25 Teacher Hacks for a Successful Classroom

Teaching is tough but so are you.  Teacher hacks can be life and time savers so the teachers from the Lucky 2nd Grade Teachers Facebook Group came up with a list of 25 teacher hacks that you must be aware of because they are going to make your life so much easier!  Enjoy!

Teacher hacks can be life and time savers so the teachers from the Lucky 2nd Grade Teachers Facebook Group came up with a list of 25 teacher hacks that you must be aware of because they are going to make your life so much easier.
1. Velcro Markers

Velcro your Expo markers to the top of the board so the kids can’t reach them and the tips point down to keep them fresh. This will also keep the markers off the ledge so you can use the ledge for other things such as books, baskets of cards, pointer fingers, etc.

One teacher hack I'm sharing is very helpful. Velcro your Expo markers to the top of the board so the kids can't reach them and the tips point down to keep them fresh.

2.  Visual Directions

On Teachers Pay Teachers find labels for daily materials that are needed (glue stick, pencil, markers, etc)  It is helpful to print the labels, laminate them and then add a magnet to the back. During transition times, the needed materials for the next lesson are put up in a place where everyone can see.  ( this can became a job for students after Xmas break). This helps to eliminate the  “What do we need out?” question. It is a huge help for visual learners.  -Jamie

3. Always Make Extras

When doing back to school prep, make extra sets of the Back To School folder that can be given out when families come in. Always make 5 or more extra. Inside the folder are the forms, guidelines and contact info that families will need to refer to throughout the year.  If new students register throughout the year, the forms will already be prepared to grab. – Amanda

4. Use a Marking Ribbon to Save Paper

Tape a piece of ribbon on the back of writing journals/notebooks.  Students use this as a book mark to keep from flipping through the journal to any old page. After a page is used, the student places the ribbon behind it.  Then they are ready to go the next time they are using their journal.  This should be modeled a few times at the beginning of the year. Students often will even start helping each other with this.  – Debbie

5. Very Important Papers Folder

Laminate manila envelopes at the beginning of the year for each student and mark them with a label that says “V.I.P – Very Important Papers”.  An exacto knife can be used to cut the opening of the folder after laminating.  Include all forms that need to be completed with a checklist for parents. Then use this through the year for progress reports, I.E.P docs, report cards, etc.  – Lynda

Another teacher hack is to laminate manila envelopes at the beginning of the year for each student and mark them with a label that says "V.I.P - Very Important Papers". You can use this envelopes to track progress reports, report cards, etc. throughout the year.

6. Absent Student Folder

Create a laminated manila folder to be used to help an absent student.  When kids are gone, have it be a job to have another student fill out their absent form and collect all the pages and notes sent home that day. Then the folder gets placed in the absent student’s cubby.  The student can get assignments out of this folder the next day if they have time or take it home to complete and bring back.   – Tori

7. Multiple Trash Baskets

Use little baskets on the groups of desks for trash. This saves 20 kids from having to keep getting up to throw trash away while cutting stuff out. – Jamie

8. Show What You Know Board

Use a“Show What You Know”/“Exit”Board. To make this activity be quick & easy, kids grab a speech bubble with a magnet hot glued to the back and a dry erase marker with a pom pom hot glued to the top(for erasing) to quickly show what they learned from a lesson!

9. Challenge Pencils

Give out a “theme pencil” on the first school day of the month. This pencil has a tape flag on the metal part with a coordinating student number. Randomly throughout the month have students leave their pencils on their name tags at the end of the day for a challenge pencil check. Give out stickers, coupons, etc. to those students who still have it. On the last school day of the month collect the old pencils and give out a new. If a student still has the “challenge” pencil, that student can redeem some sort of reward. Throw away the old. This really cuts down on pencil loss and using the sharpener. It is also easy to return the pencils left at reading tables or stations to the owner. Throwing away the pencils also cuts down on passing germs. – Deena

10. Assign Jobs to Table Groups

For how many table groups you have, draw shapes on their desks and then use these shapes to assign and designate different jobs.  Circles-collect papers, squares-line up, triangles-gather supplies, etc. – Karen

11. Save Caps

Save all glue stick caps and dry erase marker caps so when they are inevitably misplaced just tell the students to grab another from the “cap container” and move on without a big production of looking for a lost cap. Keeping a cap container makes our day go smoother and supplies last longer. – Laurel

12. The Sand Timer

When working with a small group,  give a two minute sand timer to a student not in my small group. The person with the timer watches the independent workers for the one that was “most on-task” and gives the timer to that person. Spend time practicing this first, and discuss that you don’t give it to your friends, etc. Once it’s set up and in place small group time will be much more productive. Everybody wants the power that comes with being the sand timer holder!

