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Infinite Teacher's Bag of Tricks

Here's the conceptual and physical list of what should be in a teacher's bag of tricks:

chocolate: to eat for energy, some say health, to give for good deeds done-smiles and cheers always go with taking out chocolate. Trader Joe's has this wonderful chocolate truffle that works every time.

candy: see 'chocolate'

digital camera: students love to see themselves in pictures. Have camera in hand at all times and capture an image that can be used to captivate their visual imagination. Make a slideshow or print out a photo album to give students courage.

mp3 player and portable external speakers: play your music 'before' class starts, during breaks, when you change up the pacing and at the end of class after you say goodbye to them. Let them share their music too. My set up is a ipod video and RCA cable adapter and JBL On Tour Portable speakers.

dvds: content, content content!

food: teachers don't get a lunch break many times. I try to have on hand my favorite snacks. Make sure they are portable and don't promote bad breath! Nuts, dried or fresh fruit are my favorites.

pillow: It's symbolic: Rest. Rest Rest. This is a lifestyle suggestion. I rarely act kind, do good work, enjoy work when I selfishly take 'rest' from my schedule.

notebook/index cards: To jot things down during class, on the way to or from class, in line buying milk. It's where my best ideas come to my head. And without a notebook, forgotten.

computer, library card, internet access: So so many links to good good stuff. Get aquainted.

words of praise: Complement honestly, specifically and quickly.

mirror: Because I have gone to class with my fly open and food in my mouth.

timer: Pick a simple one. Big display, obnoxious sound ones are best.

picture of your family and you as a child: You are an interesting mystery to your students. Just don't show it every meeting.

markers: For class projects that require color and variety.

a stickyball that sticks to a whiteboard: To stick papers to the wall, or a great way to grab attention.

Magnets: see stickyball

Advil/Excedrine/Tylenol: Because it still hurts.

Deck of cards: Handy to put people in groups, great for parties-teach 'em poker, learn poker.

Stickers: For young learners there's probably nothing more powerful to motivate them and they're cheap.

Pen/Paper: To write down all those brilliant BUT TRANSIENT cool ideas whenever.

Students' Roster with their Pictures by their Names: To learn their names quicker and the students could use a copy too.

Breathmints: Because talking stinks up your breath. Gum is too rude.