New Year Edition: Helpful Ways to Stay Organized in the Classroom
By January, even the most organized and color-coded classrooms can begin to show signs of wear. All of the teaching and learning from the past few months has taken its toll on the perfectly planned out space. In the spirit of new beginnings and starting the year with a clean slate, below are some tips to help you take action and get organized this new year.
Consider the one-year rule.
If something hasn’t been used in a while, is it still needed and worth the valuable space it is using? Take stock of supply cabinets and create lessons for the new year based on what you have in the cupboards. If you can’t imagine using an item, donate it to a new teacher in need of supplies and furniture. Extra buttons, stickers, and ribbon can be divided up and made into take home craft kits for the students.
Change the layout of the classroom for the new year.
Students will be excited to return to a fresh new look. Think about the flow of the classroom and keep high traffic areas clutter free. Arrange desks and centers in a new design. Ensure that you have easy access to your supplies and high use items.
Analyze what is working and what new needs have arisen in the past few months.
Color and number code as much as possible. Student mailboxes and take-home folders help keep track of important papers and can be included in the pack up routine. Divided organizers can be used for headsets and earbuds. Storage caddies keep scissors and glue sticks in order.
Design systems that take the load off of the teacher.
Routines for turning in work, taking home important papers, and tidying the classroom help embed organization into the daily schedule. Teach kids to be stewards of their classroom and how to organize their workspace with a consistent daily procedure.
Focus on one area at a time.
Taking on the entire classroom can be overwhelming. Pick one area that has the most need and start there. Enjoy the return to school with a fresh new outlook on the year ahead!
Stephanie Standley M. Ed. is a mom, educator, writer, and outdoor enthusiast. She received her undergraduate degrees in Sociology and Psychology as well as a Master of Education-Literacy from the University of San Diego. Stephanie has 12+ years of classroom experience as a teacher and currently supports students in Special Education. She is inspired to use evidence-based practices to educate children in creative and engaging ways.