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Easiest classroom management tip ever! Use that trusty old timer and be prepared to be amazed at the magic that happens!

The Magic of Using a Timer in the Classroom

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Easiest classroom management tip ever! Use that trusty old timer and be prepared to be amazed at the magic that happens!
Ok… so how many of you have “pokey puppies” in your room?  I believe that was everyone who raised their hand! LOL! I’ve had 1 or 2 in the past…you know the ones who can’t seem to do anything in a quick AND orderly fashion?  Well this year, it seems like half my class falls into the pokey puppy category! No joke! There was just no sense of urgency with these kiddos and it was starting to eat into our valuable instruction time! I knew I had to tighten up our transitions! There’s just soooo much to do, and NEVER enough time to do it! Today, I’m going to share a little classroom management tip that really helped to speed things along!

Using a Timer

I introduced the use of my timer during our transition times…
Now, I couldn’t just be a “time-minder” and hassle my kiddos about their lack of time awareness, so I set out a challenge.  Each time I pulled out my timer orstopwatchh, I always started with a challenge.
“Do you think we can clean up and be ready for centers in 2 minutes?”
“How long do you think it can take us to walk to P.E. today?”
“If you can pack n’ stack in less than 3 minutes, I’ll put a fuzzy in the jar”
Now that last one is the icing on the cake! I’ve always found you get more bees with honey, so offering a small yet effective reward seems to make the challenge that much sweeter!
So now my line looks like this…
My afternoon looks like this…
and my transition to centers looks like this…

Other suggestions for using a timer:


While playing a game like, “I Have, Who Has”
-Finding buddies for a partner activity
-Cleaning up centers
-Cleaning the floor
-Practicing math facts
-Lining up

A Visual Timer

Love this visual timer for my classroom. Keeps me and the kids moving throughout the day!


In addition to a handheld timer, I like to use this visual timer from Time Timer! (affiliate link) This big guy is perfect for keeping me and the students on time and moving forward. I love using this baby when we’re completing independent or group work. Those times usually seem to get away from me. If I’m not helping students I’m running around getting stuff ready for a future lesson. Setting this timer reminds me and the students with the amount of time we have left to complete an assignment (or prep!) I know it’s low tech, but it keeps me from having to give up use of my computer for a classroom timer!


High Tech Timer

this online timer from online-stopwatch.com is a great tool for the digital classroom

Wanting something a little more high-tech? Or maybe you don’t need to use your computer while your students are working? Online-stopwatch.com has a HUGE variety of timers! From stopwatch style to egg timers, this website literally has it all! You can count down or up!

Hopefully this little classroom management trick will help you wrangle in those slow movers and help you take back your instructional time!
 Oh the magic of a timer in your classroom. Love this classroom management trick for cleaning up transitions, speeding up activities, and wrangling lines!


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Hi, I'm Leigh.

The Applicious Teacher is all about creating hands-on and engaging lessons that align with the standards while still having time for your life. This is your place for ideas, tips, and resources for the REAL teacher!


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