My Favorite Management Tool

There is one easy to implement tool that has helped make my students time in specials meaningful, productive, and reduce behavior problems so that the maximum amount of learning happens in the short time they are in specials.

These editable student name tags are great to use during special classes.

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When I first started teaching, I had NO CLUE what other teachers were talking about when they kept referring to "specials." Come to find out, it is any class your students go to when you are not the direct teacher. At my school, that would be PE time, library time, music, art, dance class etc. Every school has a different way of referring to these classes, but "specials" seems to be the most common term when referring to them as a whole. 


Hands down the best way for your students and their "specials" teacher to get the most out of their short time together is to reduce behavior problems by helping them make a personal connection with one another. What better way to do this but with a NAME! Yes, that is correct! Other teachers need to know my students by name, so that personal connection can start immediately. Think about how many students are rotating through that teacher's classroom and in a very short period of time. They can't remember everyone's name without a little bit of help. 

The most effective tool I have found to work immediately is the gift of a NAME TAG. Yep! Simple as that. A name tag. My students know when it is time to go to "specials" they must have a name tag. I have monitors that pass them out to each of the students. They get in line and off we go.

I have tried many different types of name tags. Sticky tags/labels are too expensive and time consuming to make and pass out. I have used clip on tags, but my little second graders always need help putting them on or getting them clipped so their name actually shows. 

The easiest, cheapest, and most effective name tags I have found are these lanyard name tags. They are AMAZING! They come in a pack of 50 so you can split the cost with a colleague. The plastic holder can be used horizontally or vertically. It is incredibly thick and durable, so you will be able to use them year after year. You can find the ones I purchased by clicking HERE

These editable student name tags are a great tool to use throughout the school year.

The only thing I suggest is washing the lanyards at the end of the year so your next group of kiddos get a fresh start.

If you would like to make these for your students, you can download the name tag template for FREE here or click on the picture above. 

***As a reminder, this file is editable. Therefore, you MUST have PowerPoint in order to open and edit the file.

I hope you find these to be an effective tool in your classroom too. Let me know your favorite management tool in the comments. I'm always looking for new ways to make specials effective.


These name tags are a great tool to use throughout the year.

10 Must Have Teaching Tools For the Classroom

It's time to take the plunge! Back To School is right around the corner and I know all you teachers out there have started stalking the Target school supply aisles and dollar bin items. You've probably been logging on to Amazon serveral times each day too. Don't worry. You are not alone. You have tons of company! I'm right there by your side.

I want to share with you 10 of my favorite teaching tools I think every teacher must have!

My favorite 10 resources I use in my classroom

This post contains affiliate links for Amazon. By purchasing an item on the Amazon site using these links, I will receive a small commission on your purchase. For more information about my Disclosure Policy, please visit this link.

1. Bright Colored Paper
I use Astrobrights Paper for just about everything! A bit of color makes everything better in my opinion. I made my Back To School parent informational packets with it and I simply love how they turned out. I also printed my Back To School quick reference guide on Astrobrights so parents could easily find the information they need at their fingertips. 

I love using this editable back to school forms all year long

2. Personal Laminator & Lamination Pouches
The thought of owning my own laminator didn't cross my mind until about 5 years ago. I had always used the laminator at our school. We had access to it all the time and it never was an issue. Then the unthinkable happened. The machine broke. It literally died. It sat and sat in the workroom and no one came to fix it. I was fed up! I was driving all over town and spending crazy amounts of money to laminate things for my classroom. What's a teacher to do? Get your own laminator of course! Now I have TWO! One for my classroom and one for my house. I can laminate anytime of day or night at my leisure! It's pure teacher heaven!
I am laminating all my Benchmark Reading vocabulary cards

I have tried all different brands of laminators. I have already gone through a few. But my most favorite, reliable, and affordable laminator is this Scotch laminator. It's amazing!

As for the pouches, I prefer the Scotch or Apache brand, however, I will purchase generic some of the time to save money. The quality is pretty much the same and it gets the job done!

