Here is where you will be able to find information about anything and everything, that most people don't think to share!

Here are some useful tips to use!


If you use Time for Kids or Scholastic News (some sort of mini-magazine for the students), keep an extra and laminate it! You can use these to add to your library and students down the road, will be able to learn about our past! Use pizza boxes for portfolios! You can get free hand outs from pizza joints, or you can buy them and have them be all the same type and size! These are great in case you need to put something in their portfolios that aren't paper thin! You can use your large desk calendar pages for your students! Tear off that months page, staple it to a bulletin board, and keep track of upcoming important dates and assignments! Your students will be better organized, and it will be a smooth transition for them to write down information in their agendas! Raid the Target $1 section! The price is awesome, and they have amazing stuff! Make sure to watch for the teacher sales (pads of paper, folders, stickers etc.) which usually happens during the summer. :)
During Curriculum Night, or the first Open House, have a slide show for the parents to view! This will show them that you are tech savvy, dedicated, organized and well prepared. This might be the only time you see some of the parents! Also provide hand-outs with room for notes! If you visit Borders frequently, check out their sale section near the registers! I have found great books for great prices. You should also sign up for their Rewards program. It pays off even if you don't shop their often! You will get emails with coupons that others do not receive! It's free and all you have to do is hand them your card to swipe every time you buy! Barnes and Noble also has a free Educators card you can get that allows you to receieve 20% off!

Make sure to laminate everything that you use!! This might be expensive, but it would be more expensive for your posters and decorations to rip and have to replace them! Office Max has in the past had educators sale on lamination, for free!!! Keep your eyes pealed in case they have a sale at the beginning of the school year!

No big plans for the weekend? Hit up a ton of garage sales! Us teachers are always needing new materials to teach with, and where better to find things for cheap than garage sales! You might be able to find treasures such as book shelves, books, games, toys etc.
Buy a printer/copier for your classroom use! If you ever need an extra copy or want to print, but don't have time to run to the copier or printer, this will come in handy! You can buy an inexpensive one at Wal-Mart for as cheap as $35! Check these out!

Use binders to keep track of everything you have. If you keep magazines and don't have them marked, locating something is hard to find. Binders and sheet covers are great to use, you will know where everything is! Label them how you want (ex. by different months, subjects, grades etc.) To keep all your binders neat, buy a binder shelf! These are expensive, but HEY! it costs for us to keep our sanity! :o)

Use the box tops of file boxes to hold your students stuff! These fit perfectly into the students desks, and it can hold all of their folders, pencil box, books etc. They are easy to pull out to retrieve something and push back in when finished. No more rummaging through a desk to find something!!

Click here to see an example of a box top!

Look in your copy room for the lids to the copy paper boxes!

Don't be hesitant to accept handouts! If people are throwing stuff away, usually they'll let anyone take whatever they want. So jump right in!
I have found that when I come across a great deal, I have to buy it (if it's something I will use of course). It would be better to take the great deal and know that you will use it, rather than a week down the road, change your mind and go back to find that the great deal has passed. Take the great deals when you come across them!

Use the stick on hooks to organize your room! They hold up to 3 pounds, and are inexpensive! Use these to hang: decorations, student work, your coat etc.

3M Reusable Hooks

You can also use the removable poster strips to hang decorations!

3M Removable Poster Strips

When you have your posters hung and laminated, use sharpie markers to write the students names! At the end of the year use a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser to erase the sharpie away! When applying contact paper to your students name tags for their desks, hold the already cut contact paper in a U shape, so that there won't be any air holes when placing the contact paper down! Place the bottom of the U onto the name tag and lay the contact paper down evenly.
If you see someone has an awesome project hung in the hallway that you would like to try out, make sure to ask first. Most likely they will let you use the idea because it first was not their own idea, but there are some people that do not appreciate others "stealing" their projects.

When cutting out laminated objects, make sure to leave an edge around the outside! It amazed me to know that some people didn't know to do this. If you don't, you run the risk of cutting the seal of the lamination.

If you are laminating a poster board, please know that the lamination will most likely bubble! I did this and the lamination turned out great! But a few days later I noticed huge bubbles.

If you love to create bulletin boards like I do, a nice way to decorate them is to use material rather than butcher paper. The paper fades (especially if you keep it up all year) and it does tend to tear. Instead use cloth material that you can use time after time! How do I get rid of all of my paper work that I have multiple copies of you ask? Simple! Use a yellow highlighter to write a capital M on the top of your Master copy, and throw all of your other copies out! If you want to copy your master copy, the highlighter will not show up. It's magic!
Use colored paper to send home important notes! The colored paper will stand out against all the other white paper that the students bring home. You can also give your parents a heads up (best done during Curriculum Night) "If you see blue paper coming home from me, it's important!!"

Students will remember directions better if you have them say the directions out loud. Ex. "Raise your right hand. Repeat after me. I promise, that I will ask questions, when I get stuck."

Use your life experiences (and your students) to create an authentic learning environment! I work with a teacher who runs marathons, and for a math measuring lesson, she printed out the course that she would be running and had them measure certain distances. Isn't that cool? You can do it too!

Use inexpensive plastic cups to hold your students pencils, highlighters, scissors etc. on their desk. Attach a velcro square to the desk and then to the bottom of the cup. Stick the cup on the velcro and they automatically have a quick and easy way to get to the writing utencils.

Keep class photo albums of special events! Buy the inexpensive soft covered photo albums to hold your photos. At the end of the year raffle off the photos!

Make your own classroom curtains! They jazz up the room and are easy to make.

*Get some fabric. Fold the top end down a few inches (to fit a curtain rod through). Sew a seam on the edge (so it will be facing the back). Fit an adjustable (tension) rod through and put it in your window! You can buy these at Target or Wal-Mart.*

Other simple directions:

Cafe style curtains

No sew curtains


Use a hardware organizer (made to hold nails and screws) to store paper clips, rubber bands, tacks etc.

Do you usually throw out your butter containers? Don't! You can use them to store your sticky tack!

Icing plastic containers also hold crayons just right. :o)

Michael's also has a $1 section. The store that I go to has this section near the registers and all of the items are on racks in the middle of an isle. Make sure you check these out! I have gotten many Thank You card packets from here!

In order to accomidate students that learn differently, have different books in the classroom that fit these needs. This way, students will be able to have access to many different things and have the opportunity to figure out how they learn best and what they are even interested in.

Some examples: Art books, drawing books, sudoku booklets, reusbale Mad Libs, brain teasers, music books, National Geographic magazines, sport books, craft books etc.

Click to learn more about Multiple Intelligences!

Send home with every child on the first day of school a Keep at Home Folder for their parents. This folder is meant for important documents that need to be kept all in one place, so it's easy to locate. Some things to put in this folder:

label with your info.

class roster

class schedule

Specials schedule

Curriculum Night notes

"No Bus" note

*You can also make this folder a part of your students binder that they take home daily.

Buy inspirational word props (Believe, Dream...) to stand up around your classroom or your classroom library. These will encourage and remind your students to be determined in their education!

Use felt tip colored pens to write your students names on clothes pins. They don't bleed as much as sharpies and work just as well!

You can buy 100 clothes pins from Menards for $2-$3!    


If you have anything that you would like to share, please let me know! I'm always looking for more "Tricks of the Trade!"


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