Teaching Tip Linky Party {Edited}

Happy Sunday to all of you.  This marks day 3 of my four-day weekend.  It's slipping through my fingers!  Luckily, I'm only going to teach for four more days and then I get the whole week of Thanksgiving off.

You should hear my husband complain about the unfairness and unjustness and unequalness and all sorts of other un-things about this.  I just remind him that he has never sat in a child's urine before so there's no comparison, especially when he goes to two hour lunches almost every day.   

Today, I'm linking up with my BBFF Hadar over at Miss Kindergarten for a Teaching Tip Linky Party.

I am going to be stalking this linky for all the tips I can get.  I love tips.  Speaking of tips, I stalk Teacher Tipster a lot, too.  

My tip comes from Rick Morris.  He's a Management guru that I've never had the pleasure of meeting in person.  But I have read all four of his books and I visit his site often, too (nerd alert!).  I'm also pretty sure that this tip has been around for AGES.

However, I waited until about two years ago to implement it into my classroom.  Not because I'm stupid, oh no, just because I wanted to make sure there was enough research done to support its validity.  (That sounded good.)


Go back and reread that with an echo.


I have five tables.  Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue.  You could have numbered tables or more tables or whatever.  

Anyways, one person at each table is the captain.  The next day, it moves.

I use the Table Captains for all kinds of things.  

"Table Captains, please collect the blah blah blah."

"Table Captains, double check your tables and make sure no one left their lunch box, sweater, jacket, Angry Bird, string cheese,  bracelet, cell phone that they're too young to have, crayon, etc."

"Table Captains, please make sure everyone wrote their name now that we have sung (sang) the Name Song and I've asked everyone to write their names three trillion times and I've asked everyone to put a checkmark next to their name and I'm tired of finding one paper without their name on it and why do you all keep doing this to me?  Is it a conspiracy?"

The best part (for me) is Meaningless-Paper-Passing-Out-Management.  Or Passing-Out-Meaningful-Curriculum-Worksheets-Management.

After I have taught one of my amazing lessons on the carpet and my kids are practically exhausted from all the newfound knowledge that they possess, I follow up with the holier-than-thou curriculum worksheet that I'm told to follow up with.

I count out six worksheets (I have six kids at each table with the exception of one so I'm always messing up, but my kids know where to put the extras so it's okay and hey, I'm HUMAN.) and say, "Red Captain."

The Red Captain comes up and grabs the six papers while the rest of that table group heads back to their seats.  The Red Captain will pass out the papers at their table.

Then I count out six more papers and say, "Orange Captain."  The Orange Captain comes up and the rest of the table group goes to their seats.  Or I say, "Blue Captain."  Or whatever.  Just go down the line and ignore the kids who say you always call their table last.  (I don't.)

Did you notice that you don't have to have any student names memorized?  This helps when you try to call a student by the name of Melissa, and half-way through pronouncing her name, you realize you actually meant Sarah, but then it hits you that it's really Lilly, until later when you find out it was little Mike and he was in serious need of a hair cut.  

No names necessary.  Just shout out, "Table Captain!" and someone will come running.

It's also quick.

Unless someone forgets that they're the Table Captain.  Then I'm left holding a stack of papers and trying to stay awake.

My principal and assistant principal were patrolling one day when they saw the Amazing Paper Passing Out Management with their very own eyes.

What I really wanted to say was, "Move it along.  Nothing to see here."  (I mean, is it just me, or do they only come before or after I have done an incredible lesson with bells and whistles and applause?  Seriously?  You're walking through while I'm passing out papers??!!)

Instead, I said something along the lines of, "Oh, I'm so bummed.  You just missed all the newfound knowledge seeping into my students' brains."

They said something along the lines of, "Oh, no!  Pee-shaw!  THIS is wonderful!  Look at how smooth this is going.  What training!  What skill!  What a wonderful tool for Passing Out Curriculum Worksheets!  You should do an inservice on this!"

Or, at least that's how I've built it up in my head.  

To be clear, I know I was given a compliment.  

I'm pretty sure.

Anyways, I have these cool nametag desk holder plates that I got from Really Good Stuff and have blogged about before:

I made these little guys to have at each table.  I printed them on cardstock, laminated them, and they fit perfectly into the holder next to the nametags.  They do not fall over, either.  They're awesome AND they defy gravity. 

I also have generic ones in case you don't have Color Tables.

**EDITED:  I added a Purple Table Captain Bear for Rebecca and anyone else who might need it.  :)

Just click the pic to grab your free copy.  If you don't have the nametag holders, you could use a magnet for the side of the desk or tape or velcro or whatever.

So that's my super long post about a simple tip that probably should have taken me only ten words to tell you about, but took more than three thousand.  It's just my way.

What can I say?

