A Stupid Thing That Made This Activity Better

I love these Shell Center matching activities, but do I ever hate all that cutting.


Fifteen minutes before class I was running around frantically. 8th Graders and scissors? I prefer not. So I’m cutting up all the cards and then I’m remembering that there are all these other materials I need to get. I run to the supply room…

I’m not a crafty teacher. I don’t usually have ideas for making my life easier. Frankly, I’m a mess. When I have a big organizational insight it’s usually, like, “Hey, all this stuff? I could shove it in a folder!” And then I do and then it gets full and then I throw it out. Efficiency!

Anyway, I’m in the supply room looking for gluesticks for this matching project. And there’s a lot of caffeine in my body. I was making coffee at school and a huge clump of grounds shook out of the bag. A truly enormous pile of coffee sat on the filter. And for a moment I considered shimmying the 2/3 overkill-grounds back into the bag, but that seemed like far too much work so I just made that coffee with all the overkill-grounds and figured it would be fine.

WOW that was a strong cup of coffee. In fact it’s been seven hours since and I’m still feeling the shaky fervor. Wow wow.

So I find the gluesticks in the supply room, already regretting my choice of activity. I’m regretting the posters, the glue, all the cutting it’s going to require. And how, inevitably, kids will glue their matches together too quickly and they’ll have mistakes, and I’ll say “no really it’s fine” but they’ll rip off the glued stuff and it’ll leave just an awful stain of paper behind.

And it’s the caffeine and my dread, I suppose, that helped me have my first sort-of crafty revelation.


Post-its! Have kids glue one set of cards to the post-its and then just move those around on the second set.


It worked great. They all made a million mistakes, but it wasn’t such a big deal and revision just involved lifting and sticking. It was my first time doing this sort of activity without paper falling off everyone’s desk and getting lost.

And that’s the story of my first idea ever having to do with office supplies. The end.

5 thoughts on “A Stupid Thing That Made This Activity Better

  1. What I love the most is that this shift specifically enabled for revision. I really want to do more constantly to incorporate opportunities to revise thinking into my instruction… but also I related to the notes about organization and caffeine. 🙂


  2. we *all* hate all that cutting. that’s why desmos needs to just come up with a card sort activity builder, so we can easily do super beautiful and awesome card sorts without the cutting and pasting. just a thought 😛


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