1. My timer! I have a regular old kitchen timer in my classroom that I use for EVERYTHING! I get so engrossed in conferencing/small groups while my students are working that I lose all track of time and since we can't just write all day (that's what we do first in my room) I use my timer to make sure that the independent work period wraps up on time. I don't just use my timer during the writing work period I use it during all of my workshops. My timer is just from either Target or Wal-Mart I can't remember which but I could not imagine even trying to teach without it. I even have a back up in my closet just in case the original dies during the day!
2. My "ole timey" pencil sharpener. Yes, one of my students actually referred to our pencil sharpener this way. I don't care, I love it! It is awesome!!! It sharpens pencils quickly, quietly, evenly (it doesn't leave behind that strip of wood on one side-so annoying), and it is not expensive. I purchased my ole timey pencil sharpener at Wal-Mart for $6.97-what a deal!
3. Color coded supplies. I know it sounds a little crazy but yes, I have color coded supplies in my classroom. We have a yellow writing folder and I have a yellow crate to store published papers, green math notebook for notes, problem of the day, etc... and I have a green crate to store math tests and artifacts, a red reading folder where the students have their info on the genres and book response requirements and their BINGO sheet and of course I have a red crate to store the completed responses. It may sound a little wacko but it helps keep me and my students organized! This may be why I love back to school sales so much, this way I can make sure that each of my students has the correct color of supplies that they need without breaking the bank.
4. My bucket filler buckets. I'm sure that you know about the book, Have you Filled A Bucket Today? (A Guide to Daily Happiness for Kids) by Carol McCloud. The premise of the book is this...
"We all carry an invisible bucket that contains our feelings. When our bucket is full, we feel great. When our bucket is empty, we feel sad. A bucket filler is someone who says or does nice things for other people. By doing this, they are filling other people's buckets and filling their own bucket at the same time" (info from http://myfunteacher.com/bucketfillers.htm). I read this book at the beginning of the year and my students create their own paper buckets that I cut and attach to a library pocket and hang on the cabinets. The students are then permitted to complete bucket forms to fill another person's bucket at different times during the day and I try to have the students empty their buckets on the last Friday of the month. This has been a really terrific way to encourage positive behaviors and attitudes in the classroom. I can't imagine not having my students participate in this!!!
5. My coffee, grande white chocolate mocha to be exact. This is my Friday treat, a reward for making it through the week. I live pretty far from my school so I get up at 5:15 a.m. each day so it is the perfect pick me up on Friday, the day I really just want to hit the snooze button!
Well, that's it. Those are the top five resources I can't live without. What about you? Do you have a secret or a trick or something else that helps you achieve the work smarter not harder concept?!? If so link up. Even if not link up, it's fun reading about everyone's "must haves!"