I have seen so many "lifehack" posts and was thinking about the "hacks" I use while teaching to make my life easier, keep my students happy, and generally be a more productive teacher.
1. I love using YouTube videos in class. It's convenient and it breaks up the class period. However, especially when teaching middle school, I did not like that I couldn't control what shows up at the end of a video or along the side of the videos. Sometimes it'd be an inappropriate image from a music video etc. Then I discovered viewpure.com. All you have to do is copy and paste the YouTube URL into the viewpure box and it takes out the end screen and all the recommended videos on the side. It presents your video in a nice clean white player. Just like that I had no need to deal with inappropriate images and my students and I didn't fall down the "rabbit hole" of suggested videos. You can also embed videos this way if you teach in a blended, online, or flipped classroom.
2. Students coming without supplies such as pens is always an issue. Lending pens and never getting them back is even more frustrating. My first year of teaching I took fake flowers and taped them to blue and black pens and kept them in a vase on my desk. I won't say I never lost a pen but I kept them for significantly longer. It also had the added benefit of brightening up my room
3. The Common Core has a stronger emphasis on non-fiction texts which I think is important to pay attention to. However, I don't want to lose the connection to literature. I think the best way to handle this is to find non-fiction, and current articles that tie into the themes of the literature we read. To do that I set up Google Alerts. When reading A Raisin In The Sun I set up alerts for "racism," "housing inequality," and "the American Dream." Then I got emails whenever something new was published on those topics. It was great. I suggest setting up the alert at least a month before you plan on teaching the novel.
4. I didn't want my classroom library books to disappear into other teachers' classrooms so I used a self-inking stamp from vistaprint.com to mark them all as mine. I used the message "If found please return to Ms. Fuller" because I wanted it to work in any building or classroom. You could also get a customized embosser to do this. It made it fast and easy to mark all the books as mine and I thought it looked nicer than just writing my name onto the books.
5. When I taught middle school our paper was strictly rationed, but we had no workbooks. I needed to find a way to save paper as much as possible. I'm also a bit of a treehugger so I wanted to save paper regardless. I did two things to achieve this goal. First, I used the "print 2 to a page" feature. This saved a ton of paper! Secondly, I put things in page protectors and had students reuse the same sheets by doing them in whiteboard marker!
What are your favorite teaching hacks? Comment below!
Thanks for reading!