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Time Savers Linky Party

Hello Sweet Hoopers!   This is Deedee from Mrs. Wills Kindergarten.
In the theme of "time saving, " I am recycling a post I did about 18 months ago...

First my confessions:
Confession #1:  I am NOT an organized person by nature.    

Confession #2:  I am not very efficient.   I really envy those who can plan a whole week's activity during their plan time.  I seem to just manage a trip to the restroom and a walk down to our book room to swap out my guided reading books.   I do NOT know how they do it.

I really do most of my planning on the weekends. During the week I have a rough idea, but the down and dirty planning happens on the weekends.

So Sunday evening things look like this. I put all my stuff to copy in a purple folder.   All stations are prepared and placed in my "Monday bag".   Then my lesson plans and other hucka-mucka (camera, lunchbag...yada, yada, yada) go in my "Everyday bag".   

I get to school usually at 7am on Mondays.  This gives me an hour before kids start to get my act together.  My first stop is the copy room where I do all my copying, collating, stapling...  This usually takes 15 minutes.  This puts me in my room about 7:15ish.

When I walk into my room I place my copies in these drawers.

I have two of them.  The drawers are marked like this:
Calendar:  I have all of my calendar supplies, fluency, attendance, lunch money... stuff in there
Word Study/Writing:  All of my copies for word study, handwriting, or resources for writing go in this drawer.
Math: All of my math copies and resources go in there.
Morning Work:  All my morning work papers go in there.
Content Area:   Everything I need for content area studies.
Coming Up:  This is where I place my station supplies that I plan to use.  I do not swap all of my stations out every Monday.  I replace the supplies when the bin becomes empty.  My students know to come to me when they are taking the last copies from the bin.  This is my cue to put a new activity in there.  In this way, I am not wasting paper AND I am not swapping EVERYthing on the same day.

 I store my teaching materials in two places.  The purple bins above my cabinets  (purple is all color in the kindergarten hall... it is not my favorite color, but I  can live with it) and a 4 drawer file cabinet. I attach my black line masters to my lesson plans.  I am hoping by doing this, I will be more efficient next year... HA!  Like THAT will ever happen.


Hey gang, it's Kelley Dolling from Teacher Idea Factory.  I'm here to talk to you about a handful of serious Time Savers that have proven to be super clutch for me each and every year.  I am sure I could go on for ages about this one, but here are my FAB FOUR.  Here's hoping one or more of these 
will be just what you need to simplify your "school sitch" too :) 

I don't know how it works for all you alls on your campus, but out here in the sticks we have oodles of pull-outs every day that we {the teachers} are responsible to remember.  Um . . . yeah sure . . . I can TRY to store these in the old memory bank, but try as I might, it NEVER seems to happen.  With this said, iPhone Alarms have been just the ticket for me for the past year or so.  I am able to turn the ringer off and keep it by me on my reading group table.  I have set numerous timers on repeat that alert me about 3-5 minutes prior to the moment when I am to tell certain kids to exit the room.  Not only does it ensure that these sweet kiddos are receiving their full intervention period, but it also saves me from having to run across the room to answer the phone when I forget to send them . . . ha!  I can't take credit for this brilliant idea.  A huge shout out goes to my co-worker and fab neighbor, Erin.  
She's super savvy I tell ya!!

I don't know what made me start this one, but I actually give snack at my reading group table.  I have for years now.  This one isn't for everyone, but I encourage you to try it out for a week and see if works for you.  As soon as my babes sit down, they are to get their book out  and read quietly as I pass out the snack.  It ain't some big choice . . . it's cereal or pretzels only.  I give a handful of goods to each babe and we get down to business.  This tactic supports the teaching process for me in four BIG ways.  


ONE - Their little tummies are getting full which means their brains are engaged and 
ready to soak up my "daily dish" {well, most of the time . . . hehehehe}.

TWO - Snack means their mouths are full.  
That urge to chat in group just doesn't happen.  

THREE - Snack is powerful leverage.  
If a child chooses the not so "high level" road, the snack can be pulled back 
until he/she chooses to do find that appropriate footing.  
This sounds a little harsh . . . but, it rarely happens and it works!

