Classrooms are tough to organize. There are LOTS of supplies and materials to keep in order AND they are filled with children! Read on for some tips on how to keep your classroom organized for easy use by the teacher and to make sure its conducive to learning. Oh and don’t forget that it needs to be FUN!
1. Determine how you want to set up your classroom. This will depend on the ages of your students, how much group activity you plan on doing etc. However, it should be easy to walk around the room, even with a large backpack and every room should have space for a group activity such as reading or a holiday craft.
2. If kid’s don’t have desk space (or enough of it) use bags or folders mounted to the back of their chair. This keeps things off the floor.
3. Place books in bins so kids can easily see the covers. You can then group the books alphabetically, by genre or even by reading level. Make sure that the book clearly states on it what bin it came from so they can return them properly. Small, removable sticker dots (like the kind used for yard sales) are great for marking books.
4. Use plastic bins to store craft supplies. Returning small items to their original box, such as Crayons, can be time consuming and difficult for kids. Allow them to “dump” items into plastic bins for quicker cleanup. The bins are durable so any paint leaks don’t matter. Bins are also inexpensive and can be replaced at the end of the year if necessary.
5. Rain gutters are actually a great way to display items in the classroom. When mounted to a wall they can display artwork, books or even small containers of supplies. Particularly useful in small classrooms they can make the room look adorable and keep items off flat surfaces and the floor.
6. Hang a clothes line. Then use small clothes pins to hang artwork or excellent grades. Again, this keeps things off of the valuable wall space you have and it keeps items off the floor.
7. Cubbies! Everyone has had some experience with cubbies, but they are very important. Give each child a cubby if possible where they are responsible for putting their personal items. The cubby must be kept clean and clutter free. Taking responsibility for even a small space such as this can do wonders for a child learning the skills of organization.
8. Pencils and pens are often lost, broken, etc. Give each child a pencil cup where they can keep their personal items. I suggest collecting cans, washing them out and then having kids wrap them in wrapping paper, maps or even their own artwork.
9. If you have to do lunch count in your room decide if you will be responsible for calling out names and counting or if the kids will be responsible for it. Creating an Excel sheet for your use or a chart like this one will help everyone remember to check in with lunch choices and payment every morning.
10. Consider giving a weekly homework packet instead of nightly homework. While you do want to tie homework assignments to current class work, giving a weekly homework packet can decrease paperwork and headaches and can do a better job of teaching kids time management. Some weekly assignments won’t ever change, for example reading for 15 minutes every night.
If you have more classroom tips you can share with us, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to hear from you!