These things aren’t found in my bag per se, but scattered about my room and used often.
As with so many of us here at CANEns, I also have an interest in physical and kinesthetic play-acting. I have several plastic shoe-boxes filled with stuffed animals, troll dolls, GI Joes, and other figurines. I also have some homemade tunics, togas, theater masks, and other vestimenta. In addition to these, I have various small tchotchkes I have acquired over the years – a combination lock, small rulers, Play-Do, rubber duckies, etc. These make great props or the goals of scavenger hunts.
I am very particular about my pens. I prefer gel ink with a small nib, .5 or .38. If possible I try to stock my room with lots of black pens and any other bright color for correcting (I know red can have a bad rep, though it is still easiest to find.) For those who like to geek out as much as I do about writing implements, JetPens will fulfill all your hopes and desires. In the past I have invested in the “uni kuru toga,” a mechanical pencil that auto-rotates to keep the tip sharp (great for interstitial notes) and a small pencil that I can clip into my wallet.
I also love magnets. As TJ mentions below, they are great for clipping up student work to the board (assuming you have a magnetic whiteboard). Another great use I’ve found is playing Rota on the board with different color magnets. I prefer the push-pin style, myself.
It may sound like my room is similar to TJ’s. It probably is. He has great ideas, another of which is dice. I found 100 red 6-sided dice for about $10 once (check Amazon for the lowest prices.) You might ask yourself, “Why do I need 100 dice?” Well, you don’t, but the kids are always amazed at seeing so many dice in one spot. One way I use them as randomizers is for doing quick grammar or vocab drills. Assign each die a function – this one is for a vocab word, this other is for one of the personal endings, this third is for a tense (amazingly, lots of grammatical stuff happens in sextuplets.) With so many dice, each kid or group has enough to randomize to her heart’s content. One other kind of dice I’ve recently acquired is “StoryCubes.” I think Emily or some other CANEns co-editor told me about them. They are a great way to get a story going for practice in writing or speaking.
Last, but most important, is my laptop. I am a techy kind of guy, and to describe in detail all the programs, apps, and websites I use would take a year’s worth of posts. I’ll fill you in on one I use every day: NoteSync. It is an incredibly simple-to-use note taking tool that houses your notes in your Google Drive. I use it for lesson planning; my school rotates on a 7 day schedule, so I made a new note for each “day” and type in my plans. No more need for a paper planner, and my notes are available wherever there is an internet connection. The program runs on lots of platforms, too.
My bag has shown itself to be a bag of holding. If you have any questions or require clarification, let us know in the comments.
So what’s in TJ’s bag?
I like to travel light and don’t use a lot of props. Still, there are some things which I find I use all the time in my classes.
A student teacher I had two years ago, Natasha Marple, introduced me to magnetic dots, which is great for quickly putting up on my white board student work, giant vocab cards for games, and pictures of characters for stories. She also hooked me on the Targus Laser Presentation Remote, so I can point out items all over the room and advance presentation slides without being chained to my laptop.
It won’t fit in a bag, but I love my document camera! It’s fabulous for showing student work to the whole class (assuming you also have a projector), and if you can shine the image on a white board like I do, you can make corrections, or add things, or whatever. You can also use it to project an image on a piece of paper or even the wall for tracing on a large scale.
Stuffed things are great, and I have a few I use all the time. There’s MILES MAXIMUS, a hand sized soldier I found in a UK gift shop, several DINOSAURI, a PIRATA for passives (he says RRR, like most passives, and he’s MINI), and a giant pie because, well, I love pie, and it flies easily through the room. I use these for choosing “volunteers” and as characters in stories.
I’ve got a bag of variously sized and colored dice, too, because they’re great randomizers, good for teaching numbers, and for paired activities.
Finally, I’m a big fan of stickers, though I’ve had a hard time finding good ones in Latin ( if you know of some that aren’t super big, let me know). I like the mini ones the best, particularly variety packs you can pick up in the Staple’s teacher section, because you get a lot for the price, and I tend to burn through them quickly. The look of joy in even a senior’s face when they get a sticker on a quiz or test well done is a thing of beauty.
Want to share what you use all the time? Let us know, and we’ll compile your input and share them on the blog!
* Color-coded folders I color code everything. These are the folders that I use to keep things I will be handing out in class. Each class has a color that is used on the folder where they turn in their work, the flags I talk about below, their Edmodo groups are color coded, and messages for them are written on the board in the corresponding color.
