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by We Inspire Futures Team

What’s your all-time favourite teaching tool?


To celebrate our first birthday, we’re giving away 10 bestselling Professional Learning resources. Winners may pick the book of their choice from a wide variety of topics from Nelson Education*.

We’ve had an amazing first year, publishing over 200 articles and connecting with thousands of educators. We want to say a big thank you to all of the community members who have submitted, commented, and contributed to the conversation about education in Canada.

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Enter in 3 easy steps:

1. In the comments at the bottom of the page, tell us what your all-time favourite teaching tool is.

2. Scroll up to the Login Box and  enter your name and email address (we will contact the winners via the email provided).

3. Once you’ve logged in, click on “Leave a Blog Post Comment” and then click on “I commented” to submit your entry!

BONUS: Once you’ve logged in and submitted your entry, you will be given the option to share this contest on your social networks. You can earn up to 3 additional entries to the contest by following our Facebook or Twitter accounts , or by sharing this contest on Twitter.

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*Winners will pick one title from this list of bestselling PL resources.

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  • Vicki VonZuben

    My all-time favourite teaching tool is a ball. Any ball will do. A ball can inspire any game you know or want to make up. A ball can be part of your Literacy program, your Math program, for any other subject, or even DPA. It can be pasted with new words, or subject-relevant words. It can be used to bounce out syllables, numbers or used for any rhythm activity you want. It can be a question and answer tool, or a challenge device. Any ball can bea tool for discovery, inquiry.
    High school or elementary; chemistry, algebra or learning to read.
    Try it. Keep a ball or two in your desk drawer.

  • Varsha Patel

    As far as technology is concerned, I have currently explored Spongelab this year and have found that it really engages students. There are a wide variety of multimedia available to hook them, ranging from videos, to simulations/animations, to even just informative/colorful images on a particular topic. You can track students’ usage and progress. They can even record their responses to what the are interacting with into a Notepad that I have access to.

  • Rebecca

    My favourite teaching tool is the use of online YouTube songs/video clips to hook and remind the students of important learning concepts before and after the large group lessons. Technology wise, I love my LCD projector and the document camera.

  • Lynda Pollock

    In my classroom, I have a Smartboard. It is a great way to save lessons from one year to the next. My students love the fact that it is interactive and they have an opportunity to show their thinking. Another favourite tool is the iPad. Even though I only two my students love taking turns practising math concepts on the various apps available for grade 6 students for Math and Language.

    Two of my favourite books in this list are Eyes on Math and Good Questions: Create Ways to Differentiate Math. These books contain easy to use and easy to find applicable suggestions for teachers to use. There are many examples of questions to be used during math lessons which provide students with a choice to meet their ablility to understand concepts.

  • Karin

    My all time favourite teaching tool would have to be Marian Small’s “Great Ways to Differentiate Mathematics”. Having recently been fortunate enough to spend a day with Dr. Small, I am excited about the possibilities for teaching math to my kindergarten students this year. Her open questions and parallel tasks are both inviting and intriguing for kids and the responses from staff have been very positive.

  • Math Circles

    Our favourite teaching tool are mini white boards and markers. With our program the students we present to do creative mathematical problem solving and they love trying out different mathematical strategies using their white boards. We also use oodles of manipulatives, from geoboards to string to lego and beyond.

  • Neil

    My favourite teaching tool is Marian Smalls Good Questions

  • Dani

    I love my iRover SmartBoard!! It is essential to my special education class.

  • Siow-Wang Lee

    My favorite teaching tool is the smart board.

  • Felicity

    My favourite resource is without question Marian Small’s book Good Questions, great ways to differentiate Mathematics. Her examples of open ended and parallel tasks make it easy for teachers new to the concept of differentiated instruction to try it in their classrooms.

  • Monica Chadha

    My favourite teaching tool is LCD connected to a wireless computer.

  • Norma

    My favorite teaching tools are: picture books that can turn a complex idea into one that is accessible for all; document camera to show the different things for all to see, from science experiments to sharing student work or a picture book.

  • Wendy Blackwell

    My favourite teaching tool is any of Marian Small’s resources. She is amazing and makes math so interesting, engaging, and inclusive. I would really like to try her “Leaps and Bounds 7/8″ book, but it’s too expensive since I’m a new teacher just starting out. Eventually I hope to get it.

  • Jessica Poff

    Good Questions, by Dr. Small has helped me differentiate mathematics instruction and focus on inquiry-based mathematics instruction.

  • Aimee Goldman

    My favourite teaching tool is my SmartBoard. It adds another dimension to student learning and keeps them engaged for a longer period of time.

  • Alison

    My favourite teaching tool is my SmartBoard.

  • Stephanie

    My favorite teaching tool is Marion small’s good questions book. I always find gr eat questions to my students.

