Back To School season is here and we couldn’t be more excited! While parents are breathing a collective sigh of relief as they load their kiddos onto school buses all around the country, elementary school teachers are rushing to decorate bulletin boards, devise lesson plans, stock classrooms, and conjure up new and creative ways to keep students engaged.
Teachers, we know how hard you’re working and we’re here to help!
The SimplyCircle team has scoured the web, talked to teachers, and tapped into our creative minds to bring you some of the best time and money saving Back To School hacks. Many of these are tried and true, while others are new and just plain clever. Trust us, these tips will get you off to a strong start.
Hack #1: Save money for school and home. Use a great app like Lozo.com to find coupons for school supplies (and groceries while you’re at it).
Hack #2: Brighten up the classroom for just a few dollars. Use cheap plastic tablecloths for bulletin board backgrounds. Hint: check out your local dollar store first. They may have some bright leftovers from Labor Day or early stock for Halloween and Thanksgiving.
Hack #3: Assign numbers to students. Give students a number that they must write on the upper right hand corner of any paper they turn in. You’ll be able to alphabetize in a flash and simultaneously grade and record scores in your gradebook because they’ll already be in order (via srtarojaMiddle.)
Hack #4: Get a Calm Down Jar. Get disruptive students to calm down without disturbing the rest of the class by using a Calm Down Jar. Add a fun toy, like a lego man or G.I. Joe, that they can watch settle to the bottom.
Hack #5: Use Post-It Warnings. If the Calm Down Jar doesn’t work, try mstob’s tip for disruptive older students. Put three small post-it notes on the white board, and each time you would normally redirect the disruptive student, just quietly remove a post-it note instead. Once all the post-its are gone, enforce a consequence – lost recess, note home, etc. Post-its ‘reset’ every day (or whatever time period works for the student). Only you and the student will know what the Post-Its are for, and this quiet, non-disruptive way to correct behavior helps the student without interrupting the class.
Hack #6: Create custom containers. Use cereal boxes and scrapbook paper to make eye-catching magazine, book, or paper holders.
Hack #7: Easily check assignments with wall folders. First grade teacher Mel Dillard uses wall folders for turning in homework. That way she can easily see who’s finished their assignments at a glance.
Hack #8: Less guilt, less clean up. Reuse old Starbucks to-go cups for paint activities with less clean up.
Hack #9: DIY interior design. Kindergarten teacher Greg Smedley uses plastic crates and wall hooks to make hanging paper baskets!
Hack #10 (our favorite!): Use our free SimplyCircle app. Save countless hours of organizing class announcements, sending out reminder emails to parents, and coordinating parent volunteers.