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Clothespins are super cheap and they can be used for so many things! Here are my 6 favorite ways to use clothespins
in your classroom– specifically for behavior management and displaying student work.
1. Good Old Clip Chart
My clip chart is one of the main ways I handle classroom management. As I’m sure most people know already, my students all start at “Ready to Learn” and have the opportunity to clip up for leadership or clip down for not following directions. I like it because if a student makes a not-so-smart choice, they can try to make better choices the rest of the day and hopefully clip back up!
My students’ numbers are each on a clothespin and we had many talks at the beginning of the year about not worrying about other people’s clips! That being said, my class gives a “golf clap” to anyone who clips us to Star Student! While I don’t give any rewards in relation to the clip chart, I do give “Star Student” stickers or certificates out to my kiddos to show their families when they get home. My students also have a weekly behavior chart where they record where they ended up on the clip chart for each day. This serves as a great tool for me to communicate behavior issues with families on a daily basis.
2. “Good Fit” Books
Since I teach first grade, reading is SUPER important to me! I have over 1,000 books in my classroom library because I want my students to always have something interesting to read! However, I also want them reading books that are a “Good Fit” for them! To help my students make smart book choices, I have a clothespin clipped on the basket of books that is going to “help their reading brain grow the most”. I don’t require my students to read books ONLY from that basket, but I like to recommend that they start with a good fit book and then choose from other baskets!
3. Hallway Display #1
Hanging student work in the hall is so FAST with clothespins! To make this display I just hot glued ribbon onto our cinder block walls and put clothespins on them! I only have about 7 on each ribbon so it’s not too heavy, so I tell my students that their math work will go on display only if they do their personal best!
4. Hallway Display #2
This is another way to display student work that makes interchanging student work easy peasy! I saw other teachers at my school doing this, and I knew I had to make one too! I started by hanging two command hooks and letting them sit on the wall for a day (they tend to hold better if you don’t put stuff on them right away). Then, I took a thick ribbon and hot glued a loop around a large ring so that I could hang them on the two hooks. Next, I added red bows to make them cute, and I added a piece of velcro at the very bottom to attach the ribbons to the wall so that they wouldn’t swing when people walked by them. Last, I added clothespins and student work! I like to display math on these two ribbons as well so that I have a piece of math work from each of my students on display at all times.
5. Bathroom Clips
This smart way to use clothespins is probably my favorite! I use clothespins as bathroom passes and it has been a lifesaver! My students clip either the boys clip or girls clip onto their shirt (by the collar) and then show me a “b” in sign language. I taught this procedure as a SILENT procedure so that students could ask me to go to the bathroom without saying a word (super helpful for when I’m teaching at my reading table). They just stand somewhere that I can see them and I’ll give them a head nod! If I give them a non-verbal “yes,” then they cross out one of their passes for the day (we have a clipboard with everyone’s name on it and a 1, 2, 3 next to it). I’m not a stickler on them going more than three times per day if they run out, but it definitely curbs kids from going 10 times per day (am I right?!?). Anyways, I end up changing these clothespins out every few weeks to be fresh, but I still think they are better than anything they might carry to the bathroom.
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6. Hallway Display #3
This is my main hallway display where I rotate in my students’ most recent writing pieces. I started by laminating scrapbook paper and then hot gluing it onto the wall. Then, I also hot glued
the clothespins on top of the papers so that I can trade out student work without having to get ANY tape out! I also have a small dry erase board to the side where I write the standard that goes with my students writing work.
Well, that’s it for now! These are my 6 favorite ways to use clothespins in the classroom, but I’d LOVE to hear more from you– just comment below!