Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Address Label Timesavers for Teachers: Guest Post from Kate's Classroom Cafe

Greetings upper elementary friends!  I'm Kate from Kate's Classroom Cafe and I'm thrilled to be visiting All Things Upper Elementary as a guest blogger today.

I can usually think of at least ten more things I wish I had time to share with my students before they walk out the door each day.  The pressure to keep pace with curricular goals, common core standards and looming test dates can make the day-to-day teaching routines seemingly jam-packed without a moment to spare.  Time…I sometimes just wish there was more time to teach!

One time-saving tool that I use in my classroom is mailing labels.  I make them in advance, keep them organized in folders in my file cabinet and seem to pull them out nearly every day.  Here are some of the ways that I use them in my classroom:

1) Planner Reminder Labels
Don't forget your science project is due Friday!  Please bring a new glue stick to class.  You have missing assignments from when you were absent.  These labels are very helpful for sending a quick message home with a student and I find that they really do help kids remember!  It is a good idea to mention these to parents an open house so that they know to peek into their child's planner for important information.  I keep whole sheets of them ready to go in my desk and have found them quite useful!

2) Rubric Labels
I can't believe I didn't think of this sooner.  Most of the grading I do is in science journals and for years I would print, cut and staple mini-rubrics into the composition notebooks.  Printing on labels has saved me a ton of time!  The downside is that the rubric is a bit smaller so it is not as detailed, but I find that posting a detailed version on the board works just fine.

3) QR Code Link Labels
Encourage students to review content at home using their smart phones and tablets.  (These could also be used in class if iPads are available.)  This particular label links students to an interactive website where they can practice completing food chains, which was a great way to reinforce the daily learning goal.

4) Explanation/Message Labels
A few years ago I decided to make labels for grading labs.  I often write a lot of comments but found it frustrating to write the same phrases over and over.   "Mass is the amount of matter in an object.  Think carefully about how the mass changes during this experiment."  If I wrote that one more time I was going to scream! Printing a sheet of labels will take me about 5 minutes, but it trims about an hour off my grading time.  I've now started making message labels of other things that I want to make sure I communicate to students, such as my willingness to give the extra help or a reminder to resubmit a no name paper.

5) Label Tabs and Numbers for Notebooks

Label Tabs:
Address labels make neat tabs for notebooks.  If you print on the left side of the label only, they can fold over and secure to any page.  I love these because they make finding specific pages a breeze and can be made in any size needed.  I haven't done these with my students though because folding them can be pretty tricky and would probably be difficult for my 6th graders.

Notebook Numbers:
Here's a quick way to label all your student journals.   Print 3 numbers on each label, trim and affix to the binding of each journal.  Numbering the journals in alphabetical order can be helpful when making groups or organizing while grading.  I suggest using clear tape over these labels, as they tend to not adhere well to the binding after repeated opening and closing.  

I hope you find labels as helpful as I do!  Here is a free page of planner reminder labels to help save you time in your classroom.

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Happy Teaching!


  1. What great, helpful information! OMG! I would never have thought to use address labels for anything other than mailing a letter. I absolutely LOVE the Rubric idea. That would save incredible amounts of time and make grading virtually any type of writing (like ISNs) easily gradable. Thanks for the great ideas!

  2. I have used address labels before but never in the ways you have described here!!! I love the rubric idea...maybe even using a larger size label to fit in everything you need? hmmm. Thanks for the great ideas!

    1. You are welcome! I like the idea of larger labels. They would be perfect for grading projects so that there would be room to be more detailed.

  3. Great ideas! Thanks for sharing!

  4. These are awesome ideas! Totally made me think about labels in a new way! Great post. :)

    1. Thank you! I'm glad that you were able to gather some ideas.

  5. Such great ideas! I love the QR codes one :)

    Mindful Rambles

  6. I have used labels in the past and I love them. You have some GREAT ideas that I never thought of!!! I especially like the labels you use when grading...that could shave lots of time off of grading my 6th grade English papers!!!!!

  7. My class always seems to "forget" a certain homework assignment on a certain day of the week. I used to write so many notes home in their notebooks, but since this post I typed up "oops" notes to stick in instead. I used it last week and even the kids thought that was cool! Thanks for saving me time with this idea. :D

  8. I have used a few of these ideas before but the QR code one is pure genius!! I will also be using the notebook label one. Thanks for all the great ideas!

  9. Ooh! Love me some labels, and these are some really smart ideas! How do you do the notebook tab one? Is it the same as the numbered notebooks one? That would make my life SO much easier. That's genius! Do you happen to have a template you'd be willing to share or directions?

    1. Hi Laurie,
      The notebook tab one is super simple. When you create a sheet of labels in MSWord only type on the left side of the label. If you look closely at the first picture under that section, you can see that the number 2 image and word glossary are only on the left side of the address label. How far left you keep your text depends on how big you want your tab to be. I also inserted light grey vertical lines (insert-picture-autoshapes) over the labels to help line each label up with the page and guide my fold so they wouldn't be crooked. I hope this helps!

  10. Thanks for all of the great comments about the labels! They truly are a timesaver and can be customized in so many ways. I'm thrilled that so many people stopped by to read this post :)

  11. Thanks for this amazing information!!!!!!! I am so going to start using these ideas.


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