I was a stickler for organization when I taught fourth grade. Clutter and disorganization made my head hurt. I also had to teach my students how to be organized. This was very hard for some of them and one method didn’t work for every student. Today I am going to share some of the methods for how to keep your classroom organized! These are perfect for teachers and students.
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A Binder System
I used binders or bound folders as a home base for my students. This would travel with them from class to class and home each night. They would put important papers, assignments, and parent communication in the coordinating spots. We called them STAR binders. STAR was an acronym: Steps to Teach Academic Responsibility. It was helpful for student organization because everything had its place and students knew exactly where to put every paper.
In order to fund these things for my classroom I either put it on the class supply list, or purchased them and had parents send in the amount for their child. I have linked the binders and bound folders below. Click the picture to go to the Amazon page.
Binders – if you use this system you can have students purchase folders for each subject to go inside.
With the binder system I used labels. I printed labels out for each class and section. The sections I included were: Reading, Writing, Math, Science, Social Studies, Parent Communication, and Homework. I found that the labels held up well for the year and the students appreciated them. The most recent labels I used are shown in the picture above. I used half page labels to create the cover sticker and address labels for the subjects.
Number System for Students
I numbered my students alphabetically. How did this keep me organized? I did this for a few reasons. I am able to reuse materials year after year by simply putting the student number on the materials instead of student names. For example, book boxes and locker numbers. It also helped me easily alphabetize graded papers for quicker input to the grade book. My students wrote their numbers on all their papers. It also helped me quickly identify absent students. I wrote about it in this blog post.
Bookshelves and Trash Cans at Every Table or Group
I switched from desks to tables a few years before I had my son stepped away from the classroom. This was a positive because I could manage science stations and group work better. However, it was a negative because I lost all that storage space that the desks provided. The solution I came up with was to have chair pockets for necessity storage and bookshelves at every table. My students knew exactly what to keep in their chair pockets, bookshelves, and in their lockers. It was a learning curve, but once they understood it helped things to run smooth! It also helped to keep my students organized. Small trash barrels were kept at each table. This helped save time on cleanup and cut down on walking around the classroom during science labs.
I tried out many job charts over the years. I discovered that my students loved to help and take ownership of our classroom. My jobs were simple and effective. I had an attendance tracker who turned the names on the attendance check in at the end of each day, organization helpers who would assist students in maintaining their work space, plant waterers, dusters, library helpers, sweepers, and the list goes on. Each job was very helpful to me and my students loved to do them! I suggest you make a list of jobs unique to your classroom. Come up with jobs that will help make your life easier and implement them.
Daily Bins or Tubs for Work
I spent years trying to figure out a system that worked for me in organizing my daily teaching materials. If I were to step back in the classroom tomorrow I would still tweak my system, but I found something that worked for me. I tried book bins, but found my papers curved. I tried daily tubs, but found it took up too much space in my classroom. What I finally settled on was a cart with wheels that had a drawer for each day with room for extra. I labelled my bins for each day of the week. These bins had room for papers, read alouds, and even science lab materials.
I hope you found these tips helpful for how to keep your classroom organized. Do you have any tips you’d add to this list? Share them in the comments!
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