Classroom Essentials

What tools and resources do you have that you would be devastated to not have in your language classroom? A reader asked me this question a few days ago, and I figured I’d share my answer with all of you. If you read all the way to the end, you’ll find out how you can win some of my favorite things 🙂

  1. High frequency word posters. My classroom was always plastered with these, and my students’ fluency–interpretive and productive–improved exponentially when I began using them. My husband was watching a webinar about Evernote the other day, and the company representative said that the concept behind Evernote was that the highest and best use of your brain power is to solve problems, not memorize information. I love this! By posting high frequency words around my room that students can and do access at any time during the class period, they are not wasting their brain power with rote memorization of hard-to-internalize structures like “therefore”, “but”, and “also”; they are able to focus on the real content–of interpreting and communicating messages! Because the words are so high frequency, the students reference them constantly, resulting in the acquisition of those structures within the first semester of Spanish sans exertion of brain power. I love it!!
  2. Individual whiteboards. Oh my, I use these for everything. They are a must-have tool for TPRS®/TCI teachers. They allow students to provide suggestions for stories and other forms of feedback in a non-chaotic manner, they serve as mediums for presentations, they are great for note-taking, they allow students to produce output in a non-threatening manner, they provide the teacher with valuable insights during formative assessments…I could go on forever. A class set of whiteboards + dry erase markers + erasers (I buy mega-packs of washcloths from Walmart and cut them into quarters) is definitely on my must-have list.
  3. A projector. Does this really need explanation? If your school hasn’t bought one for you, you need to take it upon yourself to get one. Start a GoFundMe account and send it out to your friends. And your administrators….because come on. You need a projector.
  4. A document camera. If you’ve never had one, this may seem frivolous. Once you’ve gone there, it is so hard to go back. Document cameras are particularly useful in TPRS®/CI classrooms where so much of the content is student-generated. You need a way to share students’ work with their classmates! Whether you’ve just finished a round of Write, Draw, Pass or are discussing where everyone went over the weekend, this is the easiest way to engage the entire class in one students’ work. It will also make it waaaaay easier for you to review worksheets, fill in notes, or exist as a teacher in general. My favorite cheap-o document camera is the iPevo Point 2 View camera. It’s not fancy and doesn’t have any mind-blowing functions like my old Promethean Actiview did, but it’s cheap and gets the job done.
  5. Shakira came to my sixth grade class...obviously!
    Shakira came to my sixth grade class…obviously!

    A classroom library. Mine has never been anything to write home about, but it was filled with readers from TPRS Publishing, children’s books that I bought used on eBay, and storybooks created by my students. Crystal Barragan and Mike Peto have much more impressive classroom libraries and information posts on how to create them.

  6. A costume bin. Oh, if you could only see my costume bin…it’s filled with ridiculous articles of clothing, accessories, masks, hats, wigs, and more. I can’t imagine storytelling without it!

So…there you have it. My must-haves. Now…the fun part. I am going to give away a class set of 30 whiteboards and a document camera–not to the same person. If you’d like to enter to win one of these items, you must leave a comment with your name and the top three things that you can’t imagine teaching without. Entries must be received by August 31 at midnight, Alaska Standard Time, and I will announce the winner September 1 assuming I am not giving birth 🙂 I’ll then contact the winner via email to get mailing address information so that I can send along the goodies to you!

Can’t wait to hear from you!

AND…a side note…Teachers Pay Teachers is throwing a back-to-school boost sale on Wednesday, August 20, and all the products in my store will be 20 percent off. Click here to see a categorized list of the lesson plans and activities that will be on sale!

Okay…get commenting!

107 comments

  1. In addition to the great list above, I can’t imagine my classroom without:

    1) Lots of decorations & color – I have to fill my classroom and walls with vibrant colors and attractive posters to bring it to life and make it feel like home! I mostly post educational posters that will help students understand and use the language but I have some fun, decorative things around and pictures too. Ample student art work is a must in my room!

    2) A great sound system – I love to listen to music all day when instruction is not going on and I do my best to expose my students to a variety of Spanish music. We listen to it during passing periods, while they are quietly writing, during class parties, and of course when I am teaching a song which I LOVE to do. A great sound system makes the whole experience of listening to and studying music superior.

    3) Desks – I have spoken to a few teachers this summer who have said that they don’t have desks in their rooms. I am so used to desks that it’s hard to imagine life without them. Other than having students write on them, I use them to configure various groupings quite often. I suppose I could still do the groups without desks but it would be hard with the games I use. So, I’d like to stick with my desks for now!

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    • 1. My ENO board!
      2. My laptop
      3. My newly-made celeb-faces masks
      I would LOVE to have whiteboards!!! I think the kids would love them!

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  2. I want a doc cam!

