Apps, Websites Ease Teachers’ Back-to-School Workload

By Rob Klindt

Every teacher should be prepared for the back-to-school season. As soon as students tumble back into the classroom after a summer away from studies, everything should already be in place to ensure a smooth transition into the new school year.

Among the things teachers should have ready on the first day of school are a functional classroom layout, a good seating arrangement and a plan for effective classroom management. Also important are complete lesson plans and a versatile attendance tracker.

While pulling all those classroom elements together quickly may seem a herculean task to new teachers, help is available. The Internet is awash with software, apps and downloadable tools that every teacher can use to streamline the process.

 Classroom Layout

  • Class Set-up Tool helps teachers design custom classroom spaces with a few clicks of a mouse.

    The Web-based Class Set-Up Tool lets teachers design custom classroom spaces with just a few clicks of a mouse.

    Class Set-Up Tool. This nifty virtual layout tool helps teachers design customized classroom spaces using moveable icons for desks, windows, computers, bookcases and more. And best of all, until it’s time to really start moving furniture, there’s no heavy lifting involved. Free.
    Visit the site

  • Seating Chart Tool. Classroom seating charts are easy to make with this Web-based tool, which is compatible with iPads and all major Web browsers. The printable charts can be customized with student names and photos, and they can be quickly updated when needed. Free.
    Visit the site

Student Attendance


  • PowerSchool. This versatile Web-based program lets teachers track student attendance, assignments, grades and extra credits. The customized results can be posted for parents to view at home. Fee-based with free apps for parents and students.
    Visit the site
  • MyAttendanceTracker. This simple and secure attendance-tracker tool can be customized for any size group and data from it can be imported into an Excel file or printed as a PDF document. Reports can be viewed by class or by individual students. Free.
    Visit the site

 Lesson Plans

  • Lesson Plans Page. Teachers will find more than 4,000 lesson plans for grades pre-K to 12 in subjects ranging from math and science, to English Language Arts and social studies. A growing number of  these lesson plans are aligned with the Common Core State Standards.  Visit the site
  • Planboard. This Web-based organizational tool is designed specifically for teachers and includes 500 megabytes of storage. Users can easily upload and streamline lessons, plan class activities and even track student progress in Common Core State Standards subjects. Free.
    Visit the site
  • Core Planner. With just a click of a mouse, this online tool helps teachers integrate and track Common Core State Standards for math and English into their K-12 lesson plans. The program also lets users set class goals for each subject and track progress throughout the school year. Free.
    Visit the site

Classroom Management

  • Busy Teacher’s Café. This website offers a treasure trove of printable template forms designed to help teachers streamline routine paperwork needed to keep a busy K-6 classroom running smoothly. Templates include calendars, class checklists, student absentee notes and homework charts. Free.
    Visit the site
  • TeacherKit. This handy app is almost as good as having a teacher’s assistant. It takes care of routine classroom management tasks like tracking student behavior, grades and attendance with aplomb. It’s designed for iPhone and IPad users. Free.
    Visit the site

With the right amount of planning and classroom setup, teachers can create a welcoming back-to-school environment that’s conducive to learning and sets a positive tone for the rest of the school year.