Teachers have many tricks and tips up their sleeves when it comes to teaching their pupils, but one thing that’s often overlooked is the educational value of the stationery drawer. Whether it’s a sheet of coloured paper, a ruler or a set of colouring pencils, you’d be surprised just how useful stationery is! So, if you want to use it as an educational aid, here are just a few ideas…
You could use coloured pens for…
Coloured pens aren’t just a bit of fun or a way of brightening up a page. In fact, information delivered in coloured ink improves a child’s chances of understanding a subject due to the theory that colours such as red and orange are more attention grabbing than drab colours such as brown or grey. If you want to get a child to concentrate and notice what’s being taught, write on the board using bold reds, and add some yellows and oranges to your classroom display!
…stimulation and memory
Similarly, coloured pens can be a useful aid for stimulating a child’s mind and helping their ability to remember things. Blue and green help to increase concentration and allow children to think creatively, whereas red pen draws attention to snippets of information. Remember, too, that assigning colours to particular subjects can be a good way of helping children to recall information: for instance, connecting topics in geography lessons with the colour green – or using purple prompt cards to teach literacy – can help to solidify ideas and jog memories.
Of course, it’s important to use colour carefully if you’re teaching dyslexic children: coloured paper or cream paper is generally better than white paper, and red ink on a white board will render the text almost invisible for some dyslexic students.
You could use sticky notes for…
Coding is fast becoming part of the school curriculum, so it makes sense to use stationery to help teach it. Set pupils code-solving challenges, getting them to work out why a piece of coding isn’t working as it ought to be. You can do this by asking children to copy the code from the screen on to sticky notes, using yellow for essential or static pieces of code. Then, other pieces of code should be written on different coloured sticky notes to denote particular methods or functions. After they’ve completed that part of the task, ask them to lay the coding notes on the desk as they are on screen – laying it out visually in this manner can help children to see coding errors a little easier.
… making a ‘What Stuck with You Today’ board?
You can get pupils to engage with what they’ve been learning all day by asking them to recall a key piece of information that they’ve taken away. It’s an incredibly useful educational aid for teachers as it allows them to see what children are learning, and what else they might need more help with. This kind of insight is invaluable as it allows teachers to address a knowledge gap and see what needs to be taught in another way before moving on.
Want to put these ideas to the test? Coloured pens, highlighters and sticky notes are available from gls.