    1. Craft supplies – what’s CI without creativity? I go through 4bulk packs of construction paper, Popsicle sticks, class set of scissors and colored pencil a/crayons!! (I teach grades 10-12, who knew?!)

    2. A make-up work file for self-service. I didn’t start this until way too late and it took a while to get going correctly, but now I can’t live without it!

    3. GradeCam!!! Instantly create multiple choice quizzes and tests (literally 3-5 minutes for a 10-15 question quiz). The student’s test is graded the second they hand it back when you hold it up to your webcam! Instantly provides a list of wrong answers (I usually mark them in red, then give one more chance to get it right) ! Aggregates and analyzes data per class, per question, and can be queried for subgroups (great for keeping an eye on my IEP students versus the whole). Free for the first 3 months by following this link! Invite other teachers new to GradeCam and you get more free time!
    URL http://www.gradecam.com/signup?referrer=tqvwrz

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  3. 1- my laptop: it contains all my records and lesson plans.
    2- my projector: I remember teaching without one…how did I ever do it.
    3- software/internet: I can’t possibly imagine writing and creating all my documents and activities without software and the internet for support!

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    • 1. Music: I’ve gone from using CDs to using an old iPod filled with my favorite music. I constantly plAy music as kids are working.

      2. Projector: whether to type notes on the board, show PowerPoint, or to watch YouTube videos.

      3. Color printer: love being able to print out images to put on bulletin boards.

      -justin

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  4. My laptop – everything is there, and I let trusted classes work on it as well when needed.
    Post-it notes – for private feedback, for quick ideas – kind of like the mini-whiteboards – one of my key purchases when going back to school!
    Sharpies! – for signs, notices, decorating etc…plus they make me smile 🙂

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  5. 1.) sound system – I constantly play music in class and have the students sing along.
    2.) my laptop – although at times it’s a pain, it would be tough to live without.
    3.) projector – mine is mounted to the ceiling and I love it.

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  6. 1. YouTube – I show video clips almost everyday to bring authentic resources into my classroom
    2. A-B-C-D cards – easy way to get formative feedback
    3. My ChromeBook cart – has greatly increased student output and creativity

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  7. I teach high school levels III,IV and V, but still have to have my art supplies and large foam dice. They keep the class fun! Oh, and my laptop because we don’t use text books. And I travel to two different rooms. Kids start this week. Thank you for your great ideas!

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  8. 1. Projector
    2. Lesson plan notes from previous year. It shows me what worked and what I should have changed.
    3. iPhone I use it to take roll online or make changes if someone is tardy. It eliminates me going and sitting on my computer.

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  9. 1. My computer/LCD projector – so many of my lessons contain video clips and other tidbits from the web.
    2. My white boards – SO much better than chalk!
    3. My department colleagues! So many ideas, feedback and support come from these 3 people. I love them!

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  10. 1. Dry erase boards for sure.
    2. I bought a box of these plastic dry erase pocket sheets. You can slide a worksheet in and have students complete the activity. We use it for a quick vocab recognition game, circling vocab in a piece of realia, bingo games… Its great for a last minute activity that I create and don’t have enough time to get laminated.
    3. Manipulatives…fake food for the food unit, oversized bandaids for the health unit, puppets, baby clothes. This stuff really brings vocabulary to life.

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  11. I would love a document camera!

    A couple things I can’t live without are:
    1) speakers because I love playing Spanish music
    2) puppets for the elementary kids
    3) my projector

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  12. Hi Martina,

    Thanks for putting your heart into your posts – all those great details make it easy to replicate the cool things you do.

    Here are three indispensables for me and my middle school students:

    1) Puppets: I use puppets to model conversation (meeting for the first time, typical questions,) invent and develop characters (What does she like to do? Where is he going? What’s her secret identity?), explore culture (Would these two characters exchange cheek kisses or shake hands?) and as model students for topics that might be sensitive (“Class, look at those crossed legs – it appears Pierre really has to go to the bathroom.”) I also have students use them in similar ways, and even as warm-up activities where they grab a puppet, give it a name and introduce it to others in class. I find it’s less threatening for students to use a puppet when they’re trying out new language. I have a few made by Melissa & Doug and others of different sizes that I bought in bulk.Some sets include characters from different ethnic backgrounds.

    2) Participation folders: These are based on ideas in “Total Participation Techniques: Making Every Student an Active Learner.” My students and I created folders last year to provide new ways for everyone to take part in class and for me to quickly check understanding. They’re composed of the following: a sturdy, plastic, double-pocket folder; a laminated cover sheet full of common French phrases that I stick to the folder using Velcro tabs; a laminated white sheet I use as a whiteboard; a slim Expo marker (also outfitted with a Velcro tab); a felt-cloth eraser; a laminated, multi-color number sheet (numbers between 1 to 10,000 – students can touch or circle them to show their understanding); a sheet with phrases to express confusion, start conversation, give an opinion, etc.; a miniature laminated flyswatter I make with large wooden craft sticks (students listen to a spoken passage and compete to slap a corresponding image,) a sheet with faces showing different emotions, and a laminated “reaction card” with green TRUE (vrai/cierto) on one side and red FALSE (faux/falso) on the other.) Like to laminate? Hope so!

