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15 Clever Little Hacks That Teachers Can Use

15 Clever Little Hacks That Teachers Can Use

Teaching is a hard job. After four weeks of it, I now believe that teachers do have special talents. In these four weeks, I delivered interactive workshops to young people across the southwest of the U.K. as a mission for a startup I work for. I came across a lot of what teachers come across every day and have gathered together a list of little hacks to make their jobs a little easier.

1. It’s all in the palms.

One thing that we teach students is body language, and you will be surprised how little tweaks in the way you hold yourself impact you. Your palms can be useful if you direct them towards the people you are talking to. If you keep your hands open with palms down this helps to communicate that you are certain about what you are talking about. You can let your hands speak for you.

2. Get students engaged with technology.

Smartphones and tablets can be useful if used in moderation. We got students engaged with using Google to search for certain things on their smartphones. This went well for the students, as utilizing their web-enabled phones is something that they do in the real world. They need resources at hand, literally. Try starting off with something as simple as suggesting each student research what happened on a particular date. There are many ways to use technology in the classroom, and taking advantage of the technology they have every day (i.e. smartphones) will make a huge impact.

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    3. Keep your tables relevant to your subject.

    You need to keep constant relevance with your work. If you teach science, you need to immerse yourself in science.

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    You need to create table labels with inspirations of that subject. For example, when teacing science you would have famous scientists (Einstein, Newton, Galileo) tables. For business, you would have famous entrepreneurs (Steve Jobs, Richard Branson, Jack Dorsey, James Dyson).

    This will help motivate the table to work together and be inspired along the way.

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      4. Always keep time focused, make sure they always see a timer

      With tasks you need to replicate the real world. For tasks greater than 10 minutes, add a timer on the board. This will push them to work towards deadlines. Start this from an early age and it will be very effective for their future. When they are in jobs, they will need to be very time focused. Simply type “Timer” into Google and one will pop-up.

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      Screenshot 2014-09-20 at 13.21.28

        5. Rules (hand in the air)

        Hands in the air is a fantastic tool for control. This may sound extremely simple, but being able to plaster your room with the rules can be a small gauge that can have massive impact.

        6. Use PicMonkey.com to create positive posters

        When you assign your students to create a poster or flyer, I would recommend using something a little different that doesn’t limit them. Free tools like PicMonkey can be very effective in coming up with beautiful designs.

        7.  Engage with your parents through email

        Use MailChimp to engage with the parents. MailChimp is a email tool that will allow you to set up a class newsletter. This is a great way to keep updating parents about important dates, homework and details. Many teachers send home notes in folders that can get lost in backpacks, or stuffed in pockets and run through the washer. Ensure the parents get their notes by putting them right in their email inbox.

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          8. Make a student opportunity board

          Organize one side of your wall to be a space for students to collaborate and promote opportunities to each other, like a community board. This will give students the chance to see key opportunities and dates to change their lives. This can also be a great way to engage with motivation posters (if you are so bold).

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          9. Inspire the entrepreneurs–the sweet sellers

          If you find sweets and price tags in a student’s bag, don’t get mad straight away. Instead, call them aside after the lesson and chat with them about how they won’t be able to sell sweets anymore, but they could run a new project/small business of their choice that is within the school boundaries. This will excite them and kick off their entrepreneurial side in a more valuable way.

          10.  Visualize the mission–use cool software

          Screenshot 2014-09-22 at 22.33.25

            There are so many great tools out there where you can visualize and map a class’s progress or the tasks over the week. One that I’ve found success with is Casual. It’s a nifty website that will allow you to organize events, dates and more. Try it out; it will impress you and get you organized.

            11. Use Evernote + their email feature

            Evernote is another one of those cool tools on the web and accessible on smartphones and tablets. Spread the word to your students. This will be a useful center for sending them information to work on and edit right away, like an on-the-go portfolio. See the Emailing guide from Evernote for more information.

            12. Use Noisedown app

            There is an app called Noisedown that helps monitor the decibels (sound) within the room. If the sound goes over its limit, it will alert the class that the noise is getting too loud and that they should lower the volume. It is very interactive for the students, as it becomes a “mini-mission” for them to work together to keep it below the alert tone. The app is free and easy to download.

