Create a List

List Name

Rename this List
Save to
Back to the Top Teaching Blog
September 25, 2015

5 Odd Items Every Teacher Needs to Keep on Hand

By Lindsey Petlak
Grades PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5, 6–8, 9–12

    Teachers love supplies: office supplies, school supplies, craft supplies, you name it! We all have our list of must-buy items as well as wish-list goodies, but over the years I’ve come to realize that some of the most unexpected, seemingly random materials come in handy almost daily and make my life as a teacher easier. Read on to see my favorite picks for odd classroom must-haves!

    1) LINT ROLLER:

    Of course lint rollers are great for a quick swipe to rid your clothing of any lingering lint, pet hair, or miscellaneous kid grime on your clothing, but I have discovered a great way to use them in the classroom that I can't live without. I am completely freaked out by eraser shavings. I know, wrong profession, but I can’t help it. I sometimes pull out the hand vac in my classroom, but a lint roller works perfectly to quickly swipe up eraser shavings (or spilled glitter!) off of your table and desktops.

    2) MANICURE SET:

    Manicures are one of my treat-yourself favorites, but that’s not why I keep a small kit in my classroom. I picked up a set including clippers, file, and small cuticle clippers at the dollar store because I kept finding reasons I needed one or more of the tools at school. See some of my quick tips and uses below:

    • Nail files are great for buffing sharp burrs off of desks, shelves, chair backs, etc.

    • I also love using metal nail files to pry loose stubborn staples, when I can't find my staple remover or it won't do the trick properly.

    • Cuticle scissors/clippers are great for removing tags off of objects when they are in tight spaces.

    • Nail clippers are also great for removing tags, but I’ve also used them to clip apart plastic game pieces, and threads hanging from random classroom fabric items.

    • And let’s face it, I break or chip a nail pretty much every week, so they come in handy for a quick nail fix, too. 

     

    3) ZIP TIES:

    These aren’t just for toolboxes my friends! I’m a huge fan of zip ties for so many uses around the house, crafting, and party prepping, and the classroom is no exception. These ties are great because they are flexible, durable, cheap, and easy-to-use. Some of my favorite uses for versatile zip ties include attaching name/number tags to cubby baskets, hanging semi-permanent decor to ceiling braces, binding chair legs together for games or to form benches, and much more!

     

    4) BINDER CLIPS:

    I love binder clips for SO MANY REASONS. Of course they're great for holding together tons of papers, but look beyond for many more uses you never thought of!

    • Ceiling hangers: Our fabulous library media specialist had the genius idea to use miniature binder clips as ceiling hangers! These tiny clips hook onto the metal dividers on the ceiling and firmly secure whatever you are hanging for your display. They are easy to apply and instantly removable. If you continually hang items in the same ceiling location, you might want to leave the clips up all year and just apply different items to hang in each spot.

    • Mailbox or shelving labels: Need removable, reusable name or file-type clips for your paper holders or student mailboxes each year? Save the edges of your shelving and/or mailboxes and use the clips to apply names or file labels that stay put when you want them to (and are just as easily removed).

    • Game piece base: I have some great academic board games using little laminated paper game playing pieces. The only problem is they end up all over the place, lost, or won’t stand up during the game. Instant solution? Use the smallest, miniature binder clips as a base for those playing pieces! They stand up the pieces perfectly, and also help protect them for added durability!  I LOVE THESE!

    • Picture or note holder: Years ago, a darling student of mine crafted these out of large binder clips, some scrapbooking paper, glue and ribbon. They stand up and hold small photos, notes, and reminders. Not only are they adorable, but they have also lasted through over six years of use!

     

    5) CAR VENT AIR FRESHENERS:

    Typically, I would warn against using air fresheners in classrooms because of student sensitivity to various scents. However, when you teach in the hottest classroom in the school, during ninety-degree weather, with only a box fan or two for circulation (no A/C), a classroom full of hot fourth graders, and an in-class bathroom that’s less than desirable, desperation wins. Living with these smelly, hot conditions for the past five years, I’ve tried all manner of air fresheners and sprays. The best solution by far has been to purchase the little clip-on car air freshener pods to fans and vents in the classroom. I try to choose the most natural-smelling, least-potent scent (Clean Linen is my favorite), but attaching to the fans and vents ensures that fresh smelling air is blown throughout, which is a nice relief. 


    Have you found amazing teacher must-haves for the classroom that involve odd items not typically associated with school use?  If so, please share! Practical tips and tricks are much appreciated! Thanks for reading, and see you next week.

    Teachers love supplies: office supplies, school supplies, craft supplies, you name it! We all have our list of must-buy items as well as wish-list goodies, but over the years I’ve come to realize that some of the most unexpected, seemingly random materials come in handy almost daily and make my life as a teacher easier. Read on to see my favorite picks for odd classroom must-haves!