    3) Windowpanes: Every classroom surface has a purpose – and sometimes more than one. I realized two years ago that I could write on (and easily erase) my classroom windows using whiteboard markers. I sometimes post expressions, reminders or notes on them, and include them as a work station during gallery walks, write-it-outs and other group activities. (Students always want to start at the windows, and then are reluctant to move on.) Other uses: a place for students to post questions or a canvas artistic students can doodle on outside class time.

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  13. 1) Projector/Smartboard/Speakers — I remember when we had none, and then we all shared one rolling smartboard and I could never use it because my room had stairs. I don’t think I could ever go back now!

    2) Access to YouTube (it was blocked for the longest time at our school! Now it’s unblocked for teaches. Thank goodness!)

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  14. My 3 favorite things:

    1. Whiteboards and markers (even though my students have iPads they love the whiteboards for a change. )
    2. Candy stash- to celebrate birthdays, game winners, helpers, etc.
    3. Music playlist/videos

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  15. Now I’m jealous because I don’t have most of those things in my teaching situation. But I want them! 🙂

    * whiteboard & variety of colors of dry-erase markers

    *laptop with speakers for music, videos & Sr Wooly

    * list of games that kids love and help stay in TPRS/CI mode.

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  16. Thank you so much for this post about essential items! It was very helpful. There are SO many necessesities that it is hard to pick just three! But here we go…

    1. A timer! — I would be so off track if I did not have my MegaTimer to tell me when time is up for a certain activity. It is big enough so that the whole class can see… so that keeps the students on track as well! I have also used “online-stopwatch.com” because they have a lot of different types of clocks and sounds that the children LOVE!

    2. Team Tubs — My students sit in groups of 4 and each group has a tub with all of their materials in it (glue, scissors, pencils, question cards, etc.). It makes life so much easier because I do not have to worry about passing out materials.

    3. White Boards — I cannot express how important these are to any classroom. The students think it is so fun to write on them and it is a great way to get them to produce individual work. I couldn’t imagine teaching without these!

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  17. Your list is a great list! In addition I would say:

    1- The “Packet-O-Success” I pass out at the beginning of each year. It serves as a reference for basically any question I thought they might have. From conjugation to irregular verbs, accent mark codes on a keyboard, a place to put all their logins and passwords, etc. So helpful! And saves time 🙂

    2- EDMODO- it is the platform I use to bring everything else together! I can do real time wiring editing there, post worksheets, share daily agendas and objectives, etc

    3-notebook recording software-all I use for making flip teaching videos. I have just as of last year started this but it has been GREAT!

    So excited:)

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  18. 1. Projector: music videos, Movie Talk, story re-writes to read together…I don’t know what I’d do without! I gave up a SmartBoard to move to a bigger room this year, but as long as I have a projector, I’m ok!

    2. Class set of novels to read together: I have bought (with my own money, ouch!) 4 class sets so far and I’ll just keep adding here and there. We read 2 in each of my levels and I love it!

    3. Word wall: I have a huge wall with all of the most used filler words (no verbs) on it that I, and the students, refer to daily.

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    • Megan,

      I have tried different types of word walls, and this year I decided to skip it to have more room for lists of regular verbs, reflexive verbs, places, ect. I just don’t have a lot of wall space and am so torn on the best way to use it. Would you consider sharing a picture of your word wall? I would love to see how you did it. Maybe I could make it work in my room if I set it up differently…

      Thanks!
      Megan in Ohio

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  19. 1. My students- really cheesy obviously, but I am going to be a first year teacher and I know when all this planning gets overwhelming I have to remember why I do what I do.
    2. Projector- I love a good “hook” like a picture, video, powerpoint etc…
    3. “Library” -I am building it and I´m not sure how impressive it is but I am excited that I will be able to offer it!

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  20. 1. Bingo- My kids love it! We have numbers, alphabet, body parts bingo. For the kids, its almost like they’re going to Disneyland when I break out the bingo boards.
    2. Music (authentic)- We use music to learn dance, learn about culture, help with pronunciation practice and so much more! It is considered a treat during writing time if students stay on task.
    3. Projector- for auditory practice via authentic and educational videos, for notes for my older students

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  21. Loving the lists! Coming up on my second year teaching and this far I can not live without…

    1. My calendar

    2. Phone for music

    3. Your lesson plans on TpT! I haven’t had formal training in TPRS yet so I feel so lucky to have come upon these. It allows me to try and understand the concept and practice of TPRS without the stress of having to come up with curriculum. Can’t wait to dive into them more this year!

