Helpful Hints

The teachers of Blog Hoppin are hosting a week long extravaganza! Today's topic.... Helpful Hints!

After a lot of thought to what I wanted to share with you.... I have chosen three:

 Easier said than done...right? That is why we {and I am saying WE because I struggle with this one} must hear it often and remember how important it is.

Now for a more practical "hint" that one could argue should have been in yesterday's Time Saving Linky... but I didn't participate in that since I was busy blogging about how Matt Damon defends teachers {link here}... Whoa there...I'm off topic.... let's focus on Helpful Tip #2:

So if you are still feeling like I used to... that this a bad idea....let me tell you how you need to number EVERYTHING! I number hooks outside and no one is left searching for their jacket for half of recess. I number take home folders so volunteers or whoever can quickly put them in order and file work and handouts.

I first heard this idea from Rick Morris a long, long time ago. I have now seen him present at least three times {he has amazing helpful tips and this isn't my first shout out to him on this here blog!}

Above I added a picture of my assessment notebook... not the most exciting picture, I know. But do you know what the beauty of it is?  It is ready for this year and NEXT and the NEXT {and by that point I will probably want some new tabs.} But I used to print out names each year in whatever my favorite font of the moment was and put them in the binder...ain't nobody got time for that!

And you may say, "How long does that take to add names to your binder?" Not that long- but think of all the names that are everywhere. And when one student leaves and you find out you are getting a new one five minutes before they arrive.... numbers make it a bit less stressful. I still have name cards, and names in their cubbies- I have just eliminated them on other things.

My kids love having a number too. I use it to call on them {see this post for more on that}

I use numbers to check off who has done a particular task {see this post for a cute class check off... and yes, names are included in that sample to be festive, but I have many "check offs" that are number only.

I can quickly group students when I want random groups- all odd numbers here or numbers 2,4,6 and 8 are one group....etc.

As for it feeling like the Department of Motor Vehicles... well I hope no one's classroom feels like that awful place.... and that was my worry with making the switch, but it is fine. So many things I do for my students are personalized and if anything, this system has freed up a bit of my time to do more special things, but keep me and my 29 friends organized!

Moving on.....

I know when I was a new teacher I saw the teacher across the hall doing what I thought was 8 million more things than me. I would hear people telling about how they did a running record on each student daily, would send hand written personalized notes home every single day and I don't know.... maybe sew each child a pair of mittens every week {did I take it too far? You get the point though!} ....All of these shenanigans just made me think How? How? How?

Don't put yourself down- just do your best and over time you will be able to juggle more things. I am now in my 15th year and I still want to be doing more.  I think it is better to do less and do it well than to try to do everything you see everyone else doing.

P.S. I think this quote can hold true for blogging too. :) I remind myself often as I charge into this blogging world.

Those are my little tips for you. I hope you find them helpful.

Hop on over to Blog Hoppin for more:

But wait.... Before you go... one last credit. Did you notice the borders on these papers match my blog? Fancy, huh! Well, I can take no credit... thank you to Jen!


  1. I LOVE that you say that less is more! LOVE LOVE LOVE. I'm in my 8th year and I totally feel that same way. Thanks for sharing your tips!

    The Balancing Act I Call Life

  2. Thank you for reminding me about not comparing my beginning with someone else's middle. I am in my 4th year of teaching first grade and while I find that MANY things are much easier than when I began, I still have a long way to go.

    I look at many teachers in my building and wonder HOW they manage to do it all! It's reassuring to look back on my own experiences and see how far I've really come! :)

    Have a GREAT day!

    First Grade Follies

  3. This is a wonderful post! It is so easy to forget about "you" in the education business. Let's face it, there is always something else we can do, but a refreshed teacher can do it so much better. Great reminder this morning my friend. I miss you :)

  4. I love how you used the frames! Thank you for the shout out girl!

    Teaching in the Tongass

  5. your blog is so adorbs!!! I love the look and your tips!

  6. HOW? HOW? HOW have I not found your blog before!? I love your helpful hints and I am your newest follower :)

    Mindful Rambles

  7. I love your tip about not comparing your beginning to someone else's middle. Also, you may have sold me on the numbering system. I've fought it for 9 years....but it just might be time!

  8. Oh my goodness! I love all of these tips. They all hold true and hit home for me. Thank you, so much for sharing. I felt the same way about all of the numbers and started them this year. TIME SAVER! Especially the new student part!

    Teaching With Hope

  9. "Don't compare your beginning to someone else's middle." VERY TRUE for me right now! I feel like I am not contributing enough to my team, but I just have to remind myself that I am doing the best I can. It is only my second year! :) Thanks for the reminder.

    Miss Woodward's Class