Four everyday items to better your classroom

Coming up with interesting ways to utilise items we might not normally think have a place in the classroom is part of a teachers rite of passage.  We asked some of our staff – a number of whom are former teachers who came to teach in the UK – for some top hacks they recommend for teachers to use.  Here are our top 4:

Phone Jail

Mobile phones – they are the bane of a modern classroom and something many teachers did not previously have to worry about.  Alexandra recommends using a leftover jar or box to create a phone jail, there is two ways to go about this:

  1. When a student is caught using their phone when they shouldn’t it can be locked up in the jail for the rest of the day!
  2. All students put their phone in the jail at the beginning of the lesson and get it back in the end, we all know they have one and it is sometimes better to attack this problem early on. Use your imagination to decorate your jail cell/box.

Lolly Pop Sticks

Lolly pop or Popsicle sticks do not have to be thrown in the bin during those hot summer days.  Ashley recommends keeping them, and at the beginning of term having each student in your class write their names on them then putting them in a box or jar.  When you are struggling to find someone to answer a question – instead of picking someone grab a name from the box.

A Radio/CD Player

Who still uses a radio now everything can be streamed?  Well if you have a spare radio kicking around put it in your classroom and keep it on in the background.  Why?  Devon recommends that this is a great way to keep the noise level controlled – if you can’t hear the radio it’s too loud. If you prefer it doesn’t have to constantly be on, just when the noise level is rising.


Also from Ashley, clothes pegs can be used in a number of ways including as a handy behaviour management tool.  Ashley recommends popping all students names on a peg at different levels e.g. 1-4.  All start at the top – if their behaviour warrants that they move down then when they get to the bottom their behaviour will have to be addressed.

Bonus hack

Coming from Elaine – this requires no items just your imagination.  When working in Primary Schools Elaine recommends you use a little “Magic Dust” – this can be sprinkled whenever needed and is a great way to get the kids imagination going.

That’s it from us however there are loads more ideas out there for you to utilise.  For more teacher hacks read our other blogs in the series.

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