Nuts & Bolts: 5 of My Must-Have Teacher Items

Sometimes it's those little things that help make our jobs easier and more organized.  Today I will share with you five of my favorite items that somehow help me stay organized, efficient, or effective.



The past couple years I have been using these custom self-inking stamps that I made at VistaPrint.  They are quicker than peeling stickers.  I use the J'aime stamp on high quiz grades, and the "Please see me" stamp on unsatisfactory quiz grades.  My policy is that any student can do corrections on a quiz and retake it (if the initial grade was low enough to warrant retaking) to earn back some of the lost credit.  Using the stamp frees me from having to hand write notes.  I know that the color red is somewhat controversial in the grading world, but I personally find that it sticks out and gets their attention, which is the point of the message.



The weekly planner pad is not what I use to plan my lessons in (that goes in my plan book binder, which is also a must-have for me, but felt it too obvious to include on this list), but rather to plan out what tasks I will accomplish each day.  It helps me stay organized and manage my time more efficiently (and not get bogged down trying to accomplish too much in one day!).  I will even write minute tasks like "respond to so-and-so's email," which are the types of things I forget if I don't write down.  The pretty floral one I use is made by Rifle Paper Co., but there are plenty of basic ones available online as well.



The absentee board is so helpful in efficiently providing missed work to students who are absent.  For each day, I fill in the homework (if any), the classwork handed out (if any), and other information, such as upcoming quizzes.  The sheets they need are lined up in front of the board.  Students need to be trained and reminded throughout the year on how to use the board (sometimes they forget to read the sheet to see specifically what they missed on each day), but overall, I find it far more efficient than individually culling work for each student.  Every teacher has their own system on how to manage missed work, and this is the one that I use.



This crazy looking green ball elicits lots of participation from students.  When I first introduce a topic and look for volunteers to model the language, far more hands go up when the green ball comes out.  Students love the opportunity to catch and hold it because it feels so strange.

Out With the Old, In With the New

My camera is a very important part of my teaching.  Capturing high quality photos in my classroom creates memories that I can share with the students at the end of the year, and allows me to communicate with parents and community members about what is going on in our classroom.  Awhile back I blogged about taking photographs in your classroom.

What are YOUR must-have teacher items?

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