begins” planner cover last year, this year I decided to put my theme for Teacher of the Year “Leaving Forever Fingerprints” on the cover. I can’t tell you how much I love how it turned out! Isn’t it pretty?!

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All of the accessories and options that Erin Condren has to accompany our planners are so beautiful and inspiring!

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As a teacher I adore the colorful pens, stickers, and dashboards!

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Thank you Erin Condren for designing such organized and practical, yet beautiful and inspirational planners! I’d be lost without mine! Click here for $10 off your first purchase!

BLOGGER TAKEOVER: TLP vs. LP with Simply Learning

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Kaitlyn is the wife & mother behind Simply Learning, which was created from her desire to meaningfully engage on a daily basis with her two daughters. It features modern, hassle-free learning curriculums that are designed with the busy mom in mind. Her goal is to always make learning manageable + fun!

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I’ve found that one of the most important keys to successfully managing school at home is staying organized. As we are inching closer to the start of our school year, it’s essential that I stay on top of all of the busy details of our life. I’ve had the challenge of not only organizing our family activities, but also creating and planning a year’s worth of learning units for my preschooler.

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My Erin Condren planners have been such a blessing in this area of my life! I used the Teacher Lesson Planner last school year and loved all of the space it gave me to plan our Tot School activities. Since I homeschool, there are a few pages that aren’t applicable to our family, but overall, this is an amazing planner! I loved using the graphing pages to track my daughter’s progress, and the large calendar pages allowed me to jot down the daily projects I wanted to complete with her. My favorite accessories for the TLP are the stickers and the bookmarks. The stickers were a great way to not only keep track of different units and projects, but they also make spotting big events (like birthdays or vacations!) easy. The bookmarks are incredibly helpful since I constantly find myself flipping back and forth between different months of the school year.

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Another item that I love are small moveable “flags”. When I’m not sure which week I want to plan something, or if a project date is not set in stone, the flags allow me to easily move things around as need be. Over the past year, I truly began to love planning out our weeks and the final calendar is always so bright, fun and eye catching!

Over the summer I made the decision to try out the Life Planner this time around. I wanted to create a more structured schedule for my girls and allot specific hours to “school activities”. The hourly layout seemed to perfectly match what I was looking for. While I do miss the large calendar pages in the TLP, I really enjoy having detailed, hourly pages. I can track our appointments, playdates and lesson plans – all in one place!

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Another attractive quality about the Life Planner is it’s smaller size. We stayed at home a lot last year because I was juggling a toddler and a newborn, but now we try to get out of the house 2-3 times a week. I needed a planner that could easily fit in my diaper bag so that I could keep track of appointments on the go. I again love utilizing the many forms of Erin Condren bookmarks and the snap in Dashboards are a lifesaver when it comes to meal and grocery planning.

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The Erin Condren Back To School collection was recently released and I grabbed a few fun goodies for myself. Since I have the smaller Life Planner, I got the flamingo notebook to keep track of any extra notes or planning that I need to do. I also chose one of the lunch totes so that we could quickly pack healthy snacks for our weekly playdates. The Teacher Lesson Planner and the Life Planner are the two best planners I have ever experienced. They are incredibly well laid out – it just comes down to personal preference and what your needs are when deciding which would be best for you. Now that I’ve experienced both, my plan is to return to the Teacher Lesson Planner when my girls enter their elementary years. At that point I will need the extra space that the TLP provides.

I love making new friends and sharing our life with others. Come say hello!

Instagram || @simplylearning
Blog || Simply Learning
Pinterest || @simply_learning

 

Making Memories – Eighth Grade Gift

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One of my favorite projects at my kids’ school is the annual 8th Grade “gift” that is presented to each 3rd grader at our school. It seems like just yesterday that my twin 3rd graders came home BEAMING about their special day with the “big kids.” Now my kids are in 8th grade and I think they may have enjoyed their part even more this time around. I thought it would be fun to post the details in case you want to present this idea to your teacher or principal.

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Here’s how it works: Every 3rd grader is given an “All About Me” questionnaire (click here to download). This helps the 8th grader get ideas for a story that relates back to the 3rd grader that he/she will be matched up with.  The 8th graders write a story for credit in their Language Arts class and attach photos or drawings that make it more fun to read at the 3rd grade reading level.  Our Hermosa Beach Education Foundation donated the funds to have the books bound into a colorful assortment that looked so nice on the tables on presentation day.

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The day of the event, I volunteered with a few other moms to bring cookies and juice to the outdoor auditorium at our school. It was a precious gathering of students and it was amazing to see the size difference between all the 3rd and 8th graders together! (Just look at my son’s legs in this photo!)

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They found a quiet spot to read the stories aloud to their 3rd grade buddies and I must say, I got a little teary-eyed! It really is such a wonderful memory for all, hope you can make this happen at your school too.