Cool everyday tools for the classroom

What are those things you wish you had seen / thought of years earlier?

Here are a few of mine:

Personal whiteboards - Buy a piece of shower board for ~$12 at a home improvement store and they’ll usually cut it up into individual user-size boards for free.

  • At WBL HS I had too many students for that, so I took DVD cases and turned the inside liner inside out = small personal whiteboard.
  • Also, plain old crayons work fine; you just have to rub harder with your piece of sweatshirt or old sock to get the writing off.

Coloring Cover Page - Free printable binder covers have a space for student names and if you tape them to the top of the folder they have a doodle/fidget thing available that also makes their folder personalized & identifiable (just saw this today and loved it!)

Exit slip holders - Some students would get used to picking up the little slip of paper at the start of class for the Daily 3 Questions at the end of class, but most forgot. And for years I walked around handing out slips of paper as the last valuable couple of minutes ticked away. Finally it dawned on me to tape half an envelope to each lab table and stick a bunch of slips in each.

Laminated magnetic periodic tables - OK, maybe you don’t need periodic tables one or two days a week and someplace spread around the room to keep them the rest of the time… But I also use this idea for the classroom expectations grids. Once ATTAIN has laminated the paper, I use pieces of the unrollable sticky magnet strips to get them to stick to the steel things spread around my room so spread-out students can reach one when they need one.

Painter’s tape as - besides being the safest way to hang stuff without damaging the walls, but sometimes it is part of the display for me. Tape arrows, to draw attention, tape connectors to turn a word wall into a graphic organizer, blue tape borders…

Braiding fidgets - about a yard long, 3 strands each of 3 different colors of yarn. Tie them together to a chair leg or other fixed spot where students sit and they can braid and unbraid them in different ways. My two requests are no knotting and no cutting.

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I like these. With regard to the personal whiteboards (I especially like the ones with grid-lines for math in younger grades), I have often found them for very cheap at Ax-Man surplus, like $2 each. Unfortunately I think both the St. Louis Park and Crystal stores are closed now. I go to the one on University in St. Paul. They usually have a $5 off $10 Groupon running, too.

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Target usually has small whiteboards in the dollar section around back to school time too.

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Agreed. . a great place for practically ANYTHING . . . . SLP one is still open

Dollar store earbuds

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I just spotted an Ax-Man in Fridley - never knew there was one there.

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Color coded calculator caddies. We used to lose more than a handful a year. Now that there are 4 colors for my room and 4 other colors for the math room, they almost entirely stay in their proper rooms.IMG_1065


Tip from the literacy workshop: If you are using paper name tents that keep collapsing,

Dog-ear one of the top corners of name tent and it won’t collapse under gravity!

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