Free Printable: Educator Expense Tracker

Teachers, it’s that special time of year where we often spend too much money to make our classrooms look their very best. Although I haven’t discovered a solution to prevent over spending, I have become more conscious of how much money I am spending on my classroom by creating a simple “Educator Expense Tracker” for my planner. If you would like a copy, please use the download link below. ūüôā

“I Voted” Sticker Template (Free)

My 10th graders will participate in a student mock election for the U.S. Presidential Election on Tuesday and I was stumped on how to make the experience more memorable for them when I found this amazing “I Voted” sticker template on TpT. Since adults receive an “I Voted” sticker to showcase their commitment to civic responsibility, what better than to provide students a similar opportunity?


I can only imagine how ecstatic my students will be on Tuesday when they receive these stickers. The stickers from this template were far better than the one I received during early voting last week and best of all, this template was free. 

Printing the template was extremely easy.  I used standard Avery 5160 mailing labels (1 inch tall x 2 5/8 inches wide) that were recommended and the final results were absolutely gorgeous. (My photo does not do these stickers justice.) 

If you would like something similar for your students, I highly recommend downloading this template from Kaylynn Hamstra’s TpT Store.¬†¬†Enjoy ūüôā


The Best Stapler Ever!!!

I know it’s crazy to post about a stapler.¬†However, I believe in sharing anything that makes teaching a little easier. If you do not have access to an industrial stapler at your school or if you are losing precious time to hunt down or use one in the teacher workroom, then this stapler is an absolute¬†classroom must have.

While¬†creating blue books for my AP Literature’s practice exam, I discovered two unfortunate things: (1) ¬†several of my classroom¬†staplers had been broken and (2) the remaining staplers could not staple more than 10-15 pages without a lot of effort and pressure. ¬†So off I headed to Office Depot in search of a stapler that could handle at least 30 pages and wouldn’t break my¬†budget.

And what I found was the¬†Swingline¬ģ Optima¬ģ 40 Compact Desk Stapler.



  • Ergonomically designed handheld stapler takes up to 50% less effort than a conventional stapler.¬†
  • With flat clinch technology, staples lay extremely flat on the back of documents.¬†
  • Durable metal construction ensures lasting performance.¬†
  • Soft grip enhances the feel and control for both desktop and handheld use.¬†
  • Innovative, quick-load magazine system allows strips of 105 staples to be quickly and easily loaded.¬† Guaranteed jam-free for efficient stapling performance.
  • Eco-conscious choice ‚ÄĒ has one or more meaningful eco-attributes or eco-labels.¬†
  • Certified AP Nontoxic

What I love:

  • It’s easy to use.
  • It staples flat.
  • It uses normal staples .¬†
  • It can staple 25+ pages with little effort. (I haven’t tried the stapler at maximum page capacity yet.)
  • It’s easy for students to use. (Though I’m only sharing my stapler with my student helpers, not the entire class.)
  • It takes up very little space and is very easy to see on my desk. (The orange stripe is bright and distinct enough to signal if one of my “Happy Friends” (students) decides to borrow it without permission.
  • It has a 5-star rating on Office

What I hate:

  • This stapler is pricey. In-store, the price of this stapler was considerably marked up ¬†at $36.99 (before taxes). However, I recommend purchasing this item online. The online price was listed at $26.99 and I was able to purchase¬†mine with a 25% off coupon from Office Depot I picked it up while I was still in-store for $21.91 (with tax). Online purchase and pick up took less than 15 minutes.¬†
  • It only uses half a strip of staples at a time.

**This post is not sponsored.**

I Was Booed…

I’ve never been overly excited about Halloween, but I’d like to take a moment to share something that really brightened¬†my day—I was booed.


I’m not sure who started this at my school, but I’d love to say thank you. This small gesture truly cheered me up and it was just what I needed before I had to administer PSATs this morning. It’s always appreciated when a gesture of kindness unexpectedly comes my way and I am extremely excited to pay it forward. I hope this post inspires you to do something kind for your fellow teachers regardless of what holiday is on the horizon. In Texas, we are at the end of the quarter (9 weeks marking period) and I think we could all use a boost in¬†morale. ūüôā


Meet Your Teacher

I decided to introduce myself to my Early College students and parents a little differently this year. Instead of a PowerPoint, I decided to use a “Meet the Teacher” handout. Although I was able to find a few templates online, none of them were well suited for a high school audience (a little too elementary oriented). So, ultimately, I ended up making my own from that collective inspiration and I was able to customize it exactly the way that I wanted.

