Monday, April 15, 2024

Time-Saving Tips

by Mark Warner
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Ages: 5-11

Save yourself some time with this collection of tips:

Fed up with washing out paint palettes? Go to your local supermarket and ask them to save you the plastic trays that yoghurts are sold on. They make great disposable palettes!
Contributed by Leila Behrman.

Set up a finishing-off work file for each child in your class. Put them in (nicely coloured) box files in register/alphabetical order. The children can file away their own work that is not finished and get it themselves to finish when they have a spare 10 minutes.
Contributed by Kate O’Rourke.

Each group in my class is named by colour, but if you prefer not to, you can still use colour to identify a group. I have several small plastic storage boxes, but baskets are just as good – and cheap – and I keep their workbooks in these. I stick a coloured label across the spine of each book and store them spine upwards. When the children need to find their workbooks, one person can go to the box or basket and retrieve the books for the whole group. This is also helpful when I want to focus on a particular group for marking or monitoring. The children quickly get used to the system, and I notice that they are more careful in storing their books neatly. It also means their storage trays do not get too cluttered. I use the colour system to tie lengths of wool in a loose loop around the handle of their reading folders / book bags. At ‘home time’, this is a quick way for each group to find their own set of bags in the large box I use for storage – it also encourages the children to store their bags with the handle at the top so that they can find it easily at reading times.
Contributed by Sheena Florey.

Hi, I’m a nursery nurse working with a group of ESN children in year 5. Like all schools, we have a limited budget for resources, so we make as many of our own as we can. One idea is to collect the caps off drinks bottles to use as counters.
Contributed by Hilary Banks

Always carry a large file with word sleuths and jumbles on it. This is great for emergency activities in any situation.
Contributed by Tracy

This is just a management thing that has worked for me. On my computer, I create a table with the students’ names and subjects taught. I print this out and make six copies, one for every six weeks. As I average my grades, I pencil in the student’s score under the appropriate subject rather than putting it in my grade book. When a parent comes in, I just pull up the sheet of paper, cover up the other students’ grades. This way, I don’t have to flip through my entire planning book to get the student’s information.
Contributed by JoAnna

Short of good quality card? Visit your local picture framers and ask them for off-cuts. When they cut mounts for pictures, they have no use for the middle bits and discard them. They are usually pleased to donate them to schools, and thick card can have many uses in a primary classroom.
Contributed by Leila

If your students have trouble bringing back their homework, this may work. Have them use a pocket folder. On the left side, trace their left hand and write “LEFT at home”, and on the right side, trace their right hand and write “Bring RIGHT back”. This works well for all young children, and they will learn their left from their right!
Contributed by Amy Uhl

I use this timesaver to check attendance in the morning. When students arrive, they each have a bird with their name on it. They place their bird in birdhouses labelled hot lunch, sandwich, salad, and brought lunch. This lunch count is on a whiteboard. The birds have magnets on their backs.
Contributed by Angela Tanner

Fed up of making word searches? Why not give blank grids to the children and instruct them to make their own, using all the vocabulary that they know? Photocopy the better ones and give them back out for the class to fill in on another occasion.
Contributed by Graham Baines

To cut back on time when marking and handing out books, I have given my groups colours for names so that I can colour coordinate all their workbooks etc. I just stick a coloured sticker to the spine of the books and can see at a glance when handing out books or marking. You can also colour-coordinate pencils, etc. This encourages them to look after the group’s things. You know straight away what is missing from each group.
Contributed by Jill Wilson

Devise a jobs list, whereby you outline specific areas in the classroom, e.g. construction/book corner etc. 2 children each week are responsible for checking these areas after the class has tidied up. Develops a sense of responsibility.
Contributed by Sam Donnison

This works particularly well with older children… I have one person per table who collects the table’s books open at the appropriate page to be marked, each book stacked open on top of the other. Each table monitor then brings my books over to my marking corner to create a set of x number of books that are ready to be marked… no need to spend ages flipping through trying to find that piece of work!
Contributed by Victoria Cook

If my class is inclined to be noisy (I am a supply teacher), I appoint noise police. One child per table or group is allowed to hush other children if they get too noisy. Noise police change per session, and children end up appointing their own policeman.
Contributed by Carol Brathwaite

When you run something through the laminating machine, and you end up with excess film, don’t throw it away. It can be used to draw on with the overhead projector if you would like to enlarge something. If it is cut to 8 1/2 x 11, it can also go through your laser jet printer to make very inexpensive transparencies. The overhead markers can be wiped off with a damp tissue.
Contributed by Maggie Thompson

Instead of my children asking to go to the toilet – which often interrupts the flow of learning and teaching, a child stands at the door, and I nod him/her to go rather than a hand up which invariably will lead you to ask – ‘what’s your question’ – ‘Can I go to the toilet’? Just a pet hate of mine that I have turned around to give the class more time and be free from interruptions.
Contributed by Stephen McKernan

I have a red PE sash hanging by the door. If a child wants to go to the toilet, they put on the sash and wait for me to acknowledge them. They can then go to the loo. I know that a child is out of the room, and only one child can go at a time.
Contributed by Carole

At the beginning of school, as I make the children’s packets that are full of information for the entire year, I make several extra and set them aside for new students. Then, when I receive a new student, I already have a packet ready to hand to the parents. Included in the packet is my business card that included our district website, school phone number and website, and my school email address.
Contributed by Sandy Lawrence

Instead of pouring PVA glue into open containers (which will soon dry out), try using old film canisters. I asked at the photoshop in a supermarket if they had any, and they gave me a whole bag full. The glue doesn’t dry out and can be used again. Put the canister in one side of a 2 sided yoghurt pot, and the glue sticks can go in the other side.
Contributed by Jennibean

You can laminate two pouches at a time when not using a card carrier…try it. It’s such a time-saver!!!
Contributed by Laura

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