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9 Classroom Ideas to Try in the New Year

Here are 9 SUPER EASY ideas that you can try RIGHT NOW in your classroom for the new year. I promise they will save you time and make your job easier: 

  1. Sight Word Exit Tickets
  2. Magnetic Word Wall
  3. Sound Box Manipulatives
  4. Anchor Chart Hacks
  5. Class Pictures Display
  6. Station Storage
  7. Number Order Practice
  8. Desk Writing
  9. Puzzle Organization

Classroom Idea #1 Sight Word Exit Tickets

This is by far my favorite thing I've implemented over the past few years because it is super easy, yet super effective. Simply write out your weekly sight words on literally anything… I've used post it notes, index cards, pre-made word wall cards and I've even incorporated our weekly spelling lists on occasion. It doesn't need to be fancy, just easily visible when students leave the room.

Goal: Students touch and read one sight word EVERY single time they leave the classroom. 

Classroom Idea #2 Magnetic Word Wall

This is a new idea that I tried out this year. I printed all of my sight words for the year by letter creating word wall “strips”. Then I stapled a magnet to the wall and attached a magnet to the back of each strip.

Goal: Students take a sight word strip to their desk during writing time when they need help spelling a sight word. 

Classroom Idea #3: Sound Box Manipulatives

I attended a Region 12 Reading Academy last summer and realized how important sound box activities are for my struggling readers. I always assumed that students should be using alphabet letters if they were ever going to learn how to read words, but boy was I wrong. It turns out that students actually learn to segment and blends sounds much faster when you take the alphabet component away. So, I started using manipulatives with my sound box cards instead. We use moms and erasers Monday-Thursday. Then, to keep my students motivated, we use skittles on Friday that they get to eat when we are done.

Goal: Students place one manipulative in each sound box when we are segmenting a word, then we blend the word together.

Try these other great activities for building fluency during Guided Reading:

Classroom Idea #4 Anchor Chart Hack

Do you ever feel like your anchor charts are taking over your room? Like you are seriously drowning in them? With the growing push to create and display an anchor chart for literally every skill we teach, I knew I had to try something different.

The secret?…. Cut your anchor charts in half!! So easy but it is still super effective and saves so much space! I even use 8×11 colored paper sometimes if it is something I know that I need to display something but it is not super important. 

Classroom Idea #5 Class Pictures Display

If you have been teaching for more than a few years, you have a growing collection of class pictures. Need a cute but organized way to display them?
Secret: Cut some black butcher paper to look like a chalk board, staple and done! 

Classroom Idea #6 Station Storage

I love hands on stations, but it truly unnerves me how messy they get! I use a combination of paper trays and buckets and everything else, but last year I started using dividers that have pockets.
Secret: Staple the divider to a bulletin board/wall to display small station materials to keep them visible and organized. 

Classroom Idea #7 Number Order Practice

This is an idea that I tried for the first time this year with some of my students who were struggling with number order.  Then, I realized this activity doubles as tally mark practice as well!

Goal: Write numbers on popsicle sticks, I did intervals of five in one color and marked the fifth stick all the way down to remind students that “number five shuts the door”. Students create a number line by putting the sticks in order, then create groups of tally marks.

Looking for more hands on math stations? Check this post out:

Classroom Idea #8 Desk Writing

Now this one is so simple it hurts… why did I not think of this sooner?

Goal: Hand students a dry erase marker and let them practice writing spelling words, sight words, vocabulary or punctuation ON THEIR DESK. They will think you are the coolest teacher ever! 

Looking for more simple spelling ideas? Check this out:

Classroom Idea #9 Puzzle Organization

About once or twice a year I get the organization itch… usually during Summer and Christmas break.

Steal: I found these great little Tupperware containers 2 for $1 at Walmart!! Perfect for puzzle storage!

Looking to get more organized? Check this out:

More First Grade Back to School Favorites:

9 Classroom Ideas to Try in the New Year

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Kristen Sullins

Kristen Sullins

I am a current Elementary Librarian and
Enrichment Teacher, mother of two, follower of Christ and Texas native. In my own classroom, I love to save time by finding unique ways to integrate writing, social studies and science into all parts of my day. I also love all things organization!