Middle school teachers have pre-teens and new teens on their hands all day, every day. They need some tricks in their back pocket to help them cope with the day-to-day challenges of not only teaching, but organizational issues and counseling these kids through this transitional period in their lives.
Instagram is chock full of teaching hacks, posted by teachers for teachers. Here are five of the best hacks on Instagram for middle school teachers.
Hack #1 – Use Screensavers to Number Tablets
Middle schoolers are the perfect (or absurd) mix of completely insecure and undoubtedly vain. The generation of selfies will love this idea for labeling your class supply of tablets.
Instead of adding sticky stickers or markers to tarnish the devices, take photos of your students holding up numbers 1-30 (or however many tablets you have) and set it as the screensaver for the device. This way you can see which number it is just by the screen, and keep them nice and clean. It’s a fun way to connect and engage with your students on the first day too.
Hack #2 – Dry Erase Dice Activities
Head to the Dollar Tree, or your local equivalent, and pick up some dry erase dice to use for extending your activities or using as learning centers. You can use them for all types of subjects, adding questions or tasks to each side.
For example, for creative writing you could get the students to really think about all elements of their writing by adding things onto the dice like ‘What is the setting?’ and ‘What is the main idea of the story?’.
Hack #3 – Wireless Doorbells
A step below a whistle, making it slightly more classroom appropriate. Middle schoolers can get a little carried away with chatting with their friends during class, and they’ve outgrown the elementary school listening methods but aren’t quite ready to self-regulate like high schoolers Cue the wireless doorbell.
Save your voice and attach this to your lanyard ID, whenever the class gets too rowdy, buzz the doorbell. It’s a sure-fire way to get their attention, and many brands offer the option of different ring tones which keeps it interesting.
Hack #4 – I Wish My Teacher Knew Box
Middle schoolers often have so much anxiety, social troubles or more serious issues, none of which relate to whatever it is you are teaching them. Aside from their parents, you’re often the main adult in their life.
Cue the “I Wish My Teacher Knew” box. Any container will do, add the title onto it so the students can clearly see it, and put it somewhere discreet but accessible in your classroom. This creates a confidential and less nerve-wracking way for students to come to you with any concerns or problems they have.
Hack #5 – Duct Tape Pens
If you’re like every other teacher (or human) and you’re sick of your pens and pencils wandering off, or being borrowed and never returned, this is a must-do hack for you.
Add a strip of patterned duct tape around each of your pens and pencils, that way they are easily identifiable. Try this hack and watch your pencils stay in place for an entire school year.
These five hacks should quickly help you become a more successful middle school teacher, or at least help save you a bit of time and angst. Try posting some of your own on your Instagram account, or ones from others that you’ve tried and see how many new likes and followers you get.