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11 Old-School Classroom Items Everyone Forgets

When's the last time you saw an overhead projector? Take a trip down memory lane with these old-school school items.

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Metal Lunch BoxDebbiSmirnoff/Getty Images

Metal Lunchbox

Not everyone had a Beatles lunchbox growing up but most people had some sort of metal lunchbox they brought to school. That gave way to the brown paper bag for those who brought lunch from home. These days, insulated and compartmentalized lunch boxes keep families organized during the school year.

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Vintage Chalk Holder

If you were a music kid, you’ll remember seeing an old chalk holder, even if you haven’t thought about it for years. Teachers loved it when they had to write out music on the chalkboard. Build your own chalk board to get ready for back to school. Some household antiques are even worth money.

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Compass-and-protractorJ_R Images/Shutterstock

Compass and Protractor

Boy, geometry was a pain when you had to draw a circle. Even though you had a compass and a protractor, that compass could get wild and tear up your paper in a hurry if you weren’t careful. You might be surprised that these antique tools could be worth so much.

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Graphing Calculator

At a certain point graphing calculators became required back to school tech. Mom and Dad didn’t like having to dole out the cash for the expensive item but you learned how to use mathematical formulas. For the really savvy, they learned how to add games to their graphing calculator. These days you can do just about anything on your phone, especially with all the DIY apps available.

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Old-school-library-index-cardsViktor Gladkov/Shutterstock

School Library Index Cards

How did we ever get along before computers? Well, if you wanted to find a book in the library, you looked at index cards to find the Dewey Decimal number. These days it’s a little easier. Remember writing papers after researching a topic in an encyclopedia?

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Overhead-projectorJ.Robert Williams/Shutterstock

Overhead Projector

Who could forget the old overhead projector? Well, maybe you did because it’s been so long since you’ve seen one. They were the command center of a classroom and frustrating when you had smudges on transparency. Maybe your house has some of these old features no one uses anymore.

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Paper-cutterKorrakit Pinsrisook/Shutterstock

Paper Cutter

When’s the last time you had to cut some paper? You likely used the old paper cutter for a number of things in school like art class or whenever you needed smaller graph paper. Build a handy paper holder at one end of your workbench.

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Teacher MapSCHUBphoto/Getty Images

Pull Down World Map

It was always embarrassing when you accidentally let go of the pull down map too quickly. The pull down world map is now a relic in the modern classroom thanks to fancy computer projectors that let teachers just pull up a webpage. You can make a cool DIY gift out of an old map.

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Library Check Out CardMichael Burrell/Getty Images

Library Checkout Card

Just like the old library index cards, you used to have to write your name down on a card either in the front or the back of a book when you checked it out from the library. You also used to have to write your name in your textbooks too. If you like the look of those free little libraries people put up in their yards, then check out these tips on making one.

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Trapper Keeper

Trapper Keepers were all the rage for students to stay organized. These days almost every kid carries around an iPad. If you like to use an iPad to cook, you’ll love this tablet stand.

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Vintage-thermosBrad Sauter/Shutterstock


Kids used to carry around a thermos to school on those cold winter days. Parents filled them with hot cocoa or soup they could enjoy at lunch time. These days there are a lot more insulated coolers carried around that will keep food hot or cold, although a lunchbox ice pack helps.

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