I love tips for teaching. When I go to a conference, the things that I seem to glean most are those small tips that fellow teachers give. Often I’ll slap my forehead and say, "Why didn’t I think of that?" Well, today I have a quick little tip for your classroom, a tip that recently has really helped in my classroom.
Often we have activities that produce trash–we’ll cut paper that leaves small pieces; we’ll use stickers that leave paper backings; and so forth. And I was always "encouraging" kids to pick up those pieces and toss them (trips back and forth to the trash can). Or we would have a table full of trash that had to be cleaned up. Often these trash pieces would get in the way of what we were trying to do on the table.
I had purchased some small containers at a local craft store. (Hey, they were on sale; how could I pass them up?) I brought them to the room to hold markers or whatever. That day we were doing an activity with stickers. So I added the container to the table as a place to put the sticker backing. It was much easier to encourage kids to drop the trash into the small containers – the containers were right there. And I could help sweep the table from time to time and drop the trash into the containers, too.
I think I may have slapped my forehead in the classroom that day. This has really worked well for us. I pull them out anytime we will be creating trash. At the end of the teaching time, I (or a child) will pour the contents into the classroom trash can easily – making clean up time quicker.
This tip isn’t really an important way to impact your teaching. But sometimes, those little things can really make it easier to accomplish the big things.
What’s a great tip you could pass along to fellow teachers?