I am such a big fan of working in a paperless classroom. It is not completely possible, but I love to find ways to save paper AND save myself from hours at the copy machine. For the last 10 years or more I've been using lap packs. Lap packs are copies of the treble staff in various sizes, a blank piece of paper and other sheets that I used every day in class. I pop these into a thick page protector and students can use these with a dry erase marker. Because I've copied everything on cardstock, they are firm enough to use without a clipboard or table.
This led me to thinking about other ways to save paper and eliminate stacks to grade. If we are doing a simple assessment, I can walk around the classroom and quickly mark the seating chart with a score while students are working. This is MUCH faster than grading stacks of paper. I started using dry erase pockets for such activities.
You've probably seen the pockets on Amazon, Oriental Trading or even in the dollar spot at Target. LOVE them, but since most of my classroom budget comes out of my grocery budget, I needed a less expensive option. Project time! I was able to make an entire classroom set for six dollars. WAHOO!
Here's what you'll need:
Thick report covers (I like the kind with that little plastic binder edge that you slide on.) This pack was $ .97 at Walmart.
Duct Tape -I prefer to use the smaller roll so that less of the cover is covered with the tape. The larger rolls work, but may cover some of the sheets that you put in them. You can also use clear packing tape. It isn't as pretty, but it works well. I had several rolls on hand as I assume most teachers do.
I rolled the tape out flat so that I could set the report cover on it. This let me line it up a little better than putting the tap onto the report cover.
Place the report cover so that it covers about half of the tape. Fold the tape up to seal the edge. Trim the edges with your scissors.
I only taped three of the sides (including the side that isn't open). At the top I wanted to create a little flap so that my youngest learners would be able to load the pocket themselves. Instead of running the tape all the way across, I just created a tab that is a couple of inches long on ONE piece of the report cover. In this way, students can use the tab to open the pocket without my help. It is much trickier than it seems for some of my younger students.
LOVE the way they turned out! I popped some handwriting sheets in so my daughter could try them out. They were definitely easy to use and pretty durable. I had tried using page protectors for this project but did not like that they had holes in them. The holes are for using in a binder, which is handy, but my students liked to poke their pencils in the holes and they tore and looked bad. The report covers keep this from happening.
I like to use these small dry erase markers that have an eraser on the end. When I don't have them available for workstations I put regular dry erase markers and paper towels or cotton balls there for students to use to erase.
I've seen teachers that hot glue a pom pom on the end of the dry erase marker lid and students use those for erasers, but haven't tried that. If you have, I'd love to hear any tips or ideas you might have for keeping them usable all year.
These worksheets are from my No Prep Music Worksheets -Summer. They are great examples of worksheets that I would use in workstations.
I hope you enjoy this teacher hack and can use it to save some money and create a more functional classroom! Enjoy!