Do you love Pinterest? What about Pinterest fails? I know there’s a whole section of Pinterest boards just for things people have seen and tried and made a mess of! It’s actually quite funny and meant in good spirit!
Anyway, this post is all about Pinterest things I tried and THEY WORKED! And, in some cases, they worked very, very well!
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I call this The Great Pencil Dilemma!
First up, do you have that disappearing pencil problem in your classroom? Ha! I think we all do! You know- at the beginning of the day you have tons of pencils and five minutes later there are NONE!
So, one year I collected all the pencils students brought (on the first day of school) and I kept a Ready can and a Sharpen can displayed. Each morning part of our arrival routine was to make sure we have two good pencils. During the day these can be replaced, but only when you return one. This has totally eliminated pencil drama, including listening to kids sharpen pencils endlessly. I also purchased one of those cute little pencil sharpeners you have seen on Pinterest and it really does work extremely well! Here’s one:
To help even more with the pencil dilemma I taught ONE student how to use this sharpener and he does all my pencils in the afternoons and they are ready for the next day!
Next, seriously, how many times have we all said, “put your name on your paper!” And no matter what- there’s always one or two or five no-name papers.
It’s the No-Name on Your Paper Syndrome….
So, what is the trick to get kids to put their names on their papers? In front of my desk was how “Hand-In” basket and inside the basket was a little can full of highlighters and pencils. The message on the can say to highlight your name before turning in your paper. After a few days, I found that most kids used their desk highlighters to do this before walking across the room. We also learned to highlight by just drawing a box around the name since pencil does smear a little.
Let’s call this one: How to Get Kids to Use the Hand Sanitizer!
Here’s is the BEST Pinterest find ever. To this day I still use that hand sanitizer bottle and I still get comments and questions about it!
The hand sanitizer has been a really big hit! Not a day goes by that I don’t have a student comment about it and ask how I got the toys in the bottle. My goal was to get the boys to keep their hands clean. One little girl pointed out that it has pink LEGO in it, too! And they all use it! I just periodically refill the big bottle!
I call it “What Do You Need?
So, I know the beginning of the year is the perfect time to try this next Pinterest idea, but I think it will work at any time of year, too!
We started a morning meeting one day with an anchor chart. We talked about the ways small things distract us and whether we have a duty to help one another. I posed the question on the anchor chart and kids went away to write a response on a post-it note. The next day we read all the notes. How eye-opening was this! Kids quickly saw that tapping, humming, constantly kicking the floor, and whispering were all distracting to someone. Very few of them said that nothing bothered them. In the end, we decided we did have a duty to keep from bothering our neighbors. Now, if we could just turn off the intercom!
This is called “Pencil Tub Inspiration”…
Pencils tub messages! I originally saw this and made the labels for every tub. Later it occurred to me to try a variation. More about that in a minute.
Each table has its own tub that holds all the students’ glue, highlighters, crayons, pencils, and post-it notes. I placed the little signs at the ends of each bin as a visual reminder to be kind.
Every table was the same!
But what if every table is different. That would be an interesting way to bring about, even more, messages to each group and, of course, all the students.
Here are the tubs I use for my tables:
These tubs are a perfect size and come in LOTS of colors!
We called it “Str-e-e-e-e-t-t-t-c-c-c-h-h-h Your Sentences”
BONUS: One last idea I found on Pinterest was a way to stretch a sentence to make writing more meaningful. I know you have seen this one!
We completed this one on the anchor chart and then as a morning work exercise for days after that each student completed a similar sentence in their Writer’s Notebooks. We LOVED reading these aloud to see how students stretched the simple words into something spectacular.
So, there you have some of my Pinterest “goodies”!
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Just so you will know, I tried these Pinterest ideas while teaching a regular third-grade classroom. They worked and many of them still work for today as a STEM lab teacher.