I have a thing for office supplies! I think it comes from being a teacher. Here are my favorite productivity tips and tools. I encourage you to get them for yourself at your local Staples store.
Step 1. First, make sure you've joined the Staples Teacher Rewards program. (You can click the link or sign up in a store.)
Step 2. After you sign up, print the coupon at www.staples.com/teacherappreciation. (You also get one to share with another teacher!)
Step 3. Then, go to a Staples store and shop! (See my ideas below for test prep and productivity.)
[callout]I'm excited to now be working with Staples through the end of August with all kinds of deals and a glimpse into becoming more productive. Sharing my favorite productivity items is going to be fun, so join the Teacher Rewards program now to take advantage of the deals with me! Staples is the sponsor of this blog post. Everything I share below is what I use already.[/callout]
All of these items are ones I ask parents for at the beginning of the year if they ask about the kinds of supplies I love.
1 – Colored Pens
I'm all into Sketchnoting thanks to my new friend Sylvia Duckworth. So, in a pouch in my purse, I carry a set of colored pens. I have two favorite brands: the Pentel Felt Tipped Pens and the G2 Colored Gel Pens.
I also use them to grade but always pick just about any color but red, blue, or black. Some recent research has shown that the color red is a negative association for most students. “Bleeding all over the page” is not good for anyone. Because my students use black and blue pens, I like purple, green, or aqua or something different. It is just more me.
[callout]Those who use red pens to grade are missing the research that shows you should be using green or another color. (See Elwood, J. A., & Bode, J. (2014). Student preferences vis-à-vis teacher feedback in university EFL writing classes in Japan. System, 42, 333-343 )[/callout]
2 – Post It Notes
Post-It Notes are awesome for brainstorming. Some of the newer post it notes come in the cool shapes. For example, I love the thumbs up (looks like of like a Facebook like). If a student has done something awesome, I'll often write a note, so I don't mess up the “perfect” piece with my handwriting.
[callout]I love the “exit slip” Twitter board idea that many teachers are using in elementary classes. Students write down a 140 character or less answer to the final question and post it on the Twitter board. The teacher picks some to tweet out! See this Pinterest Board for Twitter board/ exit slip ideas.[/callout]
3 – Huge Sticky Tablets of Paper and Markers of Many Colors
I like to have my students come up with acronyms. For example, I always have them come up with a way to remember the order of memory for computer (Byte, KKilobyte MegaByte, Gigabyte, etc.). I give them all different colored markers, and they brainstorm how they will remember it. Then, they write it on their big post it note poster paper and stick it up on my wall. I use this for so many things.
Oh and they have a serious sale on Sharpies going on at Staples during Teacher Appreciation Week! Awesome!
4 – Patterned Duct Tape
I was keeping some children the other day and these two little girls found a small hole in the play stove. They asked me for duct tape to fix it. One cute little girl said,
“All I need is duct tape and my Grandaddy – those two can fix everything.”
But I use it for even more. When I need to have separate places on my wall or want to do a display or mini “bulletin board” – we tape it on the wall. We use it in our Makerspace as students up-cycle things. For example, when a chair has the stuffing coming out of the padded part, my students will wrap it in designer duct tape, and it becomes a special chair where everyone wants to sit.
[callout]Decorative duct tape (some call it “duck”) is a must-have for your makerspace. For ideas for duct-tape art projects, check Pinterest. I kind of like the duct tape water bottle holder.[/callout]
I keep a joy journal. Did you know that just writing down five things you're grateful for every day will make you happier after one month than if you won the lottery? (Read 9 Fine Reasons to Keep a Journal). I have these particular pens — always in bold — that I use to write in my journal. (Uniball Vision Bold or G2 Bold) I've also got a book that I've written my affirmations in and another one for ideas. Journaling has made me who I am – I love to get journals and have them ready to go.