    1) LINT ROLLER:

    Of course lint rollers are great for a quick swipe to rid your clothing of any lingering lint, pet hair, or miscellaneous kid grime on your clothing, but I have discovered a great way to use them in the classroom that I can't live without. I am completely freaked out by eraser shavings. I know, wrong profession, but I can’t help it. I sometimes pull out the hand vac in my classroom, but a lint roller works perfectly to quickly swipe up eraser shavings (or spilled glitter!) off of your table and desktops.

    2) MANICURE SET:

    Manicures are one of my treat-yourself favorites, but that’s not why I keep a small kit in my classroom. I picked up a set including clippers, file, and small cuticle clippers at the dollar store because I kept finding reasons I needed one or more of the tools at school. See some of my quick tips and uses below:

    • Nail files are great for buffing sharp burrs off of desks, shelves, chair backs, etc.

    • I also love using metal nail files to pry loose stubborn staples, when I can't find my staple remover or it won't do the trick properly.

    • Cuticle scissors/clippers are great for removing tags off of objects when they are in tight spaces.

    • Nail clippers are also great for removing tags, but I’ve also used them to clip apart plastic game pieces, and threads hanging from random classroom fabric items.

    • And let’s face it, I break or chip a nail pretty much every week, so they come in handy for a quick nail fix, too. 

     

    3) ZIP TIES:

    These aren’t just for toolboxes my friends! I’m a huge fan of zip ties for so many uses around the house, crafting, and party prepping, and the classroom is no exception. These ties are great because they are flexible, durable, cheap, and easy-to-use. Some of my favorite uses for versatile zip ties include attaching name/number tags to cubby baskets, hanging semi-permanent decor to ceiling braces, binding chair legs together for games or to form benches, and much more!

     

    4) BINDER CLIPS:

    I love binder clips for SO MANY REASONS. Of course they're great for holding together tons of papers, but look beyond for many more uses you never thought of!

    • Ceiling hangers: Our fabulous library media specialist had the genius idea to use miniature binder clips as ceiling hangers! These tiny clips hook onto the metal dividers on the ceiling and firmly secure whatever you are hanging for your display. They are easy to apply and instantly removable. If you continually hang items in the same ceiling location, you might want to leave the clips up all year and just apply different items to hang in each spot.

    • Mailbox or shelving labels: Need removable, reusable name or file-type clips for your paper holders or student mailboxes each year? Save the edges of your shelving and/or mailboxes and use the clips to apply names or file labels that stay put when you want them to (and are just as easily removed).

    • Game piece base: I have some great academic board games using little laminated paper game playing pieces. The only problem is they end up all over the place, lost, or won’t stand up during the game. Instant solution? Use the smallest, miniature binder clips as a base for those playing pieces! They stand up the pieces perfectly, and also help protect them for added durability!  I LOVE THESE!

    • Picture or note holder: Years ago, a darling student of mine crafted these out of large binder clips, some scrapbooking paper, glue and ribbon. They stand up and hold small photos, notes, and reminders. Not only are they adorable, but they have also lasted through over six years of use!

     

    5) CAR VENT AIR FRESHENERS:

    Typically, I would warn against using air fresheners in classrooms because of student sensitivity to various scents. However, when you teach in the hottest classroom in the school, during ninety-degree weather, with only a box fan or two for circulation (no A/C), a classroom full of hot fourth graders, and an in-class bathroom that’s less than desirable, desperation wins. Living with these smelly, hot conditions for the past five years, I’ve tried all manner of air fresheners and sprays. The best solution by far has been to purchase the little clip-on car air freshener pods to fans and vents in the classroom. I try to choose the most natural-smelling, least-potent scent (Clean Linen is my favorite), but attaching to the fans and vents ensures that fresh smelling air is blown throughout, which is a nice relief. 


    Have you found amazing teacher must-haves for the classroom that involve odd items not typically associated with school use?  If so, please share! Practical tips and tricks are much appreciated! Thanks for reading, and see you next week.

Comments

Share your ideas about this article

Lindsey's Most Recent Posts
Blog Post
Super Silly Seasonal STEM

Get directions and tips for this super silly seasonal STEM project inspired by the holiday classic, Home Alone.

By Lindsey Petlak
December 14, 2016
Blog Post
Frightful Factors Math Practice

Avoid Halloween havoc with this fun, engaging skeleton-themed math factors practice!

By Lindsey Petlak
October 20, 2016
Blog Post
3 Ways to Boost Back-to-School Spirit

Raise school spirit to a new level with my three favorite back-to-school treats for colleagues and teammates!

By Lindsey Petlak
August 26, 2016
Blog Post
Sign Up for Scholastic's Teacher Newsletter

Sign up for Scholastic's Teacher Newsletter to get lessons, timely activities, grab-and-go printables, and book-based teaching ideas delivered to you every month in the school year!

By Lindsey Petlak
June 16, 2016

Susan Cheyney

GRADES: 1-2
About Us