Sand timer is a great teacher hack tool. It is effective to get your students to be more productive. Everybody wants the power that comes with being the sand timer holder!

13. Not Done Bag

Velcro a large Ziploc bag to the side of every desk which serves as a “not done bag”.  Any unfinished work gets placed in this baggie to help from it getting lost in a desk or cubby.  Also, this serves as a visual for anyone who has something to finish. Plus the Velcro allows the kids to pull their bags off if they ever needed to bring their work somewhere else to finish – Kari

14. Hot Glue on the Wall….Say What?!

Put blue painters tape on desks before using Velcro dots on name tags. Put the blue tape on the wall before hot gluing anything to the wall! So easy to remove!!’ – Julie

15. Question Light

Use a a tap light that turns on when you tap it, and draw a question mark on it.  When the light is on the kids can ask questions. When it’s off they can’t interrupt! Unless it’s an emergency of course!! – Caitlin

16. Highlight Your Name!

Before kids can turn exit tickets in,  have them grab a highlighter from a bucket right by the folders and highlight their name. This will help eliminate no-name papers! – Christine

17. Days of the Week Groups

Designate groups by naming them after the days of the week. So on Tuesday the Tuesday table goes first for the bathroom, line up, etc. They also help pass things out or pick things up if needed. – Becky

17. Dry Erase Clipboards

Buy dry erase clipboards and magnetic erasers and hang them on the side of each desk with a command hook! – Monica

A 2nd grade teacher shares how dry erase clipboards and magnetic erasers have helped her save so much time! She hang them on the side of each desk with a command hook. This is a great teacher hack!

18. Eyes in the Back of Your Head

Use a cheap $5 Wal-Mart full length mirror to attach at an angle above the white board. Operates like a rear view mirror in a car. The angle will give full vision of the classroom full of children behind you! Freaks them out the first time you ask someone to ‘please return to your seat Jimmy’ or ‘no Anne you may bother your neighbor’ 

This is done by using a couple of command hooks on the wall with string tied to the hooks connected to very large binder clips that is simply clipped to the mirror. The bottom edge of the mirror is simply resting on the top edge of the white board. This is going into year 3 that it’s held up fabulously! – Lannette

One more teacher hack is to use a full length mirror to attach at an angle above the white board. The angle will give full vision of the classroom full of children behind you.

19. Post Anchor Charts to Seesaw and Google Classroom

Take pictures of all anchor charts made throughout the year and post them to Seesaw and Google Classroom so the students can discuss and use them at home too. Sometimes, I even have them take a pic themselves and record their explanation of it on Seesaw!! Great for reinforcement. – Tiffany 

20. Bulletin Board Storage

Use hangers and binder clips to store your bulletin board borders.  This is a great way to see exactly what you have and requires quick and easy storage.  -Abby

It is important to be organized when it comes to arranging the tools you use in your classroom esp. your bulletin board. One teacher shares she's using hangers and binder clips to store your bulletin board borders.  This is a great way to see exactly what you have and requires quick and easy storage.

