Monday, November 11, 2013

I'm ALWAYS Thankful for Time Savin' Tips!

Boy, am I thankful for anything that saves time! I have my planning period first thing in the morning, so there's never time to clean up at the end of the day, prepare for the next day, or even just think over how the day went and make any adjustments, based on my reflection time.

One big time-saver for me is making all my copies on Mondays, for the entire week. I store them in these stacking drawer units, paper-clipped together, by the day of the week that I plan to use them. This picture is not the best - sorry! I cropped the drawers from another photo to show them close up. Anyway, they are covered on the inside with scrapbook paper and labeled with the days of the week. If I don't get to something, I just shift it to the next day's drawer. In that extra drawer, I keep random activities, worksheets, and review materials in case of emergency (like last week, when I had no planning period one day because a substitute didn't show up).

My second trick is to keep my guided reading group materials in individual trays by group. Because I teach guided reading with LLI, I usually need to have 2 days' lessons in each tray. That way, I have the re-reading book, the new book, the lesson plans and materials, and the running record forms altogether for each group. These trays are what I've used in the past for table trays, but this year, they are just perfect for LLI!

This photo shows how I've used these trays in years past - they held all the supplies for each table, and doubled as storage for student work in progress at each table. That might be a time-saver for you! I would collect all supplies at the beginning of school, and distribute them to share, as needed, throughout the year. I also used a small trash bucket at each table to keep kids from having to get up to throw away scraps, etc. Anything I could do to save instructional time was well worth it to me!

This might seem obvious, but I have students make lunch choices in little buckets, by putting their numbered popsicle sticks in the corresponding bucket to match their choice. This saves me time, because I can quickly tell who has made a choice, and scan the room to take role at the same time. Later, when it's lunch time, I can walk over to the buckets to verify that everyone is in line in the correct order, according to their choices - this saves more bickering than time, but still, that's pretty nice! No one can try to act like he or she chose something different, and be in the wrong part of the lunch line.

Another time saver for me is to have anchor chart paper pre-bordered. I know that sounds silly, but i really love pretty anchor charts, so if I have extra time, like waiting for Open House, or something (I live 30 minutes from school, so I don't bother to go home and come back), I just get out my chart paper and draw pretty borders. Then, when I want to make an anchor chart, the border's already there, and I don't have to think about leaving room for it later!

All right - now for my biggest time-saver of's my mom! She is wonderful enough to come to my school every single week and help me with absolutely anything that needs doing. She arrives on my weirdo Tuesdays, when I have Related Arts, followed by STEM Lab, followed by Media Center, followed by lunch, followed by recess, leaving me about 2 hours to teach all day. Mom gets there just about the time STEM Lab begins, and we work away at all the little junk that gets pushed to the side day after day. When recess is over, Mom reads to my class and does a related activity with them, whether it's determining authors' purposes, sequencing events, main idea and details, finding vivid verbs and amazing adjectives, or making graphic organizers to keep in their spiral notebooks. This time gives my kids a break from the routine of my LLI lessons, and gives me a chance to do any extra-curricular work I may need to do. My mom even stays until the end of the day and helps me clean up, often takes my daughter home with her, which gives me a little after-school time, and even cooks supper for our whole family sometimes! What more could a girl ask for?
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  1. MOMS ARE THE BEST! I wish mine lived closer!! Check out my blog too! I love yours and your TpT products! I'm your newest follower!

    1. They are the best! Thanks for following - I can't wait to check out your blog, I'm on my way over.


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