We know that poster board makes posters and that paper clips hold papers together.
But what if they had hidden superpowers?
The things you may have laying around the classroom may be the keys to unlocking some exciting, engaging learning activities. (Or if you don’t have them, they could be at the top of your list for purchasing for next year!)
A simple message from Craig Klement, an instructional coach in Garland, Texas, got the wheels spinning:
- He has used sticky notes or index cards to play HedBanz (the game with the card on your head you’re trying to guess).
- He has used spaghetti noodles to plot lines on a graph.
BOOM. Epiphany moment. What other creative uses of these common items do teachers have?
I asked the Ditch That Textbook community. In our regular email newsletters and on Twitter, I posted a link to a Google Form. (Sign up for those newsletters here.) They shared their creative uses of traditional items — and creative supplies they use to spice up traditional lessons.
When it was all said and done, we had more than 50 creative ideas. Here are some of my favorites:
- Lindsay Foster (@BSGSCSFoster) uses binder clips for cord management, keeping them neat and free from tangles.
- Rayna Freedman (@rlfreedm) calls a casino for dice and cards they throw away. She uses them to build card towers and for math games.
- Amy Storer (@techamys) uses pool noodles and Legos to teach fractions.
- Katie Rolf (@Mrs_Rolf) uses peeps for stop motion videos and cardboard boxes for mini sound recording studios.
Want to check out all of these creative ideas?
Click here to view/download the PDF ebook. (It’s FREE, and you don’t even have to sign up for anything to get it.)
Wait … how did you make that???
Want to know how to create an ebook like this? After I had gathered everyone’s ideas, it only took me about 30 minutes to make the whole thing. Here are the steps I took …
- Create a Google Form survey to gather everyone’s ideas. Share the link to it so they can answer.
- In the Google Form, click the “Responses” tab and click the green Sheets icon to save the responses to a Google Sheet.
- In the Sheet, add the “Autocrat” add-on. Click Add-ons > Autocrat > Launch to get started.
- Set up Autocrat to pull all of the responses. (Here are some instructions on how to use Autocrat.) I set it up to generate a Google Doc with all of the responses in one single document.
- Run Autocrat to create the Google Doc with all of the responses.
- When it’s done, go to Google Drive and open your new Google Doc. Make any revisions or formatting changes you’d like.
- Go to File > Download as … > PDF to save your document of responses as a PDF.
- Create a cover with Google Slides. Open a new Google Slides file and go to File > Page setup. I changed it to a custom size of 8.5″ x 11″. Make it whatever size you’d like.
- Design your cover and any other pages you’d like. I find images for mine at Pixabay.com. I did a cover and an introduction message (two pages).
- When you’re done with your cover and any other pages, go to File > Download as … > PDF.
- I took those two files over to PDF Mergy. I just added the two PDF files (in the correct order) and clicked “Merge.” Then click “Save to your computer” to save the PDF.
What other creative uses of common classroom items do you use? Are there any creative supplies you bring to spice up a traditional lesson?
Are you looking for quality, meaningful professional learning that both equips and inspires teachers?
Matt provides in-person and virtual keynotes, workshops and breakout sessions that equip, inspire and encourage teachers to create change in their classrooms. Teachers leave with loads of resources. They participate. They laugh. They see tech use and teaching in a new light. Click the link below to contact us and learn how you can bring Matt to your school or district!
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