This post is my contribution to this week’s #MTBoS Sunday Funday challenge: Teacher Hacks. I wouldn’t call it a “challenge” but rather an “invitation to blog” every week on a pre-selected topic. You then submit your blog post using this Google Form. On Sunday, Julie @jreulbach will post the week’s list of amazing blogs to go read! I can’t wait to read all of the goodness my peers have to offer!!
OK, so I have to admit, I looked up what a “teacher hack” meant. Then I went, “Oh snap! I do that all of the time!” Here are 10 hacks I’ve developed or stolen over the years:
- I’m in a science room (love it) but I don’t have bulletin boards or walls to display student work. What to do? Clothes pins attached to cupboards with Scotch Removable Mounting Putty (affiliate link)
- My pencils kept disappearing. What to do? Use flower tape to put flowers in school colors on each pencil. Haven’t lost one since!
- When using whiteboards, students needed a way to erase. What to do? Hot glue pom-poms on the ends of white board markers. Or use felt cut in squares. Or use the dollar store microfiber wash clothes.
- Students use the microfiber wash clothes, but then they are a mess and thrown into odd places. What to do? Put a book ring in the corner and hang from marker tray with spring clips.
- I wanted to highlight math practices easily during a lesson. What to do? Make one-word sentence strips with magnets on the back and keep on the front board. When I want to highlight a particular practice or two used, I slide them over.
- I wanted to use Vertical Non-Permanent Whiteboards in class no place to actually put them up; you know, no wall space. What to do? Go to Lowe’s and purchase their 3×4 marker boards and put Target vinyl numbers in the corners.
- Calculator and iPad cords, and headphones get lost or left around the classroom. What to do? Get hooks and a special location to hang them so students know exactly where to find one to borrow and where to return.
- I hand out one copy of a directions for an activity but it ends up under paper, the supply tub or simply lost. What to do? Use the Dollar Tree giant stand-up paperclips to hold the paper up for all to see. I have also used acrylic photo stands from the Dollar Tree, but I use these more for station locations.
- I use lots of activities for my classes but storing them was such a hassle, and then I couldn’t find them easily. What to do? Go to Michael’s and purchase their plastic shoe boxes for cheap (wait for the 40% off sale or coupon) and label with chapter number using the Dollar Tree vinyl numbers. The activity cards go into quart or gallon sized plastic bags with sliders. I include the directions in the baggies.
- Supply tubs are a must in an activity-based classroom because handing out materials and collecting them can be a hassle/nightmare. I didn’t want the tubs on the group tables because there is little room on them already. What to do? Purchase shoe shelves and store them under the front table. Out from under foot, off of valuable counter space, yet easily accessible.
Bonus Hack: I use certain activities year after year, but I hate to keep re-copying them. Although I like to laminate certain things, I wonder about the long term effect of the plastic laminate in the landfills. What to do? Use sheet protectors! Although plastic, they can be reused if I decide to change out the activity. I simply binder-clip them together and store in the filing cabinet.
What are teacher hacks you have used that make a world of difference in your classroom?