Thank you everyone for making 2017 a wonderful first year for Your Classroom,LLC. You shared your love, time, interesting stories, support, and you told your family and friends about our educational supply and service store. Thank You! We say “Hello” with a big smile and open arms to 2018! See you soon.
I will continue to keep Floridians lifted in prayer because of the devastation our unwelcome guest; Hurricane Irma, caused while visiting our state. Our hurt is real and many of us have never experienced anything like this before. The loss of our material possessions, days of no electricity, lack of food and water, and flooding that made streets look like lakes. Life was very uncomfortable, but we have life! I have life and I am thankful to God, are you? Your material possession, your stuff can be replaced, it’s just stuff.
So, how do we begin to recover from this disaster? We start with the understanding that it is a gradual process for all of us including our children. Our children will look to us for extra attention and reassurance that life will return to normal. Here are a few suggestions to assist you with the process:
- Recognize your feelings don’t ignore your sadness, fear, or anger. Emotions are a vital part of the healing process. Let your children know it’s ok for them to share their own feelings.
- Focus on one thing that is important to you and your family right now; one thing, not every thing. One thing has to be first and that’s where you start. Remember to include your children as you develop a plan for getting started.
- Your normal routine will help bring calm to your life and allow your brain to reset. Getting back to your normal routine or close to it helps your children to adjust and begin to understand how to recover from tragedy.
Remember the human capacity for survival and renewal is awesome
Places for HELP: American Red Cross, Americares, Catholic Charities USA, Feeding Florida, The Salvation Army, UNICEF, Samaritan’s Purse, FEMA and your local church.
This summer is flying by — though it’s not the shortest summer we have ever had. Where 2016 was only 65 days long, this year, the kids were out for 72 days. With a May that seemed to never end, the summer is nearly over and another back-to-school season has quickly arrived.
Actually, I’m okay with the fact that school will be starting soon; I am longing for the routine that comes with the school year and having TWO kids in elementary school! And this year, while we do not have an entire week of deals, we still have 72 hours of money-saving shopping. Starting on Friday, August 4 and ending Sunday, August 6 at 11:59 p.m., this year’s Florida Sales Tax Holiday is brief — but that’s okay!
It is easy to become overwhelmed when cruising the back-to-school sections in almost every store, so I have compiled some fail-safe tips to maximize your back-to-school budget:
Grab your supply list before you go
If you haven’t picked up a supply list yet from your local drugstore or big chain retailer, you can visit your school’s website. It is very easy to have a mini-panic attack while roaming those aisles and aisles of folders, binders, pencils, paper, markers, etc. If your child attends a public school in Jacksonville, you can go here to the DCPS website. Schools are listed in alphabetical order, just click on the name to go directly to their site.
Tip: Don’t have a printer? Snap a pic or screenshot the supply list, so you will have it with you!
Compare prices from the comfort of your phone
In an effort to save myself (and the kids) a morning of driving from one sale to another, I was determined to find a way to save time. I knew I would save money with the tax-free holiday, but could I save time (and sanity) as well? The answer was as close as my fingertips. I browsed the App Store and found a few helpful (and free) apps that promised to save me time and money. I have used Favado in the past, but I was intrigued by a new app I just read about named Retale. With Retale, you can search specifically for sale ads for stores around you and create a shopping list. I found this very helpful for the name-brand items on my list such as Crayola Crayons and Clorox Wipes. I also love the app, Sale, that gives you all your favorite store’s sale circulars in one place.
Tip: Don’t forget about Amazon! Their search feature from their app is so easy to use and you can compare prices on everything with a barcode.
Deals that seem too good to be true (probably are)
The store will probably only let you buy a few at that price, but you may need to make a minimum purchase. I’m talking about the office supply stores, and you need to read the fine print. It may state that the super low price is only valid after purchasing $5 worth of merchandise. I have found that these stores do not consistently have the lowest price but do have the best selection. By no means am I saying not to buy those one-cent folders — buy as many as you can! (Even if they aren’t on your list — you can always donate them to the school or school-supply drives.) I’m just warning you to be leery of these stores’ prices for things that aren’t in their sale ad. They are traditionally much more expensive.
You can still save money, even if you are a ‘store snob’!
We all have that friend, the one who wouldn’t be caught dead in a certain big-box retail supercenter that starts with the letter W. That W-store does traditionally have the lowest prices for back-to-school items, but I found a way you might just beat W’s lowest price. (I’m talking to you, Target-lovers.) If you aren’t using Target’s Cartwheel app, you are truly missing out on a very easy way to save money. Easier than clipping coupons, Cartwheel allows you to search for items on sale either by browsing the sales categories, searching for the item by name or scanning the barcode. This time of year, they even have a Back-to-School category listed. You simply select the items you want to add to your Cartwheel list. Then when you check out, the cashier scans the barcode on your phone. If you have any Cartwheel items in your order, the discount is applied immediately. If you happen to be using Target’s RedCard, you will save an additional 5% on your total purchase, plus a donation will be made to the school of your choice.
Don’t wait until the weekend before school to do your shopping!
Procrastination will significantly impact your ability to get the best deals, and you will miss the tax-free week! Most Open Houses will be just days before the actual first day of school, so time will not be on your side. This is when people tend to spend way more than they should on items that were half that price a few weeks earlier. The days between meeting your child’s teachers and the first day should be filled with shopping for lunches and finalizing your routine, not schlepping from store to store searching for the exact brand of binder you need.
No one said you need to have a child in school to enjoy these deals!
