6 uses for colour-coded student clothespins

Do you love washi tape as much as I do?? Use it to easily colour code student clothespins!! There are TONS of ways to use colour-coded clothespins in the French primary classroom - this blog post talks about 6 of them

Any other washi tape addicts out there? You know, the super pretty tape that comes on tiny rolls of gorgeousness and patterns? Two summers ago, I discovered washi tape and fell in LOVE… and bought a ton of it. A ton of it (see photo below of my “at home” collection)! And I wasted lots of time decorating unimportant things (like homework duo tangs for my students, pages in my planner, etc.) and turning them into pretty things. Which is all well and good if you have all the time in the world, but… less good if you don’t. If you are like me and bought into the washi tape(affiliate link) craze but are searching for something actually useful to use it for (aside from strictly decoration), or something where the benefits outweigh the time you put into it, this post is for you!

Have you seen any of those pictures on Pinterest floating around about colour-coded clothespins? And how to dye your clothespins using messy, stain-y food colouring and other dyes? Well, I loved the idea of colour-coded clothespins but hated the idea of staining my fingers… enter washi tape!

Here is a peek at what I was doing yesterday afternoon:

You can use washi tape to colour code your clothespins instead! Yes, it does take a bit of time, but honestly not that much (less than one minute per clothespin when you get *good*), and they are super useful (and, yes, super pretty).

Not convinced? Here are my top 6 things that you can use your washi-taped clothespins for in the classroom!

Whether you are for or against clip charts, if you have one in your classroom, you totally need to be taping those clips! As you may remember from this post last year, I do use a clip chart (stay tuned for a future post about how my chart is changing again for this coming year), and I use washi-taped clothespins as prizes. Seriously! Every 5 times a kid clips up, they get a different coloured clothespin. You would think they were getting a million dollars. Especially when they get the coveted SPARKLY SILVER CLOTHESPIN after 20 times.


Save your dollar store prize money and just washi tape some clothespins!

When I first started teaching, I used giant Popsicle sticks for drawing names. Not anymore! You better believe I use washi-taped clothespins. Why? Because after I draw a name, I can CLIP IT TO THE SIDE OF THE BUCKET and not have to make a pile of drawn names that I *always* would end up dropping, or having them slide off my lap, or forgetting them on the table and losing some of them.

Game changer, y’all.

This is probably something you already do, just maybe with sticky notes or another classroom tool. Use washi-taped clothespins on your goal setting charts! My favourite kind of chart is for writing – I make a big poster divided into sections with goals like “I can use spaces between my words,” “I can use word wall words,” or “I can add details to my picture.” Then, my students can put their clip on what they need to work on. I try and get my students to identify their own goals so that they can learn to look for things to work on, but they often need a little guidance at first ;)

With clothespins, your students can easily change goals, and clothespins don’t fall off or lose their stick like sticky notes do. You can use these charts for pretty much any subject or any behaviours that you want your students to work on. Just make sure that you pick (or ideally, have your students pick) goals that are realistic for your kiddos, and just one at a time.

Again, maybe something you already do, but you can use clothespins instead of white board markers, magnets, velcro, etc., for grouping students for centres/Daily 5/whatever. When I did Daily 5, I had my students clip their own clothespins to photos of the stations they chose upon arriving in the morning. Worked like a charm! A bonus of having them colour-coded is that you can have each rotation be a separate colour. This avoids students accidentally choosing two stations for one rotation and none for the next. Also, if one clothespin takes a “walk,” you know exactly where it belongs!

String up a clothesline (aka yarn) in your classroom for drying or displaying student art work (just maybe put it somewhere where the Fire Marshall won’t see it, haha!). If a student forgets to write their name, it’s no problem, as they will hang their art to dry with their pin! Again, colour-coding helps keep track of which clothespins belong where in the classroom. You could also make a “Wow Wall” bulletin board for displaying student work – just hot glue a thumb tack to the back of each students’ clothespin, and stick it to your bulletin board. Then you can easily change out student work by just pinning it up with the clothespin!

No staples required :)

Finally, you can also use colour-coded student clothespins for just about any other choices a student will make during the day/things that may change from day to day. For example, I keep track of buses using clothespins, especially in the beginning of kinder, when my students don’t know their buses yet.

 I have a bus picture for each driver, as well as a graphic for getting picked up, taking the taxi, staying after school, etc. with a ribbon hanging from it. I clip my kids on their regular bus, and if they have a note that something is changing, I just move their clip. I also clip the note right on their bus with their pin! Impossible to misplace (side note – the buses are hung where tiny children cannot reach, and kids are NOT allowed to change their bus clips themselves)! Then at the end of the day, I take a picture of or write down the changes, grab the notes, and off we go. You could do the same idea for lunch choices, free play choices, computer turns, etc.!

Colour-coded student clothespins can DEFINITELY make your life easier in the classroom and help keep you more organized. I’m sure there are many other ideas out there as well! Do you use clothespins for anything else in your classroom? Washi-taping them does take a little time, but I think that the hassle saved by having colour-coded clips makes it worth it.

I have never dyed clothespins before, but I can’t imagine that it would be any quicker, plus it would be a heck of a lot messier! Let me know in the comments if you can back me up on that hypothesis. Of course, with washi tape, you can also get lots of adorable patterns and colours that you can’t get from dye… I am currently drooling over these owls!

If you do decide to washi tape(affiliate link) some clothespins this school year, I would LOVE to see photos of them in action! You can tag me on Instagram at @mme.andrea – show me all the ways that you are using them! :)

If you are interested in my clip chart from last year (as pictured below), you can find it in my TPT store HERE, or read more about it HERE.

And pin this image so you don’t forget!

PS – Are you a member of my FREE French Resource Library yet?? If not, just enter your name & email below and hit the button. I’ll send you the exclusive password and instructions for getting your hands on every freebie I have ever made – and will ever make!

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