Ok, I know this one is on the expensive side. But, it will save you lots of time in the long run, and your time is valuable!
I have my students keep all their Math papers in a binder. On the first day of school, we set up our binders with tabbed dividers. We make 3 sections:
- Warm Ups
I make a huge deal about staying organized. And really, isn’t that a key to being successful in Math? You have to stay organized with the correct steps at the correct time. You check your work by going back through it in an organized manner.
But, if your students can’t even find their work, then the whole system breaks down! So, I usually hole-punch all the papers that I distribute to my students. (And yes, I use the word distribute, and link it to the distributive property. And yes, my students roll their eyes, but I don’t care. They’re going to learn!)
My school has 2 electric hole punchers, permanently located in work rooms far from my classroom. I tried a traditional, manual 3-hole puncher, even the heavy duty kind, but they always jam, and the paper capacity is way too small.
So, last year I finally broke down and bought this electric Swingline 3-hole punch. No, I did not pay full price. I watched a few used items on eBay for a couple weeks. It was worth the wait. I bought this one for around $50. That’s about half price, compared to a new, boxed model. And it worked great! I have never had a single issue with it. It saved me lots of trips to the communal puncher. Every so often, I forget to hole punch an entire stack of papers, and if I’m in a pinch, I can do it right at my desk, even if kids are in the room.
I wish I had bought one years ago! But, with 20 years left (Ohio’s retirement plans includes working 35 years for the maximum pension), I figure it’s better late than never!
What classroom item do you wish you had bought years ago? Let me know in the comments.