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  22. My document camera and projector go without saying, but let me see if I can come up with some different things that are very helpful to me.

    1. I have a set of Popsicle sticks for each class (color coded by class, one student name written on each one) that I find very useful. When I don’t have a volontaire, I choose a victime. They also help me make sure that everyone is getting called on at least once.

    2. My school bought us an apple TV, and I must admit it is nice to be able to use my computer/ipad anywhere in the room and have it projected (when the Apple TV works). Sometimes I will type the story on the screen as we create it, or have a student type it. If you use class dojo, it’s also great for that.

    3. I have a clip board for each class that I hang on the side of my desk with magnetic hooks. Each one has a list of classroom jobs and the seating chart in page protectors. I use these to mark participation grades, tardies, attendance, etc. each day.

    Megan in Ohio

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    • Megan, as a sub I would greatly appreciate the clipboard for each class, including a seating chart–good for you! another star in your crown, as they say! 😉
      Are you able to use class dojo while doing something else? and if so, how? I worked with it a little bit as a longterm sub, but couldn’t do it while the computer was being used for anything else I’d appreciate hints if you have time. Thank you!

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  23. Thanks for all your posts! So glad I found you. Here are some of my must haves:
    1. Lavender spray. I buy a bunch at a music festival I go to every year. The boys beg for the Calm spray when people are acting up or someone has farted!
    2. Pinterest- it is how I found you! Why reinvent the wheel?? I have tons of posters and realia to put on the walls thanks to Pinterest.
    3. Dyknow- it is a great interactive classroom management tool. I can put the computers on lockdown to prevent Internet surfing, send out my notes to the kids and import their work to the classnotes. It has really shaped my teaching.

    I would love a document camera!! Muchas gracias!

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  24. Hi, Martina! I love your blog! The top three things I cannot imagine teaching without are:
    1. my projector and promethean board
    2. dry erase markers (we write a lot on our desks)
    3. my computer (I can project pages and ppts without having to print out)
    4. ***The internet because I find awesome stuff like your ideas and other ideas from TpT, etc.)***

    Sheana Siegel
    MS/HS Spanish Teacher – 2nd year

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  25. 1. My Targus presentation remote! (http://www.amazon.com/Targus-Laser-Presentation-Remote-AMP13US/dp/B002NU5OAQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1408383748&sr=8-1&keywords=targus+presentation+clicker).

    It frees me up to walk around the classroom and not be glued at the board when I’m presenting a story with pictures. Also, my students love to be in charge of it and be able to click to the next slide. Makes every presentation more interesting. Also, it comes with a laser pointer and it’s AMAZING how much more willing my students are to work with text if they get to point with the laser pointer.

    2. When I was student teaching, I was too cheap to buy mini-whiteboards, so I’ve made my own. Sheet protectors (for binders and the like) with a piece of white paper inside of them. And viola. They get grungy after a while, but they’re so cheap, light, and easy to clean up. And kids can just put the marker INSIDE the white board, so it doesn’t get lost.

    3. Pop Up books about culture! Maybe this is just me, but I’m pretty obsessed with Pop-up books and other interactive elements. Probably because I’m secretly still a kindergartener! I bought 3-4 new ones just for this year.

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  26. I’ve got quite a few classroom essentials. Here are my top 3:
    1. Projector/SmartBoard
    2. The Comprehensible Classroom blog 🙂
    3. a timer for keeping time for timed writes or other activities

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  27. 1. Apple TV
    2. whiteboards
    3. dice (various kinds), bell, balls….stuff I use for games

    I’ve never used a camera in class. I hope it’s me! 🙂

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  28. 1. Online PD communities – I learn so much from other great Spanish teachers.
    2. Google Images – Need pictures for everything!
    3. Sense of humor and patience to deal with the everyday challenges with students and technology.

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  29. Thank you for your posts, Martina, and for the give-aways!
    Three things I would hate to lack:
    1. a blackboard/whiteboard of some type. When I first taught, as a music teacher in a parochial school, I didn’t have this in my band room (read: church basement; which I could deal with, even though it was in a separate building from where I traveled to my other classes). Principal couldn’t understand why I needed/wanted it (though, to his credit, he did provide one)
    2. my copy of Languages and Children: Making the Match (so many good ideas!)
    3. French-English dictionaries

    By the way, when you said “projector”, what type did you mean? Overhead projector? That is one of the most useful devices, in my opinion (though a document camera may be better). Or did you mean a projector that you can use to show movies? or one you can hook up to your computer somehow, to show things off the internet or how documents you have put on the computer or a flash drive?

