Whether it’s a genius repurposing of an everyday item, another dollar-store find, or a perfectly affordable way to organize your classroom, there’s nothing like proven teacher hacks to save you time and money. Here is a roundup of some of our favorite Instagram-worthy teacher hacks straight from the source: teachers like you.
1. Store paint in old soap dispensers.
And make art time a little less messy.
2. Try out a mystery award.
Want to switch up your classroom reward? Here’s a fun way to incentivize students.
3. Save those book jackets!
How awesome is this rainbow book display? Save book jackets (or even print out book covers) to make this come to life!
4. Socks for erasers!
Socks make the perfect pocket to store students’ dry-erase markers! Plus, they are such an inexpensive solution for erasers.
5. We all need a secret stash.
How genius is this? Your students will never fix your Twix now!
6. For those early finishers.
We’re loving this display! If you’re tired of hearing “I’m done, now what can I do?” put some options on the wall!
7. Color-coding works every time.
It’s so simple but oh-so genius at the same time.
8. A Do Not Disturb light switch.
For when you are working with small groups or helping an individual student, this is a great idea! Let students know you need a few minutes before getting to their questions.
9. Use a star student instead of classroom jobs.
Assigning out a variety of classroom jobs can be so time-consuming. Try using a star student! Just pick one student each day who will be the helper for all those little classroom jobs.
10. Write on pencils for encouragement.
Is there a big unit test coming up? Or state testing? This piece of encouragement is easy to make and sure to make your students smile!
11. Make a pool noodle rainbow!
How adorable is this? Grab some dollar-store pool noodles and get to creating. Check out our big list of pool noodle hacks!
12. The nothing-note strategy.
Have you tried this strategy? Send a student on a walk to help them refresh and return to the classroom ready to learn. Read more on the nothing-note tactic here.
13. Flashlight Fridays are so fun!
Spark some reading love with this idea! Students get so excited to read a book with the lights dimmed during Flashlight Friday.
14. Turn scrap paper into confetti.
Save colored scrap paper and turn it into confetti with a hole punch. Use it for celebrations or art projects.
15. Display student work with clothespins and tacks.
You can stop leaving holes in students’ work with this hack!
16. Use pouches to separate papers.
Keep things organized with mesh pouches such as these. Use them for transporting papers to and from home or for staying organized in the classroom.
17. DIY play dough.
Just use cornstarch, lotion, and food coloring for a DIY you can do with your students.
18. Communicate with your teacher team.
No need to rely on your phones!
19. Color-code your printables.
One for each day of the week!
20. Make master notes with yellow highlighter.
Did you know that yellow highlighter won’t come through when you make copies? This is a game-changer for making notes to yourself! Check out this Instagram reel showing the hack in action.
21. Implement a calming caddy.
Give students a place to take a break if needed. You might end up using these items too!
22. Create a voice-o-meter.
All you need are tap lights and signs. Now all your students will know the appropriate noise level.
23. Create desk holders.
All you need are zip ties and plastic cups!
24. Turn your collaboration desk into a dry-erase board.
This teacher says, “It’s amazing what five dollars can do,” and we definitely agree!
25. Use colorful lead pencils.
These are so genius. Now you can have erasable colors in pencil, not just pen.
26. It’s an A+ for organized learning.
This teacher uses photo boxes you can buy from Michaels to store and organize her task cards.
27. Use a fun screen saver to keep track of your devices.
Avoid numbering your devices with stickers that can leave an icky residue. Photos of yourself or your students make a fun alternative.
28. Make turning in homework a game.
Homeworkopoly might be one of the most genius things we’ve seen this year. It’s from Le Teacher Chronicles and demonstrated here by A Love for Teaching.
29. It’s coffee that lasts all day!
This will get you through those long days—iced coffee to the rescue.
30. Get students to stop blurting out.
When the light is on, there is absolutely no blurting out.
31. Use microfiber cloths to clean your whiteboards.
With minimal sewing skills, you can make mitts that are extra kid friendly.
32. Give your mini easel a new life.
This teacher said her mini easel was always getting in the way—until she figured out this genius use for it.
Source: @mrswaldron’s mini easel
33. Repurpose an old spice rack.
Because you can never find a paper clip when you need one.
34. Try a drying rack for student art.
A laundry drying rack is a cheap and space-saving way to dry glued or painted projects.
35. Make a review game from dry-erase dice.
For one buck, these dry-erase dice are the perfect learning activity for any subject.
36. Color-code your hall passes.
And hang them in a handy place that only you can access.
37. Get their attention with a doorbell.
This teacher swears by her wireless doorbell. She says it’s just the thing she needs to get students’ attention.
