Egg Carton Trick
I use a paper egg carton to hold a perfect dozen markers. Turn the egg carton upside down, poke a hole with scissors into each circle and cover the top (which is now the bottom) with duct tape so that the markers won't fall through the slit. I always know when one is missing. Further, I make labels marked 'teacher' and the kids know they're not to use them as the teacher's markers are tools for teaching.
Items to include in Centers
These are some great items to always in the centers:
Literacy Center: Various children's literature - Tape recorder - Headsets and taped stories - Pencils/pens/markers - Lined and unlined writing paper - Stapler - Construction paper - 3 x 5 cards - Hole punch - Letter stencils - Typewriter/computer - Puppets - Various storytelling devices (Ex: rolled movies) - Stationary with envelops - Felt, wood, and magnetic letters - Rhyme games - Color games - Alphabet cards - Environmental print books and posters - Library corner with bathtub, pillows, and beanbag chairs
Book making materials: Puzzles - Teacher-made games - Teacher-made big books - Dry erase board
Math: Scales - Rulers - Measuring cups - Clocks - Stopwatch - Calendar - Play money - Cash register - Calculator - Dominoes - Abacus - Number line - Height chart - Hourglass - Felt, wood, magnetic numbers - Fraction puzzles - Geometric shapes - Polyhedrons - Books related to math
Dramatic Play: Something related to the previous unit
Art: Easels - Watercolors - Brushes - Colored pencils - Crayons - Felt-tip markers - Various kinds of paper - Scissors - Paste - Pipe cleaners - Scrap materials (fabrics, etc.) - Clay - Play dough - Food and detergent boxes - Books about artists
Science: Aquarium - Plants - Magnifying glass - Clay pets - Magnets - Thermometer - Compass - Prism - Shells - Rock collections - Stethoscope - Kaleidoscope - Microscope - Blank journals - Informational books
Block Area: Blocks of all sizes and shapes - Figures of people, animals, toy cars, and trucks - Paper and pencils - Related reading materials
Keeping Materials Handy
This is a simple task and all you need is a supply apron! "We use a three pocket apron that's similar to a tool belt that we tie around our waist. We put markers, small notepads, pencils, stickers, pens and even band-aides in the pockets so that we are never searching for these items when we are helping the children or teaching a lesson. It saves us so much time and it allows for much faster feedback with the children."
Submitted by: From Suzanne Nayback and Shelly Novotny , multi-age teachers of six through eight year olds at Central Elementary School in Petoskey, Michigan. This tip was published in the NEA's Weekly "Works4Me" Email list.
Recipe Box Organizer
Can't always get to your computer? Have some of your "Pins" disappeared? Forgot which book had your great idea? If there are ideas you want to have at your fingertips, you can organize quick tips, short poems or songs, bulletin board ideas, book ideas, etc. in a recipe box on index cards.
I will also take a photo of a book that I've borrowed or check-out from the library. I can then print a thumbnail of the cover to attach to the index card. Now, when you are looking for that special first day poem it's right at your fingertips in a small, organized box!
The Right Pen!
Always looking for that pen? Keep all of your classroom pens organized. "With all the activity in my classroom, I became frustrated with finding 'the right pen.' I use whiteboard pens, Vis-a-Vis, marker pens, etc. So to keep track of what pen is used on which surface, I keep a supply of sticky-back velcro squares on hand and use them to post the proper pen in the proper place - on a portable whiteboard, near my journal chart, etc. It has saved me many headaches! I also use sticky-back hooks to hang charts anywhere there's space!"
Submitted by: From Janis Higley [email protected] , a first and second grade teacher at Chief Umtuch Primary in Battle Ground, Washington. This tip was published in the NEA's Weekly Tip Newsletter.
Storing Magic Markers
Tired of your marker caps getting lost and drying out? Here are a couple of ways to eliminate this problem.
Gets those transparencies dried quickly and easily! If you write with washable/ non-permanent overhead pens on transparencies- an easy way to clean and dry them quickly is to rinse off transparency and place it in a phone book, you can put a different one every 20-25 pages - the transparency dries in about 20 minutes and leaves no streaks and can be reused many times.
Submitted by: Barbara Reichard- gr 7-8 Math Cesar Chavez Middle School, Union City ,CA. [email protected]
NEA 'Works4Me' Contributions: Some ideas were contributed by teachers to the NEA's Weekly "Works4Me" email list - be sure to follow this link to see other great ideas!