April 18

How to use ‘Study Boxes’ in the classroom

I love my study boxes! Well that’s what I call them, I’ve also seen them be referred to as carrels, partitions, dividers. I bought mine about 5 years ago from Kangaroo Educational Supplies. They are perfect for giving students a private distraction free space for learning. I can’t find any on the Kangaroo site but here is a link to some at classroomproducts.com. I also found them on Amazon – as privacy partitions. This site also has multi fold up ones for round desks!


  • They are great for testing situations, for students who may copy or get stressed that other students are looking at their work
  • Use them for students who are often distracted. In my room I can tell you you’re having a study box, or you can ask for a study box
  • Students who have sensory issues or are on the Autism Spectrum can benefit from having a study box around them if they are feeling overwhelmed. I have a student who likes to go under the table when he is overstimulated or anxious. This term I have managed to transition him into a studybox instead, which gives him that ‘small safe space’ that he craves.
  • If you don’t have a lot of these boxes, give one to every second child, and one opposite, then the child without has a wall on each side anyway. On a table of six if you gve out 3, all students have privacy from others
  • Its great when you need to quieten a noisy group! My rule is, if you have a study box, you aren’t talking to others! Sometimes the chatterboxes get a study box just so they and their buddies can have some peace and quiet in which to work! Oh and the teacher can get some peace and quiet too!







They have lasted quite well over the years. A few of my previous students had scribbled some questionable language on the inside covers, so this year for year 3 I covered the inside with contact, to give them a new life in 2017.









This year everyone wants one. I made some extras by taping two manila folders together. These aren’t as sturdy as the bought ones, but they are a simple temporary solution.

Here are some other solutions for desktop dividers:

January 7

A New Year

A fresh start! I think this is something all teachers love, the start of a new school year with a new class, sometimes even a new school and/or a new room!

Setting up things, I always have that “this year I will…’ voice in my head with everything from managing student behaviour to how I distribute the pens.

The summer break is the perfect time for teachers to recharge and consider new ideas for the new class, which in Australia arrives January 28th. A lot of looking at ideas on Pinterest too I think!

Some ideas I’m musing over:

A classroom decorating theme. Some of my posters and labels have been in use for over 10 years, so it’s time for an upgrade! Decided on a jungle / rainforest theme, which will incorporate quite nicely our class mascot Bosco the Proboscis monkey.

Managing the borrowing of classroom equipment. I spend a small fortune on pens, pencils and whiteboard markers (among other things) for students to use who constantly bring no equipment. It seems to vanish within a fortnight! I don’t want a system that will take forever to sort out or manage by me. I think the best option I have come up with is the popstick borrowing system. Each student gets 6 posticks with their names written on the end. Every time they borrow a ruler, pen, eraser, etc they have to put one of their popsticks in the container UNTIL the item is returned. Once returned, they remove their popstick. Students can keep their popsticks in their pencil cases or tote trays. Some will never use them, but have the option, some will use ALL 6 AT THE SAME TIME. This way I can track who hasn’t returned their items as their popstick will still be in the container.

I may even introduce some sort of consequence for those who consistently don’t return items (and with the popsticks I can tract WHO!). Maybe a ban from borrowing? Or lunchtime sharpening duty… We’ll see how successful it is!

New student packs! I saw this idea on the relief teaching ideas facebook page, its a step up from what I usually do. In my first ever year of teaching I got EIGHT new students. That taught me a lesson! From then on I always prepare more book covers (painted, contact, wrapping paper) just incase. Any title pages or colouring sheets always got copied 5 times extra and kept in one place in the classroom for those new students. Having it all in a plastic sleeve is a great idea.

new student

Managing work collection. I saw this idea on Pinterest (no surprises) originally from buzzfeed – a very simple basket idea to track who has and hasn’t handed in work. The trick will be emptying it regularly for reuse, or I may need several baskets!


work basket

There are other things I am considering (as I peruse Pinterest) but these are the ones I’m locking in for now.

What are your back to school new ideas for 2015?