I have always wanted to have a “My Favorite Things” list like Oprah does each year. I remember watching the Oprah Show back in 2004 when she gave out cars to everyone. It was AMAZING to watch! The crazy thing was, I didn’t want to be a person in the audience that received a car (okay, maybe a little bit), but I really wanted to be Oprah….the one that got to surprise everyone and absolutely make their day!
Giving is one of the kindest things we can do for one another. This is probably why most of us became teachers. We have a desire to help others!
I have created a list of “My Favorite Things” for teachers. I’d loooooove to be able to give out each item to 275 people, but of course, I’m not Oprah.
I hope you discover some things that maybe you haven’t used before, or maybe a parent has been asking how they can help supply resources for your room and you can direct them here.
I have listed some resources that a teacher could have used 10 years ago (if they existed) and hopefully 10+ years from now. These are, in my mind, the most valuable resources in my classroom.
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A necessity for every teacher! The two that I use the most are EXPO Dry Erase Markers and Papermate Flair Pens. Teacher’s need color and these two products do not disappoint!
What does this look like?....I post a few problems on the overhead screen and have students hold up their answers whenever they are ready. I respond with a yes or no, so they know if they can go to the next problem. Once the complete the practice problems, they then can begin their other math work.
These static cling dry-erase sheets have been a fun addition to my class! They are great for when students are practicing math problems in pairs or groups. Each group hangs their sheet anywhere in the room. I can easily see them working together and when they call me over for help, it’s easy to see the steps they’ve already completed. Then, when we are done, we roll them up and put them away for next time.
These are not just for primary students!!! I am in love with these dry-erase pocket sleeves because it allows me to save handouts from year to year…without laminating! Plus, this set includes 30 dry-erase markers. I use these sleeves all the time for my Battle My Math Ship games.
Of course, I use all of my graphing calculator reference sheets to teach students how to use the TI-84 calculator, but it is also helpful to do the sheets with them. This tool is a great way for students to visually follow along with you.
I know some schools provide class sets of Texas Instrument calculators, but mine does not. So, I always like to have about five extra TI-84 calculators on hand for when a student forgets their calculator or their batteries run out…or heaven forbid they lost it! Eeek!
I use my Wacom Tablet almost every day! It is an amazing way to digitally write notes with students. I know there are other types of tablets that come with Smartboards, but I have been using my Wacom for years and I love it…so easy and durable. I even have the wireless kit so I can walk around the room or have my students use it from their desk. Below is a glimpse of how I use it in my class....
WHITE CARD STOCK SHEETS
Students love to be identified with a talent! I like to give out math awards and these sheets are perfect for awards.
These are for the “I don’t have good handwriting, or a Cricut, or the time ~ teacher”. I like these because they are easy to re-use and move around the room throughout the school year.
Let’s face it, we know that we are better teachers if we are HAPPY! So, I have also listed the things that have been huge aspects for me to keep up with my self-care.
I’m not big on headphones while working out. Therefore, I purchased a bike mount for my iPhone. I don’t even need the volume up that high to hear it and I can ride and see the screen at the same time. It’s also nice and handy for taking pictures of cool things I see on my route.
AIR FRYER & INSTANT POT
Okay, I have to admit…I am completely obsessed with both of these small kitchen appliances. In fact, I am now the proud owner of one Instant Pot and two air fryers. These appliances have made making dinner soooo much faster AND easier, but still keeping it healthy! Here are some of my favorite foods to cook in each…
Instant Pot: chili, chicken noodle soup, shredded pork, ribs, shredded chicken (usually for enchiladas), and hardboiled eggs. This is basically a super fast crockpot!
Air Fryer: ANY vegetable is amazing when cooked in the air fryer, as well as chicken wings, bacon, pork chops, cheeseburgers, homemade french fries or hash browns, salmon (simply the best), fish, and chicken breasts. Any food you want to be crispy on the outside, but still juicy/tender in the middle…this is your go to appliance.