    Merci!

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  30. 1. Must have Sharpie Markers!!! love them and the students do too. A simple written assignment becomes a colorful masterpiece.

    2. My wireless projector and evernote account. I load all my music videos, real life presentations, current events ,etc. When I arrive it is all there waiting to be shared.

    3. My library of children’s books. Sure, they are super simple but the 8th graders love to visit the elementary school and read to 1st graders. I was a preschool teacher for many years and I LOVE picture books!!

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  31. 1. Whiteboard – constantly using it for translations for TPRS and for pictures I’ve cut out of magazines, books, etc. to provide comprehensible input!

    2. Twitter – gotta have the support of other foreign language teachers! Plus, I get inspired and refreshed daily. #langchat

    3. The Comprehensible Classroom website by Martina Bex! 😉 – this website is an absolute GOLD MINE!!!! Love Martina with my whole corazón.

    – Kelly Roy (aka Desperate for Whiteboards)
    Birmingham, AL @senorakroy

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  32. 3 classroom essentials

    1. Enthusiastic students who are willing to be as goofey as I am.
    2. Class dojo
    3. Spanish music channels on Pandora radio

    Thanks to all for such great ideas too.

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  33. Love reading the other comments!

    I honestly could not imagine teaching without Promethean software. I run it on the SMARTBoard, and years of designing cool flip charts facilitates CI.

    Also the Verb Wall from The Color Connection keeps me from having to teach conjugation of all the forms. Students can work their way around the wall to say what they need.

    And sometimes it is the small things. I do love some jumbo paper clips.

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  34. Ooh great list! I need white boards! I used to share with my neighbor but he got a new job and took them with him leaving me board-less. However he did gift me his document camera so I am excited to try that out this year. 🙂

    My 3 are:

    1. My participation/group-making cards
    2. My high frequency word posters/question word posters
    3. Multi-color whiteboard markers

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  35. Great list! I used to share whiteboards with my neighbor but he got a new job and took them with him! I’ve been contemplating getting my own set since I used them so much and they are pretty much no fail unlike my iPad cart, which has a personality all its own. He did gift me his document camera so I am excited to try that out this year!

    My 3 are:
    1. question word/high frequency word posters
    2. multi-colored whiteboard markers
    3. my participation/group making cards

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  36. 1) HAND SANITIZER!! – I have a “sick station” by the door with tissues and hand sanitizer with the garbage right next to it. When students are sick they go there and have to blow their nose, but to avoid getting others sick they can use hand sanitizer before going back to their seats. Or some students just use it upon coming in and leaving! I swear that after putting a sick station in with hand sanitizer, I stopped getting sick!
    2) This rotating organizer – has changed my life! It is so, so handy and helps keep my books, binders, and supplies organized. Plus, it spins 🙂
    http://www.staples.com/Staples-The-Desk-Apprentice-Rotating-Desk-Organizer/product_597003
    3) “El sombrero mágico” – I use a “magic sombrero” whenever students need to choose or pick something– students pick out of it. It the little things that make activities more fun!

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  37. So many great favorites already mentioned but here’s three of my mine that weren’t already mentioned:
    1. Quia.com – use it for assessments all the time and I especially love it that you can include images/pictures and audio files
    2. maracas – favorite activity I use them with is when we’re singing the ‘star of the week’ song to a student. ‘Star of the week’ is often done in elementary classrooms but my seniors in high school love it too!
    3. my Google Doc of Brain Breaks idea – great for transitions or getting students moving during block days or a longer activity

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  38. Hmmm…top three…I love following you and other amazing WL teachers on Twitter, and I adore Zachary Jones. So much inspiration from those sources! I guess number 3 would have to be speakers; I teach high school and music is such an incredible way to entice them to care about learning Spanish.
    Thanks for all you do! I have enjoyed reading so many other teachers’ ideas here (look at you getting us to teach each other!), and have gotten so many ideas from you it’s crazy. Good luck with the bebe!

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    • The first day of school is tomorrow! Here’s to my second year of teaching and getting better at TPRS! 🙂 My top three things I couldn’t live without in the classroom:

      1) My stuffed animals collection for class stories and fun (especially the guinea pigs – I lived in Peru and they eat guinea pigs there – always a fun anecdote and talking point for my students!).

      2) My laptop/projector combo. Pictures, google maps, fun activities… oh my!

      3) My Spanish music collection with everything from Romeo Santos, Juanes, Shakira to even Nat Cole King and his version of “Quizas Quizas Quizas”…. and my pianica (a musical instrument). Teaching with music is la mejor!

