The Perfect Teacher Kit

By on September 8, 2014

All teachers have their go to activities. But do they all have a go to teacher kit? This week I would like to offer a simple kit for classroom teachers to help with student engagement, classroom management, and explicit instruction. I will explain the contents of the kit and provide practical ways to use it.

Contents:

  • Stickers
  • 4 Crayola markers
  • Highlighter
  • Remote clicker
  • Stamp
  • Dice
  • Sticky notes

Stickers

Develop a small group task. Consider using our Prompt Builder. Ask students to move into small groups. Give each group a notecard. Ask students to write their names on the back of the notecard. Tell students that they will earn a sticker every time you see or hear them doing something you like. For example, maybe students refer to their notes, reference a support tool, speak kindly, ask thoughtful questions, or work as a team. Place the stickers on one side of the card. Explain that the group with the most stickers at the end of the activity (I would want students to work for at least 20 minutes) will receive an A letter grade. Teams with fewer stickers will receive a lower grade. If the best group receives 8 stickers the group with 6 stickers would receive a 75%. I simply divide the sticker number by the the amount of the stickers earned by the top group. If I may be transparent, I rarely give less than an A letter grade with this type of activity because my groups work so hard to be the top group. Healthy competition is always good for students.

Crayola Markers

I encourage my students to use color when taking notes. The color works as an additional stimulus for students when recalling information they have written down. Additionally, color helps with organization and engagement. I like to use Crayola markers when modeling note taking under a document camera because they are so bright and bold. Students can clearly see what I am writing even if they are seated in the back of the room. Even though students might not have the colors I am using, they can see how color is used to organize and connect ideas.

Highlighter

This is a great tool for quickly marking rubrics on the fly. When I want to assess my students quickly, I run-off LiteracyTA's rubrics for a skill or activity that I want my students to complete. I hand out the rubrics and ask my students to put their names on them. Then, I collect them and walk around the room and assess what individual students are doing. With my highlighter, I begin to grade my students. By the end of the activity, I have given all of my students a grade. I can then give them instant feedback or record the scores in my gradebook.

This management strategy also works well for small and large groups. Each group gets one rubric. The score is given to all members of the group.

Dice

Rolling dice is a great way to get all students engaged and sharing ideas with the class. Because it is completely random, students buy in and share if they are chosen. Here is how it works. One die can be used for a row and the other can be used for a seat in that row. If you are working with tables, one die can be used for the table and the other can be used for the individual student at the table. If you have more than six rows or tables, you will want to roll two dice. Be careful, if you always roll two dice for the table or row, you will never hit table 1. Make it fun. Have students look at your roll to verify the numbers. I also like to have students call out the numbers: "Row 3, Student 4." The class always has a good response.

Sticky Notes

If you are a teacher, you love sticky notes. We have all at one point in our careers scoured the main office for stacks of the ugly yellow ones. At conferences, we like to slip a few stacks of the bright green, blue, and pink ones in our bags. "For the kids," we like to say. The truth is, we need them. We need lots of them. Sticky notes make great book marks, too. If you have multiple classes, it is tough to keep track of where every class is in a text. Make a tab or simply stick a note next to the place you last read. Lastly, try using sticky notes for "temperature checks" or "ticket out the door" activities that help with bell to bell instruction.  

The Self-inking Stamp

Stamping students' papers is a quick and easy way to give credit. Students appreciate the acknowledgment and love seeing a stamp on their papers. I like to stamp homework and stamp papers that I have asked my students to bring in to class. For example, I might ask my students to bring in a text or a handout from LiteracyTA. Even though we will do something with it, I want to give my students credit (or at least acknowledge them) for coming to class prepared. Because I use self-inking stamps, I can whip around a room in less than 2 minutes. This is an efficient way for me to check in with my students and to see if they have done what I asked them to do.

This is my teacher kit that I use everyday. It has expanded a bit over time. I have added to my kit a pair of scissors, a hall pass on a lanyard, and a few mechanical pencils for when I teach close reading skills under a document camera.

What is in your teacher kit?  Join the conversation below and share your brilliance with the rest of us.

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