Kids. They're so great, but boy can they get LOUD.

I like to maintain a fun, exciting, interactive classroom environment, but with exciting activities comes excited voices. As you know, students get louder and louder in order to be heard over each other until they are no longer using inside voices.

I have an easy tool for you to have students self-monitor the volume of their voices in the classroom. This awesome management trick was a fabulous idea that I saw on Pinterest way back before my first year teaching!

I love to play music in my classroom. Music is a great way to help students manage the volume of their voices, especially when used with the NOISE letters for support.

When students get so loud that we can no longer hear the music, I ring my bell, and take down a letter.

Students have three opportunities. If they lose the E, then the S, and then the I, the letters will spell NO. That means no more talking for a set amount of time. I usually set a timer on the board for five or 10 minutes depending on the situation.

It's simple. It's quick. It's visual, and it's effective.

It's worked for me for seven years now!

The concept is also cheap!

I bought the foam letters that spell NOISE from Hobby Lobby. I put magnetic tape on the back of the letters so that I could display them on my board.

Happy new school year!

Tieks. I am SURE you have heard of them, especially if you are a teacher that frequents Instagram and educational blogs. Tieks have a reputation in the online world of educators for being the go-to workday flats.

I have issues with shoes. (Okay, maybe it's my Achilles that are the issue.) I especially have trouble with flats. Before I found Tieks, I also hadn't found any flats that I could comfortably wear to run errands, much less comfortable enough to teach in all day. Pairs of unwearable flats were stacking up in my closet as my frustration grew, trying to find a professional shoe to wear during the colder months. After weeks of researching, I finally made the decision to try some Tieks. #treatyoself

The first pair that I bought was leopard, because in my opinion, leopard is a neutral. When they arrived just a few days later, I was sooo excited to wear them to school the next day! At the end of the day, my feet felt.... well, just fine. I didn't feel like I was walking on clouds or anything, but I didn't have any pain or blisters either.

Here I am wearing Tieks on crazy sock day - ha! #teacherlife

I've found that Tieks do require a little breaking in, but it is nothing compared to any other flats I have ever put on my poor feet. "Breaking in" Tieks for me involves a little bit of redness on the top of my foot from tight leather and a few days of the soles squeaking on the tile floor at school. After a few wears, the tightness and the squeaking are both gone forever! 

Oops, I did it again. I bought my second pair a month later. I decided to be a little more practical the second time around and went with matte black. I wear them at least twice a week.

After purchasing and wearing two different pairs of Tieks, I was sold on the company.  This was years ago, now. Since then, I've slowly grown my Tieks collection, mostly through birthdays and holidays. Yes, Tieks are expensive, especially on a teacher budget. (I feel you!) But you know what else is expensive? Wasted money! The value of the crazy amount of uncomfortable (and therefore unworn) shoes that sit in my closet day after day because I can't bear to wear them to work surely exceeds the amount I've spent on Tieks.

These flats are truly comfortable. Seriously, I even wear them on the weekends! I have never had any heel pain, Achilles pain, arch pain, or blisters of any kind. Finally, I found a professional flat I can wear all day long when it's too cold for sandals. What a RELIEF!

Not convinced yet? 

Guess what I did next. 

On eBay, I sold some of my prized possessions: designer flats... that just so happen to be the worst things I've ever put my feet in. I made enough money off of them to feel a little less guilty about the money I spent on Tieks. They were gorgeous, but... Let's just say that I hope the girls that purchased them sit at desks all day long and never have to walk more than ten feet. That is all.

I was a little sad when I dropped them at the post office, but I have no regrets. Good riddance, uncomfortable "shoes."

champagne, cardinal red, leopard, matte black

My collection has grown to include gold, cardinal red, mint, champagne, and taupe. I have an entire shelf in my closet dedicated to Tieks, and my husband doesn't even mind! Even he knows that they are a great investment - ha!

I have to say, leopard is still my favorite and definitely my most worn pair. I've had them for four years now. They've held up great and are comfier than ever! They're my go-to shoes for teaching, traveling, and running errands. 

What are you waiting for? Have you tried Tieks, or are you going to try them?

Most importantly, which color are you dying to add to your closet?! I think cobalt is next for me...

Are you a teacher? Please follow my journey to see where my blueprints take me! My favorite space to hang out in is Instagram - @schoolandthecity. I look forward to connecting with you! 

Disclaimer: I received a pair of shoes at no charge in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.