eight simple things for teachers

I know I've only been teaching for two years, but it's still enough time to learn a few things!
Let me preface by saying that NONE of these ideas are solely my own.
I see a good idea online (or from a friend) and modify it to fit me and my classroom.

I just wanted to share a few simple ideas that make my school day 10x easier and 100x more organized.

#1. Seating chart with sheet protector. 
(this seating chart is especially sloppy because students keep transferring in and out. beginning of the year woes)
 Whether you have seating charts in your classroom or not, you can implement this.
Kids tend to sit in the same seat every day even without a seating chart.
I use a small erasable marker and mark absences and tardies--obviously, you do this in the computer as well, but just in case time gets away from me and I happen to forget, I always have a reference to look at.
I also use it to tally negative participation points.
If a student is being disruptive, annoying, or too chatty, I can easily put a mark next to the name and worry about entering it into the computer until after school.
Every so often, I'll have an assignment that I'm just checking for "completion."
I just take this handy seating chart around with me as I check each student's work.  
I can easily mark a "zero" or dock a few points if the student failed to complete the assignment.

In addition, sometimes I need to remember to tell a specific student or a specific class something next time I see them. 
I'll just remind myself by putting a sticky note on that class seating chart.
Then, the next time I have that class, when I take out their seating chart, I'll see the reminder!
It really is handy, I tell ya.

#2. These gems
I HATE the question "What did I miss yesterday?"
I have finally found a solution.
Every day, I update the calendars above the bins.
I briefly describe what we did that day and *STAR* any handouts I passed out.
In the bin, I have manilla folders--each one labeled with a number (signifying a day of the month: 1, 2, 3, 4, etc).
When a student is absent, they can easily go check the calendar and pick up the handouts.
I love it.

#3. My class website
I update it every day.  I also upload all handouts for them to print/download.
If a student ever loses a worksheet, they can easily print it at home.
It's also wonderful for parents, because they can see all assignments/HW online.
The constant parent emails asking me to explain assignments have magically disappeared.
I always refer them to the website--it really is a time saver, for everyone.

#4. Remind101.
Students can sign up to be texted reminders for HW, tests, etc.
It's AWESOME. My turn-in rate has soared since I started this.
You can even schedule texts!
At the beginning of the week, I usually schedule them all for the whole week (I always send the texts at about 6pm the night before the assignment is due).
It's a beauty.
And students just LOVE it.
Oh! And I have all of my parents sign up too! Parents JUMP at the chance to be reminded about student assignments!
(disclaimer: I cannot see students' numbers and I am NOT texting from a phone number--just an online program! Students cannot respond to the texts.)

#5 Pass back papers
Okay, this is probably the most simple idea.
But for some reason, it took me a whole year to come up with it.
Last year, when I had papers to pass back, I would place them in a "pass-back" pile on the front desk to remind myself.
But the papers always seemed to get mixed up--different classes ended in different piles, and it was so annoying.
This year, I realized...DUH. Manilla folders with each class labeled.
See? Stupidest, simplest idea ever.
And yet, it makes my life so much easier!

#6. Automatic hand-sanitizer dispenser.
 It sits right by the door.
Students use it as they file in.
(I also have about three regular bottles throughout the classroom).
I'm kind of an OCD germ freak when it comes to my classroom.
The students love it.
And it's cheap!
$14 on Amazon!

#7. Floor pens!
(I spy with my little eye...one of my many hand sanitizer bottles...haha)

I will bet anyone and everyone my entire paycheck (which is SO much money!!!! HA!) that there will ALWAYS be AT LEAST one pen/pencil on the ground at the end of the day.
And everytime, I will win.
At the end of the day, I pick up the pens and stick them in this little cup.
When the unprepared kids come to class, they don't need to bug me for a pen or pencil.
They know straight where to go.

#8 Clorox wipes.
I always have these laying around.
I've had to clean up boogers, gum, and icky stuff one too many times.
Plus, once a week, I choose a class that gets to wipe down their desks.
The desks stay nice and clean, the room smells good, and the students are unnaturally excited when I've chosen their class.
Everyone likes a clean desk, right?

And there you have it!
The eight simple things that I praise up and down every day.
I am looking for good ideas all of the time--so if you have something that works awesome in your classroom, please share!
Teacher plagiarism at its finest ;)


  1. I would implement ALL of these if I had a classroom haha. I'm seriously considering using the automatic text reminder when I have teenagers with phones. Curfew reminders, chore reminders haha. Then it won't actually be me nagging since they were PRE-SCHEDULED hahaha

  2. You are a genius! I only taught kindergarten but I could have used a lot of these...you are totally doing what you were meant to be!! great job!