Teacher Must Haves for this Teacher Abroad!

I teach in Tanzania, East Africa, the land barren of Target, Amazon, and Etsy. So whenever I'm back in the States I make sure to stock back up on my favorites! These are my teacher must haves! I do have to be selective though, because I only get 2-3 50 pound bags to take with me. These favorite things are the cream of the crop!

Hydroflask Water Bottle

This is always by my side! I drink SO MUCH WATER in Tanzania because it's dry and hot most of the year. Our classrooms are open air, and sometimes we'll get a *wonderful* (said very sarcastically) burst of dusty wind that blows through, and I literally cannot keep teaching without quenching my parched throat! Also, this thing is HUGE and keeps my water as cold as I want it!!! Also, I love the straw attachment. It sounds strange but I truly think that I drink more water because of it!

Essential Oils

I use these at home and in the classroom! I buy my oils from Edens Garden - I especially love their Create-Your-Own Gift Sets! These essential oils are great quality and potent, but not quite as pricey as some other ones on the market. I enjoy the Synergy Blends - Fighting Five, Breathe Easier, and Exhale are some of my favorites! I love mixing peppermint, lemon, and lavender in the classroom for a blend of focus and relax! The Fighting Five blend is perfect for the cold and flu season, as it has oils that provide immunity support! Also, I love the oils for their fragrance aspect. I love candles, but they are HEAVY to pack in my suitcase, so these are a great, better-for-you option!

Papermate Pens

Hi my name is Allie and I'm a pen addict! ;) But, I do have high standards, and the pens in TZ just don't cut it! If I'm writing, the Papermate InkJoy Gel Pens are my favorite. They write so smoothly, dry quickly, and the colors are beautiful! But, I also have a pretty great Flair Pen stash! The colors are so fun, and I love using them when I'm doodling, handlettering, etc.

All the Bins & Storage

I love a good plastic container that keeps me organized! I use a myriad of these in my classroom, and I try to bring over a few each year to make it easier to stay organized. The ones pictured above are from Really Good Stuff. They're perfect for my classroom library! Here are some more of my favorites:
Project cases store
paper and things to save!

Plastic book boxes store
my files!
This caddy is perfect
for desk organization!

Device Protection

If Tanzania has taught me anything (and believe me, I've learned A LOT), one of the big life lessons is to PROTECT MY DEVICES! I've had quite a few technology fails (including a broken laptop screen that I took to get looked at, decided to wait until I was back in the US to get fixed, and then found out the guy in TZ had stolen my hard drive 😠🤦🏻‍♀️), and now I have all of the protection! I got this case for my laptop, and absolutely love it! If you're a map & watercolor lover like me, you need it in your life!

I stick to Otterbox cases for my iPhone, because I find that it is the best at protecting. Currently I've got this one on my iPhone 7.

The Quietest Pencil Sharpener

 This pencil sharpener from Classroom Friendly Supplies is the BEST for 3 reasons:
1. It doesn't require electricity - and the power goes off frequently in Tanzania, so we really can't rely on it.
2. It doesn't over-sharpen - we all have those students who take forever to get the sharpest point, and end up breaking the pencil tip over and over again! With this sharpener, you can keep turning the handle, but you'll notice that the blade won't be doing anything once the pencil is sharp!
3. It's quieter and less expensive than most electric sharpeners! When purchased in a three-pack, they cost $17.99 each! And, once you teach your students how to use it correctly, it's very user-friendly.

Multifunctional Teacher Bag

I don't know about you, but I lug a lot of stuff to/from school each day - laptop, planner, personal items, teacher manuals, papers to grade, and much more. I've finally found my FAVORITE teacher bag- the Vera Bradley Campus Tech Backpack. I love it for many reasons - it's a backpack, which makes it easy to carry; it has a special compartment just for my laptop; it has lots of space with three different pockets, the largest pocket is very roomy, and fits everything perfectly; it has a trolley sleeve so I also use it as my personal item when traveling; it has side pockets for my water bottle and travel mug on either side; and so much more!!

Teacher Planner

I've got to have a good teacher planner! I'm one of those people who really enjoys paper planners - and I've used several that I loved! One year I splurged and got an Erin Condren planner - it was gorgeous! But now I'm definitely on The Happy Planner kick! I've mentioned this before, but my favorite part is that I can insert and remove any papers I want! I print out my schedules, to-do lists, student info, and it all goes into my planner! This is the kit I got this year:

And here is the hole punch you'll need if you plan on inserting any paper you want! It is well worth the investment!

