Classroom Hacks

Classroom Hack–Use Zip Ties for Task Cards

Here I am, chugging along with back to school on my mind.  I know we still have about 4 weeks left, but I’m sprinkling some teacher stuff into my demanding sleeping, swimming, and Netflixing schedule.  There’s a LOT to do, and if I don’t start now it will just nag at me.

I am so excited to dig into task cards with my students this year.  There are like a MILLION ways to use them and I’ve only scratched the surface.  Back to the story.  I’ve just cut out 72 cards, punched holes in the corners, and am ready to put them together…when I realize I don’t have any of these–

Photo from  I am addicted to office supplies.  Love them!

Photo from–Yes. I am addicted to office supplies. Love them!

Time for a cliche. Necessity is the mother of invention, and I have a need.  I need a way to bind my task cards together WITHOUT some of those ring things.  Then, I remembered that I have a pile of zip ties sitting on the counter and decided to give it a try.

Classroom Hack Zip Ties for Task Cards from The Pensive Sloth

Classroom Hack Zip Ties for Task Cards from The Pensive Sloth

It worked!  We had clear and yellow, but the yellow ones were huge and barely fit through the holes.  Now, I’m off to search for zip ties on Amazon.  Surely they have a rainbow colored pack???

–The Pensive Sloth


Project Boards Make for an Easy Status of the Class

The end of the year in my classroom brings lots of big projects!  As my 5th graders get ready to go off to middle school, I want them to be prepared to tackle time management with lengthier, more complex assignments.  Students have spent about an hour a day over the last 2 weeks working on a biome web design activity where they research a biome and build a website designed to teach younger students about their biome.  This project is huge.  Not only are they researching and writing about their learning, they are also adding images, text, and activities to a live website!  It can be difficult to know where students are and if they are making progress towards goals.  So, to help me monitor how my students are progressing, we use a project board.  It’s simple.  Students move their clip to show their progression on a project.  When I notice a student (or group) is falling behind, I can see it and intervene.  Students who are ahead of the game may need a mini-lesson on going deeper, or they may be ready for an extension.  This year I used the stiff foam poster board because it sits easily on the marker tray of my white board and I can move it around if needed.  Check it out, below!

@thepensivesloth class project biomes classroom management research 5th grade

Use a foam board and clothespins to make a project board for lengthy assignments. Project boards help you to get a status of the class and intervene with students who fall behind or need extension activities because they are zooming ahead.

Thanks for stopping by!

–The Pensive Sloth