10 Useful Amazon Buys For A Better Secondary Classroom

Let's face it: teachers LOVE finding great deals and fun, creative items for our classroom! We will scour the Target Dollar section, Dollar Tree, and tons of other discounted places to find a bargain on fun stuff for our classroom.  Amazon is no different! With free shipping with Prime, it makes the hassle of having to leave the house almost nonexistent! Amazon has some great products that can be used in the secondary classroom! Here is my list of must-have items from Amazon that I use in my classroom! 

1. Hanging Wall Folders

Hanging file folders are great for organization! I use them to allow students to turn in homework or classwork.  They are perfect if you teach multiple periods a day.  I have seen some teachers use them as a means of organizing worksheets for absent students.

Check it out here!

Check it out here!

2. Scissors and Caddy

A teacher friend of mine hipped me to these! I went out and bought 20 pairs of scissors from Dollar Tree, but realized I spent more money buying individual pairs of scissors than I would have spent on buying this! It is perfect for groups because the scissors are organized into caddy's and it helps to keep easily keep track of your scissors. This one is definitely a steal!

Check it out here! 

Check it out here! 

3. Dry Erase Lapboards and Erasers

I have always bought the dry erase boards and the erasers separately.  This combo provides both for a reasonable price! The boards and the erasers are great quality.  These are perfect for centers or any review games in the classroom. 

Check it out  here !

Check it out here!

4. Things To Do Binder Clips

Organization does not come to me as easily as it comes to some! These binder clips have helped me with that tremendously! Instead of sorting papers into different labeled trays, I use these binder clips to organize papers.  They are especially helpful for my student volunteers, who sort out my graded papers into student folders. 

Check it out  here !

Check it out here!

5. X-Acto Pencil Sharpener

My first year of teaching, I went through THREE pencil sharpeners in ONE school year.  I finally stumbled upon this gem and was SOLD! I am in my fourth year of teaching and I still have this X-acto pencil sharpener.  This is pencil sharpener is great quality and extremely durable.  It has options for sharpening six different types/sizes of pencils. 

Check it out  here !

Check it out here!

6. Eggspert - Wired or Wireless

I absolutely love doing review games with my students! It makes for an exciting class and students get to show what they have learned and apply it.  I bought the Eggspert three years ago.  Any time I have brought it out to my students for the first time, they are intrigued! They are used to having to stand up or hit a buzzer that only makes a sound to answer a question.  This Eggspert has buzzers that light and make a noise on a machine to tell you which student pressed their buzzer first.  I bought the wireless version (a bit pricer) because it's much easier for me to put the base with the lights in the center of the classroom without having to worry about cords. 

7. Date Stamp

This date stamp has been really useful in tracking when students are submitting their work.  Although I do not deduct points for late assignments, this is a great tool for educators who do. You can date stamp assignments that have been submitted on a particular date.  This helps me keep track of what work I have assigned on what day. 

Check it out  here !

Check it out here!

8. Flair Pens

Flairs pens are my favorite teacher supply! I rant and rave about them all the time and whenever I see a great deal on them, I HAVE to have them.  This is a 24 pack of Flair pens for a really good price! I use them to grade papers, write in my bullet journal, copy notes, annotate text, and pretty much any chance I get to write anything.

Check it out here!

Check it out here!

9. Binding Machine

This machine is perfect for teachers who love to be organized.  It is perfect for personalized teacher planners, creating workbooks for students, or creating unit bundles with notes sheets and activities for students to complete. 

Check it out  here !

Check it out here!

10. Headphone Splitter

These headphone splitters are great for interactive centers where students must watch a video or listen to an audio clip in groups.  This allows multiple students in a group to listen to the same computer or tablet without disrupting other classmates.  

Check it out  here !

Check it out here!

