Classroom Time Savers Any Teacher Can Use

Like all teachers, time and energy play a huge part in my everyday routine. I'm often overwhelmed by my never ending to-do list, and constantly spinning my wheels while feeling like I'm never going to catch up. Last summer I read Angela Watson's book Unshakeable, and her words hit home hard for me.

"The goal here is to get more done while expending less time and energy." -Angela Watson

"Your productivity level is far more important than the number of hours you work." -Angela Watson

If you are finding yourself running on fumes and desperately needing more time and energy, I highly recommend that you read Unshakeable. After reading her book I wrote a blog post, Learning How to Prioritize and Letting Go of the Rest. In this blog post, I talk more about Angela's book and I shared my thoughts as I read it. In my opinion, it's a book every teacher should read!

By using our time wisely we become more productive. In this post, I'm sharing three time-saving tips that any teacher can use, however, there are several past posts from our Elementary Entourage teacher-authors who share some great teacher time savers! Some I wanted to include here, but to avoid repetition I encourage you go back and read those past posts. 

Last year I took a new position as technology facilitator at my school. I teach over 550 students per 
week in grade K-6. It's an overwhelming task and keeping up with student logins became a nightmare! We have logins for this and logins for that and very few of them are the same. I knew that I had to find an easy way for students to access the login information they needed. I also knew that it had to be accessible to them when they sat down at the computer. I see one class from each grade level for 40 minutes each day. I simply couldn't spend part of that time passing out login cards. I just didn't have that time to waste. So, I designed a mini easel and begged my husband to make 26 of them! These mini easels are made out of PVC pipe, filled with sand, spray painted black, and stand roughly 8 inches tall. I made cards (over 550 of them), put student names and their login information on them, assigned seats, and had students hang their login information on the easel beside their computer. Now, when students come to the computer lab they quickly flip to their nametag and login to the program or website we are using for the day. This took some A LOT of time to make and do, but it was so worth it in the end. This time-saving trick has saved me 5-10 minutes during each class that I teach during the day.

I've been a teacher for 16 years and during that time I've learned one very important thing about
starting a new school year. You need name labels for students, and you need LOTS of them! As a classroom teacher, I was constantly labeling books, notebooks, book bins, cubbies, mailboxes, folders, envelopes, you name it...the list goes on and on. I found that creating labels with student names ahead of time saved me a lot of time. Let's face it, teachers don't have time to sit down and create labels for students every time they need to label something - which happens to be quite often. Creating a class set of labels, printing multiple copies, and storing them in a folder on my desk made labeling anything in the classroom much easier and quicker!

We are getting ready to have Parent-Teacher Conferences at my school, and as I think back to being a classroom teacher it wasn't always easy to schedule parents to come in and meet with me. A few years ago I ran across, and WOW what a time-saver! This website allows you to create FREE sign up forms that you can email to parents. You choose the date, times, and location. You can even personalize your form with your information and choose a cute template (lots to choose from). You can also set reminders to be sent to parents 1 day, 2 days, up to a week before the conference. You get an email when parents sign up, and you can log in at any time to check parent progress. Parents can also see if times are already taken so they will easily see that they need to choose a different time. If parents don't choose a time you can schedule a reminder email that alerts parents that they haven't yet signed up for a conference time! This takes all the headache out of sending notes back and forth trying to agree on a time to meet or writing notes back and forth to parents in student planners. It's a huge time-saver when it comes to scheduling parent-teacher conferences!

I hope these time-saving tips help you as a teacher. We all need more time in the day to get things done! Click here to read some of our past posts on more excellent teacher time savers!

Teacher Time Savers ( Classroom Hacks )

In any special education classroom, we are all about trying to save valuable school time. This doesn't mean we are taking the "easy way out," it just means we are finding simple hacks to do our job quicker and more efficient.
Here are a few teacher tips for making your teacher life easier on the daily:
In my classroom, Friday is our super fun day. Not only do we do Fun Food Friday and Coffee Cart, but we also do Fine Motor Friday. It's a great way to motivate kids during the week, not to mention how beneficial actually having Fine Motor centers all day long every Friday is!