After a looooong week of teaching, sometimes we just want to curl up and watch a good movie or binge on a tv series. And that’s okay!!! Netflix is an easy way to do this via computer, tv, or even your iPad. Some people watch on their phone, but my eyes are too old for that!
I used to be an avid reader and then kids and life took over for a few years. However, I have made a commitment to read at least one book every month…or at least try. I definitely do it in spurts. I’m the type that will read a book in 2-3 days because once I start, I can’t put the book down. I find that reading really helps me “escape” my worries and stress in a good way. So if you are like me and reading has been on the back burner, get back into it! You can find some good ones on the New York Time’s Bestseller List or free ones on Wattpad.
I hope you found some useful things in this post! Feel free to email me with things you use in your classroom that are must-haves!!!
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Teachers plan and prepare lessons, attend meetings, help students, create resources, grade assessments, communicate with parents, learn new teaching strategies, learn technology…and the list could go on forever. With so many things to do, I find that thinking of a new way to decorate my room each year can become daunting. Don’t get me wrong, I love decorating my walls and bulletin boards, but it’s the with what that sometimes stumps me.
After searching the internet, I discovered some amazing ideas and came up with a few of my own. I divided the ideas up into four main categories – informative, interactive, student work, and motivational. Check out what I found and am using in my classroom this year…
These types of bulletin boards display information that provides students with visual reference throughout the year.
1 – Word Walls
Love them! Scaffolded Math and Science has the most amazing ones and she explains why they are so important for high school students on her blog.
2 – Graphing Calculator Reference Sheets
Students constantly forget the steps they need to use on a graphing calculator. These sheets are great for students to put in their interactive notebooks, binder, etc. I hang them up on folders and then place the sheets for my students behind the picture so they are ready to go whenever they need them. Read about them in my blog post or snag them in my store.
3 – Math = Love Blog
All of her ideas are awesome! Her blog is filled with so much creativity, which includes ways to decorate your room with math. I used her Perfect Squares and Perfect Cubes sheets this year and my students were so appreciative, especially for the simplifying radicals quiz.
Bulletin boards where students engage with the pieces on the board. There are several types out there, but I found this one to be great for math class.
4 – Boggle
Students interact with this vocabulary Boggle bulletin board designed by Math Giraffe. Learn about this idea and how to set up a classroom that works for teens on her blog. This is great for stations, bell ringers, or even early finishers. Lessons with Coffee also has a Boggle bulletin board for math expressions which you can find here.
Show off your student's hard work!!!
5 – Math is Everywhere
Every year I use this bulletin board idea from the Middle School Math Man. I have my Algebra 2 and Calculus students think of a place they see or use math in the real world. Then they are to create a sheet that includes one Algebra skill, one Geometry skill, and then one more math skill of their choice (Algebra, Geometry, Statistics, etc.) that ties to the real world setting. I have added a rubric, example, and bulletin board letters for this activity in my FREE Resource Library, so SUBSCRIBE to my email list to get instant access!
6 – iMath resources
A fun spin on student’s favorite iPhone Apps – Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, and iMessage. Students add sheets to their phone throughout the school year to show what they know and document their growth. At the end of the year they use it for review before their final exam. Check them out here.
7 – The Fridge
Easy way for student’s to display their hard work! Check out how Scaffolded Math and Science sets it up in her class.
8 – Math Pennants
Scaffolded Math and Science does it again! Her blog is full of fun and witty ideas. These pennants are a way for students to confidently display their knowledge and understanding of math topics.
We can all use some inspiration in life, right?!
9 – Growth Mindset Posters
I’m all about GRIT this year, which you can read more about in my blog post on To-Do Lists and True Grit. I used Mrs. E Teaches Math’s growth mindset posters to encourage my students to be gritty. Check them out here.
I hope you found some ideas to use in your classroom! I would love to hear about more cool ways to decorate a math classroom, so send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with ideas.
*All photos are from my classroom, unless otherwise noted in the photo caption.