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!