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January 25, 2012 Totally Hooked! The Many Uses for Stick-On Hooks in My Classroom By Alycia Zimmerman
Grades PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5, 6–8

    Classroom clutter is my arch nemesis, and it honestly gets the better of me sometimes. I never seem to have enough room in my classroom for all of the books, supplies, projects, charts, oh, and, of course, the students. A couple of years ago I discovered stick-on hooks, and ever since, these little plastic hooks have been in constant use throughout my classroom. In this post you'll find some of the ways I’ve used these hooks. I’m sure you can suggest even more great ideas for putting these hooks to work.


    Meet My Friends, the Stick-On Hooks!

    Just in case you haven’t yet discovered these fabulous bits of plastic, let me quickly make an introduction. (Skip ahead if you’re already acquainted.) Stick-on hooks come in various sizes and varieties. Some come with foam tape on the back, and these are difficult to remove from the wall. I prefer the 3M Command brand hooks because the adhesive is incredibly strong, yet it peels of the walls easily, which keeps our custodians happy. I use several different sizes of hooks depending on the job, as you’ll see below. Now, let’s see these hooks in action. . . .   


    Hook Use #1: No More Missing Passes

    Our bathroom passes hang from hooks.

    I haven’t had to buy replacements for our hall passes in three years. Enough said.


    Hook Use #2: Our Portable Word Wall

    I wanted my students to be able to take the words they needed back to their seats, but I was also tired of having my word wall looking abused after the first month of school. Now, I have a static word wall on my bulletin board, and a separate set of easily accessible words hanging under the bulletin board for grab-and-go spelling help.

    Each week, we add words to the portable word wall. The students take turns writing the words on index cards, hole-punching the cards, and adding them to the ring for the correct letter. This makes a great classroom job. (I usually give this job to those students who need some extra spelling help.)

    Our portable word wall.


    Hook Use #3: Hanging Chart Pads

    Even using clotheslines and two chart easels, I still needed more space to display frequently used charts prominently around the room. Two stick-on hooks and two large metal rings let me hang charts wherever I need them.


    Hook Use #4: Creating an Easy-to-Update Student Work Display

    We are expected to create colorful, ever-changing displays of the students’ work in the hallways in my school, and all without cork bulletin boards. The smooth, tiled walls in the hallways mock our attempts to attach student work with packing tape, masking tape, and Velcro. I know one teacher who resorted to super glue out of frustration. (The custodians were not happy!)

    Lo and behold, what does stick to the walls? Stick-on hooks! Best of all, using the hooks makes updating the students’ work a cinch. I simply slide their work into clear plastic page protectors, hole punch the entire thing, and add the new work to the front of each student's ring. My students love flipping through their work to see their progress over the year. In a way, this bulletin board display also becomes a portfolio.

    An interactive bulletin board with hooks.


    Hook Use #5: Untangling Technology

    I wrote about how I use hooks to organize my students’ flash drives in my post "My Top Four Tips for Computing With Kids." Just last week, one of my clever students asked if I could buy some more hooks to attach to the back of the classroom computer monitors. She was frustrated with untangling the headphone cords that invariably get tangled on the computer desks, and she suggested that we hang the headphones from each computer. Brava, Chloe — the student surpasses the master!

    The students' flash drives hang from hooks labeled for each table.


    Do you use stick-on hooks in your classroom? Please post your ideas and tips in the comments section below, and help me in my fight against King Clutter!


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