Cramming It All In: Classroom Schedules and Routines (Mrs. Grooms' Room)

Hey everyone!

It’s Shana Grooms from Mrs. Grooms’ Room!  I hope everyone is having a fantastic  start to the year!
 I am so excited to be reading everyone’s tips and advice on how to cram it all in because I struggle everyday to get it all in.  I mean big TIME!  

But that doesn’t mean I don’t have my own bag of tips!  I  do love having routines and I love to implement tips and hacks to keep me and my classroom on task!

One thing that I do is implement technology into my daily routine.  Technology is a tool that is easy to use, no paper needed, and students can use it, too!
Here are some of the ways I love to implement technology timesavers into our day!

It's alarming at how fast time goes by...

The first thing that I use ALL of the time is the clock app on my iphone!  This app keeps me on task all the time for my class's daily schedule.  Since all of my events are set previously, I only have to turn my chimes off when it is time to move on!  My students already know that when the chimes's time to move on! 

Remember to plan accordingly... 
Another thing that makes my day crazy is overplanning which I am notorious for and this can extend my lessons. (I get excited about projects easily. Haha! It can be hard to narrow it down to one really cool activity! BUT I have to for my sake and for my students! My students can handle one activity...not three activities.) SO I have learned not to overplan!  This helps me stay on task and gives me time for other activities for other subjects. These days...if I have an extra activity for them, it is only an extension or a center. 

SeeSaw...I'm seeing the possibilities!  I know you all are loving my puns!  ;) 
Another way to cram it all in is to use the app SeeSaw. I am so excited to be using it  with my students and parents this year.  I love being able to take our pictures, videos, and class projects and uploading them to my students' portfolios.  I can go back to see what they did, assess their work, and showcase their projects so parents can see what they have been learning in class. Parents only see what their own child has been working on in class, or what I have shared with them from our class.  It may take me 15 to 20 minutes to add text to a picture, and upload them to their portfolios.  There is also a class blog option, too.  So you can share stories about what you are learning in class and share photos of class projects.  (I just think this is so much better than a newsletter!)

Just a note...(I wish that you could see ALL of the photos that I took from years ago that  are just sitting in a file.
) Biggest frowny face ever...we did SOO much and my parents have no idea and it's my fault. :( 

My goal is to have our students add their own pictures, videos, and projects ALL by themselves to SeeSaw. (Cause, seriously, folks, when a two-year old can face time you?? You and I both know these kids can work an app!) It will just be part of our day to add these things to our portfolios.  Work will be showcased and talk about time savers!!

APParently, you...I mean your students... can use apps to assess understanding and to create projects! ;)

Here is an example of what we are going to be working on soon:  we will be working on our Chatter Pix videos for our unit on plants.  

We will be teaching my students to simply take a photo of a plant part from our scavenger hunt outside, add a mouth, and their own voice that explains what the plant part does and voila! They have a digital  project that is complete and I can use as an assessment.  I can add this to our SeeSaw accounts and parents can see one of the many things that we are working on in class.  Easy to implement and it doesn’t take a lot of time.  

Later in the year, students can do it independently or in groups.  I can easily add this to our lessons for any subject.  

Reading is always EPIC! 
Using technology during our reading time as reading centers has helped me tremendously. During our reading workshop, my students rotate reading centers daily. One of their centers is the ipad center.  While my students are reading with me, five of my students are using the app Epic! It is free for educators, and students have a virtual library of books to read. The selection of non-fiction and fiction that is available is wonderful! Epic! Keeps track of books read, pages flipped, and the time students spend on reading.  This is great for me as I track their reading.  I am not having to count up minutes or books or pages. Epic! does it for me. This is definitely helpful for me and it saves time!

Gaming and learning...

One of the first things that I love to use are online games or PowerPoint games.  These are so easy to use in the classroom.  I like to use them as group activities so we can practice spelling words, recognizing words, or math facts.  There are no papers to collect or grade, and clean up is a snap!  Students can also practice during center time on the Promethean Board or on the laptop. There are even lots of really cool online games or PowerPoint games that I love to purchase from Teachers Pay Teachers.   

Here are some online games and websites that I know you will love that you can use for practice or students can use in centers:

Storyline Online 

Just Books Read Aloud

Play the list...
One thing that always helps me and saves me tons of using playlists on Youtube, Discovery Elementary, or Pandora as well.  These are fantastic for thematic units in reading, science, and social studies.  I keep my playlists updated, and if I need a video on plants, I simply look on my playlist, "Plants."  I don't have to worry about searching for videos. They are available and ready to play. Definitely a time saver for me and for our day, too!  

You can check out my playlist for youtube here: 
Shana Grooms
Shana Grooms' PLANTS on 

note* I also make a QR Code for my playlists for my parents. That way they have ascess to videos that we play in class.  :)

I hope these tips help you just like they have helped me during my day.  What are some of your best timesavers that you use for your class? I would love to know!! 

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