Love days like this. Mid-day the doorbell rang, and it was none other than our fabulous postman delivering that lovely box from Vistaprint. I’ve been ordering from them for years now, and every year when the box arrives it signals the start of a new year.
I will admit I’ve cut back A LOT since my first few orders. Back in the day (gosh, that makes me sound old), you could get pretty much anything on Vistaprint for free. They’d send you daily emails with links to more free stuff than you could imagine. I swear I could get a box full of stuff for just the price of shipping. However, those days appear to be over…Bummer!
Here’s a look at this year’s abbreviated order. I paid a total of $33.00 including shipping, so I cannot complain.
25 Magnetic Business Cards
Anyways, this year I focused on refilling a few items that I’ve run out of. The first is my yearly purchase of magnetic business cards. I tend to redesign these yearly because I haven’t quite found a design I quite love yet. However, this year might be the winner because I gave up on their standard designs and uploaded my own. They look similar to my TPT store business cards…totally on purpose since I couldn’t get over how cute they turned out!
I always save these for Parent Night and include them on each student’s desk. The parents love that they can take them home and shove them on the fridge vs. a regular business card that they lose halfway down the staircase on the way out the door.
50 Positive Postcards
Do you do these? If not, I cannot recommend it more highly. I have had more comments from parents and students about these than pretty much anything else I’ve done. In prior years, I’ve hand typed all addresses and made two labels for each student. I’ve been tossing around the idea of having parents take two and write their address on them to save myself the time I spend typing…but at the same time it would ruin some of the surprise of receiving them. Might go with a Google Form that I can enter into a label…even in year nine there are still revisions to be made!
Throughout the year I would make an effort to ensure that each student got two postcards from me focused on a way they had excelled or grown. I write all the notes by hand, and I don’t mention to students that they are coming. It is always so fun to get the emails from the parents about how excited their child was to have their own mail. The cards do double-duty because they keep the parents informed about the positive things going on, and they help continue the relationship building process. Worth every second of the 15 minutes I spend every couple weeks.
|Hint: Add your credits in small print on the back for free!|
As you can see, this year I went with a high ink version (since I was already paying for the cards- another item I used to be able to get free).The good news is it was only a $4.99 investment because I had a coupon. I uploaded my own design and went with the color scheme of my room. Cannot wait to start sending these out!
50 Welcome to Third Grade Postcards
I couldn’t live without these. Got a free pack of 100 a few (ok, four) years ago, and I finally ran out this year so it was time to order more. While my old design was cute, it was one of their pre-made designs. The new design coordinates with my classroom decor. Another uploaded design. Love that feature! Another bonus… this set will last me two years ($2.50 a year to make a great first impression).
OK, enough about the logistics of creating this item. So what do I do with it? The day I get my class list, I start writing postcards. For the kids I know (siblings of former students, kids I’ve run into in another way, etc.), I write a welcome note referencing an experience we’ve already had together, and I write about how excited I am to have them in my class so we can have even more fun adventures together. However for those new friends, I try to locate something in their file or paperwork that I can connect to. Maybe they moved from a state I’ve visited, or they are a great mathematician according to their data file…I really work to find something to connect to in order to start the relationship building before the first day of school. But what about those kids where there is nothing? Yes, that has happened. However this is the exception not the rule. When it does all I can do is reference something fun I know we’ll be doing and how excited I am to get to know them.
When the kids come to meet me for Supply Drop-off, they find their personal note on their desk. It is great because when 10 kids all arrive at the same time (or the parent who wants to have a personal conference right there in the first few moments you meet), you can relax and know they are still getting some personal connection until you can make your way to their desk to introduce yourself. Combine that with the glow bracelets, and both the kids and parents can tell it is going to be a great year!
1 Small Car Magnet = Eight Group Magnets
So I’ve used the car magnets before, but this year I decided to go a different direction. We do a great deal of cooperative learning in my classroom in addition to doing some station work. I use flexible grouping, so my students are often in LOTS of different groups throughout the day. Prior to this point I have written on the white board and erased it for every subject.
This year I’ve cut the magnet apart, and I will use them to label my groups and stations. Here’s what it looks like cut apart:
The great thing is I can rotate the magnets when I use them in station work. I can move just the magnet to let the kids know where they were headed next. I can also use them to label the groups when I put kids together…or even to sequence steps to provide direction reminders. I am sure that I will think of more uses, which is why I went for the generic numbering. As my most expensive purchase (nearly $14.00), I will be looking for ways to use these to get my money’s worth.
And there you have it…my entire Vistaprint order for this year. Still have a pile of school supplies on my shopping list, but hopefully the sales will pick up in my area soon. Cannot bear the idea of paying 50 cents for a composition book (pretty sure that makes me a bit cheap, but it is true), so I am watching the ads for a good sale. I did, however, get 20 purple pronged folders and 30 big pink erasers for the low price of $1.84 this week….Have I mentioned I love Back-to-School sales? Speaking of great deals, if you haven’t heard, the new Back-to-School E-books are out! This year I am featured on page 15 of the ELA book, and there are tons of amazing freebies by great TPT authors to help you prepare for back to school. I highly recommend popping on over to pick it up now!