Language Sensei

A Language Teacher's Journey

My 4 Low-Tech Indispensable ‘Classroom Supplies’


blog picI was looking out at my class today – and suddenly I realized that it isn’t about having the latest tech bells and whistles. Well that would be nice. But there are the little things – the small items – that just make a class hum. Here’s my top 4 – without which I would not function as well…

Small Coloured Sticky Notes – They are useful for reminders for students (and the occasional game prize!). I have one class with 3 students with identified learning issues. They can’t ‘remember’ to see me about something – so the bright blue post-it on their desk is their (and my) reminder that we need to talk/do something for class.

Table Signs (framed) – With frames courtesy of a sale at Ikea – they are easy to see on a table in a crowded and busy room. Inside I have basic numbers – but sometimes I swap those out for phrases. In a ‘debate’ situation the words may be ‘I agree’/’I don’t agree’. I use the numbers for my ‘station days’ and even as a ‘barrier’ when students write quizzes. Easy to store and set out!

Headphone Splitter (& extension cord) – The ‘Belkin Rockstar’ headphone splitter is key for me. With 3 old computers in my room – it allows up to 15 students at one time to listen in. This year I also added an ‘extension’ cord for the splitter (the cord from the jack to the splitter is quite short) so that students can sit and listen more comfortably.  I have a bunch of $2 headphones from the dollar store for use as many students don’t have their own in class.

Table Baskets – They sit in the middle of a table of 4. Inside there are scissors, extra pens/pencils, erasers, dice for games and more. Often, before class, I’ll put the envelopes for a game, or a practice sheet in the basket as well – easy for students to find and get going on. Things we use repeatedly – like ‘follow up questions’ or certain character sets remain in there, in small plastic ziplock bags, as long as we need them.

In this technological day and age its nice to have some simple items that are just as key as the latest gadget. What are your ‘small’ items that make your class hum?




  1. My favorite are my “communicators”. They are a clear plastic sleeve into which I have put a blank white piece of paper with a number (1-4). If I need to break a task down, or make sure everyone participates, I call out a number, for example “this one is for the twos”. Mostly, they serve as individual white boards, or as a great place for group collaboration with a dry erase marker. I’ve also used them for class sets of papers so no one accidentally writes on them or takes it with them when they leave.

  2. I really haven’t done stations on a regular basis yet, and I really want to. I need to work on this more this summer.

    I love my old, old little whiteboards. We do all kinds of practice with them. I also have a box filled with old clothes and hats and junk. We use it when we act things out.

    Loved the post! Thank you.

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