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  39. Some of my favorites are:
    1. MY LASER POINTER!!! I use my laser pointer constantly to point to my target structures on board or any other high frequency word that is posted. The point and pause strategy is indispensable for 100% comprehension.
    2. LARGE STICKY PADS OF PAPER!!! I use these for a variety of tasks. If we are telling a class story I have one person designated the artist who record our story visually. We can then refer to the visual for days to come as it sticks up on the wall. So many activities can stem from this. I also use the sticky pads for gallery walks. I might write words or tape pictures to the sticky pads and then post them throughout the room. Students then stroll around and write a comment. Getting students up and walking is crucial. Then everyone can sit back down and we can quickly refer to the work since it’s up on the wall, not flat on a desk or table.
    3. FOAM BOARD POSTERS!!! I have a variety of big posters that I don’t want out all the time (grammar conjugations, job lists for telling stories etc.) I put them on this this thick, stand-up-on-itself foam board and I can prop them on the chalk board ledge no problem and then tuck them away when I want to write on the board. I am also going to be sharing my classroom with another teacher next year (not a Spanish teacher) so these will be helpful as I try to keep my room tidy and not overwhelming for the other teacher. Also, students know where they are and they can quickly pull them out from behind a bookshelf when needing some help with a conjugation for example.

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    • For my structures posters I have laminated posterboard–so you can write and erase with dry erase markers–and put them up on my white board with magnets. This makes it easy for me to pre-write main structures, and change back and forth among the structures for my four preps quickly (only four minutes between classes). But maybe I can somehow combine the erasable surface idea with your foam board idea so I don’t have to bother with the magnets. Hmmm….

      Thanks for the idea, Madeleine!

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  40. Love the top 3 and for me:
    1) My computer/LCD (and their BYOD devices)
    2) Evernote – my whole teaching “plan” is in it
    3) My whiteboard
    4) My phone – for capturing the ‘moments’ during/after a lesson
    5) A song of the week on the board – ready to go!
    Thanks again for all of your great ‘back to school’ sharing!
    Colleen

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  41. For me, I couldn’t live without:
    1) my phone – for music, recording, videoing, capturing moments of brilliance
    2) hand puppets – for role-play, storytelling, gesturing
    3) whiteboard pens – a whole heap of them for students to write all over the whiteboard in my room .Would love some mini whiteboards to take this even further!

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  42. I couldn’t live without my purple pens of progress! The pupils love redrafting their work using them after I have given guidance in red!
    Also I need timers! They cause lots of fun and competition and help classes stay structured and also my microphones with USB in the end. We get hours of talking out if pupils if they can use these to ‘play!’

    http://Www.linguascope.com also good to have
    Alex

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  43. 1. YouTube: I use this for music, authentic TV and speakers. Could NOT live without it!
    2. Projector: Obviously, YouTube is meaningless without a way to show it to kids.
    3. A map of the World in French: Sounds stupid, but I reference that dang thing all the time. Whether we are looking for a location for a story or discussing current events, it comes in handy. And it’s big…I think I got it for free from EMC a few years ago.

    Like

  44. 1) My projector
    2) A DONGLE!! I just love this word….make hooking the computer to the projector essential! 🙂
    3) My individual containers of playdough. Students LOVE using playdough for various things

    Like

    • Hahaha…yes I think it is hilarious too! I went to Best Buy looking for one though and the guy looked at me like I was crazy. After some explanation on my part, he said, “Oh you mean an adaptor cable”. Then he said that he supposed that yes, technically, it was a dongle because a dongle is any short connector cable. He suggested I say adaptor cable to be more specific. Bor-ing!

      Like

  45. Things U couldn’t do without:
    1) laptop- I use it every day along with my Activeboard
    2) cupboard of toys and props – these are invaluable in acting out stories
    3) presentation remote- it seemed like a luxury item, but now it’s just an extension of my arm!

    Like

  46. The three things that I can’t imagine teaching without are….
    1. Games (Bingo, “Futbolito” (I brought it back from El Salvador and it uses a marble), Jeopardy, battleship, scrabble…
    2. My iphone for taking videos of the kids dramas and skits.
    3. Collection of children’s books and songs (especially “Un elefante incomoda mucha gente, dos elefantes incomodan mucha mas”.)

    Like

  47. 1. My ipad because I have a lot of my students take their quizzes on socrative and some don’t have phones. I also take a lot of pictures of students doing their work.
    2. My colleagues for collaborating and sharing really great ideas. And administration for their positive support.
    3. Google voice for helping students practice pronunciation and use the language outside of class.

    Sarah smith
    Mlle.smitty@gmail.com

    Like

  48. Hi Martina,

    I just found your blog, and I am loving all of your ideas. Thank you for everything! I am a traveling teacher between a high school and elementary school, and this has made me rely on and cherish the most basic of resources.

