Every educator strives for classroom efficiency but the bulk of materials needed for each class and the process of storing and maintaining these materials makes achieving total efficiency difficult. Students need project materials, study guides and engaging activities to keep their attention.
Saving time is of the utmost importance so you can spend time with your students helping them to understand the subject at hand. The 5 time-saving tips presented here will save precious minutes on your morning's roll-call, afternoon clean-up and even the time you take to make a test.
Classroom Organization Using 5S Technology
Often used for organizing warehouses, 5S is the method of assigning products and supplies a space in the work area and marking the floor around them with tape or paint. Different colors of tape or paint designate which product is stored in a certain area. Sort, Set in order, Shine, Standardize and Sustain is the 5S plan for organization.
This level of organization in your classroom will make room for reading areas, project work and storage areas. According to the Green Technology Center report, 5S classrooms promote more conducive learning environments by keeping clutter away, allowing students and teacher easy access to materials.
Designate and tape around the space needed for each activity and its supplies. Assign a color to each and put a group of students in charge of maintaining each area.
Find a gradebook software to keep student's grades up-to-date if you do not already use one. These programs will grade according to the criteria you choose and produce immediate results upon entry of student scores. The software is similar to Excel Workbooks and Excel can be used by teachers who are knowledgeable with the program.
There are freeware gradebooks as well as suggestions by other teachers who have tried the gradebook programs. The time you will save by letting the numbers be calculated by software is amazing. You will also be able to print charts and graphs for parent-teacher conferences without divulging the names of other students.
Test Maker Software
Databases and licensed software offer alternatives to the old-fashioned methods of test making. The databases are used worldwide and give options to educators wanting to make a test that engages students and promotes a learning experience that is enjoyable.
The test maker software has options to use a traditional question/answer format or make word search, crossword puzzle, mathematical scavenger hunt and more with quiz and test making software.
Students can use computers to complete tests or quizzes, or you can give hard copies. The tests are fully customizable and you can choose questions covering a specific chapter or unit for intermittent quizzes.
Using a quiz maker software benefits teachers by offering submissions by other educators. Add your own quizzes and tests to the database to keep the ideas flowing. The time it takes to make a test will reduce by half.
A very effective time saver is the use of student aids or classroom helpers. At the high school level, student aids receive credits for being teacher's aids and can grade papers, enter grades in your gradebook or computer and run errands you have not had time to do.
Primary school aged children can help around the classroom as time allows. Each child, or a group of children, put in charge of cleaning tasks at the end of the day saves you time. Children can also keep learning materials in their designated areas and check for books to be returned to the library.
Organize Your File Cabinet
Designate your storage, such as file cabinets and computer, as off limits to your class with red tape. Make a color legend to hang where all the students can see it.
Color code you files so you can easily tell grades and attendance from classwork. Keep the files you use most often in front for quick access and store what you can on a computer flash drive, school database or your hard drive.
Your physical storage space will grow if you keep assignments, lesson plans and any subject for which you will make a test stored digitally. Your students benefit from a well-organized classroom with easily accessed materials and a teacher who has time to help.