As teachers, there seems to always be a to-do list a mile long. Whether it is during the school day with our students or after school gets out, we are always working to maximize our teaching time and time in the classroom. Not only will this help your sanity as a teacher, but it will set the students up for success also. Structure, procedures, and routines are key in the classroom, especially for younger students. They thrive on consistency and knowing what to expect. This blog post will give tips and resources for maximizing your teaching time and make your classroom run smoothly, thus, leading to more meaningful learning time with your students.
Clear Rules and Procedures
Setting clear rules and procedures at the beginning of the year is essential. It is also important for the students to understand why each rule is in place. This classroom rules and procedures unit includes activities for the students to sort the good choices from the poor choices, so you can turn it into a learning opportunity as well. Procedures and rules will set the tone for how your classroom will run from here on out, in turn, directly affecting how time in the classroom is maximized. It is a good rule of thumb to revisit these rules and procedures and refer back to the activities in this unit once a month after the beginning of the year, especially after long breaks.
(Link to Classroom Rules and Procedures Unit)
Classroom Jobs to Help Streamline Classroom
Another way that you can maximize teaching time is to implement classroom jobs. There are several benefits to doing this. First off, the kids love it! They feel special and important. They also learn responsibility and the importance of helping others. Secondly, it helps you out too. Kids take their classroom jobs seriously and after learning how to properly do their job, they are quite helpful. This will help you streamline your classroom and maximize your time. Tasks such as picking up papers, erasing the board, going around with hand sanitizer, organizing supplies, etc., are all perfect jobs for students. Those are tasks that can be taken off of your plate so you can focus on teaching and helping your students.
Use a Timer for Everything
Timers are one of my favorite classroom and time management tools. Training your students to be timely and complete tasks in a set amount of time is so helpful for maximizing your teaching time. Whether this is completing assignments, cleaning up the room, or for small groups or centers, timers are key! I will mention, not all students will always complete the task in the given amount of time, and that’s ok. It is important to teach them to work hard during that time, and if they don’t get finished, they can always go back to it later. This also helps you as the teacher pick out those kids that may struggle to work the whole time the timer is going. Therefore, you will be able to work with them and help them increase their stamina during work time and keep them on task.
Here are a few affiliate links to timers from Amazon. These would work great for this maximizing time technique.
Color Code All Supplies
Aside from timers, color-coding supplies and journals is one of my favorite time-savers to maximize teaching time. You can color-code journals a couple different ways. The first way you can do this is to use a different colored journal or notebook for each subject. The second way is to put a colored subject label on journals, like in the picture above. A third way is to tape the sides of the notebook spines with duct tape so the kiddos can grab the colored journal for the specific subject. Whichever way you choose to do this, you will be more organized and your students will know exactly what journal or notebook they need for each subject. You can grab these journal covers in my decor sets using the link below.
(Link to Decor Sets with Journal Covers)
And here is an affiliate link to colored duct tapes from Amazon.
Color-coding supplies is very beneficial for students. It is a simple way to train their brains to remember the procedures for each subject or task. For example, if everything they need for science class is color-coded in blue, it will be easy for them to remember all of their supplies before class and where to find supplies around the room if needed. You can also make your assignment turn-in basket the same color to organize papers in your classroom and create a smooth procedure for turning in work.
(Link to Decor Sets with Journal Covers)
Integrating spiral review work into your day is another way to maximize teaching time. Spiral review is essential in keeping skills fresh and in your students’ working memory. These spiral review sets are perfect to use in the morning, after lunch, before dismissal, when a substitute is there, or when you have a little time to fill. By continuing to work on these skills often, you will maximize your teaching time by not having to re-teach the skills as often. This will let you see which students may need extra review and which students have mastered the skill.
(Link to Kinder Morning Work, 1st Grade Morning Work, 2nd Grade Morning Work, 3rd Grade Morning Work)
Pull All Resources the Day Before
My final tip is to organize all of your resources for the next day before you leave school. It is time-efficient to make all of your copies ahead of time. I like to make my copies a week in advance so I am ready to go. I always am prepared with extras too, just in case we need them, get a new student, or if a substitute is there. Having all of your copies and materials organized the day before allows you to maximize your teaching time instead of using that time to get everything prepared.
You could try the bucket idea where that day’s resources go into a daily bucket that you can just pull books, centers, worksheets, and other resources from.
Or you could try the weekly drawer organizer method. Each of your drawers is for one day of the week. All your day’s resources go into that drawer (in order). This makes it easy to open the drawer and grab the resources for your next lesson!
Here is an affiliate link to organizational drawers from Amazon.
Here are a few resources I’ve discussed throughout the blog post that will help!
- Classroom Jobs
- Class Rules and Procedures
- Decor Sets
- Morning Work: (Kinder) (1st Grade) (2nd Grade) (3rd Grade)
Looking for more organizational blog posts? Check these out…