3 Timesaving Tips To Try Today

As our schedules get more and more full with classes, professional development, clubs, and collaboration, it’s hard not to feel overwhelmed and crunched for time!  I’d like to share three easy organizational strategies that you can implement today to save time and help prevent last-minute, frantic prepping. I have cupboards sorted by grade, with shelves sorted by class, but this setup isn’t necessary for the first two tips!



Tip 1: Store work from each class in a folder 

I actually make TWO folders for each class, one for current projects and another for completed projects.  I generally save projects to take home at the end of the year in individual portfolios for each student, so my ‘completed projects’ folder allows for organized storage. It also allows me to easily select pieces for art shows.  I have seen folder sorting done differently in different schools.  For example, one of my colleagues provides a folder for each table group in each class, making passing back projects a breeze.  However you decide to implement it, class folders definitely keep you organized and save time!



Tip 2: Have a box or tub with essential lesson supplies for each grade

I store these right with my class folders for easy access.  The boxes contain items necessary to teaching a grade’s current project.  Items might include Davis vocabulary cards, special paper or supplies, books, rubrics, project examples, and anything else that may be relevant to project facilitation.  It’s important that each box only contains the teaching tools you need for the specific lesson the grade is currently doing.  I generally don’t store the materials being used like paints, colored pencils, pastels, etc. because those are easily accessible to students in my room.  I have art room jobs in place (that I will talk about at the AOE Winter Conference), that allow students to take responsibility for getting their own supplies ready.  In the rare occasion that one class is way behind or way ahead, I just grab an extra box lid for supplies.  To prep for a class, I simply pull out the supply box and that class’s folder and I’m set to go!  Note: This is especially helpful when I am traveling to my second school – I just put the supplies necessary from each box in my giant bag, and don’t feel as lost or unprepared!



Tip 3:   Keep specific plans

With back-to-back classes, it’s difficult to remember to keep your plans up-to-date, or to remember what step or discussion point you are on with a class.  Therefore, I encourage you to sit for a few minutes when you get a break and write down specific notes.  Looking at the projects can also help jog your memory.  I know everyone is different as far as preferences for keeping plans, but I have found it most efficient to keep my plans digitally in a calendar on Microsoft Word. I can easily enter, delete, copy, paste, and make special notes much quicker than I could doing it all by hand. My cooperating teacher created the basic template in Word by inserting a table and playing around with the settings.  I added the color coding for each grade level. I even keep both my school’s plans in one document so I have some sense of continuity.


These strategies have saved me precious time, and really don’t take much effort to set up and implement.  Once in place, you may feel a renewed sense of sanity!

I’m excited to share even more time-saving strategies at the AOE Online Winter Conference 2014. Be sure to check it out!

What is your best time-saving trick? 

How do you prepare for each class throughout the day? We’d love to hear!



Alecia Eggers Kaczmarek


Alecia is an elementary art teacher in central Iowa who is passionate about teaching and reaching her students with an innovative and meaningful arts education.


  • Chris

    In addition to the great tips Alecia wrote, at the elementary, I have general supplies in color coded containers for each table. Then it is fast & easy to get the supplies on the tables, or have the students do it. So, for example, there are yellow containers for pencils, crayons, scissors, colored pencils and glue. They go on the yellow table. A big paintbrush with yellow hangs above the table and a laminated piece of yellow construction paper is taped to the table.

    • Alecia Eggers

      Chris, I have a very similar strategy for my elementary room! It makes it so easy! Each table red, yellow, blue, green (designated by the color of chairs around the table) – have their own designated pencil/sharpener, eraser basket, and my other supplies are easily accessible on my “materials shelf” for them to pass out themselves. Thanks for sharing with us!

  • Beth Carter

    I would love to set up can calendar like yours in Word. Could you offer suggestions on how to do it or provide the blank template?

    • Alecia Eggers

      Absolutely! You can e-mail me at [email protected] and I will happily send you a template in word. What is the most number of classes you have in a day?

      • Beth Carter

        That is so nice. I did go into Calendars and made one!

  • Darla Chapman-Speelman

    i know you’ve said it before but ORGANIZATION is the best time-saver! i am fortunate to have a room, not a cart. all my supplies are organized by discipline in cabinets/areas of the room: drawing, painting, ceramics, etc… i save copy paper box tops or soda flats to store project parts/plans/special materials in and in my storage closet, the boxes are arranged on shelves by grade level with a small picture of the project on the label facing out.

    • Alecia Eggers

      Love, love, love it!! I love the sense of community – we could all teach each other a few tips and tricks! Be sure to watch for my organization presentation on the Online Winter Conference! :)

  • Christina Cope

    I was interested in this and I went down the list and realize I do all of these. In my class room I have a wall of cubbies that are labels K-5. Each class whom I see by teacher,they have a color coded folder (i.e all Monday teachers are pink) and one table is assigned to pick up everyone’s work and put it in their class folder. I have a kidney table which I put a polka dot table cloth on and all of the supplies for K-5 are out so i just have to remind kids for the first month and they know where to get everything on their own. I have a blank schedule similar to the digital one which I use when figuring out what lesson I will do for the week, then as that weeks lesson goes on I make note in a different color so that I know how far we got in the lesson and if I have to stretch it for another week. I have been teaching at my school for 5 years and this is the first year I have enough space to do something like this and it helps TREMENDOUSLY on time and having to repeat things. It provides structure for both myself and my students.

  • hievn24

    Recently I was extremely low on cash and debts were eating me from all sides! That was UNTIL I decided to make money on the internet! I went to surveymoneymaker dot net, and started filling in surveys for cash, and surely I’ve been far more able to pay my bills!! I’m so glad, I did this.. With all the financial stress these years, I really hope all of you will give it a chance. – f5ij

  • ArtsyAlexa

    I have a shelf space for each class’ artwork. Since I teach 6 grades a day I keep a daily comments sheet. It tells me how far each class got in their project and if there were and behavior issues I had to handle. It is also where I write down the star artist of every class. it allows me to look back and see who has been star artist already.

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