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: you. And we even found ones for the socially-distant classroom and teaching online.
1. Use all of the classroom.
Run out of desk space for socially distanced learning? Use the floor!
2. Ask parents for toys.
Since students can’t share indoor recess toys, ask parents to send in a few.
3. Use an apron.
Mask? Check. Scissors? Check. Pens? Check!
4. Masks off!
Let students know when it’s appropriate to keep their masks on or off.
5. Keep tabs on your teachers.
No need to rely on your phones!
6. Color code your printables.
One for each day of the week!
7. Create online video icons.
Now even your littlest of students will know what to do with their screen.
8. Share your screen.
In class and for virtual learners!
9. Create a voice-o-meter.
All you need are tap lights and signs. Now all your students will know the appropriate noise level.
10. Create desk holders.
All you need are zip ties and plastic cups!
11. Turn your collaboration desk into a dry-erase board.
This teacher says, “It’s amazing what five dollars can do,” and we definitely agree!
12. It’s beautiful, colorful lead pencils!
These are so genius. Now you can have erasable colors in pencil, not just pen.
13. It’s an A+ for organized learning.
This teacher uses photo boxes you can buy from Michaels to store and organize her task cards.
14. 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.
15. Make turning in homework a game.
16. It’s coffee that lasts all day!
This will get you through those long days. Iced coffee to the rescue.
17. Get students to stop blurting out.
When the light is on, there is absolutely no blurting out.
18. Use microfiber cloths to clean your whiteboards.
With minimal sewing skills, you can make mitts that are extra kid friendly.
19. 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!
20. Repurpose an old spice rack by filling it with school supplies.
Because you can never find a paper clip when you need one.
21. Try a drying rack for student art.
A laundry drying rack is a cheap and space-saving way to dry glued or painted projects.
22. Make a review game from dry-erase dice.
For one buck, these dry-erase dice are the perfect learning activity for any subject.
23. Color-code your hall passes.
And hang them in a handy place that only you can access.
24. 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.
25. Rolling carts are game changers.
We’ve heard it again and again: A teacher can never have too many rolling carts.
26. It’s a new kind of classroom pet.
This teacher likes it nice and clean, and her robot vacuum does the job.
27. 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.
28. Bring life to a number line.
Best of all, it doesn’t take up much space at all.
29. Store paint in old soap dispensers.
And make art time a LITTLE less messy.
30. Bring new meaning to the dab.
How do you use bingo dabbers in your classroom?
31. Learn a little something from your students.
Encourage your students to share.
32. 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!
33. Use clothespins for pencil grippers.
This teacher hack is a cheap and simple way to help kids grasp their fine motor skills.
34. Put a mark on borrowed pencils.
Now you can easily keep track of them.
35. Bring life to clothespins.
How great are these for holding papers?! We love them.
36. Store paintbrushes in toothbrush holders.
You can get them at the dollar store for a great organization hack.
37. Bottle caps are good learning opportunities.
You can use this idea for letters, math, and so much more.
38. Use Popsicle sticks to call on students.
A colorful way to ensure every student gets a turn.
39. 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.
40. 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.
41. Color-coding works every time.
It’s so simple, but oh-so genius at the same time.
42. Make your own classroom lighting.
Create a calming atmosphere in your classroom by putting an inexpensive string of fairy lights in a glass jar.
43. 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.
44. 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!
45. Make a simple dry-erase board.
With a plastic sleeve protector, your students have the freedom to try multiple times.
46. 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.
47. Put bag hooks on the backs of student chairs.
Finally clear up the clutter on the floor.
48. 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.
49. Use a pool noodle for a doorstop.
No more slamming doors!
50. Organize papers with magazine racks.
These inexpensive ones come from Ikea.
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.