As a teacher, I am always on the lookout for cool new tools to make my classroom run more smoothly. I've found that some of the best tools come, not from a teacher store, but from your local home improvement store. Here are three of my favorites this year:
1. Mechanic's Stool
This year, I replaced the old office chair at my small group table with this mechanic's stool from Lowe's. This little guy has one huge advantage over a traditional office chair: the tray at the bottom! I keep a basket on the tray with lots of little things that I often need when I'm working with small groups. Right now, I have post its, a pen and highlighter, extra turn-in slips, and a couple of stamps for when I'm correcting student work.
Since I wasn't a huge fan of the mechanic stool look, I covered it with some thick fabric that I found at Hobby Lobby. Recovering the seat was actually surprisingly easy. I just cut the fabric into a rough circle, and used a staple gun to attach it to the bottom of the seat.
2. Small Group Tote
My small group tote is probably my favorite Lowe's find for my classroom. Ever. There's rarely a day that I don't use it. I keep this tote on my small group table, and use it any time I am working with groups of students. Inside the small outer pockets, I keep scissors, pencils, highlighters, colored pencils, glue, and post-its. (All the things we use regularly in small group instruction. I also keep some pens and dry erase markers in the end pockets. Inside the main pockets are my ha;f-page sized book clubs binder, my small group notebook, and a clipboard that I use for anecdotal notes.
There are loads of options out there, but you can find the one I have at Lowes (here). I chose this particular tote because there are tons of pockets, and I knew I could fit a notebook or clipboard turned on its side in the main pockets.
3. Teacher Toolbox
It's no secret that I adore my teacher toolbox. It has taken all of the little junk out of my desk drawers, and put them where I can actually find what I need. I can even send students to the toolbox to get supplies for me if I need to!
It's super easy to make one. Just grab a hardware organizer. (You can find them at Lowe's or Home Depot (here's the one I bought). Spray paint it, if you'd like. Then add some labels using mod podge or double stick tape. There are hundreds of sets of editable teacher toolbox labels on TPT. You can grab the ones pictured and several other styles in my TPT shop. A couple of years ago, I wrote a tutorial on how I made my toolbox. If you're interested, you can find it here.
What have I missed? I'd love to hear some unusual finds you've repurposed to use in your classrooms!