Planning ahead and being well-organized are actions that make the hectic schedule of every teacher much more manageable. This week's tips focus on ways to save time in the classroom and keep your classroom organized and running smoothly.
This Week's Tips
Keep Important Information On Hand (Monday)
Put together a binder to be kept on your desk, containing the information you need daily. Divide the binder into sections—attendance, lesson plans, seating charts, and a section for substitutes. Each section should be tabbed and kept up-to-date, with the reference pages in plastic sheet covers to keep everything neat.
Databases Can Improve Classroom Management (Tuesday)
Create a computer database with your students' information. Include fields for first and last name, phone number, parents' names, and so on. Once the information is in the database, you can use it to make desk tags, locker tags, birthday cards, certificates, various labels, and report card comments, just to name a few ideas.
Keep Track of Teaching Ideas (Wednesday)
Keep track of great ideas that you see and read about using a recipe box labeled with the different aspects of teaching. Label topics could include bulletin boards, organization, educational Web sites, classroom activities, etc. Whenever you have or find a good idea, write it on an index card and file it in the appropriate place.
Improve Classroom Transitions (Thursday)
Label file folders with the names of each student in your class. Keep the folders organized alphabetically near the classroom door, and whenever you have papers to hand back to your students, place the papers in the appropriate folder for each student. When students come to class, they can pick up their folder so that you don't have to waste valuable class time shuffling papers. Students can turn papers in using a similar system-place a basket or other receptacle near the door, and have students place homework and other papers in the basket as they leave the classroom.
Plan for Substitutes (Friday)
Make a substitute folder early in the year. Include class lists, fire drill rules, seating charts, and a generic plan for the day. Then create a form on the computer for your regular class schedule. On this form you can also include the location of teacher's guides, a list of helpful teachers, procedures from the office, and your discipline rules.