    1) I couldn’t be without my cart. I keep all of my essentials there…large whiteboard, extra pencils, little manipulatives, daily calendar, etc.
    2) I depend on my magnetic pictures, words, etc. Since I am in many classrooms (and each one is equipped differently), I rely on my magnetic resources as visuals for my students.
    3) Finally, I use a lot of game-related “tools.” Dice, bingo chips, flyswatters, cups, scarves. I find that I can create many activities using these basic resources.
    *And…an extra, my mini speakers are wonderful. They can fit in the palm of my hand and they travel all over with me.

    Thank you for doing this! A document camera or some whiteboards would be a beautiful addition to my moving world!

    Like

  49. My top 3:

    1. Overhead projector – My kids love drawing vocab on transparencies that we can review every day!
    2. WordReference.com – I love all the examples and uses it gives.
    3. Art supplies, especially for higher-level students who no longer get to take art. School supplies on sale is like Christmas in August!

    I just made a word wall from your awesome resources, Martina, so hopefully that will get added to my list this year! 🙂 Thanks for all you do and share!

    Like

  50. Three things I must have?

    1. My Penda-Flex plastic accordion file folders. They open up to lie flat and have a hook that you can use to hang them on the wall. Extra copies for absent students, as well as papers that have been passed back, go in them. As an added bonus, it has just the right amount of slots- one for each class period!
    2. My SMART board. I love, love, love being able to pull up a website, video clip, etc. at any given moment to show students real-world examples of Spanish.
    3. My Pinterest account. I have thousands of cool sites thematically arranged and ready to go. I find myself going to Pinterest on d

    Like

  51. 1. The daily advice and support of my colleagues
    2. The patience and courage to continue working in the challenging world of education
    3. And of course all of the fun teacher toys I get to play with all day-only limited by my imagination (so many have been mentioned already I couldn’t even begin to name them)

    Like

  52. My must haves?

    1. The internet
    2. My individual whiteboards
    3. My gigantic paper sheets- I have lots of classes, so they allow me to save the new words we use for the next day while still having time to get to the door to greet the next class.

    Like

  53. I teach middle school and I can’t live without:
    1. my laptop, a treasure trove of lesson plans, games, posters, etc.
    2. the cans of “name” popsicle sticks I make every year for each of my classes. These solve many an argument when it comes to situations like who goes first when we’re giving presentations.
    3. our wireless projector, which enables me to share so many digital resources with my students.

    Like

  54. Three things that I can’t imagine teaching without … hmmm ….

    1. My SMARTboard, since my only other writing surface is a chalkboard, and I would end up completely white and covered in chalk dust by the end of the day without it. That and all of the amazing things that interactive whiteboards can do.

    2. A clipboard. Call me old school, but I keep all kinds of reminders, participation logs, seating charts, etc. on that puppy and I can’t imagine using a different system unless I get an iPad (which I hope I do!)

    3. Individual whiteboards, for all of the reasons that you listed!

    And, a note: if any teachers reading this have an iPad, you can use that as a doc cam instead of buying your own!

    Like

  55. Hello Martina,

    As always you are kind and generous towards us. Thank you so very much for everything you are.

    Here is my list:
    1. High frequency word and verb posters.
    2. Weebly website. Super easy to use and it allows me to keep all of my class stories and activities in one place. It also gives my students another source of CI (in class and outside of it)
    3. Giant squishy ball to interact with my students. (They love catching that ball and responding)

    Elena

    Like

  56. 1. Great colleagues that I can collaborate with and who introduced me to TPRS.
    2. Internet — I love TPRS blogs, Youtube, Pinterest, Sr. Wooly, etc.
    3. My cart- I will be working out of three rooms, none of which are foreign language classrooms.

    Like

  57. I love all of these lists!
    My top 3 are:
    1. My projector – I use it every day to show music, activities& authentic content.
    2. YouTube- it was blocked while u student taught and my students missed out on so many possibilities.
    3. #langchat pln & blogs- without them I would be a boring textbook teacher

    Like

  58. I would love individual whiteboards!

    As for three things I can’t live without as a teacher, I’ll try to come up with 3 that haven’t been mentioned:
    1. Social media — I use Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter for connecting with my high school students outside of class.
    2. My prayer journal — I keep a spiral notebook at the front of my room to pass around at the start of every class. I have former students who will message me with something to add to the prayer journal from time to time.
    3. Thank you notes — I’ve saved every heartfelt note I’ve ever received from a student. On rough days, I pull them out and re-read them.

    Hmm, so I guess for me it’s all about making connections with my students. I can teach them Spanish all day long, but it won’t be worth it if I can’t reach their hearts.

