Espresso Shot: 9 Back-To-School Teacher Hacks

The ladies of the Coffee Shop are gearing up for back-to-school, and we want to share with you our favorite teacher hacks to help you ease back into the school year.  Read our Back-To-School Teacher Hacks Espresso Shot below to get some ideas to have the best year yet!

1. When teaching middle/high school, we are dealing with teens and pre-teens who SO appreciate validation, encouragement and recognition. However, they get oh-so-awkward about this in person, so I make sure that at the start of the school year I have a stack of literary-themed postcards in my desk and make a point of regularly penning a quick note to slip into a students' work, into their book, or just onto their desk. Place them somewhere visible on your desk to remind you to do this throughout the whole school year! - Stacey Lloyd
2. One simple back-to-school teacher hack (that I wished I had known earlier) is to use either brightly colored tissue paper or colored plastic table cloths that can be used as a backdrop for a bulletin board. Not only are they an inexpensive way to decorate a classroom, but also an easy way to bring a burst of color onto an otherwise dull-looking bulletin board! - The Classroom Sparrow
3. My back to school teacher hack has nothing to do with my classroom, and everything to do with surviving the first week back. I don't know about you, but I find the first few weeks exhausting, and so I like to make sure I can do as little as possible when I go home. During the last week of vacation, I'll spend an afternoon making some meals that are easy to heat up with little preparation -- spaghetti sauce, chili, and one of my favourites: Cauliflower Chickpea Coconut CurryI also get some things ready for my lunches -- I'll make a big pot of rice that I can mix with leftovers and chop and bag some veggies. If it's easy and ready to go, then I know I'll make good choices, rather than run out for a quick junk food fix! - Room 213
4. A few years ago, I was tired of my desk becoming a receptacle for post-it notes after only a few weeks back to school.  To calm the paper monster, I started laminating a teacher desk planner with a calendar and to-do and reminder lists.  I would attach it to my desk and fill it in with a dry-erase marker I kept close by.  When an item was completed, I would simply erase it!  I also used this method as a way to track missing student work and student library sign-outs.  - Presto Plans
5. One of the most time consuming things before heading to school is having to select an outfit! My back to school tip would be to prepare your outfits for the week on Sunday evening so you can have ten-fifteen extra minutes of sleep time in the morning! You'll feel more organized and well-rested, plus you'll look extra fashionable when you have time to think about what you're wearing! Ps: I found this awesome rack at TJ Maxx. - The SuperHERO Teacher
6. One of the most helpful and organized areas of my classroom is my whiteboard weekly class schedule. I use this space to write an abridged version of the week’s lesson plans and homework assignments for each section I teach. Having this dedicated space in my classroom helps keep me organized and helps keep the students informed about classroom assignments and activities. This weekly class schedule is also very helpful when a student is absent and want to know what he or she missed. - The Daring English Teacher
7. I love color-coding, so I give each section I teach a different color. I use binder clips in that color to organize copies, I keep information for each class in colored file folders, and I label things with colored tape. One hack I use is to have students put a piece of tape on the spine of their Interactive Notebooks so that I can quickly see which notebooks belong to which class. This is a great way to find a "missing" notebook that's been misshelved. Can you spot the outlier in this photo? ;) - Nouvelle ELA
8. I love bulletin boards that are cumulative and don't need to be redone all the time! Progress bars are fun and motivational, like this Reading Challenge that we did a year ago. - Secondary Sara

9. I find the first week of school can be so overwhelming for me and my students as we try to get back into the school schedule. Like The Daring English Teacher, I do my best to help my students start off the year organized. I print out a calendar for the first two months of school and together we fill in all of the important events. For us it's a special schedule for the first week, school photo day, welcome back breakfast, senior parent night etc. I also post a big version of the calendar in my classroom and refer to it often as special events come up. The visual calendar and reminders helps my students keep on track. - Addie Williams
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