Classroom Lifesavers

Discussion in 'Elementary Education Archives' started by teacherbell, Jul 21, 2005.

  1. teacherbell

    teacherbell Cohort

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    I am gathering items for my first classroom and I am wondering if anyone could tell me about any items that have been "lifesavers" in their classrooms. What item in your classroom have you made or bought that you could not live without? The more creative (and inexpensive) the better! Thank you for your help! :)
     
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  3. Jaicie

    Jaicie Rookie

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    I use a little bell to call for students' attention. Another biggie (and pricey!) for me is the overhead projector; I use it daily. I like being able to make eye contact with the children while teaching. It's also much easier for me to write on an overhead than on the chalkboard.

    This sounds dorky, I know, but it's a good idea to greet your students by name at the door with eye contact and a smile each morning. Building positive relationships with your students from the start will truly be a lifesaver as you teach! And it's free, too! ;)

    Good luck to you as you begin your teaching career!

    ~Jaicie
     
  4. camcdade

    camcdade Comrade

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    I second the importance of an overhead projector. I have often thought, "I don't know how I would teach without one!" :)
    One cheap and easy lifesaver is a cup of popsicle sticks with my student's names written on each one. When I'm leading a discussion, picking groups, calling on students for participation, etc... I just draw a stick. The kids know it's fair and random when I do that.

    Also, every year I buy one of those cheap accordian style file boxes (collapsible) and make a file for each student. I place all kinds of stuff in the files, important information sheets, notes from parents, assessment results, various reports. It's always in my room when I need it and I can easily take it home if I need to do some paperwork or filing.
     
  5. cogteach

    cogteach Rookie

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    Every morning we have a routine in my classroom so that everyone gets done what needs to be before the day starts. I used sentence strips and laminated them and put magnets on the back. Every morning I can just put up the ones that I want done--Get out red folder, 2 sharp pencils, lunch count, reading journal, etc. I can change for specials (change to gym shoes).

    I also bought a digital kitchen timer that I couldn't live without. I set it to notify when to change centers, if a child is to leave at a certain time for a dentist appt, etc, I set it to go off 5 minutes ahead, we see how long it takes each row to get coats, etc.
     
  6. Mable

    Mable Enthusiast

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    A foam ball- can be used for "quiet ball" game, or "Who Stole the Cookie", etc.

    Whistle

    A stash for you in a little box- breath mints, Tylenol, other personal items for quick fixes/saves, chocolate.

    Dictionary and Thesaurus for desk
    Calculator
    EZ Grader

    CD player with cd's check out Dr. Jean's for great collections of cd's
     
  7. Ms.Jasztal

    Ms.Jasztal Maven

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    I cannot live without my plastic mailbox, wonderful student thesaurus and dictionary, several of the books in my classroom library (the collection of Newbery medal books I have acquired), and my classroom website, though technically that is not an "item"! Yet I find having one a must, especially in enhancing communication outside the classroom.
     
  8. talk to me

    talk to me Rookie

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    I use a tape of full of (catchy) rhymes that they know. If the day has been a bit hectic or if they have been noisy for some reason I will turn on the tape. It really works for the day like that. Kids love it so much if I turn it off for lunch break they go aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa .

    Note: they will be bored listening to one tape. So u should have good collection
     
  9. mommaruthie

    mommaruthie Aficionado

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    Jul 22, 2005

    duct tape
    exacto knife
    fishing string
    travel size deoderant,baby powder, tampons, hand lotion, mouthwash (to keep in desk)
    PLANTS, LIVE PLANTS
     
  10. bam451

    bam451 Rookie

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    I've always wanted to create a classroom website. How do you go about doing that? :confused:
     
  11. kinderkids

    kinderkids Virtuoso

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    I have a train whistle I use everyday and it isn't as shrill as a regular whistle. One blow means drop everything and listen.....two means clean up. It saves the voice, and kids respond to it very well. I've never had to shout or raise my voice.
    One other item that is a lifesaver for me is a digital camera, I know it can be costly, but I am always taking pictures of my kids . I put a memory book together at the end of the year, and always use the pictures from throughout. I"d be lost without my camera.
     
  12. Missy

    Missy Aficionado

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    -puzzles and games for indoor recess
    -folder with emergency sub plans that can be pulled out and used for an emergency day or two absence (I've never had to use it, but it's nice to know it's there)
    -small packs of crackers for upset tummies (you or the kids!)
    -extra, sharpened pencils
    -rocking chair for the reading corner
    -small picture of my family on my desk
     
  13. IndyJo

    IndyJo Companion

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    Bottled water or some container with water in it to drink! Our mouths can get dry at times. Also, set up a workspace for home. For example, EZ grader, markers, pens, stickers, paper clips, etc. Items you know you'll use often at home when dealing with school work. Lastly, get in good with a colleague just in case you were absent and you needed someone to help you out.
     