  • Ruth

    My students are my favourite teaching tool. When my students are engaged in their learning and eager to share that learning with other students, then I know I’m on the right track as a teacher. Students discussing their learning with each other helps them define and refine their thinking much more effectively than when they are just listening to me. It also means that there are 30 teachers in my classroom, not just 1.

  • Joanne Nicolson

    I appreciate being able to use a document camera. I love being able to read a story to the kids, while projecting the text and the pictures on the large screen at the front of the room. (There are also other advantages to ‘teaching’ from the back of the room.)

  • L.

    Anything engaging.

  • L.

    The smartboard.

  • Polly Dobie

    With my lcd project, the simple ability to project images big, bold and colourful allows me to start their conversation be it with entry level grade 8′s describing faces (and then each other) or gr 12′s providing commentary on the characterizations from a French Impressionist painting. Lights are low and the beautiful music of Coeur de Pirate or Karkwa comes to life leading my 9′s to add them to their playlists! The conversation begins in the classroom, but hopefully French becomes their 2nd, 3rd or 4th language. It might echo in their minds beyond the confines of the school classroom.

  • Sarah Cook

    My all time favourite teaching tool is “Creating Caring Classrooms” by Kathy Lundy and Larry Swartz.

  • derek hofer

    I just love the Leaps and Bounds toward math understanding by marian small

  • Susan Fudge

    My fav teaching resource is the Nelson Language Arts Kindergarten Teacher’s Resource Book and Nelson Language Arts Grade 1-2 Teacher’s Resource Book. I use the Kindergarten resource as much as the Grade 1.They are both by Miriam Trehearne and absolutely fabulous for that wide span of abilities you so often find in a grade 1 classroom. The activities and suggestions are very functional and there are many resources there for parents, Resource teachers, support teachers as well as classroom teachers. From sound boxes to sight words Miriam covers it all here in these comprehensive resources which is a must have for Primary teachers.

  • Tricia Dean

    My all time favourite tools are 2 books I have on cooperative learning – with printable pages for students to use, and a ton of ideas to engage students in the classroom. I’ve used bits and pieces over the years in many different types of classes I’ve taught.

  • Veronica Pinkoski

    My favourite teaching tool for mathematics are the math manipulatives.

  • Charmaine

    My favorite teaching tool is children’s books. My students always enjoy a great story and relating to the characters. Children’s picture books can be used in so many different ways to model reading, writing and social situations.

  • Bernice Lee

    Picture books both fiction and non-fiction are my favourite! The illustrations help my students to understand the topics/stories so much better.

  • Cindy

    I love to read children’s stories to all ages! All ages love to listen to a good story!!

  • Barb

    I use Picture books and the Smartboard on my daily teaching.

  • alex

    My favorite teaching tools for my pre-k class are picture books and songs. I often use a CD player with an audio book so they get to hear a wide variety of storytelling. The children I teach devour every kind of genres and themes and look forward to circle time daily. It’s a great way to reinforce or introduce concepts.

  • Jenna

    My favourite teaching tool are the Marian Small books.

  • Martin Sarkar

    Good Questions: Great Ways to Differentiate Instruction was and remains my “springboard” to launch into deeper, more meaningful math activities with all my learners. It also has sparked good conversation with colleagues eager (and willing!) to break out of their comfort zone in mathematical instruction. A powerful resource and tool for new…and seasoned educators.

  • Joan Huggins

    I really appreaciate the Marketing texts and workbooks provided by Nelson for Grade 11 Marketing.

  • bonnie

    I love to use picture books in my teaching. They can and should be used at any grade level. A great picture book has a rich message that inspires kids and helps them to connect to issues of importance to them.

  • Josie

    On behalf of many teachers at our school, we believe in collaboration and communication between staff, students and parents. One of the tools we use is the computer to accomplish this. With the computer we can connect with all, use it with the smartboards that are in the classroom for the students, communicate with parents , connect with other colleagues through Google Drive, etc.

  • Caroline Cere-Field

    The OERB website is my favourite tool

  • Adrian

    My favourite teaching tool(s)
    are the Marian Small books: Making Math Meaningful; Good Questions; Big Ideas.
    They are all linked, and depending on my focus, I choose from the list above.
    They are a staple in my everyday preparation for teaching and learning with others.

  • Julia Henrey

    Marian Small’s Great Questions to Differentiate Math Instruction! Fabulous ideas, engaging questions with multiple entry points, and great information for teachers on what to listen for in student answers and how to guide the conversation.

  • Emily L.

    I love everything to do with Assessment for Learning practices! Learning Intentions and Success Criteria ensure transparency for my students and make them responsible and goal oriented.
    Also love Questioning and making sure it is rich and deep to keep learning going in our class…

  • Rowan

    The Professional Library supports the work of teachers with ideas and activities for teaching, research, professional development and lifelong learning in education. One of our strengths is our current book collection. Super popular topics, at this point in time (and they will be different in 5 years!), include anything to do with: kindergarten/early years, mathematics (Yeah Dr Small!), differentiated instruction, whiteboard technology.