    Like

  59. My top three things that I use for my lanuage classes:
    1. My projector and SmartBoard
    2. You Tube
    3. The wonderful websites such as Sharon Birch, Zachary Jones, The Comprehensible Classroom and more that I use to keep current and new ideas.

    Like

  60. Probably some repeats. But I’m just getting into this and am learning from everyone.

    1. Laser pointer–helps me point to question words when I happen to find myself far away from them.

    2. iPod–or, at least, I’m seeing how clunky it is to play music just on the computer using a CD and windows. Wishing I had one (but not as badly as a document camera).

    3. Twitter account–I can’t believe how much I’m learning since being connected this way to people.

    Like

  61. 1. My LCD projector
    2. Martina Bex’ influence
    3. Equity sticks: I taped mini hands purchased from a school supply store to popsicle sticks. I use these for choosing who goes next, to dividing in to teams, to showing me if you understand or not.

    Like

  62. I’d love to have a doc cam! Thank you for the opportunity!

    1. Moretprs
    2. Blogs like yours
    3. Nulu- news stories for Spanish students

    Like

  63. All of this has blown me away! I have been teaching for 29 years & these are some things that I would not want to do with out:
    1. My computer, without it I would not be able to use-
    2. My Smart Board – this piece of equipment opens the world to so many possibilities.

    What I would like is a webcam to do Google Hangouts & a document camera would be awesome!

    Gracias for creating this site!

    Like

  64. 1. AC – unfortunately our AC broke at the High School just as a heat wave was striking, so I have not been able to teach in my room for the past 10 days! Fortunately, I have wonderful colleagues who opened their classroom door to me and are acquiring a little French while I teach in their room 🙂
    2. My clipboard class set – I got rid of my desks at the Middle School which gives us more room to move around and do storytelling – credit to MIke Peto- so clipboards are vital!
    3. My cultural question word posters – in fact when the AC broke, that is pretty much the only thing I took from my classroom to transport to the other classrooms I am teaching in. One student already figured out that the person shown under the question “Who” is a famous Belgian singer 🙂 – credit to Mme Farab for suggesting to make my question words posters cultural.

    Like

  65. I absolutely could not live without:

    1. Online resources, including this blog, TpT, Zachary Jones, the Creative Language Class, and #langchat. These are all helping me make the switch to CI in my second year of teaching.
    2. Professional development, including a MOPI training and ACTFL’s methods course through Weber State University. These have helped me solidify the importance of CI and proficiency based teaching.
    3. Question word posters/high frequency verb posters. I only started using them this year but already my students are referencing them. I finally get that if it’s going on the wall then it needs to have a purpose!

    I am also going to add a remote (it’s all about that proximity control in large classes), as well as a costume bin, and class sets of TPRS books. I’m also working on a Weebly site to upload documents and audio recordings of class stories for absent students. I think once I have that it will make my list because the makeup file I have now only works for written work :-(.

    Like

  66. 1. Online resources, including this blog, TpT, Zachary Jones, the Creative Language Class, and #langchat. These are all helping me make the switch to CI in my second year of teaching.
    2. Professional development, including a MOPI training and ACTFL’s methods course through Weber State University. These have helped me solidify the importance of CI and proficiency based teaching.
    3. Question word posters/high frequency verb posters. I only started using them this year but already my students are referencing them. I finally get that if it’s going on the wall then it needs to have a purpose!

    Like

  67. Three things I can’t live without:
    1. my overhead projector
    2. my pinterest boards! i love that they are so easily organizable!
    3. fans in my room – bigger classes means more heat!
    I’ve just recently found your blog, and I LOVE that you are so willing to share your ideas and your resources with other fl teachers. Bless you!

    Like

  68. 1. My word wall – My word wall of high frequency words is constantly referenced by my students for use in their speaking and writing tasks. It is important to me that students know the word wall is there to help them build confidence and it’s just awesome when they don’t need it anymore because they know the words!
    2. Whiteboards for my students – Whiteboards and tons of colorful markers have become a staple and a security blanket (for me) in my classroom. If something doesn’t go as planned, I always know I can turn to whiteboards and do any number of activities & I know that my students will be actively engaged when we pull them out. As a teacher who travels between classrooms (and this year between schools!), I always try to make sure that my students have access to whiteboards.
    3. My colleagues – I started my teaching career as a department of one and I had no idea of the power of collaboration with other language teachers. I thought I was doing just fine on my own, but I was also feeling somewhat stuck. Once I started teaching at a larger district, I got to collaborate with teachers who have shared their wonderful ideas with me and constantly inspire me to become a better teacher. They introduced me to great blogs and resources that I had never even thought to find on my own and now I’m addicted! My colleagues have been invaluable to me when it comes to sharing ideas, expressing frustrations & doubts I’ve had, and providing support for myself and my classes (instructional & emotional).

    Like

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