Without a doubt, one of the busiest times for teachers would be those first few weeks of the new school year. I have compiled a list of my best time-saving planning tips that will save teachers very precious time at this very hectic point in the year. The best part about these tips is that they will not only save you precious time at the beginning of the school year, but they will continue to save you time each and every day!
There are Amazon affiliate links in this post. As an affiliate, I do make a very small commission on purchases at no cost to you.
Time Saving Tips for Managing Copies
1. Multi Drawer Storage Cart
This storage cart has been a panning lifesaver for me! Instead of labeling the drawers with the days of the week, I label them by subject/content. I choose to label them by content instead of by the days of the week. This is because even the best-made plans tend to not always go as ‘planned’ in the classroom. If we do not get through my planned spelling lesson, I do not have to reshuffle my materials. If something unforeseeable occurs, I can simply carry on from where I left off the next day without reshuffling materials.
The bigger drawers are great for storing materials I plan to use in my lessons that week. This saves a great deal of time throughout the week and my sparse teaching time!
At the end of the week, I can put the excess materials back into my unit folder. These extras are also great to keep for an emergency ‘sub’ folder! You can find this awesome storage cart at Amazon or Michaels Stores.
2. Make all of your copies for the week ahead of time
I make all of my copies at the beginning of the week. Always make a few extra! This saves time and stress! Then if the copier goes on the fritz which it is famous for, you will not have to stress over getting copies for the current lesson made.
See Tip #1 above for a great method for organizing these copies.
Classroom Set Up Tips
3. Paint Your Bulletin Boards
Paint your bulletin boards! This saves so much time throughout the year! You can still cover them with the paper if you wish to mix it up. However, if you do not have time, you will always have a nice background!
In case you were wondering how well the paint holds up, this sight word bulletin board was actually painted about 5 years ago!
Here are a few more pictures of bulletin boards I have painted more recently.
Save Time – Label Everything!
4. Label Everything!
A HUGE time-saving tip is to LABEL EVERYTHING. I mean everything! We as teachers have an excessive amount of materials they use throughout the year. I find that labeling where they are being stored saves me from wasting a great deal of time ‘searching’ for them throughout the year.
Having used several label makers throughout the year, this was my last purchase about five years ago and I absolutely love it! It has been one of my best investments. You can buy a variety of colors for the labels, change fonts, the size of the fonts, the size of the label tape itself, and so much more! It even has a feature where you can store your labels. For example, student names, once you enter them and save them, you never have to type it in again. This is such a huge time saver!
I recommend labeling all drawers in the classroom as well. This was you can see immediately what each drawer contains without having to open each one.
Dollar Tree has fantastic affordable labels. For more on how teachers can save money at the dollar tree check out Teachers Save Money at Dollar Tree.
5. Assign Students a Number
Assign students numbers. Writing numbers is much faster than student names, this saves a great deal of time. Instead of writing student names openly on everything, assign them a number and use that number when assigning materials or ‘spots’ for things such as backpack hooks, earbud cubbies, iPads charging slots, iPads, etc. If a student leaves and a new student joins the class, you do not have to change out all the identifying labels. Instead, just assign the new student the number, not in use. When students come and go you will not have to spend precious time changing name labels. You can read more about how I used a classroom number system and get some FREE number cards to use.
Storage Tips that Will Save Teachers Time When Planning
6. Store Unit Materials for Each Unit in Folders
Using solid plastic folders I break my Reading Units into ‘weeks’ and place the readers and paper materials I collect for that particular content.
I recommend starting the folder and placing your readers with them. Then just add to the folders as the year progresses, as opposed to attempting to do it all at the beginning of the year. By the end of the first year, you will be all organized for the following years.
These are some of the things I keep in my folders.
7. Three Ring Binders
Labeled Three-Ring Binders and plastic sleeves are an amazing way to store reusable templates for centers or games! Another great time-saving tip, label the ‘spines’ of the binders so that you will not be required to pull them from the shelf to identify their contents. The benefit of placing them into the plastic sleeve is that it prevents my original from getting damaged. It can be quite a time-consuming endeavor to locate the source and print it again.
More Time Saving Tips for Three-Ring Binders
Another time-saving tip when using three-ring binders, is to add a few extra plastic sleeves to the front or back of the binder. When you discover something you wish to add to the binder, you can immediately place it in the binder without spending extra time looking for more plastic sleeves.
Also, I find three-ring binders great for storing particular types of center materials like these.
Another great time saver I discovered, is that when you pull something from your binder, stick a quick sticky note peeking out where you pulled it from. When it is time to return it, you just open it to the sticky note! This has saved me a great deal of time when prepping materials when I am planning.