  14. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    I actually have a small coffeemaker in my room set up behind my desk.

    Radio for planning time, bandaids, change of clothes, my own tissues, handi-wipes, hand sanitizer, shopping bag or two for extra large stuff to take home, nuts or other protein snack for me, cookies or pretzels for kids.

    Beach ball, tons of marker chips for games, lots of craft materials, extra 3ring binders (I keep bulletin board letters in plastic sleeves in them), colorful file folders (look more cheerful), vase for flowers, plastic trays (I use for craft projects and to hand out supplies for group work).
     
  15. Gopher4

    Gopher4 Comrade

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    Someone mentioned a timer. I found a giant plastic timer (meant for those with sight problems) it hangs at the front of the room. I time group work, reading time, etc. The kids can look up and see how much time they have. An overhead timer works great, too. This is something I use daily.
     
  16. AMK

    AMK Aficionado

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    I usually will keep plastic cups in my classroom b/c sometimes their juice boxes is missing the straw. I will keep an extra snack incase I grt hungry or a child doesnt have one. I also keep spoons handy b/c sometimes a child will need one for their snack and doesn't have one.

    I try and keep asprin and candy in my desk for myself.

    I have a box of bandaids b/c you never know when you will need one and sometimes it is not worth it to send the child to the nurse for one!
     
  17. teacherbell

    teacherbell Cohort

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    Thanks for all of the great items! I am going to make a master list of things to get.
     
  18. DizneeTeachR

    DizneeTeachR Virtuoso

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    Teacherbell,
    As a 1st year teacher, my mentor teacher gave me some note slips that had a carbon copy (not actually carbon in between, but gave a master & a copy) this was a lifesaver if you had to send home a note you had a copy of what you wrote, so you could stick it in their file. You know the key is document.

    Something our secretary gave us was a flip top tube of vasiline and Qtips for chapped lips for the kids!!!! This was wonderful because we didin't have to send them down for that and she gave us band-aids.

    I asked parents to send in extra snacks. I taught 1st and had snacks everyday.
     
  19. amakaye

    amakaye Enthusiast

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    A helpful hint I got from a teacher I did clinicals with--Keep the caps off old Elmer's glue bottles that are in good shape (especially if you have any from home). That way you can switch them out if a student's cap gets really wrecked.
     
  20. Rainey

    Rainey Rookie

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    I also just love the overhead projector. I think I burn out about 3 or 4 bulbs a year. I instruct on it, play jeapordy on it, and various other games. Like many teachers, I have a system that insures fairness when calling on my students. At a dollar store I purchased a small goldfish plastic bowl. At the start of the school year, each student is given a small flash card and writes their name on it. The cards are placed in the bowl. I randomly choose a card to request responses from students. I am assured that everyone is fairly called on. The cards are also used in contests, for bonus points, etc. If a new student enters the class, their name is added to the bowl. At the end of the school year, the cards are tossed and the bowl is used over again the next year. My bowl is now 5 years old.
     
  21. Rainey

    Rainey Rookie

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    I use this too. There are also mini ones like the BIG one. I use the little minis with my children with ADD and ADHD. The timers are placed before them and set. They know that they are required to complete their work in the specified time. Works!
     
  22. Danny'sNanny

    Danny'sNanny Connoisseur

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    I use a TON of post it notes...at home and in class...my sister laughs becuase I wake up in the middle of the night and scribble more notes to myself.
    I also love colored Sharpie markers. Black gets so boring, and I use them 3 or 4 times during the day.
     
  23. clarnet73

    clarnet73 Moderator

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    Danny's Nanny, speaknig of Sharpies, I noticed at WalMart the other day half-size mini Sharpies... I didn't buy them, but hearing you say that made me think of them. ;)
     
  24. MrsRich219

    MrsRich219 Companion

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    Clarnet,
    I love the mini sharpies. They even have the clip that allows you to keep them on a key ring. Works great on chart paper!
     
