I have finally stopped fighting my "back to school brain" from kicking into gear. I haven’t actually set foot in my classroom yet, but my brain is buzzing with that familiar hum of ideas and inspiration and motivation and excitement that usually starts coming around for me in the last part of July. Today I'm linking up with Freebielicous to talk about some of my "MUST HAVES" in the classroom. There are, of course, many more than this, but here’s a few of my favorites that truly make my life easier every day.
I absolutely LOVED having these table drawers last year!!
They were kind of a last minute, right before school, crazy thought that I had and I am SO glad I implemented them. My day was so much more efficient. The storage situation in my room is less than ideal, and I spent WAY less time handing out and putting away materials.
The top drawer was filled with various math manipulatives that we used on a regular basis. The middle drawer housed our clip boards and folders for reading centers and the bottom drawer held our reading series readers and workbooks.
Even though I didn't use a drawer to hold these supply caddies I thought it was good to know that they fit inside perfectly.
I had colored dots on the desks at each table which made it easy for me to just call out "Red dots take out the dice." "Blue dots put the counters away." ect. The kids really took ownership of those little mini jobs and for the most part transitions and material distribution worked like a dream in my room.
Along with the table drawers another must have for efficiency during the day is my colored table baskets.
We use these baskets for so many things....for turning papers in, for papers or materials I want to distribute but I don't want actually in the students hands just yet, for math maniputlatives during centers or games, and for holding craft pieces.
The baskets work perfectly with the table drawers in the middle of my tables because the materials can be very easily accessible to the students without taking up valuable desk space from anyone. I found a set of 6 colors in the Target dollar spot a few years ago and they have held up great!
Another invaluable supply for me in the last few years have been plastic sheet protectors.
Our laminating allowances at school are somewhat strict so we have to get creative when using papers and materials that we want to protect. At the start of the year I grabbed a few big packs of sheet protectors from Sam’s and we used them for all sorts of things.
We used Sarah Paul’s AMAZING reading passages. Many times, for morning work, I would give my students these passages to read and respond to. Rather than printing 28 copies, I just printed 5 of each story, threw them in the sheet protectors, and then just rotated the stories through the different table baskets in the morning until it was time for a new set.
We also use them for math mats, games, and centers. Sometimes it’s so easy to just print and throw in the protectors rather than printing on card stock and laminating.
As much as I enjoy using sheet protectors for all kinds of things I absolutely LOVE having my own personal laminator set up in my classroom. There are times that I just need a page or two (or five) laminated quickly and it’s so great to be able to just run them through and have the materials right there and ready to go. I bought this one from amazon a few years ago and it has never failed me.
My last favorite tool(s) to share with you today are these circle punches. I started collecting them a few years ago and I end up using these ALL the time for different craft projects. The circles make super cute eye balls on crafts but I’ve used them for snowballs, buttons, apples, pumpkins, counters….you get the picture.
Click on the pics below to grab them on Amazon.
Go check out the link up over at Freebielicious to read about more teacher favorites! Have a great day!!