If your students utilize a slant board in the classroom, then this hack is perfect for you.
I despise making bulletin boards... honestly, I will put up one bulletin board for the school year and that's it. I would rather spend my time on something else. :)

So I started printing clip art in poster size! To do this I simply make the clip art image the size of one PowerPoint page, save it as a PDF and then print it in poster size. Once it prints, you'll need to cut it out and put it together (kind of like a puzzle). But once you have it put together, it's together forever! Laminate it to reuse it year after year!
My last hack is perfect for the classroom that includes a student who likes to turn the classroom lights off and on. Simply cut a paper cup in half and tape it over the light switch. One great suggestion shared on my Instagram was to Velcro a plastic tub over it (for those of you who have double or triple switches).

Follow me on Instagram for more teacher timesavers and classroom hacks.

Teacher Time Savers (with The Friendly Teacher)

In the past I have used files, binders, and even tried only using my computer to organize my things. That is when I found this idea from one of my good friends, First Grade Roars. Check her blog out here to see some more of her amazing ideas. I keep all of my things in monthly bins now.


I have a bin for each month and a bin for some large themes (for example, multiplication or science and social studies). 
I fill each bin with everything I need that month. I fill it with books for the month, all of the papers we use that month, decorations for my classroom, and more!

My favorite part about this is that I keep the month I am currently in by my desk. Then, I add anything that I used into the bin for instant organization. Lastly, if I copy something and don't use it I throw it in the bin. Then, next year I have something to use that is already copied. BAM AMAZINGNESS! 

I bought these bins at Michaels and then added quick labels. The best part is these also make for great decoration on top of my storage containers.

I LOVE monthly tubs! I LOVE that I have genius teachers inside my school to teach me their amazing ways. I highly suggest moving from binders and files to tubs!

Teacher Time Savers {Peppy Zesty Teacherista}

Teaching can be tiresome, busy, and basically feel like you're on the autobahn in your mind. The post is intended to give you just one tip that you can take back to your classroom so you can take yourself to your car faster. 

An hour conference period goes by QUICK, and if you want to leave by 4pm then it takes strategies. 
I leave AT four three days a week and stay till 4:30 two days a week. Want to know how I manage to do that? 

When papers are getting passed out, when it's carpet time, and when we line up are all opportunities for kids to go off on a tangent talking and then you waste time bringing kids back to reality. 

To read more {CLICK HERE}

So you want to use technology so you create accounts for ALL the kids to find out two days later Suzie Q lost it. 

To read more {CLICK HERE}

For the most part, we strategically pair students together based on their strengths and weaknesses. However, sometimes we are doing an activity that doesn't need that much structure. 

I use the partner pairing cards to quickly group kids. The kids can't complain because they drew the card! ha! 

TO read more about how these work 

I hope this was a Peppy Zesty idea for you! 

Teacher Time Savers {Teach Two Reach}

Hey all! I'm here today to share with you a couple of teacher time saving tips and tricks that have worked well for me. 

What to do with all those student papers? Organize everything that need to be sent home with this Friday Folder classroom management tip

Since I started teaching, using a "Friday Folder," system has been a consistent organization tactic that's really worked for me.

I don't like sending home graded work or projects during the week in students' regular homework folders. I like to reserve those for homework like reading logs, and notices from myself or the office.

Instead, I keep the graded work and other projects until Friday. Another must in the classroom is a mailbox slot system. It helps with passing out notes or papers that go home everyday, and it is also where I put together all the work for the Friday folders.

Everyone has a red folder which I label. On Friday mornings before school starts, (or Thursday after dismissal), I put everyones' work in their mailbox slots. After it is all separated, I put my weekly newsletter on top, and then put each student's pile into their Friday folder. I put the folder back in their mailbox slot. When they are packing up for the day, they take them home.

This method has helped keep the paper clutter down, regular homework folders pretty neat and clean, and has cut down stress in trying to get things graded everyday ASAP to send home for the day! Definitely a teacher time saver.

