Creating a calm, tidy, inviting environment in your classroom can be a challenge. Books, folders, papers, everyday supplies, manipulatives, arts and crafts materials, and games all need to be corralled yet easily accessible in the confines of one room. It’s a big task, but these easy tips and tricks can help you organize your classroom quickly!
10 Classroom Organization Ideas
- Whether you’re setting up your classroom at the beginning of the year, or reorganizing mid-term, take a mindful moment to close your eyes and envision your ideal classroom. What words do you use to describe it? Do you see lots of color-coding and cute, decorative touches, or a space that’s more practical and minimalist? Having a clear, compelling, concrete vision in mind will keep you motivated throughout the process!
- Storage solutions and a few key furniture pieces are essential to having “a place for everything, and everything in its place.” Make sure you have enough bookshelves and file cabinets. Mount wall shelves and hooks so you can take advantage of vertical space (ask for permission first.) Sturdy plastic tubs with lids are versatile and stackable. Many stores now offer these in holiday themed colors—wait until after Christmas or Halloween and scoop these up at clearance prices!
- Storage tubs can also be great for putting a physical limit on the amount of craft materials you keep on hand. Do you know organizers encourage people to declutter their homes by giving all sorts of old items—from half used paints to tiles to toilet paper tubes—to teachers? To keep clutter to a minimum in your own classroom, designate one or two tubs for these materials and feel free to say “no thank you” to any further donations you don’t really want.
- Take advantage of technology to cut down on paper clutter. Use projectors to project student or group work onto a screen, turning desktop projects into interactive opportunities. Then, take photos and videos of the work to save or upload to your class website or virtual learning network.
- You can tame paper clutter and be eco-friendly in low-tech ways too. Use write and wipe supplies to turn every page into a reusable learning activity. Create big, bold signs that allow you to label learning centers and keep activities organized.
- Be sure to set up your own desk just the way you like it, with space for grading student work, an area where you can sit and work with a student one-on-one, and even a designated area for your favorite water cup or mug. Your own clear, tidy desk will be an inspiration to your students.
- Label the pockets of an organization station with each student’s name, so they’ll know where to turn in homework, collect handouts, or correspond with you. This can result in a good deal of saved time and effort.
- Display a daily schedule and let everyone know what’s coming next. Keep it up for a substitute or use it to head off confusion when schedules change.
- Speaking of substitutes…making a folder for your sub will come in very handy. Make sure to include:
- a document to tell which students sit where
- a schedule of your week (when music is, what time lunch is, etc…)
- an explanation of what you do for classroom management
- a list of teachers that can be helpful and what room they are in
- extra worksheets
- anything else you can think of…
- Keep in mind that there’s a relationship between time and tidiness. If your schedule is too packed, you won’t have time to return everything to the areas you’ve so carefully designated.
What are some things you’ve done to organize your classroom? Share them with us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
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