Monday, November 11, 2013

Time Savers

Happy Monday!  I'm linking up with Blog Hoppin' on an AWESOME idea.  Each day this week they will have a different theme based on being Thankful and sharing some great ideas!

The themes for the week are:

Monday: We are thankful for TIME-SAVERS! Post ideas, tricks, classroom resources that help you save time in your classroom!

Tuesday: We are thankful for HELPFUL-HINTS! Have any helpful hints for teachers out there? We want to know how you do what you do without falling into shreds at the end of the day :)

Wednesday: ACTIVITIES LIKE... We will post about activities that we just love doing in our classrooms! Show us those WOW lessons!

Thursday: NEW IDEAS! Have any tips that you've discovered recently that made you think, "Why haven't I been doing this all my life?" That's what we are posting about!

And, you won't want to miss Friday! We are hosting a HUGE giveaway that will have MULTIPLE winners! So, stay tuned for that!!!
Sooooooo, here's a great tip I started doing last year to manage my centers.  We usually work on a 6-Day rotation for centers which is a little difficult because we change themes every week.  So far this year it hasn't been too much of an issue but I am definitely considering changing every 5-days before I get to my reading groups.  I have 6 centers and my kiddies visit each center 3 times per rotation.  I know, the math is enough to kill ya!  So basically, I have to plan 3 activities for each center per rotation.  UGH! 
Because I teach the lil ones, I needed a clear cut way without being asked a million times, "Which activity am I doing?" for my kiddies to INDEPENDENTLY get their activity and get started.
I have rolling carts / organizers for each center.  I labeled the drawers rather archaiclly  #1, #2, & #3.  It's definitely been on my to-do list to cutsify this but hey, it works.  The kids know if it is their first day at that center they go to drawer #1 and so on.   
Each drawer contains everything they need to complete that activity.  Here is a glimpse at my Math & Writing activities.


They simply pull out the drawer and get started.  At the beginning of each rotation, I roll all the carts to one spot and fill up the drawers.  It cut down DRASTICALLY on my prep time!  Hope it helps!

My next time-saver is just a little something I put together about 2 years ago.  In our grade, we have an Author of the Month.  We read their books and discuss similarities / differences etc.  We graph which book was our favorite and do all sorts of other activities.  I used to use SO MUCH TIME finding all the books I needed ~ I have a terrible habit of not re-filing them in the same spot ~ so I came up with this to organize my books for author of the month and any theme books I read each year.
Nothing fancy or techy, I know but again it's something that works for me.  I had all these magazine boxes laying around and labeled them by month / author.  Now, at the beginning of that month, I empty the books into a bin I keep next to my rocking chair and boom...I have everything I need for the month.  It takes about 2 seconds of prep AND clean-up time.
I love working with my lil ones during Guided Reading but I used to get interrupted A MILLION TIMES no matter how many times we went over how to ask a partner, until..........

Yup, just posting a little ole Stop Sign fixed the trick.  All the kiddies know if I have my Stop Sign posted on the Reading table they are not allowed to interrupt unless they are bleeding, throwing up or the building is on fire!  Works like a charm!  P.S. Don't mind the mess :)
My last time-saver is something I cannot live without.  We have several ways to dismiss students at the end of the day.  They can be walkers, car riders, busers or after-school program.  I don't know about you but I always have indecisive parents or parents who work part-time and need different dismissals on any given day.  I'm a working parent so I'm always very accommodating to their needs.  I get notes each day changing the dismissal routines for my lovies.  It drove me NUTS and caused me a L.O.T. of anxiety trying to remember each day who goes where.  Then I created this little gem.....
I have one label for each type of dismissal and one clothespin for each kiddie.  When I get that note to change dismissal I simply move their clothespin to a different spot and D.O.N.E.  No more worries, no more anxiety!  This also works GREAT for when I have a sub in the room.  They've left me notes about how helpful this was!
I hope some of these time-savers are useful to you!  Head on over to Blog Hoppin' to check out more great ideas from some FAB-U-LOUS bloggers!
Blog Hoppin'


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