Saturday, July 5, 2014

5 Things

I love the challenge (#5things from @druinok) of thinking about the 5 things I absolutely could NOT do without in my classroom.

Here are my 5:

1.  SmartPal sleeves from EAI.  These are used as personal white boards.  I put velcro on them and attach them to each desk.  I buy 30 of these most years.  It is worth every single penny and if we take good care of them, I can get more than a year out of a lot of them.

The best part is when I say, "Get your white boards out."  There is one big "riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiip" sound that never fails to make us all laugh!

2.  Name Cards:  I make a set of these for each class.  They are color coded, so all I have to do is grab the right color from the Bucket where they are kept, and I can randomly call on kids, set up groups really quickly, make teams, etc. Sometimes if I want kids to sit at different seats, I just put their name card on the desk where they should sit (before they enter class). I could not teach with out these.  AND it helps me learn names quickly at the beginning of the year!

3.   Document Camera:  I do not know how I taught before this came into my life.  I saw it used at a conference, went back and told my IT lady I needed one bc I was having rotator cuff issues, and bam, there it was!  It sits on an extra student desk and the kids and I write directly on the desk with a white board marker.  

The bonus of this piece of technology is being able to share student work quickly and easily, show worksheets, sketches, interactive notebook notes, etc.

4.  Different Color Correcting Pens:  I buy a couple of boxes of green, purple, and red pens.  They reside in the Correcting Pen Box (made in word working class by #2 Son).  We frequently correct our own homework, or formative assessments and students are required to make a check mark for correct answers, circles or stars for problems they had issues with.  This requirement keeps them in the game as other students share answers. I can wander and see at a glance where the class as a whole is having issues or where a particular student is struggling.  Every so often I collect these homeworks or formative assessments, just to keep them on their toes!

5.  Warm Up Books and Little Black Books:  ( Yeah, yeah, this is kind of a cheat because it is really two things, but so closely related! )

Thank goodness I work at a Vocational School!  Our Graphic Communications Shop always has left over bits and pieces which they kindly put together into warm up books.  These are passed out each day at the beginning of class, and the students do their Wm Ups in them.  This means they can look back at warm ups from previous weeks if they come across something they forgot.

The Little Black Book is a composition book (I like the quadrille).  We use these for our Interactive Notebooks.  

And speaking of Interactive Notebooks:  I would like to hear from people who do these.  Do you have students take them back and forth with them or do you keep them in your classroom and what is your rationale?  Do you let students use them on assessments?


  1. This is a GREAT #5things list! I love how you chose to store the "whiteboards." I will be sharing this idea with others!

  2. I LOVE how you store your dry erase pockets! Great idea!

  3. The Smartpal sleaves might be life changing for me. Can't wait to try these! Sometimes my students complain that we have too many tools on our desks in a day, but I just can't live without the mini-whiteboards.

    1. Lol, Shelley! I hear you on the white boards. I love these because we can put graph paper inside, or other worksheets/ formula guides: great for when you need to do multiple attempts (networks) or practicing how to use point slope! And if you have the money buy, the little blue wipey cloths. But I DON'T buy their whiteboard markers. They don't erase as well. Bic makes the best for these. They erase much better!