Save time and resources by getting your classroom organized. Get several organization ideas for elementary and high school teachers. You'll even get a few classroom management tips to keep your classroom running smoothly and save you time.
Elementary Teacher Organization Ideas
When organizing an elementary classroom, you need more supplies than a high school or middle school teacher would. Therefore, it can be helpful to have a few teacher organization hacks up your sleeve. You can use these teacher organization tips for your preschool, kindergarten, or even 3rd-grade room.
Sorting bins will be some of your best friends when it comes to organizing your elementary classroom. You can use bins to sort books and assignments, organize learning centers, create a container for extra work, or even organize a child's things. For example, you can use bins for kids to keep their bags, papers, folders, etc. in.
Color-code everything, from your books, assignments, journals, centers, and even electronics. A color-coding system can help elementary students quickly find what they are looking for. For example, reading center binders and games might be colored green. You could then color code science binders and materials in purple. Kids can quickly gather what they need when it comes time for specific centers. You can create a clear chart on the wall describing each color's meaning.
Use Dry Erase Placemats
Rather than giving kids paper and pencil to practice what you are learning, you might consider using erasable placements and dry erase markers. Then kids can work with you on sentences and math problems. They can quickly dry erase and move on to the next problem with you. It saves paper and makes the table fun. You could also create a portable dry erase board by putting a white sheet of paper in a plastic sleeve.
In elementary classrooms, students need everything from pencils and glue to markers and crayons at any given moment. If you have students at a round table, they can use a desk caddy filled with everything they could need. This keeps them in their seats because everything they need is readily available. And if you have one caddy per desk, they also have to work on collaboration and sharing.
Binders are the perfect way to keep your classroom organized. You can use a lesson binder to keep you organized for the day, month, and even year. You can also use binders to manage different learning areas. For example, you might have a reading binder for your reading center. You might even create student binders for the different tables with the day's assignments, classroom expectations, etc. Binders are also great for missing projects and work for absent students.
Create Student Cubbies
If you have an open area in your preschool or kindergarten classroom, you can get an open shelf and create a student cubby. Students use this cubby to put their folders, returned assignments, notes that need to go home, school paperwork, etc. Just label the folder with the student's name, and they can clear it out each night before going home. This is also a great place to put absent work for students who missed a day.
You'll be amazed at how quickly a lid for a glue stick or a dry erase marker goes missing. Make it easy to find the lids by labeling them all. Use a sharpie to label the marker, glue stick, dry erase marker, etc. Then there is no mistaking which lid is missing and what lid goes where.
Use Under Seat Organizers
Limited on space in your classroom? Try adding an organizer under the student's seats. This can be an excellent place for them to put folders, assignments, pencil boxes, etc.
Create an Information Folder
Kids lose important things like passwords. Create a folder with all their essential login information and websites they need for tablets and computers. This can make sure they can access their stuff easily. You could even put this in a plastic sleeve on a lanyard that kids wear around their neck.
Middle and High School Classroom Organization Ideas
Middle and high school students visit different classrooms for each different subject. Therefore, you don't need to have as many student-specific organization stations. However, you still need organized areas for supplies, assignments, and sub paperwork. Keep your classroom running smoothly with a few of these teacher organization tips.
Create a Supply Station
Do you have kids constantly asking you for a stapler or pencil sharpener? Create an easy-to-use supply station. From pencils, to highlighters, to paperclips, you can provide students with everything they need to have a successful day and avoid classroom disruptions. You might also hang no name work and absent work in the supply station, so it's a one-stop-shop for everything they need.
Labeled Binder Clips for Paperwork
If you don't want to waste your desk space putting out the worksheets for the day, you can hang them on the wall using labeled binder clips. The students can simply pick up the worksheets they need. And you aren't taking up your much-needed desk space. You might want to use dry erase labels so that you can change them each day. Or always use the same clips for each different subject you teach.
Create a Teacher's Cart
To create a teacher's cart, you only need a rolling cart, bins, binders, and a label maker. Organize everything you would need to teach a class on the cart. From supplies to student folders to your lesson plans, you have everything in one place. And, it can move with you if you need to guest teach in another classroom. Remember to label everything and create a space for everything you need to teach.
