Teaching is BUSY! Behind the scenes of lessons being taught and students learning, there are a million things to manage, take care of, create, etc. We know what our students need in order to be successful, so these behind the scenes tasks can't be ignored. Why not use your students to help? Not only does it teach them responsibility and get them moving, but every teacher has that one student who wants to help the teacher as much as possible. Take advantage of the help! Some of these tips might work more for higher grades, but primary grades can give it a shot too!
1. Change the Daily Schedule
Print off your lesson plan template with the subjects and times. Give it to your students and let them go nuts. Have them write the date on the board - the handwriting doesn't need to be perfect! It's just going to be erased again anyway.
2. Run Errands
I don't know about you, but I always have mounds of things that need to be returned, delivered, shared, etc. Let the students take care of those running around tasks because you have more important things to get done during your prep time. Students LOVE the breaks and honestly, a lot of them probably need the break.
The never-ending war of pencils - make your students be in charge of them. I have two buckets of pencils in my classroom: sharp and dull. When the dull pencils get too high, a student will volunteer to bring them to the teacher workroom and sharpen them all in less than 10 minutes. Again, this gives those students a break while making them accountable for taking care of our classroom.
4. Charging Electronics
I battled this one for awhile! "Mrs. B, my iPad is dead." "Mrs. B, my computer won't turn on." Now I keep those chargers easily accessible and it's up to my students to recognize when an iPad has low battery.
5. End of the Day Clean Up
We don't leave the classroom until everything is in order! Chairs and stools need to be stacked up, floor cleaned, desks cleared. Makes for a very easy morning and I love to keep our custodians happy!
6. Clean House
Tables, counters, and desks get sticky, gross, dirty, and just plain disgusting. Pass out a Clorox wipe and give them 5 minutes - they'll go crazy!
There is always a student that wants to stay in at recess and help! Why not let them for a day? When some kiddos just don't want to go outside in 10 degree weather, I let them reorganize the classroom library, put books back in place, make sure the centers are cleaned up or take down old bulletin projects. It makes such a difference!
8. Returning Books
Piles of books accumulate around the classroom - small group, whole group, library books. Show your students the correct place to return them and you'll never have to return a book on your own again.
9. Print and Copy
Okay, I don't let my students use the copier, but I do let them pick items up off the printer. I also have an amazing office staff that will make copies for me if I send a kiddo down with the papers.
10. Answer the Phone
This year, my phone rings off the hook! I have so many kiddos pulled for intervention groups, so I have taught my students how to answer the phone. This way, I'm not getting up from my desk multiple times during small groups or it doesn't interrupt my whole group lesson. If the teacher needs me, they always ask!
Try out some of these tips and if you have more, please share! We have to keep moving without the small things slowing us down!