Office Supply Hacks for Teachers and a FREEBIE

01 August 2015 / 2 comments
Many office supply stores will be having sales this month in preparation for back to school We will all be stocking up on Sharpies and Post-it Notes, but what about other office supplies? Following are a few simple office supply hacks that will turn ordinary office supplies into useful teaching tools!

1) Rubber Bands -
*Use a rubber band ball for a quick quiz ball. Ask a question and toss the ball to a student. The student catches the ball and answers the question. Repeat!
*Rubber bands can be used to wrap around a “mystery book”. When you are introducing a unit or have a special book to read to your students, wrap it in plain paper and put rubber band clues around the package. Write a clue word on each rubber band. A basic ballpoint pen works best for this. Stretch the rubber band around the book and write a clue word. Continue with several more rubber bands that each have a clue word. Pass the “mystery book” around the class and have students read one of the words and tell you what that clue could mean. Finally, unwrap the book and reveal how each clue relates to the story! 
*The above activity would also make a great getting to know you activity. Take a picture of each student or have them bring a picture to class. Put a thick piece of cardboard underneath the picture so that you can wrap it up. Give each student their wrapped picture and have them write a word that describes them on each rubber band (3-6 rubber bands would work well). Collect the wrapped pictures and read the clues to the students to see if they can figure out the "mystery student". Unwrap the picture and see if they guessed correctly!

2) Spiral Key Rings – These would make great fidgets! If you have a student who needs to do something with their hands, give them one of these to stretch and wrap around their hands.

3) Adding machine or calculator tape – There are SO many uses for this! Here are a few:
*Comic book illustrations – divide a section of tape into equal sized rectangles and have students sequence a story by drawing a comic book style illustration in each of the rectangles.
*Timelines – You can use a long piece of tape to show the lifeline of a historical figure or major events during a period of time. You could even make a timeline of the school year!
*Math – These make an easy math center! Students can show skip counting, adding on or patterns.
*Word Work – Students can use the tape to write spelling words or word families. You can make a tiny writing desk, by using a small box that is slightly wider than the roll. A sturdy box works best! I tried the Emergen-C box and the cardboard was too thin to make a good writing surface. The small HP Instant Ink box was perfect! If you subscribe to the HP Instant Ink plan (I love it!!) you will have many of these boxes. I’m sure there are many other little boxes that would work. Just cut off one of the flaps (where the tape will thread through the box) so that the tape moves easily. Put the roll inside the box and thread it through the opening. Put a wide rubber band over the paper at the bottom of the box. The paper roll will easily slide out of the box as you use more paper.

4) Name/ID badge holders - Use name badge holders to assign editing jobs during writing times. Students will know who to see when they are ready to edit their paper. As they go to each student who has an assigned job, they will work together to edit the story. This will help students to remember to edit and enable students to actively work together during writing time. I’ve made FREE downloadable name tags and job descriptions to help you get this setup in your classroom. If you enjoy this activity, you may want to consider my writing kit which includes a chart to track progress, pages for a writing notebook, songs and more! I’ve put it on sale for today and tomorrow.

5) Fun office suppliesYou can use fun office supplies to inspire your students! Setup a VIP table as a reward for excellent behavior. Students who work at the VIP table get to use all of these fun office supplies as they do their work. Look for opportunities to eventually reward each student as they make progress towards individual behavioral goals.

6) Pen Pals - This is an easy one! I found these pen pals at Wal-Mart in the office supply section. They work great for pencils, too! There is a sticker on the bottom so that you can attach it to a desk. No more pencils on the floor! 

I hope that you find these office supply hacks helpful as you prepare for this back-to-school season. We would love for you to visit the TPT stores of Classroom Tested Resources bloggers during the big sale! There are bloggers for every elementary grade level and many specialists. Just click here to visit our profiles and find a blogger. Click on the TPT link below each banner to go directly to a store.

Thanks for reading! I hope that you have a fabulous month of getting to know your new students!



  1. I like those pen pals. I will have to look for those for this year. Thanks for the post.

  2. Love the rubber band and fidget ideas!


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