Best Teacher Hacks

Mrs P, teacher, blogger and creator of The Talkative Teacher website has put together some of her best ‘teacher hacks’ which we at Lesson Planned think every teacher should use!

Organisation: Topsy-Turvy Books

How to organise exercise books

Have a ‘team captain’ collect in the books for their table and then put them away ‘topsy-turvy’, i.e. each group’s book facing the opposite way to the group before’s. Makes giving out books super-quick! Mine even put them in the same order each time, so the team captain can just go straight to their books and take them to the desk.

Pencil Crayon Box Storage

Storage in the classroom

I have long wondered how to store spare stationary without making it inaccessible, until I unpacked a box of pencil crayons and realised I was left with the perfect thing! Now I can get to everything but it is still organised. It’s also really easy for the children to pop into the cupboard and replace a run-out pen without spending half the lesson routing through boxes or messing up my cupboard!


Displays: Window Pens

Classroom display ideas

I love these. My class love these. Everyone loves these! Windows are often a wasted space, as we don’t want to cover them and block out the light. Well, not any more! These make for a quick and easy display, easily changed and with little or no preparation required. One of the faves in our class, is the ‘Grammar Graffiti’ window, on which children write and correct spoken grammatical errors. This may sound a little mean, but we make a game of it and children often make mistakes deliberately so they can write on the window! What kind of teacher encourages children to make mistakes?! Me!! The fact that they are making a mistake on purpose means that they know it is a mistake, therefore, they learn that it is something to avoid. It sounds crazy, but it really does work – both spoken and written grammar has improved dramatically in my class since we started this. I also use window pens for collecting words that follow our focus spelling rule, word of the week (the children write their names around it when they have successfully used it).


Classroom display ideas

Don’t know why it took me so long to put 2 and 2 together – backing a WALL with PAPER = WALLPAPER! The discount bins at DIY shops are usually full of goodies. In this one, I created a 1940s living room for our WW2 topic, then after a couple of weeks, Blitzed it. The ‘bricks’ are also wallpaper – I’m thrilled with the result! There were lots of brickwork, wood, metal and other unusual effects and they aren’t at all expensive.

Fun & Games: Old Display Paper in the Playground

Fun lessons backing paper

I cringe every time I take down a display and throw the huge sheets of baking paper paper in the bin, but it’s not really good for much! It’s too tatty for another display and too big to store for ages hoping for another use. Recently, I had an idea – put it in the playground for them to doodle on!

Teaching & Learning: RAP Time

Feedback to challenge pupils Feedback to challenge pupils Feedback which challenges pupils

Sometimes, when marking, give them RAP activities. This stands for respond and progress – I give them corrections, reflection questions and challenges to move them on with their learning. Order a box of coloured pens, I chose purple, for them to use, so that you can see what they have added after marking. I also turn the corner of the page down if there is a RAP activity on it. We then have ‘RAP Time’ a couple of times a week for them to complete these activities. It’s also a great thing for them to do when they have finished an activity, but it is still moving them on.

If you liked these teacher hacks, please head to the incredibly useful Talkative Teacher website for more ideas, resources and general musings. You can also download all of here classroom resources here.