  25. DaTeach

    DaTeach Comrade

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    flat head and Philips head screwdrivers
    hammer
    pliers (comes in handy if your a.c. knobs break!!)
    old t-shirts (for when kids upchuck on themselves!!!)
    bandaids
    ADVIL
    overhead projector (I also use mine every day for reciting things that must be memorized-- and there are many teaching supplies for the overhead) I
    make a lot of my own transparencies...using permanent markers or the
    computer and the blank trans. you buy at an office supply like O. Depot.
    classical music cd for kids
    timer...I use mind daily
    lots of ink pens (I like a rainbow of colors)
    extra wide masking tape is great for holding stuff to the wall - - you just have to use a lot of it. Some use a hot
    glue gun
    permanent markers (large, and small, fine point)
    candy or other small prizes ( I give when they pass AR tests for example)
    mirror/extra favorite lipstick or gloss
    pair of comfortable shoes/slippers
    broom/dustpan/mop
    cleaning bucket
    Pine-sol or other cleaner
    I bring my old dishcloths/bathcloths/towels when they ravel or get holes -
    they are great for cleaning/dusting/spills, etc.
    I have a small fan that I keep for me--kids are usually cold!
    KEEP AN UMBRELLA IN YOUR CAR -- AND ONE IN YOUR CLASSROOM
    invest in one of those collapsable rolling carts to save your back and
    shoulders if you plan on hauling work home
    AIR FRESHENER
    whistle
    small flashlight -- in our area, if the weather is severe, the lights are definitely going out. A flashlight helps calm the kids
    wall clock with extra batteries
    electric pencil sharpeners -- I try to have 3 or 4 (which gets expensive) --those others don't last!
    large bottle of J. DANIELS in your drawer for you -----JUST KIDDING!

    You may want to buy a little each month. If you aren't careful, you can spend a small fortune on supplying your classroom. We get some money at the first of the year to spend on educational supplies, but it isn't much. See what your district provides. Dollar Tree/Apple Dollar stores are great, and office depot offers a teacher card that gives you a small discount on your purchases. Based on what you spend, at the end of the year, you may get some $$ back. I got 20 bucks back this year....
     
  26. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    As I read through I saw some great ideas (jotted a few down!) I keep a box for me with make up, body spray (never fails, I have outside duty on parent conference day!) deodorant, and other personal items. I also keep a pair of pants and a shirt in my closet just in case. One thing I sometimes forget to keep, but wish I had is safety pins. I am forever having to send kids up front for them. Also another lifesaver in my room is clothespins. I use them for everything!
    DaTeach, I don't keep JD in my drawer (although there are days it would come in handy! :D) I do keep a bottle of Mylanta, Pepcid, Immodium, and Midol. Other teachers know I keep these and throughout the year I'll get 3 or 4 notes begging to borrow one or the other.
    One last thing, I think I have posted it before, but I ALWAYS keep a can of Raid. I have this thing about roaches *shudder*, but what we get more of is ants and spiders. We don't kill spiders unless they are big or bothering one of the students. Just be sure you hide the Raid from the Fire Marshall. He doesn't like it. (Mine is in the back of a file cabinet drawer marked "Confidential". )
     
  27. mmis

    mmis Companion

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    It sounds as though you've gotten a great many ideas of things you'll need in the classroom.
    I just wanted to tell you- I don't know where you are teaching- but at my school, we all have a safety bag. It holds band-aids, a flashlight, kleenex, wipes, gloves, pencils, clinic passes, a whistle, and a few other things. Since these things can add up in $$, our parents donate these items to the class. One of my room mothers comes up and looks through the bag and sends out a note for the things I need. This way I'm not spending my own money. Many parents are willing to help out if they just know the need!
     
  28. teacherlissa

    teacherlissa Comrade

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    One thing that I didn't notice on the thread is a neosporin ointment-with as many germs that travel through the classroom, if you cut your self and stick a band-aid on it, it may get infected. This has happened before! I second the supplies for you! You need to make sure you have aspirin, imodium, rolaids, crackers, chapstick, tampons, etc. And also, try to bring in some photo's of your family/pets. The kids love to see you as a person and you will be comforted on those harsh days when you can look over and view your loved ones. I use the top shelf of a bookcase behind my desk to set up my teacher nick-nacks that I have acquired over the year and photo's.
     
  29. AnonyMS

    AnonyMS SpEd Para! BASE room aide! RTI Facilitator!

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    Extra pair of panty hose (nylons)!
     
  30. cdorey

    cdorey Rookie

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    I use a pencil cup with already sharp pencils in it because I hate the sharpening line that forms once 1 kids does it... then everyone needs too! So then they just go put their pencil (point up if it needs to be sharpened) into the cup and take an already sharpened one. This also makes it easier for the kids to know which ones need to be sharpened at the end of the day, only those pointing up.

    Bottled water, a timer, and 2 EZ Graders (1 for home, 1 for school).
     
