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.

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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.

Erin Condren & DonorsChoose.org

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We’re honored to announce that we will be partnering with DonorsChoose.org during this year’s Back to School season.  For every Teacher’s Lesson Planner sold now through August 31st, we will be donating $1 to projects of YOUR choosing.  At the beginning of September, 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.  

We selected DonorsChoose.org based off of feedback we heard from our customer base and because we love that they make it easy for anyone to help a classroom in need.  Ultimately, they are helping move us closer to a nation where students in every community have the tools and experiences they need for a great education.

Stay tuned to our blog and social channels for more information on how to nominate projects in September.  We’re so excited to hear from you, and make a difference in classrooms across the country!


$1 of the purchase price from the sale of each Teacher’s Lesson Planner sold in the continental United States will be contributed to DonorsChoose.org. This contribution is not tax deductible by purchasers. The promotion shall last until 8/31/2016, and will have a guaranteed minimum contribution amount of $25,000.

Teacher Tee: #ECootd

My parents were both teachers and I really always thought I would go into the field of education too. I had such fun mingling with some true mentors as we photographed our new TEACHER TEE at our local elementary school. I couldn’t resist hamming it up in my sassy plaid skirt that made me feel like a school girl again!  

Our fun apple inspired teacher quote (which was hand-drawn by one of our super talented designers, Aby!) can be seen across our new teacher products, including the limited edition teacher tee.  While supplies last, all orders of $100+ will receive a teacher tee for free!

*TOV maxi skirt is from my fave boutique in Palm Springs (@wilstiles)

We Love Teachers: Teach For America Partnership!

I truly have the utmost respect for Teachers. As I’ve mentioned, both my parents were educators and have been the most incredible role models to me and THOUSANDS of students they have influenced over the decades they spent in the classroom. It’s one of the toughest jobs and also one of the most important careers since they are shaping our youth around the world. Teachers are typically challenged with over crowded classrooms and limited resources, yet they somehow find the energy and passion to approach each day with a positive attitude that will inspire children in their formative years. Creating an inspirational Lesson Planner has been a dream of mine for many years. I was thrilled to collaborate with focus groups on this project and I’m extremely proud of how the planner continues to evolve year after year.

Last year I was feeling very “Oprah-like” as we surprised many schools with Teacher’s Lesson Planners for their entire staff! Teachers give so much of themselves day after day to our youth, it felt good to give something in return. Teachers4 This year we are taking our philanthropic efforts one step further. Teach For America is an organization that I have admired for many years and we’ve been determined to find a way to collaborate and help with their efforts nationwide. TFA is on a mission to enlist, develop, and mobilize as many as possible of our nation’s most promising future leaders to grow and strengthen the movement for educational equity and excellence. This is a tough challenge with obstacles such as racism, outdated policies, lack of resources, and much more. To make things right we must come together as students, teachers, principals, activists, social entrepreneurs, politicians, and all others to disrupt the causes of injustice and create solutions.

I am proud to say that EC can help with this mission by donating $1 from every single Teacher’s Lesson Planner sold to Teach For America in support of their work with communities to expand educational opportunity for children facing the challenges of poverty.

You can help us give back to our nation’s highest-need kids in classrooms across the country by spreading the word to all the teachers you know! To learn more about Teach For America, visit their website: www.teachforamerica.org.

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Teach For America

25 Broadway, 12th Floor

New York, NY 10004

$1 of the purchase price from the sale of each Teacher Lesson Planner sold in the continental United States will be contributed to TEACH FOR AMERICA. This contribution is not tax deductible by purchasers. The promotion shall last until 5/31/2016.