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October 21, 2016

5 Tips and Hacks for Teachers

By Tiffani Mugurussa
Grades PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5

    As a teacher I typically find myself having too much to do and not enough time to do it. I am always on the lookout for timesaving teacher tips, tricks, and hacks to make my daily life in the classroom easier. I'm also mindful that, as teachers, we often dig into our own pockets when it comes to bringing something into our classroom that will keep it running smoothly. So, all of my tips here are ones that will not break your budget.

    From storage ideas to tech solutions, I hope you find at least one of these five tips and hacks to be useful in your own classroom.

     

    Organizing Construction Paper

    Over the years I have experimented with many different ways to organize construction paper. I have found that a magazine file holder is the simplest way to organize the paper. It keeps the paper from wrinkling and it is easy to see each and every color. 

     

    Technology Charge Stations

    I am fortunate to have quite a few iPads in my classroom, but I do not own a commercial charge station. Being the creative person that I am, I made my own. Using a rack designed to hold lids for pots and pans and a surge protector, the iPad charge station was created. Now when the iPads need to be charged, I place them in the rack and attach their cords. Depending on how thick their protective cases are, I can charge two iPads per space. The rack doesn’t take up much space on my counter and it is easy to move when I need my counter for something else.

     

    Create Extra Space for Pocket Charts

    In my classroom I never seem to have enough wall space for all of my pocket charts. I also don’t have floor space for extra chart stands. Instant wall space for pocket charts can be created by using adhesive backed hooks or magnetic hooks. My classroom job chart needs to be seen, but not used by the students. I have it displayed across two cabinet doors, that I rarely open, using adhesive backed hooks. Should I ever need access to these cupboards, I can easily remove the chart. Adhesive backed hooks can stick to most surfaces, making it easy to create new spaces to hang pocket charts. Magnetic hooks are great too. These stronger-type hooks can be found in hardware departments at your local stores. I use these types of hooks on my whiteboards and classroom doors. These hooks allow me to remove the charts quickly when I need the space on the board for writing or displaying other items.

     

    Make Old Containers Look New Again

    Don’t throw away those old dingy, dirty containers. All you need is a little magic to make them look brand new. With the help of a MagicEraser sponge, the dirt and grime magically disappears. I had originally tried washing these containers in the dishwasher but they were still dirty. Look at the left side and compare it to the right. After a few swipes of the magic eraser they were as good as new. 

     

    Glue Sponges: The Best Hack Ever

    Are you tired of your class going through an entire glue stick after one art project? Do your students forget to put the cap on the stick after using it? Glue sponges are the most economical and timesaving way to use glue in your classroom. I have been using glue sponges for over four years now and I can’t imagine ever going back to using glue sticks on a daily basis.

    Here's a quick and inexpensive recipe for making your own glue sponge. All of my supplies were bought from my local Dollar Store. 

    Supplies:

    • Containers

    • Sponges — not the foam kind

    • White glue  

    • Scissors

    How to Make:

    1. Cut the sponge to fit the container.

    2. Wet the sponge then wring it out.

    3. Place it in the container.

    4. Cover the top of the sponge with a light layer of glue.

    5. Put the lid on and let it sit overnight.

    6. Ready to use the next day.

    Keep a spray bottle handy to spritz with water once a week, if the sponge seems dry. One spray is sufficient to keep the sponge moist, it really depends on how often you use them. Add glue as you notice them drying out. To add more glue, spray once with water, add glue, and place the lid on to sit overnight. I usually prepare my glue tubs on a Friday so they are ready for the following week. You will be amazed at how easy they are to use and how much money you are saving.

    To Use:

    The sponge NEVER leaves the tub. Kids simply swipe their piece of paper across the sponge to get the glue onto the back of it. There is no need to push their paper into the sponge.

    What are your favorite teacher tips or hacks? Please share them in the comments below. I'm always on the lookout for new ideas.

    As a teacher I typically find myself having too much to do and not enough time to do it. I am always on the lookout for timesaving teacher tips, tricks, and hacks to make my daily life in the classroom easier. I'm also mindful that, as teachers, we often dig into our own pockets when it comes to bringing something into our classroom that will keep it running smoothly. So, all of my tips here are ones that will not break your budget.

    From storage ideas to tech solutions, I hope you find at least one of these five tips and hacks to be useful in your own classroom.

     

    Organizing Construction Paper

    Over the years I have experimented with many different ways to organize construction paper. I have found that a magazine file holder is the simplest way to organize the paper. It keeps the paper from wrinkling and it is easy to see each and every color. 

     

    Technology Charge Stations

    I am fortunate to have quite a few iPads in my classroom, but I do not own a commercial charge station. Being the creative person that I am, I made my own. Using a rack designed to hold lids for pots and pans and a surge protector, the iPad charge station was created. Now when the iPads need to be charged, I place them in the rack and attach their cords. Depending on how thick their protective cases are, I can charge two iPads per space. The rack doesn’t take up much space on my counter and it is easy to move when I need my counter for something else.

     

    Create Extra Space for Pocket Charts

    In my classroom I never seem to have enough wall space for all of my pocket charts. I also don’t have floor space for extra chart stands. Instant wall space for pocket charts can be created by using adhesive backed hooks or magnetic hooks. My classroom job chart needs to be seen, but not used by the students. I have it displayed across two cabinet doors, that I rarely open, using adhesive backed hooks. Should I ever need access to these cupboards, I can easily remove the chart. Adhesive backed hooks can stick to most surfaces, making it easy to create new spaces to hang pocket charts. Magnetic hooks are great too. These stronger-type hooks can be found in hardware departments at your local stores. I use these types of hooks on my whiteboards and classroom doors. These hooks allow me to remove the charts quickly when I need the space on the board for writing or displaying other items.

     

    Make Old Containers Look New Again

    Don’t throw away those old dingy, dirty containers. All you need is a little magic to make them look brand new. With the help of a MagicEraser sponge, the dirt and grime magically disappears. I had originally tried washing these containers in the dishwasher but they were still dirty. Look at the left side and compare it to the right. After a few swipes of the magic eraser they were as good as new. 

     

    Glue Sponges: The Best Hack Ever

    Are you tired of your class going through an entire glue stick after one art project? Do your students forget to put the cap on the stick after using it? Glue sponges are the most economical and timesaving way to use glue in your classroom. I have been using glue sponges for over four years now and I can’t imagine ever going back to using glue sticks on a daily basis.

    Here's a quick and inexpensive recipe for making your own glue sponge. All of my supplies were bought from my local Dollar Store. 

    Supplies:

    • Containers

    • Sponges — not the foam kind

    • White glue  

    • Scissors

    How to Make:

    1. Cut the sponge to fit the container.

    2. Wet the sponge then wring it out.

    3. Place it in the container.

    4. Cover the top of the sponge with a light layer of glue.

    5. Put the lid on and let it sit overnight.

    6. Ready to use the next day.

    Keep a spray bottle handy to spritz with water once a week, if the sponge seems dry. One spray is sufficient to keep the sponge moist, it really depends on how often you use them. Add glue as you notice them drying out. To add more glue, spray once with water, add glue, and place the lid on to sit overnight. I usually prepare my glue tubs on a Friday so they are ready for the following week. You will be amazed at how easy they are to use and how much money you are saving.

    To Use:

    The sponge NEVER leaves the tub. Kids simply swipe their piece of paper across the sponge to get the glue onto the back of it. There is no need to push their paper into the sponge.

    What are your favorite teacher tips or hacks? Please share them in the comments below. I'm always on the lookout for new ideas.

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