Source: @loveforelementary’s classroom doorbell
38. Rolling carts are game changers.
We’ve heard it again and again: A teacher can never have too many rolling carts.
39. It’s a new kind of classroom pet.
This teacher likes it nice and clean, and her robot vacuum does the job.
40. Use a shoe rack to distribute work.
Save time on passing out assignments by giving your students a teacher- and student-friendly cubby where they can find their work.
41. Bring life to a number line.
Best of all, it doesn’t take up much space at all.
42. Bring new meaning to the dab.
How do you use bingo dabbers in your classroom?
Source: @earlycorelearning’s bingo dabbers
43. Learn a little something from your students.
Encourage your students to share.
44. Use pom-poms for your markers.
This one goes around from time to time, but it’s worth showing again because it’s so easy!
Source: @_aloveforteaching’s marker pom-poms
45. Use clothespins for pencil grippers.
This teacher hack is a cheap and simple way to help kids grasp their fine motor skills.
46. Put a mark on borrowed pencils.
Now you can easily keep track of them.
47. Bring life to clothespins.
How great are these for holding papers?! We love them.
48. Store paintbrushes in toothbrush holders.
You can get them at the dollar store for a great organization hack.
49. Bottle caps offer good learning opportunities.
You can use this idea for letters, math, and so much more.
50. Use Popsicle sticks to call on students.
A colorful way to ensure every student gets a turn.
51. Practice makes perfect.
All you need is plastic plates and you have a math manipulative that you can write on with a dry-erase marker.
52. Make glue sponges.
Instead of going through a ton of glue sticks, dump a bottle of Elmer’s Glue onto a sponge. Every few weeks, flip them and give them a spritz of water, and they’ll be good to go all school year.
53. Make your own classroom lighting.
Create a calming atmosphere in your classroom by putting an inexpensive string of fairy lights in a glass jar.
54. Color-code your art supplies.
For a truly Instagram-worthy teacher hack, grab free paint chips from a hardware store and get creative. We’ve also seen several teachers use paint samples for curriculum review.
55. Create a pencil-sharpening station.
Now you won’t have students always asking to go to the pencil sharpener. They can just grab a new pencil and keep working. Then the sharpening can be done at a later time!
56. Make a simple dry-erase board.
With a plastic sleeve protector, your students have the freedom to try multiple times.
57. Glue decor to your desk. Yes, really.
You can scrape it off at the end of the year, and all of your breakables will (finally) still be intact.
58. Put bag hooks on the backs of student chairs.
Finally clear up the clutter on the floor.
59. Make yourself an “invisibility cloak.”
For this teacher, it’s her kitty ears. Putting them on reminds students to try to problem-solve on their own.
60. Use a pool noodle for a doorstop.
No more slamming doors!
61. Organize papers with magazine racks.
These are so helpful to stay organized!
62. Put matched stickers on glue sticks and caps.
Never lose caps again.
63. Use shower curtains as decor.
Decorative shower curtains can be a cute and inexpensive way to spruce up any classroom wall.
64. Don’t let markers go dry.
Tape together markers in sets for students to use so you never find miscellaneous caps!
65. Partner up with bracelets.
Create random partners with colored bracelets to facilitate variety.
Source: @teaching_on_plan_it_planet & @hello_fifth
66. Easily store anchor charts.
Use hangers with clips and a clothing hack (or wall hooks) to keep anchor charts neat.
67. Save time by using the dishwasher.
Clean and disinfect classroom supplies such as these in the dishwasher for a fast solution to dirty items.
68. Clothespins can help teach the alphabet and spelling.
Glue or even write letters on clothespins for kids to find alphabet letters or spell out words.
69. Start a writing station suitcase.
Have everything you need in one place to get students writing with this suitcase station and ideas.
70. Share your screen.
We love a good screen share! Did you know you can connect your computer to a TV?
71. Try out chalk markers.
Use chalk markers for brighter, more vibrant colors without the chalky mess.
72. Have a sub-survival set ready.
You never know when you will have to call in a sub last minute. A setup like this makes it so easy to be ready to go at the drop of a hat.
73. Use all of the classroom.
Ran out of desk space? Use the floor!
74. Ask parents for toys.
Students bored during indoor recess? Have parents send in a few small toys to keep them happy and occupied.
75. Use an apron.
Hand sanitizer? Check. Scissors? Check. Pens? Check!
What are your favorite Instagram-worthy teacher hacks? Come and share in our WeAreTeachers HELPLINE group on Facebook.
Plus, check out our favorite dollar-store hacks for the classroom.