Around this time of year, teachers are thinking about classroom organization. How they can tame the chaos that has overtaken their classrooms or areas of their classrooms? And how to make everything more efficient?
If you are like me, chaos or disorganization keeps me from my best. It is distracting and my classes don’t work as efficiently as they could. Plus, it just drives me crazy! Lol. I really like to have a place for everything and everything in it’s place. But to be honest, with back to back classes all day, there is little time for organizing as I go. So setting up systems before classes is a huge help to keeping things organized and the clutter down to a minimum. Or smaller piles anyway!
TIP #1 is especially for guided reading.
PROBLEM: I like to keep running record sheets and anecdotal records on my clipboard or notebook ready to go. But I sometimes run out. Or I can’t find my pens or calculation sheets.
SOLUTION: This storage clipboard still allows me the functionality of a clipboard, but I can also store all my running record sheets, anecdotal records, and calculation sheets without having to go find them. And I am always losing my pencils (I lay them down and the kids think they are theirs) so I can keep them in there along with timers too.
TIP #2 is great for table groups.
PROBLEM: Paperwork for table groups can be a messy disaster. Hard to collect the papers or handout papers in an organized system.
SOLUTION: This wall organizer can be a great way for one person at each table to turn in all their work. Or you can place copies for the day into each folder and have one person from each group pick up and hand out the pages to their group.
TIP #3 is great for storing copies of anything commonly used in class.
PROBLEM: Kids are always running out of the pages we commonly use in our Readers Notebooks or graphic organizers for writing.
SOLUTION: Make extra copies, have students fill the file with the copies and as they run out of the pages they need, they can go to the file to get more! Anytime you can switch over the responsibility to the students it is a win for both of you. You save time and they build responsibility.
TIP #4 is to use hall passes on lanyards.
PROBLEM: Several students are out of class at one time and it is hard to keep track of who went where. AND GermX bottles get gross! Plus, at many schools we have hand sanitizer on the walls so there is not as much of a need for the bottles.
SOLUTION: Use plastic cards on lanyards! These do not get as messy and nasty. You can have the student hang these on a hook with their name before they go out the door. And you can easily wipe the cards down with a cleaner!
TIP #5 is for storage of curriculum, units, and modules.
PROBLEM: Too much paperwork and units to have out at one time.
SOLUTION: Use storage boxes when you can. Divide the curriculum or units into workable parts, label the boxes and keep them together neatly stacked. This way you can get out one at a time. I love boxes like these even for home. I like to keep all my taxes and paperwork for taxes in boxes like these. Makes is so much easier to find what you are looking for when you need it.
TIP #6 is for literacy center storage.
PROBLEM: You have centers everywhere and pieces everywhere. Skills are mixed in with other skills in centers.
TIP #7 is for the dreaded teacher desk mess!
PROBLEM: Your teacher desk is always a mess.
SOLUTION: Use organizational items to help you keep your desk tidier. Post It pads and papers are what tend to clutter my desk the most. Having trays to contain the piles is a huge help! Also, don’t wait to file those papers. Do it right away- you’ll thank me for that!
TIP #8 is great for tables!
PROBLEM: Math manipulatives, colored pencils, center pieces, etc are a pain for storage and handing out to students.
SOLUTION: Use zippered bags! I use bags for colored pencils in my class, magnetic letters, reading toolkits, etc…
TIP #9 is for sight words, special class times, and announcements.
PROBLEM: You run out of room for posting sight words or vocabulary words. Or you want a special way to display announcements.
SOLUTION: Use a letter board to bring more attention to what you are posting! Let students take over once in a while for posting on it.
TIP # 10 is for Science and Social Studies integration with Guided Reading.
PROBLEM: You have so much to cover in science and social studies that you have decided to integrate it into guided reading. YAY! That is a wonderful way to get standards covered. But what to do with all the materials and just how do you keep it organized?
SOLUTION: Cover the reading and comprehension skills during guided reading and cover the activities, experiments and projects during science or social studies times. Too keep it all organized, you will need some drawer carts. When I was in the classroom, I kept the materials for science in my room and another teaching partner kept the social studies in her room in drawer carts. We labeled the drawers with the standards or skills and then placed everything in that would fit: graphic organizers, vocabulary cards, materials for experiments, lit sets if there was room. It made a big difference, in time, for us to be able to just go over to the cart and pull a drawer knowing that it would have most, if not everything, in it that we needed. Win, win!!
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