Save Yourself Some Merry Little Minutes

It's that time of year when everything is rushed, there are at least a million things on the to-do list, and time just flies past at an alarming rate. I am absolutely in love with Thanksgiving through Christmas, but whew! It can be so stressful and jam-packed!

I am gathering with some of my upper-elementary blogging buddies to bring you some time-saving tips to hopefully keep you a bit more organized in your classroom during this busy season!

"Magic 3" Line Behavior

My tip is something many of you may already have in place, but it's worth emphasizing this time of year when there are special assemblies, more time indoors because of the winter weather, and just general holiday squirreliness!

When we line up in our class, we always line up by the door in number order (read more about that system HERE) with the exception of my Line Leader in the front and Caboose at the end. We have three expectations for our class line:

  1. Facing forward
  2. Zero voice level (Read more about Voice Levels HERE)
  3. Hands at your side or one hand holding up a "zero" as a visual reminder of Voice Level

We call this our "Magic 3" and if I ever need to remind anyone, I simply say, "Magic 3" and they can make the necessary adjustments. I will then have my Line Leader and Caboose give each other a thumbs up when they see the entire line showing Magic 3, and we can then leave to go to our specials, assembly, etc.

If I (or the Line Leader) notice that we are losing our Magic 3 focus in the hallway, I will have them stop at a certain spot and we can recommit to Magic 3. Again, all I have to say is, "Magic 3" and my Line Leader and Caboose will once again give the thumbs up when they see those behaviors up and down our class line.

This time-saving tip has helped in numerous ways!

  • First, I am not having to lecture over and over in the class, the hallway, and in between any transition. Nothing is less effective than me yammering on about the importance of quiet in the hallway!! 
  • Second, I am having kids take the lead with my Line Leader and Caboose so I am not the one determining when we leave. Sometimes I think they are more strict than I am! 
  • Last, we have built in some incentives (and consequences) for how well we can keep our Magic 3 in the hall as well as how quickly we can get into Magic 3 in our classroom. Anything from an extra minute or two of recess/free choice time/tech free choice time, to losing a minute can be the biggest motivator. I am all about extra time and not food or stickers or something tangible I'll have to remember to buy and distribute this time of year (Ain't nobody got time for that!!)! Just an extra minute or two? Now that I can handle!

I hope this gave you some ideas of a way to save time, energy and sanity this holiday season (and all year long!).

More Upper-Elementary Bloggers Share Their Tips

Be sure to visit your other favorite bloggers to read about their time-saving tips and enjoy this festive start to your holiday season! Happy tip-gathering!!


  1. love it! I just ask for a feet check... but I like changing it up! Magic 3! Love it!

  2. I have something similar (as far as a saying so as to cut the whole big blah blah in the hall), but I LOVE the idea of having the students determine the line's readiness!!

    Thanks for the idea!

  3. Love this idea! I also started doing "mystery leaders" and picking a child at random (and not telling the class who it is) and giving the child bonus points in the classroom if they made a quiet trip. It usually makes all the kids stay so silent since they don't know who the selected person is! :)

  4. So simple and so easy--and so much better than the usual lengthy reminders!! I love it Stephanie, thank you!

  5. I love your easy reminder of magic 3! Two words and you could have the perfect line! Not only would this help me save time, but also my voice from all of the reminders! Thanks for sharing such a great idea!

  6. I love the Magic 3 idea! This is quick and effective. I am with you on the no candy or stickers. I like my kids having experiences, not things. Thanks for a new idea!

    The Positive Teacher

  7. This is a great idea! It's simple, yet effective....and those are the types of tips that truly do save time! Thanks a bunch!

  8. I bet they're the stars of the hallway. :) We also do a "mystery walker" in our line. If that friend keeps it together the whole way to our destination, I give everyone high fives on the way in the door.