I hope you enjoyed reading about what I, as a teacher, must have in my life! Would you be interested in my classroom must-haves? These would include my favorite tools, manipulatives, and resources. I'd love to share them with you!! What are your teacher must haves?

*All links are affiliate links. I make a small profit if you purchase through my links. But I will never suggest anything that I don't fully love and back up!*

New Year Goal Setting Tips

Happy New Year, friends! I hope you had a wonderful holiday season and are ready to CRUSH your goals this year! Did you know that only 8% of people actually ACHIEVE the goals they set? I plan to be a part of that 8%, and I hope you will too, so that we can raise that statistic! I want to share with you today how I plan to set my goals into action so they become my reality.

For the past several years, I have decided on a word for the year. This has become very popular, and I would LOVE to hear if you have a word for the year! It is quite amazing how much that word actually does in my life, and as I look back on certain years, that word was very foretelling on those 365 days! This year my word is cultivate.

I plan to cultivate:
:My health by working out 4-5x per week, cutting things out of my diet (currently working on chocolate!), and eating whole food that will fuel me.
:My relationships by making time for the people I love and consistently checking in on them and by building my relationships on social media! Also, my relationship with the Lord by spending time with Him. One way I'll be doing that is by using The Cageless Birds' Cultivate Collection:

:My personal life by reading 25 books this year, organizing my computer files,
:My business by creating more resources for my teacher friends, learning how best to market myself, writing a blog post each Sunday, updating my website and store, amping up my email list, and much more. I've got BIG goals here!!

I was listening to Kayse Morris's podcast - The Go-Getter's Podcast about Setting Measurable Goals and she has so much wisdom about this topic. I definitely have measurable goals for all of my business goals for my year. I have a few suggestions for you as you make goals for your personal life, your classroom, etc. These are also things that you can discuss with your students as we train them to become young adults who know how to set and crush their goals!
Okay, so I have another podcast suggestion for you...Rachel Hollis's RISE podcast is another favorite! She shared how she reflects on the year and sets goals for the next one on What I Did Right and What I Did Wrong in 2018. She sets goals in these three categories: Personal, Create, and Market. If you're a teacher, yours could be Personal, Classroom, and Create (or something else). Writing down all of your goals into these three categories is my first tip for you. It lets you flesh out all the things you want.

Once you have all of your goals down on paper, I suggest that you break those up into quarterly goals. For example, I have a goal to create 40 new resources this year, so I plan on making at least 10 before the end of March. Then, I can reassess at the end of Quarter 1 to see how things are going, and if I need to catch up on anything or if I can refocus on something else.

I love using a planner to break up my goals into bite-sized, attainable steps. As I wrote out my Quarter 1 Goals, I went through the calendar spreads in my planner and wrote down my due dates. When I would need to write my blog posts by, when I would take product photos, when I would make my new resources, etc. For you, it may be when you need to organize your papers, when you need to plan for centers, when you need to clean out your desk drawers, etc. Making due dates for those smaller tasks will help keep you on track to meet your larger goals.

Then, as I look at each week, and each day, I can write down my tasks to make sure I complete those steps on time. I like to batch my work too. For example, if you have math stations in your classroom, instead of coming up with new activities each week, spend a whole afternoon setting up and organizing math stations for your quarter of school. Then, all you'll have to do is swap things out, and your time can be used on other things.

Also, as I write things down in my planner, I enjoy using different colored pens so when I get to a day when I want to batch my blog posts, I can find all of my blue tasks and write all the blog posts I need for the month. My favorite pens are Papermate InkJoy Gel Pens!

My last tip, which works great with our students too, is to keep your goals visible. Make a vision board (currently on my to do list!), write your big goals on your mirror or sticky notes, or even put your current goal as the background of your phone. For your students, Ashley at Teach Create Motivate has these awesome Student Goal Cards for your students to choose a goal to work on, and they keep that card on their desk, so they remember to work towards that goal!

I hope these tips inspire you to set BIG, MEASURABLE goals and work hard to break them down and crush them! I would LOVE to know your goals or word for the year. I'm sharing more about my goals on my instagram! Let's keep the conversation going over there!

*Links to Amazon in this post are affiliate links. I make a small profit if you purchase from my link. I will never share anything that I don't support.*