17 Simple Time-Saving Hacks that Make Teaching Just a Little Easier

17 Simple Time-Saving Hacks that Make Teaching Just a Little Easier

Teachers work HARD! Reward yourself for all that hard work by implementing a few teaching hacks into your classroom routine that will make your life just a bit easier and more convenient. Use those few extra precious minutes to go to the bathroom or get a hot cup of coffee. Or do what teachers do best and plan the next fun lesson!

Whether you’ve been teaching for two years or twenty, these 22 hacks will show you how to save time and resources on a daily basis in your classroom.

1. How to keep students from interrupting

Nothing can get students and teachers off-task quite like an interrupting student. Use a battery-powered light switch to curb these interruptions. If the light is on, students can’t interrupt unless it’s an emergency.

2. How to use your whiteboard to save time

Students don’t always listen the first time, so there is always a child or two who have no idea what page they are supposed to be on. Save yourself the time repeating the page number over and over by having a dedicated space on your whiteboard to write the page number for students to reference if they are confused.

3. How to quickly organize a seating chart

Sticky note seating chart
Source: Amanda Shay

Making a seating chart takes careful consideration and can get quite intense. This is especially true if you just start writing down names. Save time by using sticky notes instead. Write each student’s name on a sticky note and start arranging them. Its quick and easy to move them around until you create the perfect classroom setup.

4. How to use tape to plan your bulletin boards

Speaking of bulletin boards, don’t waste time eye-balling letter placement. Instead, lay out a long strip of masking tape and arrange your letters by sticking the back of them to the sticky side of the tape. Then staple the strip of tape to the bulletin board and trim the ends. Done!

5. How to send simple signals to parents

Begging students for homework assignments and signed permission slips can waste a lot of time in the mornings. Let parents know that something important is in their child’s backpack by stapling a brightly colored ring of paper around it. This will be a visual clue to parents that there is something in the backpack they need to see or sign.

6. How to keep watercolors at bay

Kids are messy, and that’s especially true every time you get out the watercolor paints. Use to-go cup holders to corral the paint and water and minimalize spills and the time necessary to clean up those spills. Nestle the watercolors diagonally across two cup indents, and put the glass of water in a third indent.

7. How to mix up student partner pairs

If you like to mix up your partner groups regularly, it can be time-consuming to keep track of who has worked with who and when. Create a wheel that lists your students’ names and give it a spin every time you need the kids to partner up. Next time you need your students to work as partners, you can easily see who worked with who last time.

8. How to keep track of students’ lost teeth

Elementary teachers know the excitement that losing a tooth brings to the classroom. They also know the devastation of misplacing that lost tooth somewhere in the classroom. Prevent the time suck of hunting for a tiny tooth in a large classroom by keeping small tooth bags on hand. Your students can place their precious teeth inside ready for the arrival of the tooth fairy.

9. How to keep track of broken books

Book Hospital
Source: Jodi Durgin

Little hands reading books is bound to result in some type of rip or damage. Instead of spending precious time fixing each book as it breaks, create a book hospital. Students can drop broken books into the hospital, and you can repair them all at once when you have time.

10. How to save time answering questions from quick finishers

There are always students who finish before everyone else. They are the same students who repeatedly ask, “What can I do now?” Instead of wasting time repeating the options to each student as they finish, create a board that provides visual images and instructions for activities students can choose from. More early-finisher activities here!

11. How to lend supplies – and get them back!

Get your supplies back with this nifty hack!
Source: Steph Wild

Teachers spend a lot of time and money making sure students have the supplies they need. Lending your supplies without getting them back is a time and money waster. Mark your own supplies with bits of washi tape or colored masking tape. Your students can easily see and remember which supplies they need to return. Check out these awesome hacks to make your supplies last longer!

12. How to avoid losing your dry erase markers

All teachers know that their students can quickly lose focus if anything out of the ordinary happens. Prevent distraction by always having your dry erase markers handy and ready to use. Use magnets or plastic hooks to attach them to your whiteboard.

13. How to delegate tasks to students

Assign student jobs
Source: Carly Hylden

Most teachers have line leaders and door holders, but why not assign as many jobs as you can? If your students are cleaning things, sorting books into their proper baskets, erasing the board, and pushing desks back where they belong, you won’t have to do it. Check out these awesome classroom job ideas!

14. How to effectively label student books and journals

Instead of writing student names on the front cover of journals and composition books, write the names on the edges. When stacked, it’ll still be easy for students to quickly find their own book, which translates to more time to devote to your lessons!

15. How to keep all your classroom dice quiet and in one place

Dice are an amazing learning tool in the classroom, especially when it comes to math. However, the sound of students rolling dice on their desks can be quite annoying, not to mention how much time it wastes hunting down all the dice that fall off the kids’ desks. Instead of that hassle, give your students each a small basket to roll their dice in. It’ll make far less noise and the dice won’t get lost.

16. How to make students the experts

Let’s face it. Students need a lot of attention, but you don’t always have time to devote to one-on-one help. Employ students to be your stand-in experts. Give them badges and have other students go to them when they need assistance.

17. How to give kids access to water – without the mess!

Students need access to plenty of water throughout the day, but water bottles fall off desks, get put back on the wrong desks, and roll around on the floor. Prevent any and all of these time-wasters by assigning each student a pocket on an over-the-door shoe holder.

There you have it! Try a few of these teaching hacks in your classroom and enjoy a few extra minutes checking things off your to-do list.

Also Check Out:

17 Simple Time-Saving Hacks that Make Teaching Just a Little Easier

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Sara Ipatenco

Senior Member

Sara is a 1st-grade teacher at a private school in the Rocky Mountains. She loves to read, sew, and travel. She spends most of her time away from the classroom with her husband and two children. They love taking long walks, watching movies, and playing board games together.

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