Genius ideas to use with everyday items in the classroom

Tuesday, October 10, 2017
Teachers....we are a unique breed that's for sure.  My mom was a teacher for 30 years and I can't tell you the random things she would find/bring home/collect etc.  I know, I know, I'm preaching to the choir here.  We would go on trips and go way out of our way for something she knew she could use in her classroom.  She collected Pringles can and covered them with 1970's shelf liner paper -no joke!  AND here's the kicker, we didn't even eat Pringles chips.  ( did you see how I started a sentence with and...oh the horror!! )

Welcome to another edition of :

( disclaimer... ok, so maybe all of these ideas aren't genius...but hey they aren't bad... )

I thought I would compile a list of everyday or not so everyday items that teachers can use in their classroom.  I hope you find a lot of new ones you didn't think of before to help you out.

using tile spacers as manipulatives to practice multiplication sentences and repeated addition

Tile spacers are PERFECT for teaching repeated addition and then the corresponding multiplication sentence to match.  FIRST, they are really FUN to touch, bend, etc.  They are kinda bendy and definitely a little addictive to hold on to I must say!  SECOND they are perfect to teach this concept and the kids loved using them as manipulatives.  They are CHEAP at the Home Depot at just over $5 for 500 of them too!

Creative uses for pool noodles are popping up everywhere you look.  I bet the pool noodle inventors could've never imagined all the things that they are used for nowadays.  For the last several years I have used a pool noodle on my classroom door so my students aren't constantly having to jump up to answer it when a classmate needs their water or homework from their backpack during a lesson. 

pool noodle door stop hack for teachers

We all have these in our classroom and yes, they work perfectly on a bulletin board when you don't want to rip your student's work or the background paper...but here's another way you can use a staple remover that I bet you didn't think of before:

open key ring with staple remover

I know I don't want to ruin my pretty nails like a staple remover to the rescue ladies!

Another popular item found in classrooms across the world...but let's think outside the box on this one.  They are perfect to use when you need to write yourself a note and remind yourself to do something later.  They are perfect to use when you need to send a quick note home or a note to a colleague as well.  But did you know that they work perfectly to CLEAN the keys on your computer keypad, or even better your students grimy keypads?!?!

random uses for sticky notes

If you have scrap fabric laying around or know a quilter ask them to share.  Lots of people have scraps of fabric hanging around and it's perfect to use as an inexpensive way to decorate your classroom.  Here's a banner I made with scraps:

clever way to use extra fabric in the classroom

Curtain rods can be used to hang things other than curtains obviously.  I have used a curtain rod to hang my anchor chart each week for the skill we are working on.  It has been so easy to change out each week.  I just used command hooks on either side and then hung the rod.  Lastly I punched holes in my anchor chart and hung them from the rod with over sized o rings.

teacher hacks for the classroom

Teachers are the kings and queens of using things for other purposes and saving a buck here and there right!?!?  See how this is suppose to be used for filing papers?  LOL  Nope, use an over sized paper clip to organize your computer cords...stop the chaos!

how to organize all those computer cords

hack for storing small items

Eye glass cases aren't that hard to get a hold of...through donations, older parents, etc. it's easy to collect them.  You can use them to store thumb tacks, staples, paper name it.  It's nice if you are working on something and need them handy because it's so portable.  I can't tell you how many times I had a tiny little paper clip box beside me and the side opened or top popped off and they ended up all over the floor.

clever use for command hooks in the classroom

I also hang command hooks around my room with word lists and journal prompt ideas as well as their password codes in various places.  They know they are free to get up and grab what they need when they need it.  Handy...yes!

Other ideas:

use shaving cream on student desks to practice multiplication facts

shaving cream - use on desks to work on sight words or multiplication facts.  Not only is it fun and smells good but it cleans the desks too!  #winwin

lazy susan - this works wonders to hold crayons, scissors, etc. as a community supply holder at student tables. use this brilliant hack to organize her supplies.

use a lazy susan to store community classroom supplies

I hope you can incorporate a few of these ideas if you haven't yet.  I always enjoy coming across new ideas to make my life easier in the classroom.  What great ideas do you have to share?  Happy teaching!

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