  • TB

    Pinterest! I’ve found so many great ideas! Art lessons, classroom management, graphic organizers..Love it

  • Tara

    My ELMO and projector has enhanced my program and keeps our class up to date with modern technology. My best tools are my teaching partners! Working as a team to create interactive lessons and units has helped me as both a teacher and a learner!

  • Barbara Olsen

    I found the Our Community link to be very valuable in informing me of techniques, applications and practical unification methods. Keep up the good work!

  • Ruth

    A visual and auditory timer in my grade 9 and 10 classes is a tool I use everyday. Whether it’s used to promote a sense of challenge or to ensure that students stay on task and give the task more time than they usually would, it has helped my student identify and practice meeting goals.

  • Ila

    Making Mathn Meaningful is a favourite tool of mine. it’s easy to use and breaks down concepts to make it easier to teach our students.

  • Kathryn hobbs

    Picture books have to be my favourite teaching tool. It doesn’t matter what grade level or what the content is, you can always find a picture book, either online or in print, to connect with and that the students enjoy.

  • Kelli Mowbray

    My favourite teaching tool is my Smart Board. My last 3 years of teaching have changed because of the SMARTBoard.

  • Marilyn

    My favorite tool is the SmartBoard. It keeps the students engaged and interested-there’s so much to show them and explore with them. It helps to make learning exciting.

  • Darlene Caira

    I love the Ipad. It’s great for documenting in the ELKP classroom!

  • Nathan Chow

    Twitter is my favourite tool, to connect and share ideas with other educators.

  • Sandra MacDonald

    Favourite math book ever: Making Math Meaningful by Marian Small – my go-to encyclopedia for math!

  • Ina

    My favourite teaching tool, hands down, is my document camera. I model note-taking, worksheet completion, read alouds with stickies, share a single resource, and most effectively, have students lead a lesson. A document camera is the bomb! No computer necessary, but you can connect the camera to a computer to save the notes or even a video of the lesson as taught and upload to LMS or class webpage for future use — especially by absent students.

  • Hillary

    My favourite teaching tool is my computer. It is a source of endless ideas /information and allows me to connect with other teachers.

  • Christine Morris

    My class set of whiteboards for sure. I get immediate feedback on every student’s concept attainment and can tailor the next set of questions to improve understanding. I use them to solidify content once I have taught it or even to teach the concept in steps and practice before we write any notes on the topic. The kids even ask me to use them all the time!

  • Melanie

    I love Marion Small’s book, Good Questions. It’ been an invaluable resource in my gr. 7 & 8 classes.

  • Gail Tanner

    I know it’s old fashioned, but I still love using the newspaper. Every day there is something new, fresh, and relevant to what we are studying. Sharing these items with the students help them see the relevance of what we are studying and connects them to the world. It also encourages them to look and read beyond the classroom.

  • Cathy

    My SMARTBOARD! I’ve only had it for a month… but can’t imagine life without in in FDK! We do everything on it; morning attendance and calendar, Shared Reading, math with virtual manipulatives… Inquiry is made easy, when you can take a virtual field trip. Looking forward to our 1st virtual trip next week…We are going to an airport!

  • deneen

    Over the years I have experienced a plethora of tools that have furthered my students in their education but the most invaluable tool would be my colleagues and students. Without their knowledge experiences and ideas I would not have been the teacher I am today:)

  • Jennifer Blakeslee

    My favorite educational tool in my classroom is my binder of DBQs (from It makes using primary and secondary documents an instrumental part of our curriculum. As far as technology goes I love Google Drive–students save their work, can collaborate with others (common core), and unlike a flash drive, never gets lost. I love Prezi too!

  • Nicole

    My all time favourite teaching tool is a smile. It’s free and it opens the door to learning for many children, especially those who don’t get too many of them. No tool is effective if it isn’t paired with a genuinely caring smile.

  • Tina

    My favourite teaching tool are the clickers, and my smartboard. The clickers allow the students to try some questions yet remain anonymous.

  • David

    I’m fortunate in that my classroom has a fair bit of technology. I’ve recently started using Socrative and my students love it. For those who don’t know, it allows me to create quick multiple choice quizzes on the fly. Students use their mobile devices to sign in and complete the quiz. It turns Q/A time into an interactive game. The best part is now I immediately know when students have missed the key points in the lesson and I can address it immediately.

  • Julia

    Two of my go-to tools are Evernote and Google Drive. I couldn’t live without either of them! I use Google Drive so students can submit assignments to me, and Evernote helps me stay organized across my devices.