Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Tuesday Teaching Tips

So . . . I'm trying something new.  I'm starting a new series called "Tuesday Teaching Tips".  After 11 years of teaching there are some things that I've learned (either through trial and error or from other great teachers) that help make teaching a little smoother.  That's what Tuesdays will be all about!  You'll find that some of these tips are pretty simple, some you might already do, and some may make you say, "Duh!  Why didn't I think of that?"  For real though - I've said that last one so many times!

For my first Tuesday Teaching Tip I'm going to expose one of my obsessions/addictions.  Are you ready for it?

Mailing Labels!

What's the big deal about mailing labels?  Their versatility, stickability, printability . . . useability!  (I know.  I think I made up lots of words there.)  

You can be sure that one of the first things I order with my teaching supply money (if you get any of that from your school) are those packs of mailing labels that you can send through your printer.  Not only can it save you time, but it also gives you the chance to cutesy things up with fonts and graphics if you choose.  I personally am not a huge fan of my own handwriting, so this works great for me!

At the beginning of the year I print sheets of labels with the students' first name (3), first and last name (3), and name labels for each notebook and folder (ex.: Terry's Math Journal, Terry's Friday Folder, Terry's Writing Notebook, etc.).  I use the basic name labels for things like workbooks, mail center slots, and crayon boxes.  Just peel and stick!

Here's a list of different ways I use the labels on the computer.  Most times I save these files just in case I need them again, and sometimes it gives me a basic template to alter and reprint for different purposes.
  1. Labeling notebooks, folders, workbooks (anything)
  2. Field Trip student stickers (student name, teacher name, school name, school phone number) in case someone gets separated from the group
  3. Reminder/notes home to parents in the daily notebook (Print a page of the same message and stick into daily communication notebook.  "Curriculum Night Tonight at 7:00pm!  See you there!")
  4. Students' personal New Year's Resolution reminders stuck to desks
  5. Name tags for Specials teachers in the beginning of the year
  6. Grouping students
Now this next part has really revolutionized the way I monitor students-

Aside from sending these labels through the printer for endless purposes I also always keep a sheet of blank labels on a clipboard that I use throughout the day.   I jot down notes regarding individual students during Guided Reading, Guided Math, small group times, individual conferences, etc.  These notes can be either positive or negative.  Just write the student name, date and anecdotal note for whatever subject or behavior.  I keep binders for Reading, Writing, Math, and behavior with a section for each student inside.  This is where I keep anecdotal records, files, assessments and the like so that I can go back and review student progress.  This is especially helpful during parent conferences and RTI.  It can be particularly impressive to the parents and administrators when they see that you keep such detailed records. At the end of the day (or week) just peel off the labels and stick them in the appropriate binder on the student's page.  As you accumulate these notes you'll be able to see progress for students or patterns that may raise concern.  Sometimes you might notice a gap in dates from your notes and avoid letting a student slip through the cracks. 

(I really wish now that I had saved the contents of my notebooks to take a picture and give you a visual, but I've already disseminated them and filed away the pages of labels in student files for their teachers for next year in case they want to see how the student performed last year!)

Here's a link to a previous post I wrote a while ago.  I have a template for Writing Workshop Conferring labels you can use in this post.  Click here to check it out!

Trust me.  The system works and it's great!  Give it a try and play around with it.  You may find a variation that works better for you.  I know some teachers that keep a notebook on each student with a section for each subject in it.  Maybe that will work better for you to put your labels in.  I just stick them on a plain page of notebook paper inside my binders.  Easy peasy!

Now go stock up on some mailing labels!!!


  1. I too have developed a love for Avery Labels...school money...ha ha in our district, but last year staples and/or office max had deals that ended up being large boxes for just a penny...okay you paid the full amount, but got it back on your rewards certificates!...I love the online Avery design tool!
    The Apple Basket Teacher

  2. Wow! Sounds like you found a great deal! I've never tried their online design tool. Looks like I'm going to have to check it out!


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