Monday, June 9, 2014


Teacher Tip 2: Colored Staples

In this quick one minute video I explain two different ways colored staples can make your life easier! 

For those of you who prefer reading here it is:

Pre-Step For some reason my stapler kept getting taken. I am not sure if other teachers or students thought it was theirs or if or custodial staff would toss it. However, once I covered my stapler in stickers, the disappearances stopped! In fact, the few times I have forgotten it in a classroom students have brought it back to me in my office! If any of your supplies are escaping I'd suggest decorating it, so that people know it is yours :)

Step 1
Load your stapler with two different colors. If you are on a budget, and colored staples are a luxury, then load the stapler mostly with the standard silver staples and put the colored staples at the very end. I used green here. This way when I am stapling and I hit the green staples, I know I need to, "go" and get more staples because I am about to run out.

That's it! With the use of colored staples you'll never end up staple-less again!
Alternative Use:
As I mentioned in this blog post about cheating, one way to cut down on students copying during tests is to pass out different versions. I've met many teachers mark their versions differently. They can use different colored paper, write different versions on the top of the test, have a different picture on the front page, etc. One way I like to differentiate tests is by using different colored staples. This way it is fast for me to see the difference between a blue stapled test and a green stapled test, but harder for students. If they aren't sure what test their neighbor has, they may be less inclined to lean over and look at their neighbor's answers.

There you are: two different ways that colored staples make my life as a teacher easier.

What about you? What office supply most simplifies your life as a teacher?

What's the one office supply that saves you time while preparing for classes?


  1. To "protect my stapler... that disappeared as frequently due to other teachers as due to student borrowing... I glued a huge green rubber beetle on top. I also do a five minute spiel at the beginning of the year on the proper method of using it... "Press the top, don't hit it. Keep it firmly on the desk and do not pick it up to use it. It will jam if you pick it up because this is a desktop design. Do not put several short strips of staples inside. They will buckle and jam. Only use one long strip or one short strip." I also have a name for it... Osiris (Egyptian scarab beetle reference). This worked fine for twenty years. Of course there were times he was 'kidnapped' and held for ransom... by the most creative students, of course.

  2. I am glad you found a way to protect your stapler! Did you pay the ransom?

    I would normally agree with using one long strip or one short strip, but I do like to have a short strip of colored staples towards the end. This way I know when it is running out of staples. I don't have much trouble with it jamming, so I am guess I am pretty lucky :)

  3. The same group of freshmen students kidnapped Osiris every spring for four years. One year they took him around the school and photographed him in 'compromising' situations. They made a huge collage of the photos with students quotes about Osiris and the ransom was that I had to hang it up in my classroom. (I'll bet they thought that would be 'punishment.') For Junior year I didn't hear from them until the very last final session... In my office I found a box with a sign... Do Not Open!... inside was a pulverized stapler and rubber beetle and a message that said, "I warned you!" Written in tiny tiny letters in the bottom of the box was the location of the actual Osiris... they had found a duplicate rubber bug. Senior year, again I didn't hear from them until my last final... went into the classroom and there on the desk was a three foot long cardboard stapler with a giant papermache beetle on top. These are the students we hear from the rest of out lives. They find us and tell us how they are doing and what they remember from out classes. I'm retired now. Moved to the Philippines and volunteer at a school for street kids where I help teach English.

  4. Color the last few staples in the strip with a bright colored Sharpie and remove the risk of jamming!


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