Eight ways to Use Classroom Space Efficiently with Magnets
Using magnets in the classroom is a great way to increase efficiency! Teachers can use them to maximize their learning spaces and make their classrooms run smoothly. Here are a few ways to make teacher and student life easier.
1. Vocabulary Word Wall
Having an extra whiteboard in my classroom has proven to be one of my most valuable resources. It has allowed me to use the wall space so efficiently. When I print and laminate my word wall terms, I put magnets on the back and I place them on the board as I teach them. The students and I move them, pull them down to use them, and rearrange them as we learn and interact with them. They aren’t stuck. They are used more like manipulatives. And, I change them out for each unit. To read more about how I use vocabulary in my classroom, see this post.
2. Vocabulary on the Ceiling!
When I first began using vocabulary word walls, I noticed how sad I felt when switched out the terms for a new unit. I knew students still needed access to the words from the previous unit, but I needed space for the terms from the current unit. And my word wall was certainly not large enough to hold both. Let alone all the terms from all the units by the end of the school year.
I was already using magnets to hang my terms (see #1 above), so I began brainstorming ways to keep them displayed. *lightbulb* The ceiling is such wasted space! I wondered if those metal tracks that held the ceiling tiles was magnetic. Guess what! They are!
I color-coded the printer paper by each unit already, so moving them to the ceiling was an easy transition. I just grouped them by color. It is hard to see in this photo, but you can see green and yellow terms.
And the best part? Students did use them. They would refer to a word or group of words when necessary.
3. Teacher Information Fridge Magnets
Send home your contact information to parents with a magnet on the back. Families can stick it on their fridge. Print 8 or 10 cards per page onto colored cardstock. Using this magnet tape (also the same I use for my vocabulary word wall), it is an inexpensive way to connect with families. This is not an affiliate link.
4. The World's Best Pencil Procedure
This is a picture of my procedure in action. I only lost 3-4 pencils ALL YEAR with this in place.
Students borrow a pencil and write their name with a dry-erase marker in its place. They return it at the end of class and erase their name. If they accidentally leave with it, it’s easy to track down who has it.
BONUS MOTIVATION TOOL: Keep a “It’s been ______ days since a pencil went missing” note on the board. Students and classes love to keep the streak alive, so they will encourage their classmates to remember to return the pencil. By the way, I snapped this picture after in November, after our first pencil had gone missing. That means we went almost 3 months without a pencil being returned. WOW!
To get the magnetic pencil clips I used, click here. This is not an affiliate link.
5. TEACHER DESK ORGANIZATION
I hate desk clutter. I like to sit and plan and do actual work at my desk. And clutter (and the piles of paper) hinder my work space. Even organization tools like pen cups and paperclip cups add to the desk-top clutter. Likewise, I hate drawer clutter. It is frustrating when I open a drawer and there are supplies running loose. Pens, paper clips, push pins, dice, bobby pins, batteries, etc. all jumbled in a giant drawer.
If you have a metal teacher desk, these magnetic supply tins (not an affiliate link) will rescue you from the supply chaos. The drawer-fronts and sides of my desk are metal, so these are perfect to organize my small supplies. If your desk is not metal, you can add a strip of the magnetic tape linked above to whatever vertical surface you find handy. Get that clutter off your desktop and organize those drawers.
6. Calendar for Absent Students
When students are absent, they need to know more than just which handouts to pick up. They need to be able to see the content that was learned. A content calendar posted in your classroom can serve that purpose. To make it easier for me, I put magnet tape on backs of the month titles and date numbers. Then, I simply rearrange the dates and change out the month each month. Additionally, our school uses block scheduling, so it is simple to move the A and B day labels.
7. Hanging Anchor Charts
Hanging anchor charts (or any poster that gets changed frequently) with magnets is an efficient way to make this a quick task. If you have access to unused white board space, that is a great location to hang them. If you do not, you can use your wall. Simply add strips to the top and bottom of the space, making sure the anchor chart/poster will cover them. Then use magnets to hold up the paper. They hold better than with tape and they won’t put holes in the wall with staples or push pins.
8. Board Signage
Using pre-made board signs are something I have done forever. It saves me the time each day writing “Today I will,” and “Tonight I will.” However, I used to use tape to put them up and it would kill the board being stuck up there all year. And, I couldn’t move them to make the board functional for anything else. Then, I began using magnets for all my board signage and it is so much better. I also have a sign for “Bell Work.”