Teacher Desk Management System
7. Four Tray Desk Organizing Time Saver
To minimize what I like to refer to as the ‘desktop paper shuffle’, I keep four stacked trays on my desk where I place every paper I accumulate into one of them.
- 1 – Copy/Office – I place papers I need to copy here along with papers that need to go to the office because our copier is in the office. This cuts down on trips to the office.
- 2 – Grade – I place papers I need to grade here
- 3 – Return – I place all graded papers that need to be returned to students after grading.
- 4 – File – Papers that need to be placed in various stored files in file cabinets
8. Password Book
In this digital era, we now have an abundance of apps and websites that we utilize in the classroom. Each one requiring a variety of usernames and passwords. Prior to this discovery I wasted a large quantity of time hunting and searching for passwords when I was trying to plan my lessons. If I wanted to set up spelling lists on VocabularySpelling City I had to log in, the hunt began! Now with them in a password book, I can quickly look up a username and password I require and save time. With the book being alphabetized, it saves even more time!
Confession…I started organizing my passwords in an Address Book of all things. To be fair, this was prior to my enlightenment of the existence of literal ‘password’ books. I am currently transitioning. Whether you choose to use a literal password book or just an address book to keep all of your passwords in one convenient place, you will save precious time!
Amazon.com has a large variety of password books, but an inexpensive alternative is an address book.
Lesson Plans – Save Time Making Lesson Plans with Planbook.com
Planbook.com is like the all-in-one teacher plan book slash classroom paperwork manager! I receive no compensation for these accolades I simply adore its plethora of features that make lesson planning a breeze! It has a bit of everything: schedules, student information, seating charts, attendance, class lists, standard tracker, and so much more! No more searching for a copy of your schedule for the Specials Teachers.
Gone is the time wasted for hunting in another place for a list of your students for the principal. No tossing a file filled with extra printed schedules because of another last-minute schedule change for the year.
Top 10 Time Saving Features of Planbook.com
Here is a list of the top features that Planbook.com does to help save teachers time when planning: Schedules – As teachers, our lives revolve around ‘schedules’. With planbook.com your schedule is ever-present in your plans. Editing is easy and as an added bonus it is stored and can be printed with just a click of the mouse!
You can set up your ‘lesson plans’ to suit your needs! No repetitive rewriting of ‘daily routines’ or ‘procedures’ once you have added them to your templates, you never have to write them again! Should they change, you simply edit your template, and viola they are changed throughout your lesson plans, one and done!
Easy to use Lesson Plan Formatting Tools – By far the top feature and my reason for using Planbook.com I could easily make an entire post about the countless easy-to-use features that take a ton of extra work off my already full teacher plate!
Extending and Bumping Lessons Forward
Bumping and extending lessons! Something happened and you could not get to that day’s lesson planbook.com has your back! You can bump an entire lesson and future lessons forward without having to rewrite your plans! You need more time for a lesson, planbook.com has a feature to allow you to extend a lesson another day or two or three if necessary. This again can be done without rewriting or writing the same lesson multiple times. This is such a great time saver!
As teachers, our lives revolve around ‘schedules’. With planbook.com your schedule is ever-present in your plans.
Editing is easy and as an added bonus it is stored and can be printed with just a click of the mouse!
Class Lists and Seating Charts
Need to print a list of your students or a seating chart for the sub? Done! Planbook.com also has options for multiple classes for lists and seating charts as well.
You can easily edit the arrangement of the seats, they do not have to be in rows like above.
Standards – Planbook.com has a handy feature for keeping track of your teaching Standards! These can be printed as well!
Your standards are listed right in your lesson plans for you! You decide how you wish for them to be listed, by ID, or full description. This helps with meeting the requirements of your district for standards in your lesson plans.
Planbook.com also has a feature where you can view and print the standards you have taught. This is an amazing time-saving feature! It will track your standards for you as you teach them and you can print and analyze the data as often as you would like to.
Planbook.com has its very own built-in Gradebook that will automatically average the grades for you! This is such a fantastic time saver!
Planbook.com has an option to print grade reports as well! It truly is an all-in-one time-saving resource for teachers!
Planbook.com is very user-friendly! However, they have your back just in case you need some assistance. They have video tutorials!
Always plan ahead for those tiny pockets of time that aren’t quite long enough for a full-length lesson, but far too much time for students to be idle. Instead of scrambling for materials check out Fluency & Fitness! It’s always at your fingertips to get kids moving, and is a great way to squeeze in some fluency practice without requiring any additional prep work!
Best wishes this new school year!