Why I love VELCRO. Love it. Love it.

Hey friends!  This is the first in a series of posts with TIPs from an old teacher (IBOB5‘ve been around for 24 years and & in my district that is a LONG time).  I hear the kids these days are calling these tips  ‘hacks’.  BuzzFeed has tons of teacher hacks, check them out here and here.  Some are pretty clever. Today though I want to tell you about my love of VELCRO. (or if you prefer hook & loop)  If you open the drawers to my teacher desk, you will always find a roll of velcro.  I recently ran out and I started to twitch until I went  to my local Home Depot & purchased a new roll.

So, you ask, “What do you use velcro  for?  Lot’s of things.  Here are a few:

  1. I color code everything in my classroom.  Everyday I use a different color marker to mark my seating charts.  A few years back my hook loopmarkers kept getting stolen off my desk (by my students who forgot their pencils) so I started putting tape on them to identify them as mine.  One day velcro was handy and I wrapped a piece of velcro (loop side-aka the fuzzy side) around my marker and put the hook (scratchy) side on the name badge hanging from the lanyard around BOB2my neck  I haBOB4ve been wearing a marker on my lanyard ever since .  I get asked about it all the time.  What’s on your lanyard?  A marker.  How does it stay there?  Velcro. Does it fall off?  Not really, maybe once a year. ….then I generally hear, wow, that is a good idea.  I have loved it.  I always have a writing utensil on me at school (even if I don’t have pockets that day).  If you decide to do this, make sure to put the fuzzy part of velcro on the marker.  BOB1 Side note;  My ID is ancient.  It was scratched up well before the velcro.
  2. Does it feel like nothing sticks to your classroom
    om walls?  I’ve had really good luck withvel velcro.  These number pictures are held up on the wall with velcro.  They have yet to fall down (and came off the wall nicely when I left my last school).  Side Note #2.  Also pictured are 3m (shout out to 3m-the MN company that brought you post-it notes) hooks and binder clips which I also adore (don’t get me started on my love of binder clips) for hanging items in my classroom.
  3. This. (hang upside down to make them last longer)velcro markers
  4. I use Velcro to build models for class.  Recently my students did  a version of the Painted Cube problem.  The classic problem looks like this:painted cube problem  Dan Meyer and Nicole Paris inspired me to use their versions of the task, using this visual.paited cubeOnce students/groups generalized the number of cubes with 1, 2, 3 or 0 sides painted we used this model one of my student teachers built with the velcro on my desk.  It is awesome to use so that students really seen a connect between the equations they created and the context of the problem.  Check out all my photos of the VELCRO painted cube. I keep it on my desk all year long.  I get asked about it a lot and then can talk math with who every asks.  (8 vertices/3 sides painted, 6 faces, 12 edges – notice the shapes that lead to linear, quadratic and cubic functions)

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One note:  If you plan to use velcro like I do, dedicate a pair of scissors just for velcro.  The sticky stuff on velcro is gummy and will ruin your scissors.  Also, buy a large roll of velcro vs. tiny squares.  This gives you the flexiblity to make pieces any size you choose.

Finally, I end with a velcro quote from Dave Berry.velcro quote

What do you love?  What are your best teacher hacks?  Share them with me in the comments section, tweet me @saravdwerf or email me at sarav@mpls.k12.mn.us


Sara VanDerWerf

I am Sara Van Der Werf, a 24-year mathematics teacher in Minneapolis Public Schools. I have taught math in grades 7-12 as well as spent several years leading mathematics at the district office. I currently teach Advanced Algebra at South High School and I'm also the current President of the Minnesota Council of Teachers of Mathematics (MCTM). I am passionate about encouraging and connecting with mathematics teachers. I'd love to connect via twitter.  Join the community.  Tweet me @saravdwerf.

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