5 Creative Ways to Use Clothespins in the Classroom

Most of us have a pile of them kicking around our houses and classrooms, but what do you really do with them?! Here are 5 creative uses for clothespins in the classroom!
Do you use clothespins with the students in your classroom? Click here to check out 5 DIY ideas for using clothespins with children. My personal favorite is tip #1!

One of my greatest frustrations as a teacher is managing long lines of students who require my attention. Having kids stand around doing nothing is NOT a good use of time - theirs or mine - not to mention a huge distraction for everyone else in the classroom.

A few years ago I created the solution to this problem:
I traced my arm on a piece of bristol board and laminated it. My students' names are clipped to the bottom, and when they need my attention they move their clip to the sleeve and keep working. Additional students move their name to the bottom of the sleeve. When I am finished with one student, they send the next person in line when returning their own clip to the bottom!
A few years ago, when I was teaching fifth grade, I found myself chasing students down for their writing pieces. I tracked who had handed their work in on a simple class list, and when approaching some students for their final drafts I'd sadly discover that they were still working on the first draft! To solve the problem, I began tracking student movement through the writing process on a class list, but this just felt like an extra bit of work added to my already large pile. I needed it to be student-led and visible.

Enter the Writing Process Clip Chart:
My students all begin with their clip on the very bottom page and move themselves along as they progress through the writing process. The biggest surprise for me was how incredibly motivated the students were to write! Even my most reluctant writers were excited to be able to see their progress as they moved the clip along!
Using clothespins to display student work is a very popular idea. A coworker of mine uses these in her classroom:
I don't have quite as much wall space, but I'm always drawn to the images of these setups I see on Pinterest. I may just have to find a way to incorporate these this year. Here are a few of my faves:



And take a look at these new Command clips!! Brilliant!
Clothespins can also be effective tools for engaging students during learning activities. Clip cards have become all the rage on Teachers Pay Teachers, and with good reason: little hands love manipulating them!

My friend and coworker, Christina, from Hanging Around in Primary, has these awesome task cards for addition available in her TpT store:
Her first grade students love them! Click the image to check them out.
At my school, clothespins are also used by all staff to manage student movement during recess breaks. Each of us have a handful of clips (mine stay attached to my supervision vest) that we can easily clip to a student's sweater or jacket to indicate he or she has permission to be inside during the outdoor break. Staff inside the building know to be looking for these clips when they see students wandering in the hallways.
As a bonus for sticking around, I'm sharing a great tutorial by my friend Ms. Makinson all about how to dye your wooden clothespins! Click the image to head over, and be sure to leave her a comment when you're there!
I'd love to hear how you use clothespins in your classroom! Leave me a comment below, and feel free to share Pinterest pins for your classroom photos!

Thanks to Gabby's Classrooms for the colorful frames!

4 comments

  1. Love all these great ideas! I need to check out Emily's tutorial and dye some clothespins before the school year starts. Thanks for sharing!

    Christina
    Hanging Around In Primary

    ReplyDelete
  2. What a great post! I love that OPS uses clothespins to keep track of kids who want to go inside. Mostly because I like to know for sure that they came back out! ;) I wish other schools used this system, too!
    Thank you for linking to my post!
    -Emily

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks for all the terrific ideas for clothespins. I just scored a whole bunch of them from a retiring teacher and was wondering how to use them. I especially like your first idea, but others were close behind! This post is a saver for sure!
    Always Primary

    ReplyDelete
  4. You have some really great ideas - especially using the clothespins to manage students returning to the building during recess! Thank you for sharing!

    ReplyDelete

Connect with me!! I love reading your comments and will respond as soon as I can!

Back to Top 2 3