I feel like everyone has heard of using these cheap little circles to organize their classroom library. But there are SOOOOO many other ways to use them even if you're like me and don't have a dedicated class book collection.
IDEA #1: "RANDOM-ISH" STUDENT SELECTIONI use Popsicle sticks in my class to call on random non-volunteers. Unfortunately, many times I end up drawing the same stick over and over and over again. And while I want students to know they aren't "off the hook" after one response, I also want to hear from more students in the room. The other day I used red and green dot stickers to label the ends of each of my Popsicle sticks.
IDEA #2: THE NEVER-ENDING PENCIL PROBLEMAs a rule, I don't supply pencils to my fifth graders after the first couple weeks of school. As the highest grade level in the building, I feel I need to help students learn responsibility so they are better prepared for middle school. However, so many teachers at various grade levels struggle with the problem of students not having pencils when they need them. A quick way to label pencils for each table group is to put colored dot stickers on the supply bin and the pencils. This way students can easily identify pencils that belong to their group when they are found on the ground, outside, in the hallway, under books, on a shelf, and who knows where else...
IDEA #3: TABLE PLACEMENTI'm a bit of a neat freak. Okay, a LOT of a neat freak. And one of my biggest pet peeves is when the tables in my classroom get shoved out of place throughout the day. Even with reminders, students struggle to place the tables back into the original location at the end of class. One day I had had enough and I stuck colored dot stickers on the floor in the exact spots where I wanted the table legs to go. It turned out to be really helpful because all I had to say was "pack your things and check your dots" and students knew what they were supposed to do.
IDEA #4: LEVELED GROUPINGTeachers at my school recently went through an in-depth course about Kagan grouping structures. While some of the information felt like common sense to me, I really liked the idea of assigning seats based on more than just behavior. It was suggested that each table group have students of varying ability. When I went back to my room to implement this type of seating arrangement, I found it tricky to keep track of the "highs, mediums, and lows", so I used index cards and colored dot stickers to code each student by ability.
IDEA #5: HOMEROOM IDENTIFICATIONI teach four classes each day. One way I keep track of who is in which class is by using a specific color for each homeroom. The color corresponds to their folders, notebooks, agendas, and supply bins. Since so many parents do school supply shopping ahead of time, I hate to send them to the store AGAIN to find the exact color of composition notebook to fit my needs.
IDEA #6: DIFFERENTIATING CENTER ACTIVITIESI keep most of my center games, review pages, exploration materials, and partner tasks in plastic envelopes. I use colored dot stickers to identify the specific content area each activity best addresses. For example, my Fraction Uno Game focuses on equivalent fractions and simplifying fractions, so it has a red colored dot on it to indicate fractions. My Tangram Review Puzzles involve operations with various whole number, decimal numbers AND fractions so I have a blue colored dot for basic operations AND a red colored dot for fractions. Sometimes I have several worksheets set aside for specific skill practice. After meeting with me earlier in the week, I identify areas of need for each student and give them a choice of "colors" to choose from. Students are then able to select activities during independent practice as long as they have the color coded skill on them.
IDEA #7: NOTEBOOK DIVIDERSI use them in my lesson plan book (aka spiral notebook with random ideas jotted down everywhere) to separate each nine weeks. It's a small thing, but sure helps me to find what I may have written down right before the holiday break that I needed to remember. I've also used them in student notebooks to mark the beginning of a new unit of study. This helps them flip straight to that section when needed. They would also be great for marking pages in a journal that need to be graded - super quick to open to the right page with an orange dot on the edge.
Think you'll need WAY more than one little package of four colors to get your classroom organized the way you'd like? Shop online at Amazon (my all-time favorite supplier of all things) where they have so many size, color, and quantity options! These ones are my favorite set...
(affiliate link)Looking for even MORE ways to use these little stickers in your classroom? Read about how I use them to organize and manage supplies and data during science class here.