DIY Project 01: Teacher’s Survival Kit

I’m not going to lie: this was totally inspired by the Altoid survival kit for campers and decided to create a variation with teachers and teaching assistants in mind… because you know, I’m going to be one in a matter of weeks. Working at two different schools, having two offices… I felt like I might need this on my person just to make sure I’m prepared.

I only used items that I could find around the house (as a writer, former student, and former-not-so-former teaching assistant, I have a treasure trove in excess of school related paraphernalia) but if you find yourself short on any of them, a quick run to the nearest discount store will provide a cheap alternative. Also, having your own personal variation is not only unique but will also serve your needs better. Don’t need a hole puncher? Toss it, simple as that. The whole point is, of course, to find as many items that fit the essential tools of your trade. Preferably ones that you can find at home 😉 Total cost: $o.oo to $5.oo (depending on how many items you might need to purchase).

Dimensions of box (recycled cell phone box)

5.5 inches/13.97 cm L x 3 inches/7.62 cm W x 2 inches/5.08cm H

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Items used: 1 red correction pen, 1 pencil, 1 black pen or small mechanical pencil, 1 USB with enough memory to back up semester/year’s worth of lesson plans, 1 pencil sharpener, 1 stapler, 2 packs of staples, 2 small magnets, 3 plastic clips, 2 medium binder clips, 1 staple remover, 1 manual paper hole puncher, 10 paper clips, 2 small Post It Note stacks, 4 thin stacks of large Post It Notes, 1 small bookmark, 2 mechanical pencil lead refills.

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Step One: Place bookmark flat against wall of box length-wise.

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Step Two: Place the two staple packs against the same side you put the book mark and line bottom of box with post it note flag dispenser.

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Step Three: Nestle the staple remover inside of the hole punch remover grip (this will ensure that the staple remover compresses to save space). Place them flat against the floor of the box on top of the post it note flags.

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Step Four: Nestle pocket-sized stapler next to the hand held hole puncher and on top of the post it note flags.

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Step Five: Next take the two medium sized binder clips and settle them however they best fit into the box without adding bulk. In my example, one lies on top of the hole puncher and the other against the wall. USB will be lined on box wall opposite the two stacks of staples.

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Step Six & Seven: The two small magnets should be placed directly above one of the stacks of staples (metal attracts magnet end), slip the plastic clips onto one of the small stacks of Post It Notes to compress, and top off with chain of paper clips.

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Step Eight: And finally! Place (and flatten as much as possible) the last few items – red correction pen, pencil, small pen (or mechanical pencil), two mechanical pencil lead refills and small pencil sharpener into place 😀

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Step Nine: Top off with large Post It Notes to act as intermediary cover and…

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Step Ten: …Done! Should fit snug but well. Not exactly necessary but if the dimension of your box make it necessary you can opt to wrap a bento box band to make sure it doesn’t open in your suitcase 😉

So that’s the Teacher’s Survival Kit in a nutshell! It’s simple, cheap (practically cost-less if you can find all items or variations thereof at home). Remember, the point of the survival kit is to have an easy to reach and close at hand set for those moments when you might need it for emergency purposes. Keep it in your purse/backpack, inside your car, or homeroom desk drawer in case you forget something important in the teacher’s lounge/home.

For the student variation: substitute the red correction pen with a highlighter and the large Post It Notes with a small stack of flash cards. Magnets and plastic clips can be substituted for small erasers. Hole puncher can be replaced for correction tape/small bottle of white-out fluid. Also, packet of hole punch reinforcements are immensely helpful for those days when you accidentally tear out a page from your binder! In reality, two packs of staples might be a bit much for a survival kit so feel free to toss one out entirely. I just have an irrational fear of not having enough staples for some odd reason >.>”

For the artist variation: Use your preferred medium. Classic examples include: 1 sketching pencil, 2 artist pens in colors of choice, 2 small erasers, a pencil sharpener, and 1 Exacto knife. Can also add: 5 small tubes of paint of your choice (three in primary colors plus black and white in either watercolor/pastel/acrylic/etc) with corresponding brushes of your choice and a brush cleaner, a small shot glass for water. Or if you prefer: a set of small colored pencils or set of molding clay. The combinations are endless.

For the crafter variation: 1 glue stick, 1 tube of crazy glue, 1 pencil, 1 pen in color of choice, 1 Exacto knife, some yarn or a spool of thread, 1 small pin cushion with pins/needles, small scissors, set of small origami folding paper (multicolored), assortment stamps and ink pad, ribbon, trimming, cloth swatches/patches, assortment of buttons (different sizes/colors).

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