Favorite Teaching Thing a magig time saver:
Magnetic Tape

This has recently come near the top of my favorite teaching related items - MAGNETIC TAPE...on a tape dispenser. 
Anyway, this is PERFECT for hanging things on the board super quick and easy. I put up my teaching related posters for the week on the white board with this tape, I put up my incentive class group points chart thing with this tape, and so much more.  SO you just rip off a piece, put the sticky side on the thing you want stuck, and put it up. Super simple. 

Come back the rest of the month for more tips to save you your precious time!

Teacher Time Savers {Organization}

We all know that teaching takes time. I know I often wish for more time in the day to get all the things done on my list. Helpful time saving tips are always something I welcome, and these ones here are some of my favorites! 

One of my biggest time struggles stems from not being as organized as I could be. I am definitely a piler. 

While I may never be super organized, I can always strive to be, especially with these 19 awesome time saving tips for teachers that keep the classroom feeling organized and effective. 

19 Time Saving Tips and Tricks for Teachers

{From Left to Right}

Ditch the file and get organized with binders. /Mrs. Plemons' Kindergarten

Solve the marker dilemma with this awesome marker storage solution. /Pre-K Pages

Get those piles organized with these free binder clip labels. / The Classroom Creative

Stop hunting down files with this dish rack file storing system. / Organized Classroom

Don't waste time finding out whose paper has no name. Use this no name paper hanger instead. / Comprehension Connection

Save a ton of time on bulletin boards with this awesome wow work display. / Live, Laugh, & Learn in Second Grade

No more losing or remaking anchor charts when you use this anchor chart storage system. / Teaching With a Mountain View

Save time with an organized teacher cabinet! / Core Inspiration

Losing books in a messy library? Get it organized and keep track of your books. / No Time for Flashcards

No more wasting time searching for or putting away lost pieces with this "'I'm Lost" basket. / Miss Giraffe's Class

Sub plans and lining up alphabetically when you must just got a lot easier with this picture class list. / Keepin' it Kool in KinderLand

Don't lose your last copy and spend time searching for a new one with this easy teacher tip. / Your Teacher's Lounge

Letters are organized and no learning time is wasted with this stamp storage system. / Pre-K Pages

I can't begin to tell you how much time I spend looking for Expo markers. No more with this neat way to store them! / Lucky Little Learners

When drawers are organized with these free labels, you will find everything quickly and easily. / A Teachable Teacher

Kids can find crayons quickly and easily (which saves you time too) with this great crayon storage idea. / Ship Shape First Grade 

We all know kids have to practice how to put things where they belong. Save same time and make it a little easier with supply picture labels. / The Art of Education

No more "my pencil's broken!!" interrupting your day with these pencil cup labels to the rescue. / A Cupcake for the Teacher

Finally, we know one of the best ways to save time is to be as prepared as possible. Why not do that with a fun and free teacher planner? / Playdough to Plato

What is your favorite tip for saving time? 

Teacher Time Savers....It's all about Collaboration {with ALL Y'all Need}

Using Google Drive to Collaborate with your Grade Level: 

When teaching the littlest learners, timesavers are crucial. This year, my absolute favorite timesaver is a sharing collaborative Google Drive with my Pre-K team. By sharing folders on a Google Drive, my team is able to share ideas, lesson plans, collaborate on documents, and keep all visuals in one place. It's so nice to be able to access lesson plans everywhere and keep the creative ideas flowing with my team! 

Using Remind to Schedule Volunteers: 

My other favorite timesaver is utilizing parent/grandparent volunteers! At the beginning of the school year, I created a "school volunteer" and "home volunteer" section on my Google Form to see who was interested in helping out. From then on, I just use a "help wanted" message on Remind to see who is able to help that week. I know other teachers have used to create a volunteer schedule. Hopefully, one day I'll be less of a procrastinator and create a volunteer schedule. Until then, I'll continue to use my "Help Wanted!" messages via Remind. 

