Classroom Hacks You Can Use Tomorrow

This post originally appeared on the blog Easy Teaching Tools.

Classroom Hacks make me so dang happy because they’re efficient and make sense. I love (probably way more than I should) when I figure out a clever way to implement an idea. If you follow me on Instagram, you already know that efficiency makes me giddy. And I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one, right?! I love clever tricks to help with management and organization. Anything to make my life easier!

Today I want to share some of my classroom hacks that you can use in your classroom tomorrow.

1. Table Points

My favorite classroom hack helps with classroom management and table points. I have very high ceilings this year so I can’t hang table point signs from the ceiling. This year, I bought place card holders (like you see at weddings) and made cute table point signs. Yes, I have 5 tables that are vowels! When kiddos are being awesome, they get a table point. Super easy because they know to come grab a clothespin and clip it. It’s also a great visual if kiddos are being too chatty and you need to take a point away. I’ve found this system is so much more powerful than tallying table points on the whiteboard. Try it and let me know how much you love it!

Use clothes pins to set up table points


2. Sit Spots

Sit Spots are THE best because they give kiddos personal space and there are no more cases of friends sitting in the wrong spot. Since I don’t have carpet this year, I’m using my sit spots in sitting areas like this one, our listening center. I don’t want to hear kiddos argue about where they sit, so I plop these down and have eliminated a potential problem. Time saver and super cute!
Sit spots are a great way to organize where students sit on your rugs

3. Center Organization

Over the years, I’ve organized my center area a bazillioin gazillion ways and this is what works best. I promise! The clear boxes on the left are our “may-do” centers. Kiddos take the box to their seat and work on it independently. No more lost items or kiddos asking, “I’m through, what to do?” I stock this area with games and activities from this pack! Want to know more?
Use Lakeshore tubs and clear boxes to organize ELA centers
Each day, a tabler leader brings back the center supplies to the appropriate bin

4. Copy Clips

This has truly kept me sane. During my 3rd year of teaching, I was blessed with a copy mom. Week after week, I would put post-its with directions on everything that need to be copied. It finally dawned on me that I was writing the same thing, every week! So, I started using clothes pins to write my instructions. I just clip them to the papers that need to be copied and we’re good to go. Eight years later, I haven’t looked back!
Use clothes pins to group and identify how to organize your copies, instead of using post-it notes over and over again.
Here's how these labeled clothes pins look in action
Put copies in the "copy" bin. Once they're copied, place the masters in the "file" bin.


5. Turn-in basket

I saw this idea last year on Instagram and knew I had to make it work in my class. When friends turn their work in, they find their file folder with their number and simply place their work inside. (See how it works.) Now, if a kiddo forgets to writer their name, because they always do, I know who it belongs to!  Plus, it makes filing papers in cubbies so much easier! See where I grabbed the bin.
Set up numbered file folders to collect students' homework: students can place their work in these numbered folders, which keeps things organized even when students forget to write their names on their work.
Here are those numbered folders in action: no more missing work or nameless papers!


6. Cubbies

Speaking of cubbies, I sold mine a few years ago when I moved to Hawaii. Last year, I bought a shoe organizer and it has worked perfectly. I label the cubbies by number so I don’t have to change them out every year.
No cubbies? No problem: a shoe organizer works great for cubbies in the classroom.


7. Jobs

Kids need responsibility. My class is well-run because everyone has a place and a job to do. This easy chart lists jobs with a stick with each kiddos’ photo and student number. Jobs are changed weekly! See how I organize the jobs in this video.
Kids need responsibility, and this job chart is an organized, colorful way to assign class jobs every week.


8. Differentiate work

I don’t have time to pass out 5 different sets of Word Study words. These magnetic pockets from Lakeshore have been a lifesaver. I just place the work inside and students come find their folder and grab their work!

Use magnetic pocket folders to differentiate student work and make passing out papers more efficient.

9. Baskets

Use bins from The Dollar Tree or Big Lots to organize your books in your library. The bins hold up well and are a lot less expensive than in some of the teacher supply stores. I made a video for you to see some different options you can use. No more messy libraries. I promise! Learn how to level your library here.

Use bins and baskets to organize your classroom library. These bins can be found at the Dollar Store or Big Lots, and are cheaper than teacher-store alternatives. Color code and label your library so students have an easier time finding books.


10. Focus Board

Use washi tape to create a focus board in your classroom.

Using colorful Washi Tape, use a whiteboard in your classroom to create a Focus Board. Using tape to organize the board will keep it clean and clutter free.


11. Memory Book

I love using this bulletin board display that turns into a memory book. I especially love that the students are in charge of hanging up their own work! I’ve talked about creating these memory books here for you. Get the writing and art activities for the entire year here!

Use file folders with prongs to hang student work and create a memory book.
I hope these ideas can help you get organized.  I’d love to hear your favorite organizing tips!
Best classroom hacks, from Easy Teaching Tools
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Headshot and logo for Kristen, from Easy Teaching ToolsKristen of TpT store Easy Teaching Tools is a 2nd grade teacher in San Diego who thrives in an organized and efficient classroom. She’s a big believer in teacher-wellness, balance, and being honest about her teaching successes and challenges in the classroom.