* iPad Like Emily, I use an iPad for a lot of the administrative things in my class. I’m a big fan of Attendance2.
* Quis the Owl This stuffed owl was a present from my mentor when I went off to teach at a different school. He lost an eye in storage one summer, so he now wears an eyepatch for formal occasions. I use him to act out stories (he played Europa to my bull) and explain grammatical concepts. If students are stressed out, I’ll let them hold Quis or Squi, the small squishy owl a student gave me.
* Roman Bridal Veil The orange fabric with a gold border is a Roman bridal veil. It’s useful for when we’re talking about Roman history or culture, and it finds itself being useful in a strange variety of ways. (Romulus and Remus? Thisbe’s veil? Mt. Vesuvius’s pyroclastic flow? All these and more!)
* Stamp I grade homework on an attempted- full credit, not attempted- no credit basis. I go around the class at the start of the period and stamp homework papers with this stamp, adjusted to show the day’s date. My students then have proof that I’ve checked off their homework and I have a marker so they can’t pass off the previous night’s work again.
* Latin Mallet It may look like a crab mallet, but there’s much more to it. I use this to keep time when we chant, as a pointer, to break open chemical ice packs for students who were injured at recess, and so much more.
* Imperfect Sheep Because imperfect verbs have a -ba- in them, I have a variety of little model sheep called the Imperfect Sheep. They also end up acting out stories. I think this one is named Ovis; there’s also an orange one named Hunter and a blue one named Bluebell. When I buy these at the New York State Sheep and Wool Festival every year, I carefully choose the ones that look the least sheepy, since they are imperfect.
* Flags I use these little translucent flags to keep track of where each class is in the reading. I move it along as I go, so I can quickly find where I stopped. They leave no marks and are more visible than little pencil marks.
* Pencil case My pencil case usually contains my fountain pens, a pair of scissors, the connector for the projector if I have access to a projector,
* Pens I have a Lamy Safari Vista filled with a purple Bulletproof Noodler’s Ink. The black Lamy Safari is filled with Noodler’s Bulletproof Black. Using a fountain pen helps me not clench the pen and press too hard, while the Bulletproof inks are more permanent than Sharpies. If water is spilled on one of my papers, nothing happens.
* Silent pencil sharpener It’s annoying when a quiet student is talking and is suddenly drowned out by the electric pencil sharpener. I have the silent (manual) pencil sharpener for my students to use if they need to sharpen a pencil in class.
Greetings once again!
I wish I had a picture of my crazy bag! Unfortunately, I am in the process of moving, and my Owl-Bag remains packed. But I remember what I keep in it…
Bubo the Owl: I have an owl who can serve many purposes. She has been a fantastic direct object, and a great toss-ball. (When we practice a grammar point, I throw Bubo around the room and ask for specific pieces of grammar.)
The Golden Snitch Ball: Another great toss-ball. The students love them both. Gives a very Hogwarts feel to the classroom.
My iPad and relevant power cords/connectors: My iPad has been appropriately named Alesia by my students. (Why Alesia? I don’t know either.) Alesia the iPad is full of Latin apps and other fun educational tools for my classroom. Often, it is used when I need to project a text on the board. I use the app Evernote to make notes about how class went and keep a teaching notebook. Also, the app ClassDojo is fantastic for making private notes about student performance. And of course, never underestimate the power of the Edmodo App!
Pencil Case: 2 Purple Pens (for writing passes), my new purple fountain pen for grading, 2 blue pens (for other notes), USB flashdrive, 1 pad of yellow post-its, and 1 pad of purple post-its.
Moleskine notebooks: I have 2–1 small and 1 large. The small one is used for Latin Club business, while the large one is used for teaching and school-related notes.
Class folders: I have color-coordinated folders for each class, in which I keep work to be graded and returned. On the front of each folder, I keep a post-it note of who needs to turn in the assignment/take the quiz.
Color-coordinated Popsicle sticks: Each Popsicle stick has a student’s name. I shuffle them up to call on students, put them out to show where new seats are, and all sorts of other thing. Each class is held together with a rubber-band of the same color.
Teaching Binder: My purple binder with attendance lists and paper version of my gradebook.
Hey there, what’s in YOUR teaching bag? What cool things do you have that I don’t? Share some of your bag with us!