4 Engaging Review Games: Moving Beyond Simple Study Guides and Jeopardy

Review games are a fun addition to the classroom because they allow students to work together to reach a common goal.  They also provide students with healthy competition and allows students to practice memory retrieval of information learned.  Typically, teachers will play Around the World, do flash cards or play the classic game of Jeopardy with students as review.  I want to introduce 4 games that I have played in my classroom that are unique and allow for something new and exciting.  Jeopardy is a fun game, but sometimes it can get redundant after while.  All of these games require some form of movement, so be prepared for exciting review days!

1. Review-sical Chairs

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Duration: 30 minutes

Materials: Chairs (one less than the number of students), two answer buzzers (check out some answer buzzers here)

Review Topics: All Subjects

This game is a play on musical chairs.  This game is a ton of fun! It allows students the chance to answer questions while getting the opportunity to move around.

Directions: The game begins with the chairs in a circle (or manner of setup suitable for student movement) with one less chair than the number of students.  The teacher plays a song and the students move about the room, typically in circular fashion.  Once the teacher stops the music, students must try to sit in the closest available seat.  If a student is unable to find a seat, they must participate in a face-off.  The student must select another student that is seated to challenge them to a face-off.  The teacher will read a review question and give students the opportunity to answer the question.  The teacher should allow the first student to press their buzzer to answer first.  Whichever student answers correctly first wins the seat.  The other student is out of the game. The game continues until there is only one student left to be declared the winner.

2. The Hot Seat

Duration: 45 minutes

Materials: A “fancy” chair, projector (optional), slideshow presentation software (optional), dry erase marker, timer (snag a cool timer here)

Review Topics: All Subjects, focusing on vocabulary

This game is engaging and allows students to work collaboratively to reach a goal.  It also gives them the opportunity to be descriptive and use their vocabulary to describe other vocabulary words.

Directions: Divide the classroom into groups of 4 to 5 students.  Allow students to select a team name and write the team names on the board.  Teacher can determine which team goes first (highest roll on a die, quietest group, first to create a team name, etc.) Students on the first team select a person to be in the “hot seat.” The hot seat is a fancy, comfortable chair.  The chair should be facing away from the dry erase board/projector screen in the room.  The student must sit in the seat and face their group.  The teacher will project or write a vocabulary word on the board.  The first team has 30 seconds to describe the word to their teammate in the hot seat.  Students describing the word cannot: say the word, say a part of the word, use gestures, say “starts with” or “rhymes with”, and cannot spell the word.  The student in the hot seat must guess the word correctly.  If the student answers correctly before the time runs out, their team receives a point.  There is no penalty for wrong answers or guessing.  Play moves on to the second team.  

Note: If time is an issue, you can create only a number of words that equals the number of students in the class.  This way, every student has the opportunity to be in the hot seat.  You can also choose to make easy, medium, and hard words for the students and allow the points for each type of word to increase.

3. Rush!

Duration: 45 minutes

Materials: Three chairs labeled 10, 20, and 30 respectively, timer, three dry erase boards, three erasers, three dry erase markers (get a great set of erasers and boards here), projector (optional), slideshow presentation (optional) 

Review Topics: All Subjects, particularly great for math and science problems

In addition to being an exciting game, this game also teaches students how to make decisions effectively and bargaining.  

Directions: Ensure that the three chairs are centrally located so that all teams can access them equally. Divide students into 3 separate teams.  Each team can create a team name.  The teacher should give each team a dry erase board, a marker, and an eraser.  For each question, each teammate will rotate the board around so everyone has a chance to write.  The teacher will ask a question (it helps to project the question on the board for students) and each team will have 20 seconds to write down their answer. Once an answer has been written, the student with the dry erase board must rush to the three chairs.  They can choose to sit in the chair labeled 10, 20, or 30.  Students cannot take a seat in any of the chairs once the timer has gone off.  Once the timer is up, the teacher reveals the answer.  The catch: If a student sits in a chair and gets the answer correct, they will GAIN that number of points.  If they get the answer incorrect, they will LOSE that number of points.  Each group has the option to omit from answering if they are unsure about their answer.  This means they will receive 0 points for the round.  The group that has the most number of points at the end wins the game.