21. Black Eraser Gloves

Use cheap black gloves as dry erase markers when cleaning mini-dry erase boards. Children slip them on to clean off boards during center time or whole class instruction. The Expo markers fit inside for storage for later use in the bin. – Tracey

22. Write in Books!

Take plastic page protectors and cut the folded edge off. Then slide it over a page in a textbook and students can practice highlighting and circling important information without having to make more copies. – Amy

23. Line Order

Line Order!!!! This can be changed up with each quarter or month.  Each child is a random # in line. Whenever it is time to get in line for ANYTHING (other than drills) they MUST be in Line Order! This saves so much nonsense… “He cut me… Running to front/back of line….etc.” The Specials Teachers THANK me for this!! It seems so simple but it’s honestly amazing for so many reasons  – Katie

24. Have a Book Hospital

Label a basket “book hospital” so that when a book needs fixing (loose page) the kids know to place it in there and the teacher can fix it later or it is a job for a parent helper.    – Sheila

25. Use a “Clean Up!” or “Listen Up!” Doorbell

Use a wireless doorbell chime that can be plugged in. When it is time for students to clean up,  just click on the remote.  This signals it is tie to clean up. There are about 35 different rings. ….including holiday rings! – Jill

 

Teacher hacks can be life and time savers so the teachers from the Lucky 2nd Grade Teachers Facebook Group came up with a list of 25 teacher hacks that you must be aware of because they are going to make your life so much easier.

23 Comments

  1. Jayashree

    I have used some of these with success. Here is one more that helps with, “I’m done!”:
    During testing or copying off the board, children hold up their pencil, eraser side up to indicate that they are ready to move on. When testing they hold the lesd side up if they need a change of pencil. At other times they just switch it out themselves.

    Reply
  2. Jennifer

    Fantastic, fresh ideas! Feeling motivated for term 4!

    Reply
  3. Lynn

    Wow! These are great ideas! I can’t wait to try some of these to cut down on some of the nonsense that is going on in my classroom this year! Thanks!

    Reply
  4. Tami

    The doorbell is the best investment! It’s so worth it. It makes the kids stop and freeze.

    Reply
  5. Agnes

    Splendid new ideas . Love the ‘rear-view mirror ‘ effect

    Reply
  6. Jodie

    I use child’s black socks for dry erasers. The kids put their markers in them when not in use so they are easy to find.

    Reply
    • Diane

      I have each child to bring an odd sock. They write their name on it with permanent marker. They use it. No cost to me!

      Reply
      • Kathy

        I like that idea!

        Reply
        • Jill Wygonik

          I have parents donate old baby bibs and I cut off the ties/strings for dry erase marker erasers. They store flat and the kids get a kick out of the cute designs that come in. When they get too dirty or gross, I just throw them out rather than trying to wash them, and ask for more!

          Reply
  7. Lynn

    Save Caps! Why didn’t that ever occur to me?!!!

    Reply
  8. Gloria Sacerio

    Such wonderful, helpful and time saving ideas! Thanks so much for sharing!

    Reply
  9. Carla

    Lots of really good ideas. I retired several years ago and I could have used your mirror trick.

    Reply
  10. Adiba

    great and useful ideas thank you

    Reply
  11. saafiyah abdulaleem

    So many great ideas!
    I really like the Challenge pencil Will be trying this at the beginning of third quarter.
    Thanx

    Reply
    • Mrs K

      Yes, me too! I will use this great idea at progress report and end of 9 wks
      as my time periods for my 6th grade math students!

      Reply
  12. Alba

    OMG. Thank you so much for these!

    Reply
  13. Donna

    I saw the mirror above the board and the light bulb came on. Even in high school kids will always try to get away with something. How surprised they were when they came into class. It’s really been a terrific help.

    Reply
  14. Victoria

    I love these tips

    Reply
  15. Terrie

    These are great ideas . I love the doorbell the “Not Finished” bag. Thanks for the wonderful list.

    Reply
  16. Laurel

    I’m so honored you included my idea about saving caps! It’s a game-changer.

    Reply
  17. Jenn

    Save money by using socks with missing pairs or holes (yep, I have fur babies at home that can do some serious damage to a sock in seconds!) for dry erasers.

    Reply
  18. Pam

    I use the door bell at my door also since we keep the doors closed and they lock. When a student leaves and comes back they ring the door bell. I usually can’t hear them knock so this keeps them from standing in the hall to long. Then the door helper lets them in.

    Reply
  19. Manny Valencia

    I really like the game changer idea. Very useful and not expensive.

    Reply

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Hello there! I’m Angie Olson- a teacher, curriculum developer, educational blogger and owner of Lucky Little Learners.

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