Make an Electronics Space
Many times, middle and high school classrooms use laptops and tablets as teaching tools. Create a clear space for everything electronic within your room. This space should have easy access to the electronics with chargers readily available so students can charge the electronics when they are done. You might consider converting a shelf or cabinet into an electronic space. For example, you might convert a dish drying rack into a charging and storing station depending on how many computers/tablets you have. Binder holding shelves can also be converted into an electronic charging station.
Utilize a Cell Phone Holder
If you have a no cell phone policy in your classroom, create a space where students can put their phones while class is in session. A pocket shoe holder on the back of a door works well as a cell phone station. Before class begins, students can silence and put their phones in the holder, ensuring they aren't using them in class.
Make a Sub Tub
Organization is all about making a stress-free environment for your students and yourself. Create a sub tub using a clear plastic tub. Make sections in the tub for ½ day plans, full-day lesson plans, math and reading work, behavior management, attendance, etc. Make sure everything a sub could need is clearly labeled and available. This way, you don't have to worry if you get sick or something unexpected arises.
Create Turn in Trays
Trays are great for middle school and high school classrooms. Create a space for students to turn in their work for each different subject you teach. The trays should be clearly labeled by the subject or hour.
Classroom Library Organization Ideas
When you first start out as a teacher, your reading library for your students might be relatively small, but as your tenure grows, so does your library. You might be wondering what to do with all the books you are starting to accumulate. Many beginning teachers also need ideas for how to set up their library. Get a few library organization ideas your kids will love.
Offer a Reading Nook
Partition off part of your classroom to create a small reading nook. Add pillows or soft chairs to sit in and access different books. You can organize the books by level or type. Coloring coding your library by type also works well. The point is to make the reading area cozy and fun, so students want to visit it often when they are done early or during reading time. This can also work in high school classrooms as a place for them to go when done with work.
Create Book Return Cart
Depending on the age of your classroom, kiddos aren't so great at returning your books to the proper area. Therefore, you can create a book return cart in your classroom library. You can then assign a student the job of putting away the books in the book return cart. This keeps everything organized and saves you some time.
Create a Personal Book Stamp
If you don't label your books, they are definitely going to get misplaced. Create a fun, personalized label to add to your books so they come back to you.
Organize With Book Bins
When it comes to sorting out your library collection, you might want to consider book bins that can be placed on shelves. These bins can be sorted by theme or by the level of the reader. Then students can easily find what they want to read. It also makes it easy when it's time to put everything back.
Classroom Management Organization Ideas for Teachers
Organization in your classroom doesn't stop at your lesson plans and materials. You want also to organize the way your classroom runs. Having a clear organization at the beginning of the year ensures your students know what to expect every day. It also gives them responsibility.
Develop a Lesson Plan Routine
Daily routines are essential to elementary students and high schoolers alike. Coming into your classroom and knowing what to expect helps you prepare for the day. Set up a daily schedule for your students posted somewhere in the room when the day begins. You can have this on a board, in a student binder, or on the whiteboard. Make sure it's easy for students to access throughout the day or class to ensure they know what will happen every day.
Organize Classroom Workflow
It's crucial for students to be responsible for their classroom experience. Therefore, assigning students a chore to complete daily can be helpful. For example, you might assign one student to hand out papers and another student to sort books in the library cart. For a high school classroom, you should clearly list what is expected of them at the beginning and end of each classroom. For example, they may be responsible for cleaning off desks or putting up chairs.
Create a Display Station
From elementary to high school, students complete a lot of different assignments that are displayed. Have a display station set up for the work. This could be an area in the hallway or a designated wall in your classroom. You can get fun and inventive when creating your display station.
Give Assignments a Space
Assignments need to have a clear space in your classroom. Whether they are found hanging on the wall in a clip, in an assignment binder, or in trays, make sure assignments have a clear space. It's also helpful to make certain missing assignments from absences and work for finishing early are also accessible for students to access and have a clear designated area.
Ready to Get Organized?
If you're ready to reduce the clutter-related stress you experience at school, make a decision to put one or more of these teacher organization ideas into practice immediately. Getting organized isn't likely to happen overnight, and it isn't something that you can do once and be finished with it. Maintaining an organized approach to teaching is a process. Start working on putting your workspace and planning processes in order and focus on developing good habits and organizational skills that will allow you to create the kind of working environment that you want.