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            13. Velcro on the carpet

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              I found this tip on BuzzFeed. Velcro on carpets will help to distinguish seating positions, a great and cheap way to keep order. You can also place Velcro on the carpet, have the children stand in a circle, and use different colors to divide the children into groups (all blues together, all greens together, etc.).

              14. Start with a joke

              To help keep your students engaged, get a book of jokes. Read one aloud to your class every morning, or ask for your students to share their (clean and appropriate) jokes. Start the day with laughter and see the results.

              Check out these jokes if you need suggestions: http://www.prongo.com/jokes/index.asp.

              15. End with a quote

              Have a quote book and do the same. This is an awesome way to inspire the students before they head towards home.

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              To get you started, here is a great resource for finding inspirational quotes: http://www.inspirational-quotes.info

              Featured photo credit: the map/Sylwia Bartyzel via unsplash.imgix.net

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              Last Updated on June 1, 2021

              7 Signs That You’re Way Too Busy (And Need to Change That)

              7 Signs That You’re Way Too Busy (And Need to Change That)

              “Busy” used to be a fair description of the typical schedule. More and more, though, “busy” simply doesn’t cut it.

              “Busy” has been replaced with “too busy”, “far too busy”, or “absolutely buried.” It’s true that being productive often means being busy…but it’s only true up to a point.

              As you likely know from personal experience, you can become so busy that you reach a tipping point…a point where your life tips over and falls apart because you can no longer withstand the weight of your commitments.

              Once you’ve reached that point, it becomes fairly obvious that you’ve over-committed yourself.

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              The trick, though, is to recognize the signs of “too busy” before you reach that tipping point. A little self-assessment and some proactive schedule-thinning can prevent you from having that meltdown.

              To help you in that self-assessment, here are 7 signs that you’re way too busy:

              1. You Can’t Remember the Last Time You Took a Day Off

              Occasional periods of rest are not unproductive, they are essential to productivity. Extended periods of non-stop activity result in fatigue, and fatigue results in lower-quality output. As Sydney J. Harris once said,

              “The time to relax is when you don’t have time for it.”

              2. Those Closest to You Have Stopped Asking for Your Time

              Why? They simply know that you have no time to give them. Your loved ones will be persistent for a long time, but once you reach the point where they’ve stopped asking, you’ve reached a dangerous level of busy.

              3. Activities like Eating Are Always Done in Tandem with Other Tasks

              If you constantly find yourself using meal times, car rides, etc. as times to catch up on emails, phone calls, or calendar readjustments, it’s time to lighten the load.

              It’s one thing to use your time efficiently. It’s a whole different ballgame, though, when you have so little time that you can’t even focus on feeding yourself.

              4. You’re Consistently More Tired When You Get up in the Morning Than You Are When You Go to Bed

              One of the surest signs of an overloaded schedule is morning fatigue. This is a good indication that you’ve not rested well during the night, which is a good sign that you’ve got way too much on your mind.

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              If you’ve got so much to do that you can’t even shut your mind down when you’re laying in bed, you’re too busy.

              5. The Most Exercise You Get Is Sprinting from One Commitment to the Next

              It’s proven that exercise promotes healthy lives. If you don’t care about that, that’s one thing. If you’d like to exercise, though, but you just don’t have time for it, you’re too busy.

              If the closest thing you get to exercise is running from your office to your car because you’re late for your ninth appointment of the day, it’s time to slow down.

              Try these 5 Ways to Find Time for Exercise.

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              6. You Dread Getting up in the Morning

              If your days are so crammed full that you literally dread even starting them, you’re too busy. A new day should hold at least a small level of refreshment and excitement. Scale back until you find that place again.

              7. “Survival Mode” Is Your Only Mode

              If you can’t remember what it feels like to be ahead of schedule, or at least “caught up”, you’re too busy.

              So, How To Get out of Busyness?

              Take a look at this video:

              And these articles to help you get unstuck:

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              Featured photo credit: Khara Woods via unsplash.com

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