It’s a new year, and it’s time to start thinking about classroom organization!
I’ve compiled 12 effortless tips for creating an envy-worthy, well-organized classroom to kickstart the new year. Hopefully, these classroom organization ideas will develop daily habits to keep you organized all year!
Classroom Organization Tip 1: Establish Classroom Organization Hacks and Routines
First up, make classroom organization a part of your routine! Yep, it’s as simple as that. Establish a consistent schedule, and soon, classroom organization will become second nature. You may be wondering about the specific classroom organization hacks that will cultivate a routine. These following 12 tips outline my daily routine turned habits for maintaining an organized classroom.
Classroom Organization Tip 2: Make Organization a Priority
If you want your classroom to be organized, you must make classroom organization a priority. One of the things that I often remind myself both at school and at home is that everything has a place. If I take those few seconds to place an item where it should be, I know I will thank myself for it later.
Make organization a priority. If you have a drawer for papers to be graded, a folder for notes from parents, or a container for sharpened pencils make it a priority to take those few seconds to place each item in its rightful place. You too will thank yourself later!
Classroom Organization Tip 3: Make a List
Of course, you must have a list! What better way to stay organized and on task?!?!
I have been guilty of keeping my list in my mind and thinking that I will remember to do this or that. Of course, I will remember….until I can’t remember! Sound familiar? What I like about making a list is that when a task is complete, I have the satisfaction of marking it off. Then I can look back at all the work I accomplished. It makes me feel, well, accomplished! Here is an example of my Things to Do list.
I like the layout of this one because, for me, it’s a working list. Each week I start fresh with a new list. There are some items that I do every single week, which should be a habit, but I still place them on my list to keep myself on task. For example, Thursday is the day I work on lesson plans for the upcoming week. Yep, I put that on my things to do list. On Friday, I update our classroom blog for parents to see, so I put that on the list every week also. My list is always in a place where I can see it. It keeps me moving forward! If you like the looks of this one, simply enter your email address in the form below, and I will immediately send it to you. If you don’t see it in your inbox, check your spam and/or your promotions folder. To ensure delivery, avoid using a school email address.
If you are looking for additional classroom organizational forms, calendars, or planning pages, be sure to check out the All-in-One Teacher Binder below; it’s a great classroom organization system!
Classroom Organization Tip 4: Having a Recycle Bin is a Must
Having a recycle bin is not so organizational, but I assure you it has a very important purpose!
This recycle bin is only for me. I only empty it four or five times during the school year, and it only contains extra copies of what I have used in my classroom. This particular recycle bin isn’t for scrap pieces of paper.
Here is what I do….
This recycle bin stays behind my desk. I typically make at least one extra copy of everything, because we all know those unfortunate events tend to occur where we need just one more copy. After I have passed out the worksheets, notes, newsletters, etc. to students, I place whatever I have left inside this bin.
I typically keep these copies for at least one full quarter. At that time, I send all the unused copies to the true recycle box to be recycled.
How this helps me with classroom organization:
1. I have one place for all those stray papers.
2. The number of times I must run to the copy machine for one copy is seriously reduced.
3. I have copies for those students that were absent and lost their assignment at my fingertips.
Classroom Organization Tip 5: How to Reduce Your Teacher Workload Dramatically
Did the title get your attention? Hopefully it did, because it should have, and this tip is a crazy simple one!
Do you need something taken to the office? Do you need papers filed? Do you need to make sure the lights are turned off when the class leaves the room? How about needing trash picked up off the floor or the technology turned off? Here’s what you do….assign your students a job.
Think about all the things that you do throughout the day that you could delegate to your students! To top it off, students love to help! It’s a win-win!
Do you implement classroom jobs in your classroom, or do you need a place to start? You can download the classroom management strategy cards shown above for free! Click HERE to download them in the Free Resource Library.
Classroom Organization Tip 6: File Those Papers Immediately
To avoid the paper trap, I have a simple habit. That habit is filing those random papers immediately!!
I have a simple system set up, and it has worked quite well for the past five years! On the corner of my desk, I have two file boxes similar to these found on Amazon.
Within these file boxes I have folders for newsletters, PD notes, Title I documents, etc. When I am given these papers, I immediately file them in the appropriate folder.
It’s a simple habit, that keeps my teacher desk VERY organized!
Classroom Organization Tip 7: Keep Copies Organized
It’s Friday afternoon. You’ve made copies for the following week but are ready to hit the door running. So, you pile all of the upcoming week’s copies on the corner of your desk and leave. Sound familiar? I have been known to do this more than once.
I came up with this system to help me with my classroom organization. I organize my copies by the day of the week that I am planning on needing them.
What’s also nice about this system is that if I don’t get what I thought I would, I simply move the copies to the next day!
Not only are my copies stored away nicely, but I’m organized for everyday of the week!
Classroom Organization Tip 8: Create a Command Center
I found this cart on Amazon, and I just had to have it! I wasn’t sure what I was going to use it for, but I had to have it! I have never regretting purchasing this handy dandy cart and have found a fantastic purpose for it! It’s the perfect classroom storage solution; I call it my command center.
My command center remains front and center, and I keep items that I am constantly in need of in it.
Items such as the math manipulative that we are currently using, scissors, pencils, sticky notes, SmartBoard remote, and the money we use in our classroom economy.
I highly recommend creating something similar to help with your classroom management! It definitely helps me and keeps me from running around in circles trying to find what I’m looking for!
Classroom Organization Tip 9: Organize Your Supplies
Having an organized place for your supplies is HUGE!
My supplies are crazy organized, maybe over the top organized. I pretty much have a drawer for everything. While my organization quirks may be over the top, I have no problem finding what I need. Need to stick something to the wall? I have an adhesive draw where I can choose from sticky tack, hot glue, clear tape, or Duck tape. A student needs an eraser ASAP…I have a drawer dedicated to erasers and another specifically for pencils.
Having my classroom supplies organized guarantees that I can find what I need in a snap!
Classroom Organization Tip 10: End Your Day With a Clean Desk
This is something that I do ever…single…day. I cannot or will not leave my classroom at the end of the day with my desk a mess!
The only time that I sit at my desk is at the end of the day during my plan time. That means that throughout the day I am constantly throwing items on my desk. As you can see there are some days that I have trouble finding the surface.
I make it a MUST to make sure that my teacher desk is cleaned off and organized before I pack up my bag to head home. I never regret it, because I know that I will be thankful when I return the next school day!
Classroom Organization Tip 11: File as You Grade
This habit is a hard one for me! I actually failed it on Friday, but today is a new day and I’m on a mission to make sure this one happens!
File those papers as you grade! Not necessarily grade a paper, file…grade a paper, file… but grade what you set out to grade and then immediately file those take-home papers. Whether you file those papers in a cardboard mailbox, or my classroom storage solution, file folders like I do, try to make it a priority to file them away immediately.
What’s the result of not filing them immediately? A stack of papers that you look at repeatedly dreading to touch!
Classroom Organization Tip 12: Designate a Place For Hard Copies
The last of the 12 simple habits for an organized classroom is one of my favorites, and it’s very simple!
Remember the drawers that I use for keeping copies organized for each day of the week? I have a total of six drawers. Since there are only five days in the school week, I have one left over. This is where that drawer comes in handy! I have labeled this drawer as “To Copy”. Do you have a certain worksheet, log, or graphic organizer that you continually need more copies of? I know I do! I place a hard copy of these pages right in this drawer so that when I run out, I know exactly where I can find an original to take with me to the copy machine. Simple, yet very effective!