Teachers Share 30 Small, Inexpensive Things That Have Improved Their Teaching Lives
Sometimes the littlest things can make the biggest difference. We asked our teacher audience to tell us what small, inexpensive things have made their teaching lives better, easier, or more fun, and all of them made us want to click “Add to cart.”
Check out their picks below.
1. Colorful wool coasters
“Before these, I was constantly leaving condensation on my desk (or, let’s be real—my students’ papers). These keep everything dry and are a cheerful sight for this Seattle teacher!” —Maya I.
“I taught high school for 37 years before I retired, and whenever a kid was having a bad day, I gave them a stretchy dinosaur. The tactile sensation is calming and the nostalgic joy of getting a silly little toy from their childhood was priceless!” —Gwyn S.
“I have a Venus flytrap that is somehow still alive and my kids love earning a chance to check on/name the new traps. One of my babies refers to them as ‘the Jeffries,’ and it warms my heart every time. Always wants to water them and make sure they got a chance to catch some flies.” —Ali A.
22. A line-a-day journal for low-commitment memories
“One of the best routines I’ve added to my day. Before I leave (usually earlier during the day) I write down one positive, funny, or moving thing that happened. It takes me 30 seconds, tops. At the end of the year, I type up all the little memories and put them in a slideshow for my 8th graders. And for myself, I have a record of exclusively positive memories of that class I can thumb through on a bad day. It’s the best!” —Cheryl M.
“Wear an apron with pockets! Carry the scissors, the wipe-off markers, the eraser, the Kleenex, the Sharpie, the stapler, the hole punch, the fidgets, even the cell phone in the pockets. If you teach littles, you NEVER sit down, so you may as well have everything at the ready.” —Amy T.
“I’m fortunate to have a walk-in closet. I lined up command hooks on the walls and keep all the hands on centers that I’ve printed and laminated in baggies or binder rings on the hooks. They’re labeled and ready to grab. You could do the same thing on the inside of cabinet doors if you don’t have a closet.” —Rebecca G.
“That is our ‘safe space’ when students are feeling big emotions and need some time and space. Fill the tent with social-emotional books, sensory fidgets, and positive affirmations. Best part of our classroom!” —Katie M.