Teaching in any classroom is a busy, multi-tasking, need-an-extra-pair-of-hands endeavor. Any type of timesaver or tip to make things run easier is welcomed by any teacher. This is a list of ideas that are classroom-proven and will make the day just a bit easier.
- Sheet Protectors: These are perfect to use for tracing, games, and to save paper when doing seatwork. You can put whatever sheet of paper or card stock you want your students to work on inside the sheet protector. They can then use a dry erase marker to complete the activity. Erasing is a breeze! This is especially helpful in kindergarten to have students practice writing their names. You can put a copy of your students’ names inside the sheet protector and they can trace, trace, trace. Muscle memory is an important part of learning how to write.
- Bringing life back to dry erase markers: Do you have dry erase markers that have died an early death? Don’t throw them out! Tape a long piece of string to the marker. Hold the other end of the string and twirl the marker above your head several times. The centrifugal force brings the ink to the tip of the markers and you have a working marker! You can even do this as an experiment with your students
- Toothbrush Holder: Do you have students who are constantly losing or wanting to sharpen pencils? This can be very distracting as a student walks around the classroom looking for a pencil or going to the pencil sharpener to sharpen a pencil. You can get travel toothbrush holders and 5 pencils fit perfectly inside them. Each Monday each student gets their toothbrush holder with 5 pencils and that needs to last them for the week. It keeps the pencils in one place and it shows each student how many pencils they have available for the week.
- Puzzle Pieces: To keep puzzle pieces organized, make the back of all the pieces of a puzzle with the same color marker dot, x, circle, square, etc. That way if 2 puzzles get mixed together, all you have to do is flip over the pieces and quickly sort them back into the correct group.
- Magic Eraser: Do you get shadows of dry erase markers after you erase? Use a magic eraser as an eraser and no more shadows. They also take crayon marks, stamp pad ink, permanent marker and other marks off of tables and desks.
- Wireless Doorbell: Have you tried everything to get your students’ attention and nothing works? Get a wireless doorbell (very inexpensive on Amazon) and you can set it to whatever chime you want; they usually come with a multitude of chime songs. When you ring the doorbell with the remote, you will definitely gain all your students’ attention.
- Battery Operated Light: If you are continuously interrupted when at your teacher table where you meet with small groups of students, get a small, battery operated light. Tell students that you cannot be interrupted when the light is on unless it is an absolute emergency. They catch on quickly and it is amazing how well they problem solve issues when they cannot go to the teacher.
- Laundry Baskets: If you need extra storage in your classroom, get some laundry baskets. They can hold books, snacks, lunches, toys…you name it, they can hold it. It is a great holder of lunch boxes before or after lunch so that they are all in one place. Boots can go in them in the winter so that they don’t drip all over the floor. The possibilities are endless.
- Highlighter: Put a highlighter in your finished work basket. Students need to highlight their name before putting their paper in the basket. If they haven’t written their name, it gives them a reminder to write it.
- Tattle Pal: If you have a lot of tattlers in your class, introduce them to a tattle pal. It can be any stuffed animal that you put in a quiet area of the room. When children feel the need to tattle, not tell, they can tell the tattle pal. You can tell younger students that you talk to the pal at the end of the day and it tells you all the tattles. You can also leave some paper for them to write their tattle down and leave it with the pal.
- Pompoms: Glue pompoms on the end of dry erase markers for an all-in-one marker/eraser.
- Student mailboxes: If you don’t have the money in your wallet or your school budget for student mailboxes, get some free priority mail boxes from the post office. Assemble the boxes. Push the flaps in or cut them off on one end. Tape them together in groups of 5 or 6 and cover with contact paper. Voila! Student mailboxes.
- Binder Clips: Now that you have the student mailboxes, do you need name labels so students know which one is theirs? Put a small label on the edge of binder clips and write your students’ names on the labels. Open up the clips and attach them to the horizontal part of the shelf/mailbox. Another bonus is when you get a new student and you want the names to be alphabetical, you can easily remove and re-place the binder clips.
- Shoe Pockets: If you need a parking spot for your students’ individual ear buds, use a overdoor shoe pocket organizer. You can put a name on each pocket and your students will have a parking spot for their ear buds. You can also do this for individual scissors or other items that you give to each student in the classroom.
Anything that makes a teacher’s day easier is so appreciated. They may seem like little things that have no bearing on the day, but all these little things add up to make the day flow smoother. I hope that you find an idea that makes your day simpler.