 

Duration: 45 minutes

Materials: Three chairs labeled 10, 20, and 30 respectively, timer, three dry erase boards, three erasers, three dry erase markers (get a great set of erasers and boards here), projector (optional), slideshow presentation (optional) 

Review Topics: All Subjects, particularly great for math and science problems

In addition to being an exciting game, this game also teaches students how to make decisions effectively and bargaining.  

Directions: Ensure that the three chairs are centrally located so that all teams can access them equally. Divide students into 3 separate teams.  Each team can create a team name.  The teacher should give each team a dry erase board, a marker, and an eraser.  For each question, each teammate will rotate the board around so everyone has a chance to write.  The teacher will ask a question (it helps to project the question on the board for students) and each team will have 20 seconds to write down their answer. Once an answer has been written, the student with the dry erase board must rush to the three chairs.  They can choose to sit in the chair labeled 10, 20, or 30.  Students cannot take a seat in any of the chairs once the timer has gone off.  Once the timer is up, the teacher reveals the answer.  The catch: If a student sits in a chair and gets the answer correct, they will GAIN that number of points.  If they get the answer incorrect, they will LOSE that number of points.  Each group has the option to omit from answering if they are unsure about their answer.  This means they will receive 0 points for the round.  The group that has the most number of points at the end wins the game.

4. Survivor

Boat Bitmoji.png

Duration: 50 minutes

Materials: One chair (or desk) for each student, projector (optional), projector screen (optional)

Review Topics: All Subjects

Not only is this a great review game, but it also teaches students about friendships, selflessness, and the ability to rely on those you trust.

Directions: Have students stand (if they have chairs) or sit on their desks (if they have desks).  Explain to students that they are all survivors on an island from a plane crash.  There is a raft, but only one person can fit on the raft. The teacher will project a question on the board.  Students must raise their hand if they know the answer to the question.  The teacher can select randomly OR select based on the first hand to be raised.  Once chosen, the designated student must answer the question.  If the student gets the answer correct, they may vote another student “off the island” or they can bring a friend back on the island.  If a student is voted off, it means that the student must sit down.  If a student is brought back, they can stand back up.  Students have the opportunity to get back onto the island ONE time.  If the answering student gets the answer incorrect, they must take a seat.  The play continues until only one student is left standing.  

 

Tech Tip Thursday: Bitmoji

Have you ever thought about personalizing your class presentations, activities, or rules? Ever needed to express a feeling that may take too many words to express verbally? Do you want to grasp your students’ attention and make connections with them? Want to be the “cool” teacher on the team or hall? There’s a bitmoji for that!

Bitmojis are a fun, easy, visual tool for enhancing lessons and other aspects of your classroom. The best part is that it’s FREE! First, what exactly are bitmojis? Bitmojis are personal emojis created from a cartoon avatar that you design to look like you or your alter ego if you’d prefer going that route. This week’s #TechTipThursday features Bitmojis.


I have the honor of collaborating with the amazing LaDonna Welch, @mrswelchknows, on this post. Check out more from LaDonna here. Check out our post about the many ways you can use Bitmoji in your classroom! 

Math Grading Codes

One of the most time consuming parts of being a math teacher is giving student feedback that is constructive and immediate so that they can fix their errors.  It can become a lengthy process to give immediate feedback to every student that does not require a lengthy description.  One of the ways I have learned to combat that is through creating a math grading code.  This grading code is a list of 16 shorthand ways to provide immediate feedback to students on common mathematical errors.  

You can use the codes to:

  • Give immediate feedback for independent practice in class
  • Give feedback for homework problems without having to grade every problem
  • Allow students to give each other simple, direct feedback when doing peer grading

Click here for a free copy of the Math Grading Codes document.  It details the meaning of each of the codes and provides ways for you to use the grading codes in your classroom.    

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