37 Insanely Smart School Teacher Hacks

Start the year out right.

1. Glad Press ‘n Seal is a cheaper way to stencil vinyl than transfer paper.

 

Because in order to be organized this year, you’ll need a foolproof labeling system. Follow the directions here.

2. Put up a QR code at Open House so the parents can easily pull up all of your contact info on their phones.

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[source: Reddit]

3. Make inexpensive inspirational quotation posters with ReciteThis.com.

They’ve got tons of stylish templates to choose from that you can easily print out with a color printer and laminate as inexpensive wall hangings.

4. Use double-sided tape or hot glue OVER painter’s tape to keep from ruining the walls.

 

5. Use outdoor mounting tape for heavy things like bulletin boards.

6. Use colored dots to make groups easy.

Put a different colored dot on each desk in a group. When you need to have a student from each table do something, you can simply ask for all the green dots to bring you the papers from their group.

7. Instead of giving students bathroom passes, give them hand sanitizer bottles to ensure clean hands.

 

Don’t forget to tie a rubber band around the neck so you get child-sized squirts every time.

8. Plastic tablecloths from the dollar store make durable bulletin board coverings.

As does an inexpensive flat sheet.

Way cheaper than buying fabric.

9. Put your colored paper in hanging filing folders to keep them neat.

No more messy stacks of paper.

10. Here’s how you keep your markers lasting as long as possible:

Velcro ensures that they don’t walk.

11. Need to seal in some marker? Use clear nail polish!

12. Use an app like Noise Down, which will automatically sound an alarm when the decibel level gets too high.

Now you have an objective way of setting a general volume in the classroom.

13. Designate one student as the “Ask Me” student who can answer the questions of other students while you’re busy assisting others.

14. Leftover Easter egg dye can be used to color clothespins.

15. Make pocket wallets out of regular folders to store index cards and the like.

 

See how this teacher made these here.

16. If you’ve got clogged glue caps, soak them in vegetable oil.

 

The oil will keep the glue from clogging.

17. Have kids practice their fine motor skills by painting with water on chalkboard.

18. Velcro on carpet creates seating positions for your kids.

And it’s an easy way to make groups. All the pinks can go together to form a team!

19. Get cheap whiteboards by buying melamine or shower board panels from a hardware store.

 

They work just as well as whiteboards and cost way less.

Or use old DVD cases.

20. Make an “I’m Done!” cup so that early finishers aren’t bored.

Have the student pick a stick with a given activity on it.

21. Give kids a visual way to represent their status as they work independently.

You can use Post-its or colored index cards.

22. When a student is working extra hard, give them a set of smart beads to wear.

Mardi Gras beads are an inexpensive way to make kids feel extra special.

23. Make your student a reminder bracelet when you really want them to remember something.

24. Easily swap out categories for shelves by using binder clips.

25. Use painter’s tape on a chalkboard or whiteboard as a place for students to practice their penmanship.

Penmanship is not dead! The great thing about painter’s tape is that it doesn’t leave a residue.

26. Use cardboard magazine holders to create individual storage units for each student.

Boxes from the post office are perfect for this.

27. Stick pompoms to the end of your dry-erase markers for an instant eraser.

28. A straw dispenser makes the perfect pencil dispenser.

29. Create a turn-in bin with clothespins that are labeled with each student’s name.

When a student turns in their assignment, they can turn the clothespin over, giving you an easy way to keep track of who has completed their work.

30. Easily get the wrappers off crayons by soaking them in water.

31. Have a self-service spot for kids who were absent.

32. Create a system of silent hand signals that don’t disrupt the class.

Download the free poster here.

33. For kids who can’t help but have an awkward grip on their writing utensils, have them hold a cotton ball or small rubber ball between ring and pinky fingers.

34. A roasting pan is a cheap and easy way to make a homework tray.

35. Make your paintbrushes last longer by washing them with conditioner.

36. Snack Tupperware containers are great for rolling dice and making sure they don’t get lost or fly across the room.

37. Make your own homemade glue dots for hanging things on your windows.

Get the tutorial here.

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