3. Command Hooks
I LOVE Command hooks! I use them for everything! They are easy to put on the wall and super easy to remove, as well. I have very limited bulletin board space in my classroom. I decided to use some wall space to display my students' brag tags. The hooks are durable and I have had them up for 2 years now without any issues. 

My students love receiving brag tags

4. Markers
No teacher can ever have enough markers! My favorite markers for making anchor charts are Mr. Sketch. The best part? They smell great! I keep these markers just to myself. No students allowed. I am super particular about the points of my markers and like them to last as long as possible. These markers get the job done and make my teacher heart happy.

Also a must have: EXPO markers! These dry erase markers are the best! They write smoothly. They erase without leaving a shadow on my white board. AND... they come in fabulous fun colors! Who doesn't love writing in pink or turquoise? There are tons of different brands out there, but nothing compares to the Expo markers in my opinion.

5. Magnetic Hooks
Remember that limited bulletin board space I told you about? This is why I love these magnetic hooks. I use them on the side of my file cabinets to hook task card sets we are working on. I also use them on the metal frame of my window blinds to hold a clipboard with our classroom hall pass attached to it. 

Task cards are easy to use for differentiation when teaching

6. Magnetic Adhesive Tape
I have tried all different types of magnetic tape. Some are stronger than others, so you need to be careful what you purchase online. I've purchase this magnetic tape before and it works well on my white board. I like the option of making the magnetic adhesive any size I need. I usually use it for anchor posters I have printed out and laminated. When I am teaching, I slap the poster up on the white board for student reference. When we work in small groups, I can easily move it around, as well.

7. Individual Student White Boards
This teaching item is a game changer in the classroom. Every teacher needs a class set of personal white boards for their students. I use these for everything! My students answer questions on their boards. They use them for partner work when finding evidence in text. They answer task card questions on them. They use them as a writing surface when we play I Spy. The possibilities are endless. If your school won't purchase a class set for you, I HIGHLY recommend you invest in a set for yourself. Once you make the investment, they last forever if they are cleaned and taken care of properly. 

Task cards are great for independent practice, small groups and roam the room activities

Task cards are great for independent practice, small groups and roam the room activities

8. Label Maker
Bet you never thought of a label maker as a must have teacher tool, right? This is another game changer in my classroom. I use the Brother label maker to mark all the spines of my teacher binders. I don't like creating fancy binder spines and trying to shove them into the plastic sleeve. I always seem to spell something wrong and need to change the spine out and it is a pain! All I do now is take out my label maker. Type what I want the spine to say and hit print. Prest-o! The label maker is great for labeling folders you use all the time too. The possibilities are endless.

9. Water Bottle
I don't know about you, but I never drink, enough water when I am teaching. I also don't keep track of how much water I DO drink. I was so happy when I was introduced to Hydro Flask! My water stays cold ALL day. I fill it up in the morning with ice and water. By the end of the day, I still have ice in the container and my water is cold. I can refill it as needed. You can also switch out the caps for different colors and functionality that work best for you. 

10. HP Insta Ink Printer
I am going to be very honest.... I was on the fence about getting a new color printer for several months! There was nothing wrong with the one I had. My biggest pet peeve about it was that I never had enough ink! If I had something I was making for my classroom, I couldn't print it at home. I always had to send it to get printed. Also, I felt like I was always out of ink! I finally decided to pull the trigger one night when my teenage son needed to print a paper for school the next day and guess what? Yep, we were out of ink! I had to email his paper to my neighbor to print it out! How embarassing! 
My teaching heart loves unlimited printing in color with my HP Printer
I did a little research and pulled the trigger. I purchased the HP OfficeJet Pro 6978! This has been a complete game changer for me. I can print in color until my little heart is content. I am NEVER out of ink. And I don't have to run out to the store to get it if I do run out. The ink gets sent to me before I even need it! I choose the printing plan that works best for my needs and I can change it at any time. Want to learn more about HP Insta Ink printers? Click HERE. If you decide to join, let me know so I can help save you more on ink with an extra free month of printing!

Do you have a classroom tool you think every teacher needs? Tell me about it in the comments!


this is a list of top 10 must have classroom tools I can't live without