Culling Out Some Teacher Treasures

In a flurry of manliness and home organization, Mark has been making over our garage.  In the process, two boxes of my classroom desk paraphernalia needed to be culled through.


Whenever I unpack old teaching stuff, I  have a) a wave of nostalgia for my years teaching in Virginia and b) the realization that many of the things I did with my first graders could be fun and relevant for my 3 1/2 year-old.  (One thing I loved about teaching was taking other people’s ideas and making them interesting and applicable to my individual kids… I’m writing this post with that spirit in mind and hoping to give you all a springboard for something that might suit you better!)

1. Date stamp.  No activity here, but I’m always losing track of when each drawing or collage was done, a quick hit with this old-school library stamp and I’m chronologically kept in order.


2. Timers.  These were my best friend.  Clean up time?  Beat the timer!  Quiet reading time?  Wait for the timer to ring! Taking turns?  Each gets one turn on the timer!  And for my own kids… time outs for infractions like hitting or defiance.


3. Removable hilighter tape.  These were extremely useful in a classroom for hilighting certain words in a read aloud book, but will also be fun for isolating letters for my younger kids.  I think I’m going to use them in a couple of board books and see if Eleanor can find all the letters of the alphabet.  I may even have her guess what word I selected based on context clues within the illustration.


4. Story ideas.  Each color represents either the character, the setting, or the problem- the three components to a story in our first grade writing curriculum.  For Eleanor, this will set a nice foundation and might be a fun idea for her next drawing.


5. A bell.  This was handed down to me from my mentor teacher, and I used to it get the children’s attention.  Early in the year, we would practice moving around the room and listening for the bell.  When the bell rang, everyone needed to freeze.  Later in the year, I would make the bell quieter to challenge them.  No reason why this couldn’t be a fun game/ signal for my own kids.


6. Sentence fragments.  Kind of like those magnetic poetry words, but simpler.  Eleanor thought it was fun to put together the beginning, middle and end to hear what silly sentences we could make.




7. Popsicle stick pairs.  These are tongue depressors with stickers for finding partners. My students would draw sticks and find the person who had the matching sticker.  I’m thinking this could be helpful when I need to start deciding who goes first for something… my kids can take turns drawing sticks and whoever gets a pair first, goes first!


8. Boredom busters.  This set of cards has ideas on them for when my students couldn’t think of anything to do during free choice.  Boom- quiet time activity picked!


9. Positive reinforcement.  When I noticed someone doing something great, they got a ticket.  I didn’t ‘notice’ things that were expected of my kids, but rather the things that were special like a kind word to a friend, helping a classmate with a problem, cleaning up without being provoked… tickets could be exchanged for small prizes every so often.  A ticket might be a nice tangible reminder for Eleanor of her job chart and other kind acts around the house.


10. Character.  I was fortunate to work at a school with a character education program.  These character traits were discussed and omnipresent in our literacy, our assemblies, and our social studies.  These labels were used to identify anything in our classroom that demonstrated caring, trustworthiness, respect or responsibility.  Eleanor, Oliver and Martha are young so concrete experiences are best; these strips will be a nice reminder for when their actions or our picture books are an example of caring, respect, trust, or responsibility.




p.s. No idea what to do with this smiley face light… any suggestions welcome!



4 thoughts on “Culling Out Some Teacher Treasures

  1. Oh my word…so many items you could find in my desk at school right now! Still find the classics a hit ( popsicle sticks, timers, etc…)

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