By Teachers, For Teachers
Classroom management hacks are efficient and effective ways to make teachers and students’ lives easier. They are essentially clever tricks to help you save time or manage your classroom more effectively. Whether you’re a seasoned veteran or new to the teaching game, there’s always room to learn something new that can make your life easier. Here are a few teacher-tested classroom management ideas that have been found quite effective.
One of the easiest and most effective classroom hacks is to give each student a number. This number will essentially be used for everything. It will be on the students’ textbooks, workbooks, and worksheets. It will be on their lockers or cubbies, on their homework, and used when it’s time to line up or even to talk. If students go to a computer lab, and their number is five, then they will sit at the fifth computer. This number will make your life so much easier because you will use it for absolutely everything.
If you’ve ever struggled with your elementary students behaving while on the carpet, then you need to implement the “Sit spots” classroom hack. It’s as simple as placing a sticker on the carpet to organize where the students sit. The great thing about this hack is that it shows students how to give personal space by simply having them sit on their sticker. They will see how each sticker is positioned so that each student has enough space that they won’t crowd anyone. The stickers can be anything that you like, from assigning each student a specific color or animal to sit on, to even using their student number that’s written on a sticker. It’s easy to do and not to mention, it looks adorable.
When I said you would use student numbers for everything, I wasn’t kidding. You can use these student numbers to help you organize papers that students turn in. For example, create a “Tub” which is essentially a basket that holds file folders in it. Each student writes their number on a file folder and places it in the tub. When it’s time to hand in assignments or notes, students search through the folders to find their number and place their papers into their folder. This classroom hack will not only help you organize all of your papers, but it will also eliminate searching for the students who always forget to write their names on their papers. Genius!
This hack allows you to always be prepared for an entire week ahead of time. Sound too good to be true? It isn’t, its actually quite simple. All you need is to purchase is a plastic five-drawer tower and label each drawer a day of the week (Monday-Friday). Once you’ve written out your lesson plans and gathered your materials, then all you have to do is place it in the drawer that corresponds with the day of the week for the lesson. There will be no more running around looking for activities or worksheets on the day of your lesson, because everything will already be in the drawer for that specific day.
Make substitute planning a snap by creating a “Sub tub.” This is where you take a plastic container and place everything that a substitute teacher may need inside it. Schedules, procedures, class lists, activities, worksheets, lesson plans, anything that would help a teacher replace you for the entire day should go inside of this container. You never know when there will be an unexpected emergency of sick day, and this sub tub can save your day.
Just as you planned a week out in advance, you should always set up for the following day before you leave for the night. While your materials for the next will be in your plastic tower, you will still need to “Set up” the rest of the classroom. You never know if something is going to come up, so you always need to be prepared. Place your plastic tower next to your desk, get out your “Sub tub” as well as your attendance and seating chart. This is a huge timesaver, and you’ll never lose any time searching for materials the next morning because they will all be waiting for you on or by your desk.
These are just a few simple, time-saving classroom hacks that will make your life a little bit easier. If you ever come to the conclusion that something isn’t working well in your classroom, then all you have to do is think about what you can do it make it easier, and change it.
Do you have any classroom management hacks that save you time and peace of mind? Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comment section below, we would love to hear what you have to say on this topic.
Janelle Cox is an education writer who uses her experience and knowledge to provide creative and original writing in the field of education. Janelle holds Masters of Science in Education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is a contributing writer to TeachHUB.com, TeachHUB Magazine, and Hey Teach. She was also the Elementary Education Expert for About.com for five years. You can follow her on Twitter @empoweringed, on Facebook at Empowering K12 Educators, or contact her at Janellecox78@yahoo.com.