8 Non-Tech Must Have Tools for the Tech Deprived Teacher

I’m listening in (so to speak) to this week’s educhat on Twitter about the effectiveness of Interactive Whiteboards. IWB…HA! I’m happy because I’m finally getting a projector that doesn’t require me to throw a cable across a student’s desk. I know that some day I’ll get a IWB, but by then we will be discussing some other must have tool and IWB’s will be passe. While I am not really tech deprived, I’m also not on any list to get a 1:1 classroom, a set of handhelds or any type of interactive anything. I teach in Florida…we’re broke. We make due.

So in defiance of the creed that tech is here to stay, I offer 8 indispensible tools that every classroom needs.

  1. Post-it Notes– These are the best invention ever. Give them to students to use make notes in texts. Put private notes on them then discretely place on a student’s desk as you walk around. Have students write their names on them as they check out books from the class library and put them on the board. Tons of uses.
  2. Highlighters-Again a multifunction tool. Have students highlight key words in directions or key phrases in their reading. Have students highlight a certain word or phrase in their writing to show exactly how often they use it. Have them highlight confusing passages in each other’s writing. But make sure you remind them to not write with them. Reading an essay written in hightligher is hard!
  3. Note cards- Exit tickets are my biggest use of these. The stiffer paper helps them stay whole as the students rush out the door. The 3.5×5 ones help more wordy students edit down their thoughts. The small size also makes writing more accessible for lower level writers…they don’t see all the white space they have to fill up. Plus, they are great for grouping. Ask students a question and use the note cards to divide the groups.
  4. My plastic tubs. One is where I keep student portfolios. The other is my clipboards.

    4. Clipboards-These help students become more mobile. I have great desks in my class,but most students still prefer to sit on the floor. They just grab a clipboard and find a spot. Helps with group work too; students can pass it back and forth without tearing up their paper.

  5. Personal white boards– I don’t really know why these are so effective, but whenever I break them out, my students go crazy. You can buy a set, or you can go to a local home improvement store and buy a piece of shower board. They will usually cut it into whatever size board you want. Have students write a word on their board them get together to create a poem. Have them draw a picture of their reading. Have student complete a sentence then hold up the boards so everyone can read everyone else’s.
  6. My Easy Button on the corner of my desk. The hand sanitizer is also a big draw for students.

    An Easy Button or other goofy desk toy- There are only two real uses for a desk toy. One to give students an excuse to come to the teacher desk without having to act like they want to talk to me. The other is just to make me happy. Happy teacher=happy class.

  7. Large platstic tubs – Work ten times better than milk crates for holding files, clipboards, art supplies, magazines, book sets, whatever. Helps with organization too, especially if you are like me and organizationally challenged.
  8. Cleaning supplies – Kids can be dirty. Enough said.

I’m not saying that some of these couldn’t be replaced by web programs or tech hardware. I would love to have a set of tablets in the class to replace my personal whiteboards. I have used Wallwisher before in the same way that I might use Post-Its. And if I were in a 1:1 school, I would have no need of clipboards; they would have the laptop in front of them. But that isn’t possible now.

And personally, one of the best things about being an old school teacher is that I can teach anyone anywhere with anything. It isn’t the device; it’s the desire…and I’ve got plenty of that.



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13 responses to “8 Non-Tech Must Have Tools for the Tech Deprived Teacher

  1. What a great post – its good to be reminded that tech is not everything and that good old fashioned paper can work just as well.

  2. Yamil

    Great post! Thank you for sharing.

  3. Debra Gottsleben

    This post was outstanding. I have had many of the same feelings but never put those ideas to paper. Thanks for taking the time to do it!

  4. Angela

    As a first year teacher who sometimes gets frustrated by my school’s lack of anything remotely tech (I’ve got chalkboards and a projector I share with 3 other teachers), I want to thank you for reminding me that I’m not the only one using all the old tools in new ways. Great post!

  5. Great post. I have a lot of teachers that would love to hear me say the same thing.

    One quick note. When I finally got a net TV (Pre projector) I was able to use the IWB software without the an actual IWB. A keyboard and mouse can run the software and accomplish the same tasks as the $$$$ hardware…and the software is usually free.

  6. Love this post.

    To pieces.

    Good stuff.

  7. Pingback: “8 Non-Teach Must Have Tools for Tech-Deprived Teacher” « snapshot…

  8. literacycoaching

    great post–thanks for sharing.

  9. My other addition is magnets. They’re might only be useful if you have a magnetic white board, but holding things to the board without tape is magical. As a math teacher, fraction circle magnets were amazing! (Because then I could use them to illustrate concepts.) For an English classroom, I’d be tempted to get powerful alphabet letters–magnetic poetry seems too small.

  10. This is a much needed post as we tend to forget the essential tools that are needed in today’s classrooms.

    I added your wonderful blog to my Educational Blogs page: http://cybraryman.com/blogs.html

    cybraryman1 on Twitter

  11. cleaning supplies should have earth friendly organic ingredients so that they do not harm the environment ,*,

  12. Yes, teacher school supplies have changed in some ways, but I agree with you. You can’t go wrong with dry erase boards. My students love to use my magnetic ones.

  13. ~~` I am very thankful to this topic because it really gives great information -`,

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