Time Savers and Life Savers for Teachers

Time is something a teacher never has enough of, right?I have found a few things through the years that have saved me time and saved my sanity.

My morning message system was something I developed when I found out I was pregnant and preparing for a long term leave.  I knew how time consuming it was to write a morning message each day.  I knew my sub would be busy learning my procedures, talking to parents, and getting to know my students. I wanted to lessen this burden for her.

The nice thing about the system that I developed was not only did it save my long term sub time, I continued using the system after I returned because I loved having extra time, too.  Who doesn't need more time?!!!

Morning messages are a great way to enforce important reading skills. Students are successful and retain the skills because the skills are taught in a spiral throughout the year. I saw an improvement with my students' reading skills when my messages became more structured and I differentiated them.  

The skills are taught in a spiral.  While a skill might be a challenge during a lesson one day for Student A, this same skill was easier later when Student A saw it again.  I began to hear, "this is easy-peasy", after implementing this more structured approach.  It was a confidence builder.

I used this system when I taught kindergarten, 1st grade, and 3rd grade.  Differentiating with the cards below helps when you have a class with a wide range of skills.

This were some added bonuses to this that I hadn't planned on.  Parents liked the challenge their children received using this differentiated system.  This is one of things I shared at Back to School Night when asked how I was going challenge my students.  

The other bonus was the way in which this system built positive relationships with my parents.  Read my post about my morning routine so you can see how it happened. Parents loved seeing their child's messages and loved seeing their child's reading growth. The message worked as reading homework which improved their fluency which helped with Dibel's scores.  It almost seems like an version of If you Give a Mouse a Cookie, doesn't it?

This system can also be set up as a writing center.  Great for teachers who don't have time in their schedule for morning message each day.

Click HERE to read tips about setting up morning messages as a writing center.

This post has some FREE samples of my morning messages packets.  Try them out and let me know what you think!

Writing sub plans is one of my least favorite jobs.  It seems like it happens at the worst possible times, too!  I'm either sick, my child is sick, or I'm having one of those, "Oh-my-gosh, I-have-a-staffing-this-MORNING" day.  Do you ever forget those meetings that pull you out of class?  

If any of these scenarios sound familiar, then it is time to organize a Substitute Resource Binder.  When you pull out your binder, the heavy lifting for sub planning is already done.  You will thank your lucky stars that you spent the time making a resource binder the next time you have an OMG day.

Have you ever worked as a sub?  If so, you know the importance of learning students names quickly.  It is hard to have control of a class without knowing the students' names.  At the beginning of the year, I type my students names on an Avery template for address label #5160.  There are 30 labels per sheet. I print several copies and keep them in my sub binder.  My sub can use these for name tags when I am absent.  I always get nice notes from subs who appreciate having the name tags.

Read what other teachers who have used it have said about the resource binder.  Best of all it is EDITABLE in Powerpoint so you can personalize it to fit your needs.

How do you save time?

Sources to make my blog post graphics can be found HERE. Click HERE to read my blog's disclosure statement.

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