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Back to School Timesavers


No matter how prepared you are back to school is so busy for teachers. I find that doing a few things helps to prevent stress in an otherwise stressful time. One of the most important things is to create a routine and clear expectations for your students. I spent so much time those first few weeks of school reviewing classroom procedures. My students knew what to do and what to expect. Below, I have explained some of my best back to school timesavers.

Timesaving Attendance Chart

On the first day of school I took pictures of my students. I printed the pictures out and put them into the attendance chart. On the front was each student’s picture and their name. On the back was their alphabetical number so they could easily find their card. My students knew that when they entered the classroom they would flip their card from the number to the picture side. This was a way for me to easily and quickly take attendance. I had classroom jobs and one job was attendance tracker. This person would let me know who was absent and flip the cards back to the number side at the end of the day.

Organized Classroom Library

Having a clear system and organized classroom library at the beginning of the year helped me to maintain a neat library throughout the year. I taught upper elementary and organized the books in my library by genre. We did monthly book reports which were based off genres so this helped my students easily find what they were looking for. I bought fabric bins and placed the bins into my bookshelves. I labelled each bin with a genre and placed color coordinated stickers with the genres on the spines of all my books. This was time consuming to set up, but saved me a LOT of time throughout the year.

Expectations and Procedures

Clear expectations and procedures are key in saving time. When your students know what to expect and what to do they will need less direction from you. I wrote out and displayed what to do when students arrived in the morning and what to do before dismissal. Students could reference these posters as needed. I also had a morning message displayed on my interactive whiteboard with morning work, the first class of the day, materials they would need, and a kid friendly joke. This way I wasn’t fielding questions on what students should be doing as they arrived. For each class I had an agenda on the board of what we would be doing, the learning objective and focus. It was helpful for my students to see this, but it also kept me on track!


So much of my time was taken up grading assignments. Ways to cut down on the endless grading were always welcome in my classroom. I found ZipGrade which is a grading app. It is Scantron type grading. You will create an answer key on the app, print out the recording sheets for students and when they finish you will scan their assignments which will be automatically corrected for you. This only works with multiple choice questions. The free version allows for 100 scans a month. I used this sparingly, but it was very helpful when I used it.

I have also used Google classroom and BOOM Cards to cut down on grading. BOOM Cards are digital task cards which are automatically graded and Google classroom can also be used to create assignments which are graded automatically. However, when something digital isn’t available to do the work for me I would use other methods. For homework or classwork we would go over it all together and I had a stamp that said “corrected as a class.” I would divide up my other grading into manageable chunks. I’d come into school early or stay 30 minutes late and crank out what I could. I preferred not to bring tons of papers home with me.

Absent Students

It was always so stressful to get a call to my room from the office that so and so’s mom wants you to gather their absent work and send it home with their older brother at 2:25 when dismissal is at 3. In order to save myself from the stress I had a plan in place. I had classroom jobs and one job was the “absentee ally.” The absentee ally brought a folder from class to class and gathered all the papers for the absent student. They also wrote down what they missed on their recording sheet. If a parent called for the work it was no stress because it was done and if not, their missed work was right there for them!

Friday Folders

I called them Friday Folders because they went home with the students on Friday, but they can be used any day of the week. These were key in setting up home/school communication. All of our grading was available online for the parents in a portal, but I found that some parents weren’t able to access the portal easily. All graded work was recorded and sent home in this folder which was signed by the parents and returned to school the following day. I would check the folders quickly before they were sent home to be sure the students wrote down all assignments and their grades and check for parents’ signatures when they returned. This system worked well in my classroom. I stopped getting the “I didn’t know what their grades were” comments from parents because the line of communication was so open and clear. Watch the video below to see my version of Friday Folders in action.

Clean Your Desk and Clear Your Mind

My last tip is to never leave school with a messy desk! Clearing off your desk at the end of the day is one less thing for you to do the following morning. It is nice to come into school with a clean desk; it signifies the day is a blank slate and yours to take charge of.

Do you want more blog posts on Back to School? Check these out:

What back-to-school timesavers do you have to reduce stress?


My name is Jen and I’m the face behind Endeavors in Education.

I have a passion for ELA and science. I am even STEM certified. Now I spend my time hanging with my kids, blogging (endeavorsined.com), and creating for my TpT store Endeavors in Education.

I’m so happy you’ve joined me on this journey!

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