Minds in Bloom is excited to present Melissa with her post on using items from the hardware store in the classroom! Enjoy!
Aside form TeachersPayTeachers, my favorite place to shop for classroom and teaching supplies is the hardware store. The Home Depot, Lowe’s, True Value–I love them all! Here are just a few goodies I found on my latest window-shopping spree. Enjoy!
1. Gear Ties:
I found these in the electrical aisle of The Home Depot. The colors are what first jumped out at me; I am sucker for anything neon. But then I quickly realized the great functionality these would have in the classroom. They are perfect little gadgets to clean up the rat’s nest of cords I have hidden under my desk, and unlike zip-ties, you can just untwist and rearrange as needed. They come in a variety of colors and sizes. The packages pictured below range in price from $3 to $5.
How awesome would these be for teachers who use ear buds as listening centers? This would save so much “detangling” time.
2. Microfiber Dusting Mitt
I have a few pairs of these that I use at home, and I LOVE them. They are a necessity for the classroom. Not only do they work really well, but they also last forever. I think what I like most is that you can just take them home with you over the weekend and throw them in the washing machine. These make a perfect classroom job that your students will eagerly volunteer to do. At only $3 for one glove, you could have several sets at the ready!
3. Tile Spacers
Yes. Tile spacers. You know, those little rubbery things that are placed between the corners of tiles to make the perfect grout lines on your floor. These make an excellent math manipulative when teaching adding and subtracting integers. Simply cut off two “nibs” to make a negative. Then, make a class set so that each student has 10 positives and 10 negatives. They are very effective for modeling zero pairs and getting your students thinking algebraically. This entire bag, which is enough to make 3 or 4 class sets, is only $6. It will literally last you your entire teaching career.
4. Restroom Signs (Bathroom Pass)
Don’t these make the coolest bathroom passes? They are the perfect size (3″ x 9″), and they are plastic, which means they are durable and easily sanitized (SO important). I bought two and drilled a hole through them so that I can attach some nylon cording. I then used Sharpie Paint Pens to color the boy and the girl, but the sky is the limit on personalizing them for your classroom.
5. Step Ladder
Okay, so this isn’t the most novel or exciting idea, but it is VERY important. I still see so many teachers balancing on classroom furniture to reach those high places. Sorry to get bossy, but STOP doing that! A student chair on top of a student desk is not intended to be used as a ladder, and up until a friend of mine broke her ribs falling from one of these contraptions, I was the number one offender. Invest in a good step stool that has at least three steps and a little shelf. It will run you about $40, but it is so worth it!
6. Steel Buckets
These are everywhere right now. But, if you’re looking to save some money, and you still want quality, then pick them up from your hardware store. There were over eight sizes and shapes, so you can use them in countless ways. The large ones make excellent waste baskets, and the smaller ones can be used for pencils, markers, pens, etc. There was also an oblong one that would be perfect for clipboards or student whiteboards.
7. Key/Badge Reel
I think most schools these days require staff to wear a badge at all times. I have mine attached to a lanyard with my school keys. I really didn’t care for wearing a lanyard around my neck, especially because it made me hunch over awkwardly anytime I had to open a door. The key reel is genius! I have it attached to my lanyard with my badge and key and it makes unlocking doors so much easier. I have owned quite a few of these, and I will say the plastic ones won’t last a whole school year. I finally found this all-metal one at The Home Depot, and it’s going on three years. They should be located near the key center of your hardware store.
8. Vinyl Letters
These adorable letters were in the “sign area” (where I picked up the bathroom passes). They have a bit of style to them and are not the old boring block letters you typically see in the hardware store. Even though they are only available in uppercase letters, they would still look really nice on your white board or even in a window. I also like that they are only three inches–not too big and overpowering but still perfectly visible. And, they are only $0.68 each!
That’s a wrap on my shopping fun! Thank you, Rachel, for allowing me to share my classroom finds on Minds-in-Bloom. I hope you and your readers found some useful ideas.