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!
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.
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
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!
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
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
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
For more time-saving digital learning resources read THIS blog post.
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
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