FOUR - You don't have to worry about feeding them later.  

Unfortunately, I can't take the credit for this one either.  My rock star of a retired teacher mother worked this one for years and it's absolutely amazing.  We have FIVE reading group rotations every day . . . sigh . . . that's enough prep and little details to eat you alive for sure.  With this said, independent folders have been my life saver for seven years.  One station is always independent work.  Each group has their own basket and each student has their own folder in that basket (they are color coded).  It makes it SO much easier to differentiate work this way.  Meaningful practice pages and word work activities are added to the folders every day.  They are not excepted to finish everything.  However, the opportunity of cashing in on some serious FREE TIME on Fridays is dangled in front of them.  An hour at the end of our week is dedicated to folder/work catch up time.  If a student's folder is empty or close to being complete he/she gets a nice amount of down time.  However, if it isn't, a student gets to finish work during that fun play period. 

In addition, you can focus on the child when you correct his/her work.  You can see if they are keeping up, falling behind, or are WAY ahead of the game.  You can get a better read on what each individual child needs.  Oh . . . and you are able to quickly catch kids who are hiding work from you.  There is usually one every year :)  Folders make it so easy.  You have just looked at every other folder in the group and realize that you haven't seen "those particular papers."  When you get up and check their mailbox or desk, it's amazing what you find.  This lends itself to "the chat" ever so nicely and it doesn't ever seem happen again.   

Finally, this one saves you time filing (the worst job on EARTH)!  
When I correct the papers in their folders every night, I staple the completed pages together and write FILE at the top.  My babes know to stick these in their mailbox every morning before they jump into their new work.  Now that's what I call a ginormous win-win!

This mind-blowing idea is from the eva-fabulous Rick Morris.  Seriously folks, if you don't do this, you should really think about it.  School chaos can be cut in half if you number your students.  It makes filing, grading, sorting, taking roll, getting new kiddos, absences, and oodles of other procedures so much easier.   I have been doing this since I saw Mr. Morris present when I was a student teacher.  By no means am I suggesting that you have a child only go by his/her number.  This is SO impersonal to me.  My students write their name and number on every paper and it works like a charm.  It is so much easier to remember numbers.  Trust me on this one :)

Alright, that's it from little old me.  Thanks for reading my not-so-short list on Time Savers.  Hopefully, by spending a little time with us today you will save some on the back end :)  
Big hugs and I'll see ya soon!


Hey there, hoppers!
This is Alisha from The Bubbly Blonde.
Let's be honest, I try very hard to be on top of it all.
At school, home, bloggin', TPT, everywhere!
But....the truth. I rarely am!  Here are a little tidbits that are helping me along this year.
Although, I am constantly changing how I am doing something in order to be efficient & organized.

Do you find random holiday themed items in your classroom AFTER the holiday?
If you are like me, you forget what you've bought & what you have year after year.
My solution to this problem is A holiday or monthly containers.
I keep pencils, stickers, crafts, anything based on the holiday in a container.
This year, I have moved the holiday themed books into a filing cabinet.
I was tired of climbing up on the counter to get the books down in advance to plan!
I also found that the books rarely made it back into the container in a timely manner!
Each month I pull down the container needed to check out the "left overs" from the year before.
It is always like I am shopping in my classroom because I tend to buy 
holiday activities once they are on clearance for the next year.
This is pretty embarrassing to show,
but I have the same labels on my containers from my first year of teaching.
Obviously, this was before my obsession with clipart!
Sometimes you have to let little things go!
{That is a BIG time saver!  Do what you can and let some things go!}

I could not keep up with graphic organizers for my 4 reading groups on a weekly basis!
I now print 5 copies of each graphic organizer on card stock and store in a binder.
Whenever needed, I pull out the graphic organizers, stick in a dry erase sleeve, and bam!

