My Favorite Things: Classroom Set-Up

(Photo Source)
Why I love this:
  • Instant instructional tool at the reading table!
  • Make a fun polka-dotted homework board by writing the assignment for one subject in each circle. 
  • Make a giant game board by placing them on the floor (or back with cardboard circles to make them movable) and write different points or actions on each one. (Ex: When as student gets to the circle marked '3' and answers a trivia question correctly, their team gets 3 points).
  • Put one on every desk and students would have an instant dry erase board for any subject.
A cheaper option would be to purchase adhesive vinyl and have them cut out into circles (or any shape you want!). A Cricut or Silhouette machine would make this even easier. 

(Hmmm...I happen to own the Silhouette...I think I see some dry erase circles in my very near future!)

Why I love this:
  • This is what they use on gym floors, so it stays down VERY well on tile and wood floors. 
  • I used this on EVERYTHING! I didn't leave a sticky residue, so it was great for boards, binders, desks, and of course- the floor!
  • I marked the floors where the desks go. Desks always seemed to 'migrate' throughout the day from students pushing on them. At the end of the day, I'd say 'Straighten the Desks!' and in 5 seconds, they desks were right back were they were supposed to be.
  •  Used it to label ANYTHING- you can write the label in permanent marker and use nail polish remover to remove the writing if you need to change it out year-to-year.
  • I marked off charts on the board (homework charts, lunch count, bathroom breaks, etc). It didn't leave any residue behind.
UPDATE: Check out this post I did on floor tape. My awesome (and super creative) readers have shared a TON of new ways they use floor tape in their classroom.

Why I love them:
  • They are extra big, so they fit items that I would normally have a hard time storing.
  • They fit folders and notebooks in them, so it was easy to keep each student's items seperate (ex: a 'silent-reading bag' for each student might include a novel of their choice, a journal, and pencil.)
  • I took them on field trips. Each seat had a 'bus bag' that included items they might use to keep them occupied on the bus.
  • At the end of the year, I could give each child a bag and they collected papers and art projects to take home.

Why I love them:
  • Simple, I know....but I they were LIFE-SAVERS when it came to calling on students or picking partners.
  • List one student's name on each card. When it's time to pick partners, shuffle the cards and quickly call out the pairs. 
  • Use the name cards to call on students during a lesson. You will avoid calling on the same person all the time and the students will pay attention since they never know when their name will be called.
  • No one is upset with you over who gets picked or who partners with whom. 
  • Use the name cards to keep track of who has turned in an item or done a certain task. Go through the cards and ask each student. Those that say 'no,' place in a pile off to the side. Instant list!
  • Get the colored ones if you have multiple classes that you teach. Write one class of kids on each color. 

  • Write different, simple rewards on each card. When the whole class- or just each student- earns a reward, let them choose a card from the stack to see what they've 'won.'
  • Create a reading caterpillar around the top of the room: As students finish reading a book, have them write their name and the name of the book on the card. They can decorate it and then tape it to the wall to create a long caterpillar that wraps around the room. Tell your class that when the caterpillar wraps the entire way around the room, they can earn a reward.


Why I love them:
  • Partnered together, these were used all over my room. I'd place a magnet on the back of the plastic card. Then I'd place a white label on the card.
  • List one student's name on each card. Use these for lunch count in the morning. Ask students to place their cards in a line on the board if they need to use the bathroom. As they return, students take their name down and the next person knows automatically that it's their turn to go. Also works for students who need to come see the teacher for help on an assignment (ie- a writing project). When their name is at the top of the list on the board, they know it's their turn to come see you.
  • Write all the items that might possibly go home on the cards (one item on each card). As you fill out the homework board at the end of the day, place the cards for the items needed on the board. For example, if a math assignment required the textbook and workbook to go home, those two cards would go on the board. By the time you're done, you will have a list of all the items that students need to place in their bags.
  • Use the name cards to keep track of who has turned in an item or done a certain task. Place all the name cards on the board. When a task is done or paper turned in, have the student take their card off the board and place it in a container. You will be able to see who's still working with just a quick glance at the board.

Why I love this chart:
  • Unlike your typical pocket chart, this one is meant to fit folder-size objects. That opens up the possibilities for using this chart for writing work, turning in homework, parent notes, weekly papers, you name it. 
  • It has a space for student names. It's super easy to change names out from year to year (or as one child moves away and you get a new one in the middle of the year). 
  • If you have a small classroom without a lot of shelf space, this could be a great way to store composition books, folders, etc without using up valuable space. 

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