We asked teachers in the BuzzFeed Community to share their best classroom tips and tricks — and here's what they said!
1. Give out old trophies as temporary rewards for student work.
2. Hang up a parking lot board to take random questions, have students post feedback or suggestions, or quickly check to see if the room is really understanding something.
3. Make yourself a filing system to hold all the copies you need for each week.
4. Or just use some basic cardboard drawers — still organized!
5. If you want to be extra organized, make a "teacher tool kit" so you can always find anything you need.
6. Display great student work using scrapbook paper and clothespins attached to the bulletin board.
7. Or bring in an old refrigerator door for a homey display.
8. Hang inspirational quotes around the room, mounted on inexpensive scrapbook paper.
9. Old file sorters store multiple iPads as easily as they stored actual files.
10. Cut open tennis balls to silence squeaky desks and chairs.
11. Have a "Missing Tools" or "Lost Property" or other lost-and-found-style spot to drop the things that no one claims.
12. Use yoga bands or physical therapy bands on the front legs of chairs for students who need to move around.
13. Or, keep quiet toys around for kids who prefer to fidget with their hands.
14. Make an a one-stop shop for students who need something for class that day.
15. Or, keep a box of inexpensive golf pencils around to give students who ask you for one.
16. Have a "seatbelt sign is on" system for letting kids know when it's alright to ask to go to the bathroom.
17. Help students calm down by asking them to sharpen pencils.
18. Use a pocket organizer to collect homework folders each day, instead of big cubbies that take up too much space.
19. And give students everything they need to take home at the very end of the day, so none of the worksheets or papers get lost.
20. Make an "I'm done, now what?" board for students who always finish early.
21. Or, just have students pick something from the classroom library (or something they brought) to read during their downtime.
22. Take the stress out of giving out incentives by making a simple prize punch wall.
23. Use an over-door organizer as a convenient place to park re-useable water bottles.
24. Build a word wall that uses QR codes to help kids learn their sight words.
25. Use bucket seats as special seating AND extra storage.
26. Assign certain students to be the go-to "experts," so other students know who to ask for help, whether you write their name on the board...
27. ...or use colorful rubber bands as bracelets.
28. If you do a lot of presenting via PowerPoint, try the Unified Remote App (free on iTunes, with upgrades that cost $3.99).
29. Make a "phone prison" to confiscate phones that aren't supposed to be out during class.
30. Or, zip-tie dollar-store pencil bags onto desks so students put their own phones into their own phone "jails."
31. OR, just set out power strips in all the outlets so students can charge their phones.
32. Establish a crate-and-poster system to help students get extra copies of specific assignments, or grab assignments for the days that they were out.
33. Use an app like Remind to send updates to your students and their parents, and answer questions.
The Remind app allows me to stay in contact with parents and my high school students via individual IMs, but also keeps a log receipts of all interactions with all student and parent users, which comes in handy when it comes time for parent-teacher conferences or completing parent contact logs. My students and their parents can send me questions about homework and assignments outside of school hours. Just make sure you tell them not to contact you after a certain time!
I can also send reminders about exams, major assignments, and field trips. And make major announcements I might have forgotten to make in class. You can also create groups/classes in case you have multiple sections or teach multiple subjects. My favorite aspect of this app is that I can schedule announcements way in advance and forget about them, which is one less thing I'll have to remember. And it's completely free and easy for all to use, plus it keeps your personal info safe and confidential (like your cell number...yes students try and seek out that info).
Get Remind on the Apple App Store for free (with available in-app purchases) here.