Before my kids could even walk, I was shopping back-to-school sales. Heck, who doesn’t love a $1 pack of pens that are normally $4.99? I’m a sucker for an office supply deal! Of course, the majority of back-to-school shopping is done for supplies we need now, but it is always a good idea to plan ahead. 24-packs of Crayola Crayons will run you about $1.50 throughout the year, but during August, they are often found for 50 cents. Think birthday goodie bags, stocking stuffers and even as non-candy Halloween treats.
“Ugh, really? I really don’t want to have to buy back-to-school clothes, too!”
Here’s a secret we told you last year — waiting until September to buy clothes is a great idea, especially summer clothes. (And seriously, when are shorts not appropriate in Florida — aside from maybe one week in January?) You won’t cash in on the tax-free weekend savings, but you may save even more.
The Tax-Free Weekend Fine Print
Florida Tax-Free Weekend 2017: Florida’s Back-to-School Shopping Sales Tax Holiday is scheduled for August 4-6, 2017.
Qualifying purchases include:
CLOTHING, up to $60 each. Florida legislators were a little more generous than years’ past. Garments and accessories are tax-free up to $60 each. In 2013, the exemption stopped at $75 per piece.
SHOES, up to $60 per pair. Shoes are eligible for the tax exemption. As with clothing, however, only footwear costing less than $60 per pair will ring up tax-free.
SCHOOL SUPPLIES, up to $15 each. Sales tax will not be charged on items such as pens, pencils, erasers, rulers, and glue. The state set a price limit of $15 per item for this category, but left off items such as staplers and computer paper.
What’s your favorite back-to-school deal? Where do you do most of your shopping?
During the school year, you are “on” every minute of your exhausting eight-hour school day for (at least) 180 days, but not today! Today, you are on summer break, so it’s time to forget about grading, record keeping, and lesson planning. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t start preparing for next year. Leave your work behind and start crossing off items on our teacher’s summer checklist.
Of course, reading is number one on this list! Read books that you could recommend to your students, read books that are related to your content area, read books that support professional development, or read books that you simply want to read. Just read! No matter the content, reading will broaden your horizons so you can bring more wisdom to your students.
Travel to far off lands or explore a local museum. Your travels are something you can share with your students to build rapport, introduce new perspectives, and celebrate culture. Don’t forget to collect artifacts from your travels; they make great teacher “show and tell” items.
3. Go on nature walks
Henry David Thoreau said, “We can never have enough of nature.” Take a page from Thoreau and experience the beauty and peace that can be found in nature. A nature walk is a perfect way to clear your head. While breathing in the fresh air and listening to the birds sing, you may find some STEM inspiration for your curriculum.
4. Bargain hunt
Summer is the perfect time to bargain hunt. Peruse the clearance racks at Target and TJ Maxx, stop by local yard sales, and browse Craigslist. While you’re enjoying your retail therapy, you just might find fun classroom decor or flexible seating pieces.
5. Play games
Sharpen your logic with chess or kick around a soccer ball in your backyard. When you’ve found a game that’s really fun, think about how you could adapt it to your content.
6. Browse social media
Who would have thought that social media scrolling could actually be meaningful? It can! Find your teacher tribe on Instagram and participate in an educational chat on Twitter. Use hashtags to find great teacher professional development and expand your teacher network.
7. Listen to podcasts
There are podcasts for just about everything! Listen to lectures by famous historians, find motivational and organizational tips from life coaches, or listen to world news reports. Save your favorites to share with your students next year.
Run, bike, play tennis, go to kickboxing classes, or do yoga. As Thomas Jefferson believed, “A strong body makes the mind strong.” While you’re developing that strong mind and body, you may come up with some great ideas for brain breaks or movement-in-the-classroom lessons. Plus, you’ll have better stamina to make it through those long, busy days during the school year.
Food is a pathway to culture (and to the hearts of your students). Experiment with new recipes and taste the culture of a far off place. You just may be able to share your newfound culture with your students.
Above all else, relax! There is no better way to prepare yourself for next year than taking much needed time to rejuvenate, so you can be refreshed and ready to take on a new school year!
Article Posted by Jenna Copper
Jenna Copper is a full-time high school English teacher and a part-time English professor with a Ph.D. in Education. You can follow her daily teaching tidbits on Instagram @doc_cop. She blogs at www.doccopteaching.com.
I am Candy Apple Red and Pink Lemonade Sweet proud to say that I am a TEACHER! Not just a teacher but A TEACHER! I have friends that are teachers and I know individuals that want to become teachers. We are important people in the lives of the children that God has placed in our care. We Are Stewards Over The Future!
I did not realize this when I was a freshman at North Carolina Central University; majoring in Elementary Education, the impact that I would have in the lives of children. It quickly became apparent to me during my student teaching as my passion and soon to be profession would intertwine daily. Mothers and Fathers entrust me with their children; their joy, their love, their babies; no matter the age of the child, for 180 days 6-11 hours a day. Wow, thank you God! My Heavenly Father placed my desires, passions, dreams, and gifts inside of me before he placed me on this earth. As a teacher I am able to educate and shape our children for the future. The children I have today will become our leaders of tomorrow.
Mahatma Gandhi said, “You Must Be The Change You Wish to See In The World.”
Teachers we have the ability to shape the world into a loving, understanding, compassionate place. We can motivate children to be better than their best selves and encourage them to get out of their comfort zone, but we too must be an example of what we teach. The best teacher leaders are accountable and responsible for their own change. If you are a teacher “Thank You!” I know and understand what it takes to stand in front of a class 180 days or more being kind, patient, funny, hard-working, passionate, tired, underpaid, overlooked, encouraged etc., all while loving our future leaders Remember, We Are Stewards Over The Future and we are building a better future one child at a time in our class, our school, our community, and the world.
I pray you had a HAPPY TEACHER APPRECIATION WEEK!