How to improve time management in your classroom

6 min

9 tips to make the most of your class time and take control of the clock

Getting a grip on time is one of the most challenging things when you're teaching. One moment, you have plenty of time, and you decide to help some more students, but suddenly the lesson is about to end, and you should have started tidying up long ago. This happens to all teachers, no matter how experienced you are. But how can you prevent it?

With the following 9 tips, you can make the most of your class time and take control of the clock.

1: Know where you can be flexible

Good time management in the classroom isn't just about starting and finishing class activities on time. Often, flexibility is required during a lesson. If you know what your priorities are, you also know where you can be flexible. For example, if you want to prioritize a classroom discussion, you don't want to end it just because the scheduled time for that class activity is over. It's better to skip an activity of lower priority and allocate more time to the valuable discussion. When you prepare your lesson, make sure to highlight your priorities.

2: Make your lesson plan visible

It is important to clearly communicate your objectives and schedule to the students at the beginning of the lesson. This can help motivate students and make them understand what is expected of them. Having your schedule on your screen and even ticking items off as class goes on will help everyone keep track of progress.

When planning a lesson, try to estimate how long each lesson component will take. Discuss it with colleagues to see how they estimate it. Sometimes, students may work at a completely different pace than you initially estimated. The time of day, the day of the week, the time of year, and the preceding activity all influence student effectiveness.

Our Timetable widget is ideal for communicating your lesson or plan, because it shows how much time is allocated to each task. At the same time, this widget provides flexibility by easily extending or shortening an activity by a couple of minutes.

If things go completely different from your initial plan, switch to checklist mode to disregard time indications completely.

3: Implementing differentiation in your classroom

When your students have significant differences in pace, differentiation is your answer. Differentiation is a pedagogical approach where you adapt lessons to the individual needs of your students. Consider implementing more differentiation by offering different levels of assignments or additional materials for faster and slower workers. A second timetable with a checklist for extra work can be the solution. Faster workers can proceed with their extra work, which includes enrichment or extension.

4: Set clear deadlines

A deadline creates focus and urgency. It has probably happened to you as well that you weren't productive at all, but just before the deadline, suddenly everything falls into place, and you can work super effectively. This works for students too. Our countdown timer is very effective tool to visualize the deadline.

In Classroomscreen, there are two different timers you can use:

  • The regular timer displays the countdown clock and gives you flexibility at the same time. You can subtract or add minutes or seconds with the + and - buttons.
  • The visual timer displays the remaining time in a clear and visual manner using a colored disk that slowly disappears as time passes. This makes it easy to understand the remaining time at a glance.


Keep in mind that some students may perceive a countdown timer as negative stress. These students might need some extra attention in learning to deal with time pressure.

5: The subtle alarm clock

Sometimes it's better not to use a timer but a clock, for example during a test. With a timer, you see time decreasing every second, which can sometimes cause unnecessary stress. Because a test already creates enough stress for students, it's unwise to add this stress element. A clock is more neutral and, therefore, a better option. If you don't need any further distractions, put the clock in spotlight mode.

So, how do you make sure you're not caught off guard by the bell? The clock has a built-in alarm function. Set an alarm for 10 or 15 minutes before the end of the class as a standard practice. A simple ping sound subtly alerts you that the final phase of the lesson has started, allowing you to act.

6: Countdown to big events

With the help of our Event Countdown widget, big holidays like Christmas are never too far away! From Halloween to the summer holidays, it will keep you and your students aware of where you are in the semester.

7: Evaluate your lesson to help shape the next one

At the end of the lesson, take a moment to evaluate what went well and what didn't. Adjust your lesson plan for the next time based on your students' feedback. With the Poll widget, you can easily check whether your students have completed their assignments and understood the topic. Use the results as input for your next lesson preparation. This way, you can determine whether you need to allocate more time for assignments or for explaining a topic.

8: Give the brain a break

Letting students have a break from focusing on the task at hand is a great way to not only keep them engaged in the classroom, but also to help with time management. If there is a scheduled brain break, especially one that the students look forward to, it increases their desire to stay on task and finish a set assignment rather than get distracted by others.

You can embed YouTube videos and other websites directly into your Classroomscreen, so you don't need to change tabs.

9: Organize your class materials in advance

Sometimes, timing is key. When you just need that one video or quickly need to create groups for an assignment, you don't want to spend class time searching for the right resources. All these resources and tools are available within Classroomscreen. Organize your classroom materials in advance so you can switch quickly when needed to keep your lesson running smoothly.

Re-use the same screens to save prep time. Our Pro subscription allows you to save your screens. Try Pro for free in our 14-day trial.

Reach out

Did any of these tips help you or do you have others to suggest? Reach out to us on social media so we can continue the conversation with our teaching community!

About Classroomscreen

Classroomscreen is a class management tool that gives you the freedom to build your perfect screen for your students; pick your background or upload your own, then add helpful widgets like an alarm clock, randomized name generator and much more!

With our time-tracking tools, personalized options, and interactive features, we aim to empower teachers to master time management and unlock the full potential of their classrooms.

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