Monday, August 15, 2016

10 Tools Every Teacher Needs

Let's talk teacher tools today!  We all have our favorites.  Or, at least ones we can't live without, or need in our lives. With the help of several dear teacher friends, I've compiled a list of 10 different tools that every teacher needs.

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1. Markers
There are so many great markers out there, and some markers are better than others, depending upon what you're using them for.

Mr. Sketch markers are great for making anchor charts (and they smell good-bonus!).


Flair pens are perfect for grading and writing comments.  I even use them to record grades in my grade book.  This way, I can alternate the colors in each column which makes it easier for me to keep track of where I am as I transfer my grades to the computer.


Sharpies are great for labeling!


And, let's not forget about dry erase markers. The Expo brand markers are my favorite, but there are other options out there. Let's be honest, if you have a whiteboard, these are a must.  Fun colors are optional, of course, but it never hurts to have a pink marker at your disposal.


2. Stapler
This is seriously my favorite stapler, obviously it cannot be used to staple packets or booklets together, but it serves its purpose.  It is probably one of the cheapest Swingline staplers available, and I didn't buy it in this condition.  A few years ago the bottom broke off as I was stapling stuff to my wall. Turns out that was the greatest thing ever!  I now have the best stapler for hanging stuff on the walls/bulletin boards.


But, what about stapling those packets and booklets?  I'll be honest, a stapler is a stapler to me, but one of my sweet teacher friends who helped compile this list, loves her Paper Pro stapler. She kind of won't staple anything without it.  Bottom line, teachers need staplers, no matter what they look like or what they are used for.


3. Xacto Knife
This nifty little tool is great for so many things.  You can use it to scrape hot glue from surfaces (I've used it to scrape it off of my plastic cubby drawers and the metal frame of my whiteboard).  Along these same lines, the knife is handy when trying to remove sticky objects from surfaces (stickers and labels).  And, of course, you can use it to cut things. ;)

4. Laminator/Lamination Pouches
Now, I realize that your school probably has a laminator.  So does mine, but it is not very reliable, and we aren't allowed to use it.  We turn in our lamination and it gets done twice a week.  But, our machine is old and often times, the lamination peels right off.  And other times, I might need something laminated for tomorrow's lesson but the designated lamination day is still two days away.  Plus, I can easily laminate over the summer from my kitchen counter while binge watching Netflix.  It's a win-win all the way around.

There are lots of brands out there, but my teacher friends and I all use this Scotch Laminator.


As for pouches, Scotch brand is my favorite, but I usually purchase the generic ones.  The quality is good and I've never had a problem with them (and I save a lot this way).

5. Magnetic Tape
This stuff is great for attaching posters or schedule cards to your whiteboard.  I love using it to magnetize my students' log in cards.  I just stick a piece of the magnetic tape to the back and stick them to the side of my filing cabinet where the kids can find their card as needed.


The magnetic tape from the craft store is great quality. This package is from Hobby Lobby.  The teacher stores sell the magnetic tape on little dispensers (like Scotch tape), but I've always found that tape to be weak in comparison to the stuff you can find in the craft store.

6. Flash Drive
Flash drives are a great way to access your files at school and then at home, and vice versa.  Don't worry, I am well aware of services like Dropbox and Google Docs for accessing files, but online network connections aren't always reliable.  If you find that Internet access is not super reliable where you are, the flash drive is a great option because all your files are stored on that little stick, not the cloud.

7. Document Camera/Projector
A few years ago, we all got document cameras and projectors installed in our classrooms.  I don't have much technology in my classroom.  In fact, this is the only tech I have (unless my 9 year old desktop computer counts).  But, I will say, hands down, we all love and use this set up daily.  They are great tools to use during whole group instruction.

I often project an activity page, our math journal page, or even task cards via my document camera/projector set up. I love the ease of projecting things onto the board and then writing on the board as needed with my whiteboard marker (it's a bit of time saver in many cases). Using this set up makes it easier for students to follow along.  And, the students love coming to the board/document camera to share answers/explain things to the class.



If this is something your district doesn't readily provide, Donors Choose might be an option. :)

8. Glue Gun
Glue guns are pretty useful.  You can use them when decorating your classroom. More specifically, they are handy when attaching border to your bulletin board frame, gluing decorative accents to baskets and buckets (like bows), hanging posters and other pieces to cinder block walls or laminate surfaces, and attaching labels to your book bins/centers bins.

My new favorite is the cordless glue gun.  This features is especially helpful when setting up your classroom.  You have the freedom to move around and glue as needed without being limited by the cord. Whichever you prefer, a glue gun is a great tool to have on hand.

(Update: This particular glue gun has been unavailable on Amazon for a while now.  If you find that to be the case when using the link above, try clicking here.  This second link will take you to another cordless glue gun offered by Adhesive Technologies...also, most craft stores stock cordless glue guns, so checking your local craft store is another option).


9. EZ Grader
This nifty slider makes grading easy. Hence the name, obviously.  But seriously, just slide the insert over to the number of questions you're grading and then look down the window to find the overall score of whatever you're grading. Easy peasy. (Please excuse the old pic.)


Did you know there is an app for that?  I mean, there's an app for everything, right?  There are actually a few grading apps, but I like Groovy Grader. It's free and it is super easy to use.

10. Actual Tools
More specifically, a hammer, a screwdriver, nails, etc. can come in quite handy. These are not everyday tools, of course, but they are useful to have on hand. So, when would you need this?  Most likely, when you're setting up your room.  That's when I use mine.  They are so helpful when hanging things on the wall or building small pieces of furniture.  My friend (who helped compile this list) keeps an actual toolbox in her wardrobe.  It has a hammer, screwdriver, measuring tape, the works.  I like to keep this tool on hand.


It's an all in one hammer/screwdriver.  See how it comes apart and lots of different screwdriver sizes are hidden inside the hammer?  So cool!  It comes in handy when hanging things on the wall, or as mentioned above, building small pieces of furniture. I most recently used this tool to assemble a rolling cart from Ikea. In case you're wondering, I found this hammer gizmo at Michaels several years ago. Definitely worth checking out.

Do you have a tool that you think every teacher needs?  Tell us in the comments!  :)

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4 comments:

  1. I am obsessed with ALL of those tools and I had no idea a wireless gun existed!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm telling you, it's amazing! I had no idea they existed either, that is until this summer. Mind blown! Thanks for stopping by today!

      Aimee

      Delete
  2. Hi Aimee,
    I know you have Math & Language Assessments for First Grade, available on TPT. Do you also have Reading Assessments? I see you have it for second grade and would love it if you had it for first grade. Thank you for your time. Sincerely, Sandi

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi Sandra,

    I am currently working on reading assessments for first and third grade. These take a great deal of time to write and edit. Thank you for your inquiry, and patience.

    Aimee

    ReplyDelete

I'd love to hear what you have to say!