Save Time and Money With a Personal Laminator {Deals for Teachers, Classroom Organization}


I have blogged about my personal laminator a few times because I am often asked if I can recommend a brand. I also like to share when I see it is marked down. I'm mentioning it today because there is currently a great deal available for the 8.5 x 11 inch thermal pouches.




I have now owned and LOVED the Scotch Thermal Laminator for several years and it is still working just as great as the day I bought it.

And it has seen  A LOT of use!

I initially hesitated to buy a personal laminator because the school had one, but we didn't have access to it.  If we wanted to make something shiny and durable we needed to be granted permission to do so and then wait for the authorized laminating individual to run it through the machine. Let's be honest, when we print off a new math game or task cards or center and are excited to use them, the last thing we want to do is wait three days until they can be sneezed on and wiped clean. ;)




The laminator is super light so it's easy to bring to and from school. I ultimately bought a second one so I wouldn't need to bring it back and forth and I always stock up on laminating pouches whenever they are on sale. The ones listed above are currently discounted with free Prime shipping so I thought they were worth sharing.

I found that having my own laminator and buying pouches when they are on sale actually saved me money and certainly saved me time. In addition to the laminator making my resources more durable, the kids always took more care when using them because they felt much fancier. I loved not needing to reprint color cards, small charts and games each year because they stood up to even the most fidgety hands.

You may also be interested in my recent blog post that showcased the love I have for The Best Electric Pencil Sharpener for the Classroom.

And in case you are wondering...it arrived safely and has been rocking my world as I hoped. ;)

There are staple removers.

And then there are STAPLE REMOVERS.

I used to own one of those "claws." You know...the kind that not only tear the paper you are removing from a bulletin board, but also all the cork behind it and maybe even some of the drywall behind the bulletin board.

Then I was gifted a staple remover similar to the one above. It improved my life.

Then I got this baby ! It makes popping staples out so simple. And the best part is that there is a little button that slides all of the collected staples off at once.



I know we are in the age of Smartboards and such, but I still use my dry erase board regularly.

And when it comes to using the dry erase boards I adore these markers!!

  • Look at the colors!!! Aqua? Hot Pink? Me likey!
  • They are magnetic.  They stick to the board people (and yes as one who teaches Magnetism as a science unit I do know magnets don't "stick" and the correct word is "attract," but attract didn't work in the sentence.
  • They are 2 in 1 markers. This is especially useful for visually organizing what you are writing. Simply flip the marker over in your hand and you have an entirely different marker to write with.
  • These are the BEST to use for writing on my Must Do May Do Board because I can record the different subjects in varying colors.

The official name is Board Dudes Double-Sided Magnetic Dry Erase Markers, Assorted Colors 4-Pack.  I buy them at Target, but the link above will take you to Amazon where you can also order them.


A CORNER ROUNDER
One of the tools that has played a big role in my classroom makeover is my corner rounder.



If you don't have one then I do suggest you run to the nearest craft store with a few dollars and some spare change in your hand because they are fairly cheap, but pack a big punch (corny joke intended).



I use it to snip the corners of student work before displaying them and it gives a really nice finished look. I use in on my signs. I use it on labels.



It's handy dandy and addictive. You'll never have right angles in your room again.



Today I am here to share my love of "the foam paintbrush."



Have you used these before? I love them for me and I also love them for my students.


Let's start with me. :)

When I am preparing my classroom for the new year I like to get my craft on. While I used to do a major classroom theme each year (beach, camping, Hollywood, detective/mystery, western and jungle to name a few...If you are considering a theme for next year be sure to check out my theme page.  I have over 35 themes featured), I switched over to a classroom color scheme a few years ago. In addition to the printable materials I make for my classroom, I also go to town with ribbon and scrapbook paper and other crafty items.

When I do, these brushes are my BFF.

First and foremost they are crazy cheap. They are often on sale at AC Moore for $0.10 each (with the 15% teacher discount on top of that). They are a great size for both big and small projects. The shape of the tip makes it easy to get into little spots. It helps get paint on evenly. And my most favorite thing is using it for Modge Podge projects.

The students use them for painting projects. They are really good for scenery and larger scale items. The handle helps with fine motor and keeping little hands clean. 

If you follow me on Instagram you may have seen my son using one of these while painting cardboard frames for a gallery wall in my room. I'm excited to show you the finished wall next week.

They wash easily.  Admittedly, I've also been known to toss them after using them (depending on the project).

This little gizmo was a favorite of mine back in my scrapbooking days. And now it is a favorite classroom tool. It's just a simple little Corner Rounder , but it creates a nice, finished look on papers. I 
use it on student work that is being displayed as well as on just about anything else that has a square corner and needs a bit of pizzazz. 

It's really easy to use. You just slide the corner of the page into it and push down with your thumb. My kids often do it themselves. I have one that I use myself and another that I make accessible to my students in our writing center.

