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!

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