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Totally Hooked! The Many Uses for Stick-On Hooks in My Classroom

By Alycia Zimmerman on January 25, 2012
  • Grades: PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5, 6–8

Classroom clutter is my arch nemesis, and it honestly gets the better of me sometimes. I never seem to have enough room in my classroom for all of the books, supplies, projects, charts, oh, and, of course, the students. A couple of years ago I discovered stick-on hooks, and ever since, these little plastic hooks have been in constant use throughout my classroom. In this post you'll find some of the ways I’ve used these hooks. I’m sure you can suggest even more great ideas for putting these hooks to work.


Meet My Friends, the Stick-On Hooks!

Just in case you haven’t yet discovered these fabulous bits of plastic, let me quickly make an introduction. (Skip ahead if you’re already acquainted.) Stick-on hooks come in various sizes and varieties. Some come with foam tape on the back, and these are difficult to remove from the wall. I prefer the 3M Command brand hooks because the adhesive is incredibly strong, yet it peels of the walls easily, which keeps our custodians happy. I use several different sizes of hooks depending on the job, as you’ll see below. Now, let’s see these hooks in action. . . .   


Hook Use #1: No More Missing Passes

Our bathroom passes hang from hooks.

I haven’t had to buy replacements for our hall passes in three years. Enough said.


Hook Use #2: Our Portable Word Wall

I wanted my students to be able to take the words they needed back to their seats, but I was also tired of having my word wall looking abused after the first month of school. Now, I have a static word wall on my bulletin board, and a separate set of easily accessible words hanging under the bulletin board for grab-and-go spelling help.

Each week, we add words to the portable word wall. The students take turns writing the words on index cards, hole-punching the cards, and adding them to the ring for the correct letter. This makes a great classroom job. (I usually give this job to those students who need some extra spelling help.)

Our portable word wall.


Hook Use #3: Hanging Chart Pads

Even using clotheslines and two chart easels, I still needed more space to display frequently used charts prominently around the room. Two stick-on hooks and two large metal rings let me hang charts wherever I need them.


Hook Use #4: Creating an Easy-to-Update Student Work Display

We are expected to create colorful, ever-changing displays of the students’ work in the hallways in my school, and all without cork bulletin boards. The smooth, tiled walls in the hallways mock our attempts to attach student work with packing tape, masking tape, and Velcro. I know one teacher who resorted to super glue out of frustration. (The custodians were not happy!)

Lo and behold, what does stick to the walls? Stick-on hooks! Best of all, using the hooks makes updating the students’ work a cinch. I simply slide their work into clear plastic page protectors, hole punch the entire thing, and add the new work to the front of each student's ring. My students love flipping through their work to see their progress over the year. In a way, this bulletin board display also becomes a portfolio.

An interactive bulletin board with hooks.


Hook Use #5: Untangling Technology

I wrote about how I use hooks to organize my students’ flash drives in my post "My Top Four Tips for Computing With Kids." Just last week, one of my clever students asked if I could buy some more hooks to attach to the back of the classroom computer monitors. She was frustrated with untangling the headphone cords that invariably get tangled on the computer desks, and she suggested that we hang the headphones from each computer. Brava, Chloe — the student surpasses the master!

The students' flash drives hang from hooks labeled for each table.


Do you use stick-on hooks in your classroom? Please post your ideas and tips in the comments section below, and help me in my fight against King Clutter!

Comments (28)

You could also clip a student's individual work with a binder clip and hang these from plastic hooks. That way you don't have to put holes in student work OR walls. Win, win!!

LOVE your portable word wall! Thank you for hooking me on hooks! We are about to close our elementary school and merge to a new building...no more staples!! I'll be using hooks next year! :)

LOVE your portable word wall! Thank you for hooking me on hooks! We are about to close our elementary school and merge to a new building...no more staples!! I'll be using hooks next year! :)

I am totally hooked on this blog!! Great ideas!!

Haha, thank you, Kate!

Fabulous. I'm thinking up uses for the hooks already, including the words you showed. Thanks.

I use the metal 3M hooks that move/swing. I put them on the back of chairs or under the desk/table for their book bags. When under the table, the metal hooks hang like a "J" to hang bags, etc. I just hot glued clothes pins (a parent glued glitter onto them) above student lockers to display work.

Great ideas! Thanks for sharing.

I have a lot of clipboards I use because we're required to track quite a bit of data at my school. I keep my clipboards all hung behind my desk by my command hooks. It helps take the clutter off of my desk!

I use hooks as much as possible. Stick much better than glue. Love the outside work display. They just repainted our walls and we aren't allowed to display anything yet because they don't want them messed up. I think I saw most of these suggested. I use them on calendar (Today is...and the day, month, date are on rings then hooks). Our "Focus Board" each theme and list of books for the theme are in page protectors, rings, and hooks. Inside of closet, binder clips keep boarders together. Back of closet to hang shoe organizer (used to store behavior chart stickers and other random supplies). To hang organizer for a few dry erase markers, erasers, and flashcards currently being used.

Where do you get the rings? what are they called?

Where can you buy them for cheap?

I use Command Hooks to hold my pocket charts and hang student name tags among other things.

Expensive?! Puh-lease! Buy a dozen for a dollar @ your "Buck or Two" equivelent store.

I also hang clothespins (the kind with a hole in the tabs for the hook to hang thru') from my hooks so I don't worry about hole-punching & rings; also the holes (that aren't there anyway) don't rip when the things are yanked too roughly.

Love,love, love all the ideas for using hooks. I am definitely going to try to use them this year to display student work. Thank you for sharing. :)

I use hooks all around. My favourite place is all around my calendar routine. It's so much esier to flip the cards on the rings to change the date, the weather, the year, the shape of the day, etc. (the list is endless). I found that it means I don't have to be as organized with the the materials b/c they are stationary on the calendar wall.

I love the hooks, but they are so expensive! I'd love to find coupons or a less expensive alternative. I have block walls as well... and humidity that destroys a lot of sticky type things..

Hot glue works great on the brick walls.... will come off at end of year... That is what I use!

Love these hooks too.....allow you to easily move when needed and no mess. I also have bought cheap small plastic clips like you use to hold an open bag of chips closed. I find them at dollar store...5 for a buck and then hot glue the back to my brick wall and then you can open and close the clip when you want to change things out...a little cheaper than those 3m hooks

I used the plastic hooks and a plastic sheet protector to display bell, lunch, & PE schedules.

Will these stick to concrete walls? That's what my classroom walls are, sadly.

Yes, these will stick to concrete. My classroom walls are painted concrete too. To make sure the hooks stick, I wipe down the wall first with a dab of rubbing alcohol.

I used the plastic hooks inside of my closet. Then I used the metal paper clips and hung my boders off of them. I think I may have seen this idea on pinterst.

I hung 2 clips per subject on the wall and used clear sheet protectors with decorative paper to write my objectives on them. It allowed me to change out the background paper. I used dry erase markers to write the objectives.

Hang two hooks inside a cabinet door. Hole punch you favorite posters and graphic organizers the same distance apart. Instant storage with no curled up posters!

Brilliant! Thanks for sharing this awesome suggestions - I'm definitely giving this a try this year.

I love hooks for my secondary classroom, especially for flash drives, clip boards, & passes. I noticed that you have rings w/clear stick-ons. Did these come this way? I haven't seen these anywhere and would like to find them. Our classrooms have just been renovated, and I've been looking for an better way to display student work. This looks like the perfect solution.

I put a hook on every student desk (on the side), and my students hang their vocabulary cards that they hold with a ring. It keeps the floors clutter-free and the kids can get or put away the cards really quickly.

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