18 Clever Ways Teachers Are Using Tap Lights in Their Classrooms

18 Amazing Ways You Can Use Tap Lights for Classroom Management

You’ve probably seen tap lights, also called push lights, at the dollar store. You might even have one inside your linen closet or under your sink to shed a little light in dark spaces. They’re also great for the classroom, so grab a few to add to your bag of tricks. Here are 18 cool and easy ways for teachers to use tap lights in the classroom.

Just so you know, we may get a small share of the sales made through the Amazon affiliate links on this page.

1. Tap lights quickly set volume expectations.

Put the lights in a visible area of the classroom to let students know if you expect silence, whispering, inside voices, or group talk. Need to change the level? Pair it with a classroom doorbell to get everyone’s attention fast.

Have a set of five tap lights delivered right to your door. Get it HERE.

18 Fun and Easy Ways to Use Tap Lights in the Classroom

2. Use Bitmojis to personalize volume level charts.

Get creative when making your volume level charts by adding your bitmoji. Everything is a little more fun with bimojis!

3. Eliminate knocking on the bathroom door.

If you’re lucky enough to have a bathroom in your classroom, push lights are a silent way to let everyone know when it is occupied. No more teaching over knocking all day!

4. Turn push lights into the solar system.

Have students paint push lights like the planets, then create the solar system. Make it into a fun game by challenging students to get the planets in the right places as quickly as possible. 

5. Mark yourself unavailable. 

Tired of being interrupted while you’re in a meeting? Stick a push light on your door or desk to let everyone know you’re busy.

6. Use tap lights as hall passes. 

Have students push the appropriate light for where they’re going. Seeing the lights helps teachers keep track of how many students are gone from the room.

7. Manage cell phone use.

If you allow cell phones, adopt a red, yellow, and green system. Take it to the next level by clearly writing out the expectations, as well as consequences for inappropriate phone use on the chart.

Amazon sells colored tap lights perfect for this. Get them HERE.

18 Cool and Easy Wyas to Use Tap Lights in tnhe Classroom

8. Remind students the time for questions has passed.

After you ask, “Are there any more questions?” use a tap light to signal review time has ended before starting a test.

Use an extra large tap light from Amazon for this hack.

9. Get creative with your noise levels!

Why be silent when you can be in “ninja mode?” Invite students to help you make up catchy phrases for noise levels. Even middle and high schoolers will get a kick out of it. 

10. Set subs up for success.

Create a poster with written descriptions for each of the voice levels next to the lights. This helps substitute teachers put the system to use.

11. “We’re ready!”

Give each group a push light that says, “We’re ready!” The group taps it when they’re ready for the teacher to check their work.

Get an affordable set of push lights HERE.

12. Let students know when you’re busy and they should work alone or in groups.

13. Add movement to sounding out words.

Movement helps the brain retain information. Have students tap the light as they sound out each part of the beginning, middle, and end of a word.

14. Let students know their role.

Create tap lights that say, “I do,” “We do,” and “You do.” This will let students know when it’s time to focus on the teacher, work as a group, and work independently. 

Get an affordable set of push lights HERE.

15. Think outside the circle.

Push lights come in a variety of fun shapes – including hearts, stars, and triangles. They’re also available with brightly colored borders. Dollar Tree usually has a nice assortment.

16. Light up math!

Write numbers on them and use them to practice counting, number recognition, and simple equations. You can turn numbered push lights into all sorts of fun math games! Write letters on the tap lights instead for letter recognition, spelling, and phonics practice and games.

17. Recognize appropriate behavior.

Assign each table a number. Number push lights to match. Create an area to recognize tables who make good choices – and perhaps a place to point out those who could be doing a little better, too.

18. Take your storage space to the next level!

Storage and organization are constant issues for most teachers. Here’s a cute idea! Paint an old dresser like a retro car, adding push lights for the headlights. Add a “license plate” with your last name.

Don’t forget the batteries! Add them to your classroom wish list. Dollar Tree sells them or you can buy in bulk from Amazon.


18 Clever Ways Teachers Are Using Tap Lights in Their Classrooms

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Rachael Moshman
Rachael Moshman, M.Ed., an editor at Bored Teachers, is a mom, educator, writer, and advocate for self-confidence. She's been a teacher in classrooms of infants through adult college students. She loves pizza, Netflix and yoga. Connect with her at rachael.m@boredteachers.com
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