[callout]You can also make your own journal with duct tape, cardboard, and the very cool colored paper that Staples has on sale during Teacher Appreciation week.[/callout]
6 – Make a Personal Notebook Using the M by Staples Arc Customizable Notebook System
While I started off with another system for making my notebooks and planners — I'm all about the M by Staples ARC Customizable Notebooks and have been for a long time. I love to make my books and to be able to pull things in and out of them easily. I often print custom designed planner pages and put it in my notebook. If you are a DIY planner gal like I am, you have got to get ahold of Arc. (Use the different colored pens from #1 and you'll love it even more.)
[callout]For others of you who get into the diy-planner trend made possible by this system, check out all of the templates that you can customize and tweak to your liking. Just remember to get the special punch.[/callout]
7 – Index Cards and Index Card Boxes
While I use Evernote for my online work, I take notes highlighted in my Kindle books and copy them into Evernote. (See how in this blog post.). Then, I copy and paste the quotes from the books and paste them onto my index cards in Microsoft Word. I print them out and use these cute index card dividers to title each topic and store them in my snap together storage boxes.
This past week when I presented in Saskatchewan, I had an Ignite speech to give on habits and productivity. I took a little red plastic case. Before leaving home, I grabbed 3 three topics: life, habits, and routines. I was able to crank out my Ignite speech. (I follow the filing system John Maxwell uses with index cards and I love it.)
8 – Colored File Folders
I color code everything. While there is a place for the plain manila file folders, I prefer to use the colored ones. They are thick and hold up so well. At school, each class has a color (yellow for 8th, red for 9th, blue for 10th, green for my administrative files). At home, I have green for finances, purple for family, red for urgent, blue for my business and yellow for miscellany.) The purple folders have to be looked for sometimes but I like purple because that was often a color of royalty and hat is how I want to treat my family. ;-)
[callout]When I set up my filing system, I print out a color code reminder so that I can remember and others can know my coding system as well. That way, they don't pick up and make a file out of a color that doesn't match the system.[/callout]
9 – The gadgets you need
If you want to get some great gadgets, here are some I recommend. Quite a few are on sale this week. (Note: the Teacher Rewards doesn't apply on technology.)
- Bose SoundLink Mini Bluetooth Speaker – My husband gave me one for Valentine's Day.I use it to listen to my podcast and others every morning. I also put it in the car to listen because I don't have a Bluetooth connector for my vehicle's speakers.
- Kindle Everything – I love my Amazon Kindle (see mention above in Index Card system.) I just couldn't live without my Paperwhite. And, they are on sale! (Yeah!)
- External Hard Drive for Backup — You MUST Have one of these for your home computer. (See my blog post “Stop Playing Russian Roulette with Your Data” on why you need one.) The kind I use at home
- Chromebooks, Computers, Surface Tablets are all there. There are tons of deals, so if you're shopping for a computer, you should also consider it for this week.
10. Supplies for the students
We all do it. I do. You do. We buy hundreds of pencils, pens, and highlighters a year and keep them at our desks. With the huge discounts during teacher appreciation week, this is the time to stock up. I also LOVE colored expo markers – it makes writing on the board so much more fun.
[callout]TEST PREP TIP!! Mini dry erase boards are a favorite of mine and many others Angela Watson recommended using mini dry-erase boards and markers for test prep to make it more fun in last week's Truth for Teachers podcast. See the blog post she wrote on this.[/callout]
So, what are your favorite office supplies and gadgets? What are you getting this week for teacher appreciation week?
This is definitely the week to plan to shop with other teachers! Just sign up for the Staples Teacher Reward Program first!
I hope all of you out there enjoy Teacher Appreciation Week and will pop by Staples (like I am on Wednesday) to get your discount. You can sign up online or go by the store. And when you do, you also get a discount to give a friend.
I'm thankful for the opportunity to work with Staples. I've shopped there for years and years — and I do so love office supplies. This is a great reason for me to share lots of little productivity tips that I wouldn't have thought to share otherwise.
Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!
[callout]Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored post.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via cash payment, gift, or something else of value to edit and post it. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I believe will be good for my readers and are from companies I can recommend. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.)[callout]
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