Picture this: You’re taking a mental break from lesson planning and browsing Instagram when you see a perfectly filtered post with an amazing idea to use in the classroom. Instantaneously, nothing else in the world matters except getting your hands on that item, and you fly out the door to Target or Michaels or wherever to hunt it down and claim it as your own.
As you zoom towards the store, you envision your students giving you a standing ovation, clapping with glee as they see this amazing addition to their already Pinterest-perfect classroom. They behave better, learn better, and everything is right in your microcosm. You start envisioning other teachers having the same idea as you, and hit the gas just a teensy bit harder, predicting a quasi black Friday situation happening in the Dollar Spot.
Slightly out of breath, you arrive at the aisle and spot your item and snatch it up like Gollum with the ring. Yes, I’m describing myself. No, I’m not ashamed. Here are 10 things Instagram made me buy for my classroom:
1. Glue sponges
As someone who uses glue a lot in the classroom, I was super excited about this! They work really well, but only if you make sure the students have snapped the lids on tightly. Otherwise you get a really different science experiment…mold. Also make sure you teach your students that they don’t need to pull the sponge out of the container!
2. Marquee light
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you have seen the marquee light. I went to Michael’s so fast with my coupon because I was convinced they’d sell out. Unfortunately with this one, unless you really have the time to remember to change it in the madness of the daily morning rush, it might sit there saying “Welcome Back To School” until Christmas, like mine did.
3. Teacher rolling storage cart
The multicolored drawer cart that almost every teacher has stashed in their classroom, this item had a resurgence in popularity recently when teachers started labeling their drawers with cute chalkboard stickers and making them a centerpiece in their room. I also jumped in on the hype, because who can resist labeling something?
4. Chalkboard scrolls and other knick knacks
In a nod to the “Precept” idea in Wonder, I bought a chalkboard paper scroll from the “One Spot” at Target to display inspiring quote every day. This was a great idea that I just didn’t remember to implement enough, but worth the $3 price tag.
5. Testing day treats
So these seemed silly, even as I was loading up my cart with random candy and then making punny labels to go on it the night before testing started. I figured I was wasting my time, but the students really appreciated the note. I did not appreciate the garbage on the floor, or the one kid who made sure to let me know he did not like Swedish fish on the “O-fish-ally done with testing” day.
6. Tissue paper decorations
Super cute? Yes. Super dusty? Yes. Super against fire code? Also yes.
7. The IKEA kitchen cart
Alright well this one I’ll admit really was a Black Friday type of situation. The teal RASKOG cart from IKEA did sell out quite often, and shipping is insane so you have to go to the store to get it. I’m really glad I did, because it is the most versatile teaching cart available. I actually love it so much I have three more at home… This cart is worth the cost and you can do a million different things with it.
8. Table labels
If you teach middle school, you know about the power of a new seating chart. I wanted an easy way to switch seats, and I saw a post with sticky clear pocket labels from the One Spot at Target and thought, “this will be such an easy way to switch seats!” Unfortunately, it didn’t work out for me. It was still a pain to switch the names around, I forgot in my excited haze that I had six different classes each day with different students, and the corners of the labels proved irresistible to fingers picking at them. Within a week I had ditched this idea in favor of projecting new seating charts at the beginning of class.
9. Teacher toolboxes
Who doesn’t love a cute plastic toolbox turned pineapple themed supply box? I have spent too much time mod podge-ing and relabeling, and sticking mine up over the years, but it can get expensive buying supplies to hold all your tiny teaching knick knacks. If you invest in this one I recommend not letting the students use it, keep it all for yourself!
10. All the Flair pens in existence
Because…hello, they’re flair pens!