Who can relate?  Anyone?  Let me explain for those of you who cannot relate!
Over the years I have taught at many schools!  Schools with 2 kindergarten classrooms, schools with 13 kindergarten classrooms, schools in low SES, schools with higher SES, schools with uniforms, schools without uniforms… you name it and I have probably taught somewhere similar.  (But believe it or not I have never taught half day!)
But no matter where you teach, there are times when you are just getting to know your students where you are like… is that my student, your student… I think so.  It happens.  Especially when all of the students wear uniforms… they all start to look alike until you know thier personalities!  Several years ago I taught with 13 other kinder teachers and all the kids wore uniforms… you better believe we had several cases of ‘is this one mine or is this one yours’ after recess!

So one day I was at Lakeshore and I saw these amazing little rubbery bracelets you are supposed to give the kids as rewards.  Heck no I thought to myself…. if I buy something this cool I am going to find a way to use them in class.

Then it hit me as I a group of teacher and I were looking across the playground from our lines to see whose little girl it was refusing to come off the equipment… if only my students had those yellow bracelets on while they play I could easily see if they are mine or not!  And that’s how this idea was born!

There are lots of uses for them but my favorite is this time of year for recess (Especially the first few weeks when you are trying to get to know your students.)  So every day before we go to recess they put their little yellow bands on and head out to play.  No matter where I am standing or what I am doing.. I can always tell if a student is in my class by their arm.

And that’s not to say that I don’t help other students or am not watching for them… but it’s nice to know at a quick glance who is in my class.

So I know what you are thinking… they will lose them, chew on them, take them off, or play with them.  It’s all about expectations people!  I set the standard that it is a privilege to wear my special bands and if they can’t hand it they won’t get one.  (In which case I most likely am a  little more tuned into them than the others anyways if you get what I am saying!)

I have used this same set of bands for about 6 years and they are still going strong.  To clean you just put in the dishwasher at home and can honestly say I have lost maybe 2-3 over hat time span!  So not too bad if I don’t say so myself!

So today while taking photos of the bands in my friends classroom… she mentioned to me that she was just trying to find a way to help color code the kids for center time!  Wait.. you want to color code the kids?!  Just give them a color band.. they come in all different colors.  Imagine… you look up and see all the yellow bands at the library, the green bands at the computers, and the orange bands at the dramatic play center (yes – some people still have those!)

A quick visual of who is supposed to be where that is durable and easy to manage!

All the ways I thought you could use these bands….

*  Recess of course!
* Going to specials like PE or library where the kids may mix with others.
* Substitutes (I leave directions in my plans and stress to the kids and the sub they must be put back.)
* Field trips, another helpful favorite for parents to know who is in their group!
* Learning groups like centers or workstations.
* Assemblies where kids sit on the floor.
Really any time where you want to keep a visual on your kids but don’t necessarily have the means or ability to get to them quickly to see!
Do you use these bracelets in your classrooms?  Would love to hear how!
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