Happy Teaching! 

Teacher Time Savers {from Aloha to Second}

I am ALWAYS looking for ways to make my life easier as a teacher.  Here are a few things that I have found that have really cut down on my time for prepping.

I bought this file folder bin at Wal*Mart.  I can easily place hanging file tabs in the folder and then use file folders to label and sort my materials.
I place all my reading and math worksheets in this bin.  I am not a big worksheet person, but it is a great way to pull something when I need to cover a certain topic.  So, I went through all my files and printed one of each sheet to place in the appropriate file folder.  I know using the computer is much easier, and eco-friendly, but I find this much easier for me to pull and print! 

Here are some of the topics I use when sorting my files:
Comprehension, Fluency, ABC, Sounds, Phonemic Awareness, Digraphs, Diphthongs, etc.
Patterns, Numbers, Counting, Sorting, Shapes, Adding, Subtracting, etc.

Each week I prepare all my activities and materials.  I place each activity in the correct bin that matches the day of the week.  This makes my life SO much easier.  Also, if I were to be sick and not be able to prep like I usually do for a substitute, this is a great way to allow them see what we are using for the day. 
I also save time during transitions in my classroom by quickly going to my bin and grabbing the next activity.  I stay so much more organized this way and I feel much more efficient! I bought this from Lakeshore Learning. :]  However, I have seen bins like this at Target in the Dollar spot!

Here is another time saver for me.  When I have students that finish early, they have an independent work folder.  I place them in this small bin, and my kiddos walk over on their own, find their name, and grab a sheet to work on.  
This is perfect because each student has work that applies to their skill level. I can easily differentiate their work.  I use the bin from above to pull skill worksheets to copy and place in their folder.
My kids LOVE using their independent folder.  They get so excited when they finish work early and get to grab work from their folder. 

I hope that these tips help you work faster in your classroom.  It may take time to get them started, but it is so worth it once you have it!

Teacher Time Savers {Going Paperless}

Y'all there never seems to be enough time because we all have a growing list of things that we have to do...lesson planning, grading, classroom management, testing, parent contact, team meetings, and so much more!  I love time savers because they make it possible to complete all of our weekly tasks.

This year I'm working to make my classroom as paperless as possible and it is a HUGE time saver because I'm not wasting so much time at the copier.  Here are three time savers that will help you tackle assignments, grading, and not having to make copies.

My class just completed their first big project of the year and I wanted to come up with a way that I could easily collect and grade them.  I have five different classes and they range from having 19 to 23 students.  I decided that the best way to collect the projects was to have my students fill out a Google Form.

You can send them the Google Form using Google Classroom or you can send them the link to the form.  You can save time by checking the Shorten URL button to create a shorter URL for your students to copy.  I've also noticed that I get several questions about some of the letters and numbers in these shortened URLs (they can get kinda confusing), so I create links for my classrooms and I make sure to only use lowercase letters.  That saves time and avoids the questions about the links.  You can also create a QR code using the link and your students can scan the code with an iPad and access the Google Form quickly and easily.

The best part about using Google Forms to have your students turn in their projects is that it will save you time grading.  I'll show you how.

After the students have filled out the Google Form, you will be able to view their responses.  I like to quickly look at them as a whole and then I click on the green button at the top to have it create a spreadsheet to look at the responses.

This is when I can easily grade my student's projects.  My students completed this assignment online, so I have a question that asks for a link to their project.  I can quickly and easily view their projects from the link that they provided in the Google Form.

Then I add a column in the spreadsheet that says GRADE and COMMENTS.  This will help me easily enter grades and then transfer those to my grade book.

It has been a great time saver when I need to collect multiple assignments as well.  It also saves me time with grading.

My last time saver tip is to send your students reading assignments using Google Slides.  It saves you time because you don't have to make copies and waste your time standing in line at the copier.

Here is a little video to show you how using Google Slides for reading assignments will save you time.

I hope you enjoyed my three time saving tips.  What are your best time saving tips?  Let me know in the comments.