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3 Must-Try Teacher Hacks from Home Improvement Stores

3 hardware store finds you can easily repurpose to organize & use in your classroom
 
As a teacher, I am always on the lookout for cool new tools to make my classroom run more smoothly. I’ve found that some of the best tools come, not from a teacher store, but from your local home improvement store. Here are three of  my favorites this year:

1. Mechanic’s Stool

3 hardware store finds you can easily repurpose to organize & use in your classroom

 

This year, I replaced the old office chair at my small group table with this mechanic’s stool from Lowe’s. This little guy has one huge advantage over a traditional office chair: the tray at the bottom! I keep a basket on the tray with lots of little things that I often need when I’m working with small groups. Right now, I have post its, a pen and highlighter, extra turn-in slips, and a couple of stamps for when I’m correcting student work. 
 
3 hardware store finds you can easily repurpose to organize & use in your classroom
Since I wasn’t a huge fan of the mechanic stool look, I covered it with some thick fabric that I found at Hobby Lobby. Recovering the seat was actually surprisingly easy. I just cut the fabric into a rough circle, and used a staple gun to attach it to the bottom of the seat. 
 

2. Small Group Tote

3 hardware store finds you can easily repurpose to organize & use in your classroom
 
My small group tote is probably my favorite Lowe’s find for my classroom. Ever. There’s rarely a day that I don’t use it. I keep this tote on my small group table, and use it any time I am working with groups of students. Inside the small outer pockets, I keep scissors, pencils, highlighters, colored pencils, glue, and post-its. (All the things we use regularly in small group instruction. I also keep some pens and dry erase markers in the end pockets. Inside the main pockets are my half-page sized book clubs binder, my small group notebook, and a clipboard that I use for anecdotal notes.
 
There are loads of options out there, but you can find the one I have at Lowes (here). I chose this particular tote because there are tons of pockets, and I knew I could fit a notebook or clipboard turned on its side in the main pockets. 
 

3. Teacher Toolbox

3 hardware store finds you can easily repurpose to organize & use in your classroom
It’s no secret that I adore my teacher toolbox. It has taken all of the little junk out of my desk drawers, and put them where I can actually find what I need. I can even send students to the toolbox to get supplies for me if I need to!
 
It’s super easy to make one. Just grab a hardware organizer. (You can find them at Lowe’s or Home Depot (here’s the one I bought). Spray paint it, if you’d like. Then add some labels using mod podge or double stick tape. There are hundreds of sets of editable teacher toolbox labels on TPT. You can grab the ones pictured and several other styles in my TPT shop. A couple of years ago, I wrote a tutorial on how I made my toolbox. If you’re interested, you can find it here.
 
 
3 hardware store finds you can easily repurpose to organize & use in your classroom
 
What have I missed? I’d love to hear some unusual finds you’ve repurposed to use in your classrooms!
 
 
Happy Teaching, Kristen

Comments

  1. Kelly Murphy says

    So glad to see another teacher using mechanic stools. I found them this year and bought 5 for flexible seating. My students love them. However I didn't cover the top cushion. That is a great idea! Thank you for sharing .

  2. emoji girl says

    Another great one? You can buy a full sheet of plain shiny paneling and have it cut to 9×12 pieces for free to have a whole classroom full of whiteboards super cheap!

  3. Tasha says

    I can’t believe it’s taken so long to find someone else who uses the same hardware tools as I do! My school looked at me like I was crazy when I brought in my little mechanic chair. It’s the best thing ever when you teach younger grades (I teach Kinder). No more squatting to talk at their level at their tables. LOVE IT!

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real teachers said...

I had purchased other flip books in the past and found them tricky or time-consuming. Not the case with this one! Very simple to use and will be a friendly tool to communicate important information with parents.

(Back to School Flipbook)

Karina B.

2019-10-14T17:11:02+00:00

Karina B.

I had purchased other flip books in the past and found them tricky or time-consuming. Not the case with this one! Very simple to use and will be a friendly tool to communicate important information with parents. (Back to School Flipbook)
This is the best tool for organized groups! The kids love the timer and I love how it is color-coded for 2 minutes and 1 minute. I use this every day for reading and math centers!

(Digital Rotation Boards for Reading & Math)

Nikki J.

2019-10-14T17:24:31+00:00

Nikki J.

This is the best tool for organized groups! The kids love the timer and I love how it is color-coded for 2 minutes and 1 minute. I use this every day for reading and math centers! (Digital Rotation Boards for Reading & Math)
After 2 years of using this resource I can say that it dramatically helped my usually low performing students be recognized as in the top 10% of growth in the state. This is a must have for any 5th grade teacher.

(5th Grade Vocabulary Bundle)

Wendy S.

2019-10-14T17:05:08+00:00

Wendy S.

After 2 years of using this resource I can say that it dramatically helped my usually low performing students be recognized as in the top 10% of growth in the state. This is a must have for any 5th grade teacher. (5th Grade Vocabulary Bundle)
I love this resource! It was thorough and fun. The kids had a great time going through the various stations. The activities really helped to reinforce their understanding of probability. It was a hit and I will be using this for many years to come. Thank you!

(Probability Stations)

Kate A.

2019-10-14T17:09:01+00:00

Kate A.

I love this resource! It was thorough and fun. The kids had a great time going through the various stations. The activities really helped to reinforce their understanding of probability. It was a hit and I will be using this for many years to come. Thank you! (Probability Stations)