**This¬†version omits my school’s contact information, but it is present on the final version that I will print and pass out on paper. I also plan to electronically post this handout for parents on Bloomz.**

So what do you think? Do you like my “Meet Your Teacher” introduction handout? I know it is rather simple, but I truly hope my students and parents enjoy reading it. ūüôā¬†

PS. If you are interested in using this template for your classroom, please visit my Teachers Pay Teachers store. 

meet the teacher (blog version)

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!!!


I don’t know about you, but I’m having one of the nicest Teacher Appreciation weeks ever. However, I can’t help but note the irony of National Teacher Appreciation Week¬†coinciding with STAAR testing.¬†Nonetheless, I’m grateful¬†for the acknowledgement we, teachers, receive and¬†I thought I’d take a moment to share how my Teacher Appreciation Week is going thus far.

At my school, teachers received a small goodie bag with a can of coke, a bag of chips, and a Whataburger certificate. Then, this morning, we had a Teacher Appreciation breakfast with pastries, coffee, and juice. However, what has truly made my week so far are small acts of kindness from my students.

One of my students drew me a picture. 

IMG_0090 (1)

Another wrote me one of the most beautiful thank you notes of my career. (BTW: Ding! is the catchphrase I use when my students get a question correct in class.)



My 8th period drew me a witty picture (the misspellings are intentional).


Then the National Hispanic Honor Society gave us the most delicious Mexican cookies in honor of both Cinco de Mayo and Teacher Appreciation Day. Yummmmm!!!!


And just when I thought my day couldn’t get any better, I discovered in the parking lot that my “happy friends” had decorated my car with some of my classroom catchphrases. Wow! What an awesome day!




Please share in the comments below how is your Teacher Appreciate Week/Day progressing.¬†I’d love to know which¬†activities your school does to recognize teachers. Also, what special ways did your students acknowledge you during this week.? ūüôā

From Galveston with Love

20150407-112649.jpgOne of my seniors visited her family in Galveston, Texas during Easter break and returned to El Paso with a gift for me–a¬†hand-carved¬†lion pen. Wow¬†… how thoughtful!!! Although I truly loved receiving this gift, it means so much more to know that my students are thinking of me even when they are so far away from school. ūüôā


“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” William Arthur Ward




We Came; We Saw; We Slaughtered.

20150407-171133.jpgI am so proud of my Lit. Critters (also known as my University Interscholastic League Literary Criticism Team). While I have only coached them for two months, they did an outstanding job at the district UIL competition and won 1st place.  Hopefully, our team will be as successful at the state competition in a few weeks. Wish us luck!!!

PS. Although we¬†definitely believe in good¬†sportspersonship, “We came; we saw; we slaughtered” has become¬†my Lit. Critters team¬†mantra. It is a modern spin off derived from¬†Julius Caesar’s¬†“Veni, vidi, vici” which is Latin for “I came; I saw; I conquered.”¬†And yes, we’re nerdy like that. LOL. ūüôā


Started From the Bottom … Now We’re Here…

OMG!!! I’m so excited. Our iPads finally got a much needed upgrade from being charged on rigged up dish racks.¬†


Now we have have a re-purposed C.O.W. (computers on wheels) laptop cart that we can use to charge, store, and transport our iPad minis.IMG_0040

¬†I’m so grateful and appreciative to finally have a secure storage solution in my classroom for our iPads.¬†ūüôāIMG_0042


Happy Friends

happy friends2It’s that dreaded time of year…test season. I’ve been in and out of the classroom helping with our End of Course ELA Pullout Program for our senior re-testers and guess what? My students actually missed me. I returned late in afternoon, to¬†the English wing, and unexpectedly found a¬†present waiting for me–a chalk drawing with my signature catchphrase for my students (fondly known in my classroom as “happy friends”).

This chalk drawing spanned from the front of the English wing until the edge of the railings near our Fine Arts building.

Honestly, I can’t remember when I’ve smiled so much and been so genuinely surprised. I showed every teacher and administrator in my path¬†pictures of one of the most heartfelt¬†gifts of my career. It’s days like this that make teaching worth it. ūüôā

Happy Friends