I know, its hard. There isn't enough time for everything.
Simple as that.
But if you are like me, you start to get a little panicked if you feel like you are getting behind.
I've been like that for a few weeks after conference week. I am unable to make ANY copies on my own.
We have an amazing copy lady, who I am thankful for. But sometimes a girl likes to change things up last minute! I try to plan a few weeks at a time, if not more. I hate, hate, hate putting in copies on a weekly or daily basis.  I feel like I waste so much time printing, labeling, and walking to the forever-far-away work room. This year,  I've started to use this method.
Every few weeks I sit down and go through all of my amazing resources I have purchased on TPT to "match up"  with the skills we will be using in our reading series. The story of the week sheet allows me to plan at home without dragging that huge manual home! I list the unit name, creator, & page numbers to use on the materials page {There is extra room on the materials page so I can add to it year after year..because we all know amazing bloggers will be creating more items I will have to buy!}  I print the pages immediately, stick a sticky tab on it with directions for copies, and place in a plastic sleeve in the binder.

On Wednesday of each week, I grab the copies I need for the next week to get prepped.  I also store any colored copies needed in the sleeves, waiting to be laminated and cut throughout the week. This has drastically cut down on my weekend laminating & cutting!

You may be thinkin', why am I labeling the sheets with the story title?  I have digital copies of everything I use, I figure if I am using the material this year in reading, more than likely I will use it next year.  I put all of the original copies back in the sleeve, this way it is all organized and ready to go for the following year.  The title of the story on the copies also allows me to keep everything organized in my daily work bins!

I'm an over planner.  If something doesn't get used during the week, I stick it in a freezer Ziploc baggie, label it, and stick it in a drawer to be used the next time the skill pops up in our reading series.


So here we go!   We are so THANKFUL for the blogging world so we are hosting FOUR days of linky parties this week to share different things we are thankful for... all related to the classroom!  So, if you are a blogger... we would LOVE for you to link up as much as possible!  AND, if you are a follower, then get ready to spend lots of time in front of your computer because we have oodles of ideas to share!

 So, what will we be talking about each day?!

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!!!


  1. Deedee, I too number my kids and it totally is a time saver. I use the numbers for homework pockets and can quickly glance to see who hasn't turned it in; if I'm at home working on grading and there is a no name, I just quickly put the papers in number order to quickly see who the culprit is; you can also use them to find groups or partnerships (even numbers find an odd, odd number find an even, even number find another even number, etc.) I use them constantly (although like you said, I NEVER call them by their number) but it totally does work. Snack has been an issue this year with our new schedule... maybe this is a solution of some sorts?? Thanks for sharing and can't wait to be apart of the linky parties this week!

    1. That was actually Kelley's great idea! She is one smart cookie!!!

  2. Great post, Deedee! I love the idea of a Monday bag because let's face it...on Monday we have a lot more stuff to tote than on any other day of the week!

  3. Great blog hop! Thanks for including me :)

  4. Deedee, I love your phone timer idea...I have so much trouble keeping track of all my pull-outs this year. That will be a life saver! Thanks for sharing. :)
    Core Inspiration by Laura Santos

    1. Awww... Laura... that smart phone timer idea was ALL Kelley! I love reading everyone's ideas!!!

  5. Deedee... I love that you have a "Monday Bag". SO SMART!!!

    Kelly... um- DUH! You is SMART! The phone timer is such a fabulous idea!!!

  6. And Alisha!!!!!! You are so organized!!! Seriously, I love it! I want to plan a few weeks ahead, but I can barely finish this week! Dang it!

  7. Deedee- I too am a weekend planner, I love your Monday bag idea! I'm sure I have a bag lying around I could designate!

    Alisha- your organization is AMAZING!

    Kelley- I too use my phone for my student who's a diabetic and needs to leave at certain times, I cannot possibly keep that all in my head!

    Thanks so much everyone! XoXo!

    1. I haven't had a diabetic student yet, but I have watched lots of other teachers on campus attempt to deal with the schedule. What a great idea to use your phone for trips to the nurse and blood sugar tests! Thanks for sharing and taking the time to visit :)

  8. I love all your ideas! I am going to try the snack idea. I think this would work well for my kiddos. I could read Time Savers everyday! So many good ideas!
    Kindergarten is my heart

  9. You guys are fantastic! Thanks for the great HOP

  10. Kelley and Alisha, GREAT ideas! So sorry. I didn't realize that there were three of y'all posting!