There are a lot of different versions available, but this is the one I have and love. I've been using it for 8+ years without any problems.

While setting up my classroom for the new school year, I realized I have often use some tools in the classroom, that were not necessarily intended for teachers. However, they rock as teach tools so I'm going to feature them over the next few days. I'm calling it the "Bet You Didn't Know" Series:


Many moons ago I switched from using those rolls of paper to cover my bulletin boards to fabric. I highly recommend fabric because...
  • there are more options for colors and patterns
  • it's easier to work with
  • it can be cheaper (tip: use twin size bed sheets-Walmart sells flat sheets by themselves)
  • it doesn't get those crazy paper creases 
  • you can iron any creases that do show up
  • it doesn't tear
  • staples can be removed without leaving visible holes
  • it rarely fades
  • it looks great year after year
  • it can be folded neatly to store
I had always used my classroom scissors to cut the fabric. They worked, but sometimes it was a struggle and I have been known to need to patch a side or corner because I became impatient and tried to slide them up the fabric. I don't sew, but I own Pinking Shears because they are great for craft projects. I had brought them into school to cut some ribbon and decided to use them on some fabric I was hanging on a bulletin board. It was a "why didn't I think of that before" moment. 
click to read about these scissors on Amazon


They cut quickly and neatly and leave a fun zigzag border.

Speaking of hanging fabric on a bulletin board, here are my tips.

Step #1 
Hang it before cutting it. If the fabric has a brighter side and a faded side, put the brighter side facing the board. Start in the top corner and align the corner of your fabric with the corner of the board. Put in a staple or push pin to secure it.

Step #2 
While smoothing it out with one hand add another staple/pin a few inches over on the top and a few inches down on the side. Continue to smooth and pull diagonally while attaching it on the top and side. Add a few staples/pins down the other side and along the bottom.

Step #3
Use chalk or a pencil to draw lines down the opposite side you started with an along the bottom.

At this point you can remove the entire piece of fabric to cut it or just remove the staples/pins along the sides with the line and cut it while it's still attached to the wall. With the Pinking Shears this is an easy option.


Confession: I never would've survived as a teacher back in the day when writing on a chalkboard with actual chalk was required. I hate the feel of it. I don't like the dust from it. But, I do LOVE the look of it. 

That's one of the reasons wet chalk markers make me so happy. They look amazing, but don't get dusty or smudgy like actual chalk. I especially enjoy these SillySticks because not only can you use them on chalkboards, but also white boards and glass. Since wall space is often limited in a classroom they are great for writing on windows both for decorative and teaching purposes. You can also use them to write on plastic or other nonporous surfaces.  I like using them for writing messages on students desks or tables. They are great for writing the students' names on desks for a substitute teacher. Also, the colors are really bright, bold and fun!

I wanted to share these now because they are running a great deal (for a limited time) where you can get them at 60% off. This is fabulous news because they are normally a bit pricey. Best of all they offer a 100% money-back guarantee if you aren't happy with them...even in they are EMPTY! How crazy, generous is that?

I had no intention of writing a blog post today, but when this deal popped up online I absolutely HAD to take a minute to pass it along. 

{Click here to order this Pencil Sharper from Amazon}

This is by far the best pencil sharpener for the classroom. It's as quiet as a pencil sharpener can be. It's lightning fast which makes it a  teacher time saver. Best of all it sharpens pencils in a way that provides a perfect point that doesn't easily break.

My former neighbor had one and I always bypassed my sharpener and went next door to use the one in her classroom. She moved to a different school and sadly took it with her. 

I've been wanting to order one of my own for awhile and I'm embarrassed to say that the only reason I finally logged on to do so was because the ridiculous hand held sharpener (you know the ones that don't even catch the shavings) I have been using at home for years (sadly I'm not exaggerating) lost a battle with my daughter's crayons and could no longer be used to (sort of) make a point on a pencil. Seriously, a whittling knife would've worked better.

Imagine my delight when I went to finally order the sharpener I've been coveting for years and noticed it was on sale for 55% off. 

Much like when I finally stopped fighting with the oversized construction paper and bought my fabulous paper sorter, I am sure I will kick myself for not getting this sooner.

And while I'm on the subject you may be interested in checking out my older post with free tips for managing pencils in the classroom.



{This post contains Amazon affiliate links, but was written solely because I truly love this product.}



Please Note: This is NOT a paid/sponsored post, but does include affiliate links. I only recommend teacher tools I use myself and thoroughly find to be useful. I was in no way compensated by either company for my endorsement of these products.

By the way, if you are not already subscribed to The Clutter-Free Classroom newsletter I encourage you sign up. Subscribers receive weekly tips for organizing and managing a classroom as well as exclusive free printables. You can sign up here.