Like most of you, I’m pinching pennies these days.  But I’m still an educator, and I still get excited about things I find that might help me teach and make my teaching/learning spaces more exciting.  In the past week, I bought four things “on the cheap” that I wanted to share with you because I think they’re awesome.  I don’t get kickbacks or endorsements for any of these, so buy at your own risk, but I think they’re all fabulous finds for the price, and I’d love to tell you why!

1️⃣First are these Holographic Scratch-Off Stickers:  I’ve been using scratch-off stickers for years, and they are awesome!  I’ve used them in classrooms with students, and at professional development events with teachers.  Amazon has these cute little easy-to-use, very inexpensive 1-inch round scratch-off stickers that you can put on top of pretty much anything that you print.  In the past, I’ve always bought them in either silver or gold.  I printed 100 “Thanks for Coming To My Presentation” business cards for a workshop I did at ISTE, but I only had 20 gifts to give away.  So when I printed 100 cards, 20 of them had the words “You’re A Winner” on them, and I just asked attendees to find me for their prize if they had a winning card.  As I said, I have bought these for years, and they really ARE inexpensive, but this week I stumbled upon these HOLOGRAPHIC Scratch-Off Stickers which do exactly the same thing, but somehow make the whole experience even happier!  If it sparkles, I’m there, and in my world rainbow-y things win out over even metallic things….especially for $6.89 for 100!

2️⃣ Next, I found this Foam Desk Mat.  Like most of you, I now have a home office.  Out of necessity, I’ve created a space that has come to be my home-base for all kinds of teaching, learning, and webinar-ing.  For months I just worked from home on my laptop,  but once I went back into the physical space of school I’ve gotten used to using both my laptop AND a school desktop.  When I sit at school with my own device, AND an actual desktop computer with keyboard and mouse, I’ve found that I truly do MISS that mouse and I use it a whole lot when I’m at school.  I’m in a new room in a new space at school, and I’m at a desk that was previously used by others, so I was hankerin’ for my own new mousepad when I found this gem.  It’s only $14.44 on Amazon and it’s more than a mousepad…it’s a foam desktop. There are various colors (check Amazon…different colors often equal different prices), and it’s wipe-able (is that a word?)

3️⃣ My third item is this pack of 1-inch Square Printer-Friendly Square Stickers.  Here’s the deal…we can’t touch stuff these days and we don’t want multiple students touching stuff, so QR codes can be an amazing solution if you just get creative in how you use them.  If you follow me on social media, you probably know me for my use of #QRcodes and specifically #FlipgridAR.  For the past several years, I’ve been adding innovative ways to enhance learning with #QRcode technology in education…which basically means scanning one of those square-shaped dot matrix code thingies that leads anyone who scans them to something else…a website, a video, an image, or even a Flipgrid video that POPS when scanned with the Flipgrid app!  I have curated  a whole Wakelet collection that’s become famous worldwide as THE place to go to find ways to use #FlipgridAR ideas, and it’s chock full o’ samples from educators around the world who have tried them!

Even if you’re not using #FlipgridAR yet (but you should), anyone who uses QR codes should check out my blog post about QR Code Monkey, the COOLEST way to make QR codes pretty and personalized.   I just absolutely adore the fact that it’s this easy to print whole batches of QR code stickers using these 1-inch square printer stickers – it’s only $14.64 for over 2,000 stickers!

4️⃣ My last item is born out of necessity.  It’s a laser-pointer, and it’s WAY cheap.  It’s the Pen + Gear 4 in 1 Stylus Red Laser Pointer Pen from WalMart.  I specifically looked for something like this, and this is the cheapest one I found with the best reviews.  I present at conferences, so I do actually have fancy presentation remotes that have laser pointers built-in…but that’s not what I need right now.  This year, with all the remote business, I REALLY wanted something cheap but effective that I could use IN A CLASSROOM to point to things on the board or the wall – and I didn’t need all the presentation remote fancy gizmo stuff.  I honestly just wanted something that would put a red (or green) beam of light across the room that would focus the attention of students without me having to move over there to point at it.  I looked on Amazon – a lot – but I knew that there had to be cheaper options for what I wanted, so I found this last one at WalMart.  Seriously – for $3.98, this is something that is totally worth having as a teaching tool this year.