Be sure to check out all the other tips over at Miss Kindergarten's! Or, if you have your own idea, link up!  :)


  1. I love your posts...they always make me smile. Enjoy your day off tomorrow. I'll be busy holding parent-teacher conferences...after the school day ends...all week long. I know you're jealous.
    ;) Wendy

    Read with Me ABC

  2. Love, love, love this!!! And did I tell you that I've met Rick Morris IRL?? Several times?? Thanks for linking up bestie :)

  3. Great!
    An Open Door
    P.S. I did it! A one word comment! Hurrah for me! Oh ... wait ... now I am going over my one word limit. Maybe next time!

  4. I know! I do the same thing and I call it, "Table Leaders!" It works SOOO great! Hard to believe not everyone does it, right? Well, now that you've told them, I'm sure there will be a lot more! Love your blog and your thousands of words! :)

  5. I love it! I have very simliar nametag holders that my wonderful father in law made me, so these work perfect! Thanks so much for the tip!
    Second Grade is Out of This World

  6. Oh my gosh! You are hilarious! It never ceases to amaze me that they haven't figured out that they should write their name on their papers when they get them. Or after my first ten reminders.

    I will have to adapt this for my fifth graders. It will cut down on the foot traffic in my room. I used to have different colored squares on the desks so I could call out a color (red desk, blue desk, etc.), but of course the squares were picked off within the first few weeks of school.

    Enjoy your time off. I have a full week and two days the next week :(

    Fifth in the Middle

  7. I also have Table Captains! Except I call them Table Stars and we rotate once a week! ;)
    A Cupcake for the Teacher

  8. I love this! I started using "Table Helpers" last year. They changle weekly instead of daily, but I only have four students at a table. Should we feel guilty for making our kiddos work so hard?? :)

    Adventures in First with Mrs. Key

  9. I use table captains also except I only change them once a week. My classroom is ocean themed so I attach a fish on the back of the table captains chair so they can't lose it!! Every Monday the child with the fish moves it to the next student's seat!!

    Love your blog,

  10. I've never done table captains - maybe I should. Hmmm....food for thought....


    Crisscross Applesauce in First Grade

  11. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE can you also make a table captain bear for my purple table!?!? PLEASE!

  12. I too, have met Rick Morris, IRL, and handed him my hard earned cash for a few things from his awesome stash of goodies! :D

    Good tip!

  13. I LOVE reading your blog. It makes me laugh out loud Every time. Did you know you had such power over someone on the other side of the world??? Keep 'Em coming,
    From Emma in Australia

  14. Thanks for the cute table captains- love 'em! I look forward to reading your blog- always great ideas and fun to read.... so be feel free to create or blog or something exciting on your day off:-)

  15. Okay, my K/1/2 team (small school, combo-central...ugh...) is beginning to ALL come around to gold tags! THANK YOU! I see maintenance of "Friday folders" going away and allowing me to enjoy my Friday lunch again! ha!
    Table captains...LOVE it. I have a daily worker to run errands, first in line, blah blah, but to have someone daily in charge of getting the others in the group to clean up/have names on papers/generally boss their classmates around legally is pure genius!
    Thanks again! OH...and I have my music box but am not going to use it unless it's a rainy day schedule at school...San Diego hasn't had one yet since I bought it! ;)

    Patty So

  16. I love the idea of table captains! Anything that takes some work off me and gives the kids more responsibility!

    Don't Let The Teacher Stay Up Late

  17. Best tip! Thank you! I am starting out blogging. I linked to your post in a post of mine. Hope that's ok!?!


  18. This is an AWESOME TIP. I'm starting this TOMORROW!

  19. I love this idea....I do something similar only my name is not so clever...table helper and since we are the jungle jammer each table is named a jungle animal. I love the way you write by the way had me laughing through the whole thing and not afraid to say what we are all thinking, ha ha! Liz

  20. I found your blog on the linky from Miss Kindergarten. Your blog is a.dor.a.ble. It cracks me up! I am your newest follower! Thanks for the smiles!


  21. I'm SO happy to hear that you mess up on their names too!! I thought it was because I was getting old but then I remember that my mom sometimes called me by the dog's name. I love the idea of table captains and I'm starting them tomorrow!

  22. Your blog is A-Mazing! I found you through the linky party and I love your Table Captain idea! I too have Prop and Parks from Really Good Stuff and I LOVE them! The little team captains will fit perfect! Thank you for the great ideas and inspiration. It is a pleasure to meet a fellow teacher with so much LOVE for first grade! I am your newest follower!
    Happy Thanksgiving!

    Ms. Marciniak's First Grade Critter Cafe

  23. Sounds interesting. I 'll try to attend it. Looks like you are a specialist on this because you just made it so easy to be with you, motivated me to learn more on the subject!
    Pre School In India

  24. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.