Sunday, June 30, 2013

The Most General, Yet Useful Tools For My Library Classroom

Oh, the tools I found so useful for my library classroom! The criteria I judge tools as beneficial include: endurance: they can last forever and a day with 350+ hands messing with them, dual purpose: they help keep my sanity, while teaching students responsibility, and classroom management/organization: yes, they help me manage.

1. Pompom balls on the caps of dry erase markers. Thank you, Pinterest! No more wasted paper towels or lost cloth scraps. All I did was go to my local craft store and buy small pompoms and then I hot glued them to the top of dry erase markers. An overwhelming majority of pompoms managed to outlast the markers themselves. 
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2. Inserting activity pages into plastic page protectors. This combined with handing students dry erase markers saves so much paper!! They can fill in the word search, maze, circle the hidden pictures, and so on. When they're done, they simply erase the page protector and it's ready for another student's use. I actually put several activity pages into a three-pronged clear front presentation folder and use these as a center.
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3. Using Sharpie paint markers to put numbers on desks for student seating arrangements (Pinterest). I was so sick of continuously reapplying some form of name tags to the desks for my students to pick off within a couple of months. Let's just put it this way, I put the numbers on right after winter break and they're still on the tables. Awesome!
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4. Using the male side of Velcro on things I want to stick to my library's carpeted floor. I found this little gem via a discussion board comment (but, not till the last month of the school year). I needed a solution to my taping down items on the floor almost every other week because they were getting kicked up or picked up.
I use index cards which I write sight words on, but I also put small numbers (to act as student numbers) in the corners as place holders on the floor for students to have a spot to sit (gr PreK-2) or as a place to stand (gr 3-5) at the beginning of library. All I had to do was laminate the cards and cut Velcro strips to fit the sides, stick 'em on the back, and then stick on the carpet. If any student picked at it, they just stuck it back on the carpet. Voila! 
Image via Amanda Ehll

These are some of my favorite finds and such generally great tools for any Elementary library/media specialist or classroom teacher.

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