I 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?