  31. kpa1b2

    kpa1b2 Aficionado

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    Did we mention kleenex & hand lotion? Coffee Mug
     
  32. Ms.Jasztal

    Ms.Jasztal Maven

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    Read one of the classroom website threads. I think it is in the "General" section. I've been designing sites for quite some time, so I use Notepad and image mapping software. Yet on a beginning level, there are some sites that are free. Scholastic is free, I believe, and there is another decent one out there for teachers. Maybe if another teacher at your school has one, you can possibly ask her or him.
     
  33. Teener

    Teener Companion

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    I agree with the 2 EZ-Graders (home and school)
    Chocolate or other favorite snack to get you through the day
    Ibuprophen
    Dictionary
    photos of family/pets
    Hand lotion
    Hand sanitizer
    Timer
    Just to name a few off the top of my head.


    Just a note: if you choose to keep Neosporin for you make sure you don’t use it on the kids unless your school allows it. At my school that is considered medication and we can’t use it on the kids without a doctor’s note prescribing it to the child.
     
  34. Veteran Teacher

    Veteran Teacher Rookie

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    One item that I can't live without is my Rubbermaid containers. I use them for everything in my classroom. Since they come in a variety of sizes they have a million uses. I use the large, flat ones to store my bulletin board materials. I have all my bulletin board boarder rolled up and stored in a large, deep container. I use the smaller ones to store my crayons and markers that I loan to students who need them. I store computer CDs and my books on tape in them as well. Like I said, I use them for everything!
    Something else that I use a lot is Ziploc bags in a variety of sizes. At the beginning of the school year I have one gallon sized bag labeled with each student's name. They put all their extra pens, pencils etc... in the bag. Then they are stored in my coatroom. Students know that they can get their extra supplies whenever they run out. Ziploc bags are also good for storing small bulletin board pieces or letters.
     
  35. paperheart

    paperheart Groupie

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    Aug 3, 2005

    3 hole punch
    EZ grader
    start collecting small prizes for students (look around your house. i.e. little coin purses, new-looking stuffed animals)
    headache medicine
    snacks
    broom/dustpan
    chart paper/newsprint for making posters you want to display longer than a chalkboard would(for lessons)
    prepare a few sub plans for unexpected sick days
    board games puzzles (yard sales! :)
    3 ring binders
    fabric for bulliten boards
    toothpicks, deoderant, whatever else makes you feel fresh
    :D

    good luck!

    Alicia :)
     
  36. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Some kind of sticky stuff (poster tacky, duct tape, foam squares) to hold up things that fall down or that you need to display temporarily.

    Extra binder - I keep my BB letters in sheet protectors in binders.
     
  37. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    One thing I keep for kids is a bottle of after sun aloe vera gel. Our kids are always coming in burned. The gel is a life saver. (I haven't been told I can't use it, so as long as they don't say no, I'm assuming it's fine!)
     
  38. Miss W

    Miss W Phenom

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    I do the same, and I have a cup of unmarked popsicle sticks that I use with my character BB. Students pull a stick each time they disobey our rules. One stick is a warning, 2 are a blue ticket (known schoolwide as 5 min. off recess), 3 a red ticket (10 min. off recess), 4 whole recess off and note home, 5+ are whole recess, a note/phone call home, and talk with the principal.

    Other things that are life savers: stapler, colorful pens (Sharpies, Vis-a-Vis, and Expos), name tags, printer paper, white construction paper, file folders, paper clips, digital timer (real life saver!), loose leaf notebook paper, blank sentence strips, and more. Small plastic containers are great. I store paint, glue, markers, and scissors in these. I learned from my internship not to let 2nd & 3rd graders keep these in their desks. It's too tempting. At the beginning of the year I just have them place them in the basket. I also have plastic containers for groups. It's so easy to have all your materials ready to go for groups in these.
     
  39. Miss W

    Miss W Phenom

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    I have a couple bottles of sun screen as well. It's available if students want to use it and I take it on field trips. I make each student put it on then, unless they're allergic to it.

    Hand Santitizer is wonderful. I keep several bottles around the room. It's great because the closest bathroom is inside the building and takes too long to get to when you're just washing hands.
     
  40. barnswallow

    barnswallow Rookie

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    Aug 4, 2005

    One thing that is always used in my room (such great ideas above!) is the mystery box. I got a tin that has sort of a Victorian theme with old toys and postcard pictures on it. If I need a quick attention grabbing filler for 10 minutes I pop in something and we play "20 questions). It's great for divergent thinking.
    I also have a thematic stationary book with borders for lots of seasons and themes that I got years ago and use weekly for things like publishing writing, spelling, art. It has lined and unlined pages. I think it was from Scholastic.
     
  41. teacherbell

    teacherbell Cohort

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    Aug 4, 2005

    These are wonderful ideas! Thank you!!
     

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