Help! I’m addicted to hacking my teacher-life.

Primary Egnlish Teacher Hacks

My name is Rachel and I am addicted to hacking my teacher-life.

For as long as I can recall I’ve been saving the pedagogical pennies in the belief that the pounds will save themselves; I’ve attempted to draw other people into my world with my time-saving blog-posts; and now I’ve even started pushing my time saving highs with a Pinterest board dedicated to my pedagogical obsession.

I’ve noticed something though. I’m not alone. As I travel from school to school, I’ve realised that other teachers are also afflicted by an overwhelming need to hack. This blog post is dedicated to those teachers who no longer see ordinary everyday items for what they are, but for what they could become, and their potential pedagogical uses. And if you know a teacher hacker, you’ll know that if there’s one thing that both feeds and calms our addiction it’s the pleasure of sharing our hacks with anyone who will listen to us.

In this blog post I focus on the humble washing peg. Laundry-day essential it may be; but to teacher hackers it is a pedagogical philosopher’s stone.

Pairing possessions

First and foremost we must focus on the washing peg as an essential tidying-up and pairing tool. Wellington boots and gym shoes can be kept neat and tidy by allocating each child a named washing peg.

Primary Egnlish Teacher Hacks

Pinterest.com These neat name pegs could be used for pairing wellies or adding labels to classroom displays.

Instant display

Classroom noticeboards really do benefit from teacher hacking. I’ve written here about the laminated frames that I used in my classroom to save time on triple-mounting work and to speed-up the displaying of children’s work. In a similar vein, whilst out and about in schools I’ve seen a few teachers make the most of that teacher-hack-toolkit essential – the hot glue gun – to create attractive and effective display frames using washing pegs. This picture is from the classroom of a very talented Teach First student I’ve worked with. I’ve also seen similar displays where old clipboards have been up-cycled and attached to the notice boards to ease the creation of instant classroom displays.

Primary English Teacher Hacks

Sophie regularly changes the work children have done as part of their current learning journey.

Pincer grip practise

Many children need help to build-up the muscles necessary for a pincer grip. Without honing this skill, writing will be challenging. Playing with clothes pegs is a really neat way of developing this skill in a way that doesn’t seem like learning. And the learning opportunities can be taken from across the curriculum.  I found this Pinterest Board a great source of inspiration

Primary English Teacher Hacks

Pinterest.com Pegs are a great resource for developing fine motor skills such as the pincer grip.

Pegging out the washing work

Hands up if you don’t have a classroom washing line! I love to see a room festooned with key vocabulary, topic terminology and examples of children’s work. However, I don’t like to see the same prompts out on display for too long. Pegs and a washing-line are an easy way of keeping the classroom prompts fresh and relevant and are easy to change as you shift from topic to topic.

Keeping your house in order

And finally, washing pegs are great for pegging together pieces of paper and notes as they get handed to you during the day. Consider asking the student collecting in the papers to peg them together to make sure that none are lost and so that your desk avoids transforming into a small paper mountain by the end of each day.

If you’re looking to extend washing peg hacks to other areas of your life you may like this blog from Parent Hacks.

 

So how do you hack your teacher life with clothes pegs? I’d love to know.

Rachel Clarke: Director – Primary English

All content on the Primary English Website is protected by copyright and is owned by Rachel Clarke.

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Video from Primary English

Clips from two guided reading sessions in John Shelton Primary School in Coventry. Rachel is using two of the titles from The Mini Tales Pack with a year 5 and year 6 group of children whilst addressing some key reading objectives.

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