Monday, July 27, 2015

Let's Get Those Clothespins Ready!!!

Before school was out a couple of months ago, I visited a K classroom in a school near mine. This classroom was terrific, and what do you think this teacher had throughout her room? Clothespins! Lettered clothespins, numbered clothespins; ahhh, it was fabulous!!

So, I thought I would repost the guest post I had on Rachel Lynette's blog Mind In Bloom.

School starts soon.
Let's get those clothespins ready!!!

I have 232 clip card products in my TpT store – no beating around the bush - I love Clip Cards and clothespins! And really, who is not addicted to the way clothespins open and close?
Clothespins are inexpensive and versatile, too. Inexpensive? You can get a bag of 50 clothespins for $1. Versatile? Clothespins are crafty; you can make cutesy animals and gifts with pins, but wait, there are so many more ways to put clothespins to work in your classroom.  Please, check out the following activities.
Save a staple, use a clothespin. I remember being in fifth grade and my teacher handed back my paper with big holes at the top because of her stapling it to the bulletin board. Trust me, your students will thank you for not defiling their papers plus using clothespins is much faster and easier than stapling. Glue two flat thumb tacks to the back of the clothespins so they stick into the bulletin board. Totally easy!
Thanks Mrs. Lee's Kindergarten!
I am definitely a centers teacher. I employed centers with my primary students and even during my stint teaching high school. While all centers should be motivating and engaging, let's admit it, some center activities are more fun than others. That is when a centers chart is handy, to help choose and rotate centers. And a great way to keep up with rotating centers? Clothespins, of course.
I should buy stock in clothespins!
I actually squealed aloud when I first saw this idea on Pinterest: using clothespins as bathroom passes. Ingenious! The passes will return - the clothespins are clipped onto the students' clothing; hence, the passes never get left in the bathroom; the passes will be germ free – the clothespins are clipped onto the student before leaving the room then unclipped upon returning to the classroom and untouched in between; hence, germs are super reduced. 
Brilliant idea!
Classroom jobs are a must as they are a great way to instill a sense of responsibility in our students. And, you guessed it, clothespins are once again the go-to tool to use when rotating student names on charts.
Everyone wants to be the paper passer!
Many teachers use the traffic light behavior management system. Green, yellow, and red circles with, of course, clothespins. I have used a similar behavior management system; one that, for my students, was less embarrassing for the yellows and reds and less stressful for the greens.
We had individualized “charts” placed at the student's desk. This “chart” was a craft stick colored in thirds green, yellow, and red and a clothespin that can be moved to the appropriate color. (I never once had a student change their chart.) Either chart monitoring system you choose, there should be clothespins involved. 
Excellent tool, once again!

Yes, clothespins can be used in math centers to show the correct answer to a math problem but don't forget, clothespins can also be used with meatier math center activities. Clothespins can be used in ELA centers to show the correct part of speech or the correct sight word. One of our favorite center activities is clipping final blends. My special ed kids especially enjoy and benefit from this activity.
My students also love making clothespin words - Write letters on clothespins and have students pin letters to make words. They can pin onto hanging string (think clothes line) or even an index card. And this activity can be differentiated by allowing the students needing extra help to clip the matching lettered clothespin to the letter in the word.

So, let's review: Clothespins have so many classroom uses. Clothespins are such an inexpensive resource. And do not even get me started on how clothespins are a perfectly fun way to improve fine motor skills.

Even though my kids have nicknamed me, “The Clip Card Queen”, my TpT Store does have more than just clip cards. But if clip cards are what you are looking for, I have a Back-to-School freebie for you:
Yes, it is back-to-school time; let's get those clothespins READY!!!