When everyone went digital in the Spring of 2020, lots of teachers were asking for the best tips to get organized digitally. For better or worse, classrooms will look a lot different once Corona-Virus is no longer impacting our daily lives. A lot more of our teaching will be done with the use of technology. That’s why it’s so important you know how to organize your classroom computer and digital files so you can find things quickly and efficiently.
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Inside the free Working from Home: Teacher’s Edition mini-course, I teach you how to organize your classroom from home in five quick videos. In those lessons we talk about how to organize your classroom computer files, clean out the email inbox, create a curriculum map, improve behavior management, and write lesson plans. All from the comfort of your couch! ⬇️ ⬇️ ⬇️
This course has been really helpful in allowing teachers to get organized for virtual learning. It’s super important we have our digital files organized in addition to our classroom resources.
In this post I am breaking down how you can organize your digital files, clear the clutter on your desktop, and maintain organization for your computer files all year long.
If you want help organizing your email inbox, then be sure to check out this podcast episode where I break down the steps.
Tips to Organize Your Classroom Computer
In order for teachers to stay organized throughout the year, you need to ensure that all your classroom materials have “homes.” Homes can be boxes, bins, or folders taht house items all within the same “theme.”
The same is true when you want to organize your classroom computer. Your themes might be the subjects you teach or the different standards within that subject. Desktop folders are the “homes” in which your digital files will live.
The best part of knowing how to organize your classroom computer and digital files is that you will easily be able to find your resources with just a few clicks.
Organize Your Digital Files
When it comes to organizing your digital files, you need to decide on your organizing system.
Would you rather organize by:
- time frame?
- something different?
Then, you can start the process to organize your classroom computer by following these three steps.
Step 1: Look Through Your Files
The first thing you should do when you organize your classroom computer is look through all of your files and see what kinds of folders and files you already have on your computer.
Notice if you have any “themes.” You are going to create “homes” based on these themes. So, if you teach math, then you will most certainly see a lot of math files floating around. But even more detailed than that, you might see a lot of resources for adding and subtracting. That’s a theme.
Don’t worry about deleting things right now because that will distract you from the task at hand. For now, you are just looking through your files to notice what themes you have.
Write the big themes down as you notice them.
Step 2: Create Folders for Your Themes
Folders are the homes you are creating. You don’t want all of your teaching files just floating around on your desktop or in one main folder titled “teaching.”
Start big with your folders (like the subjects you teach, grades you teach, and school years). Then niche down as specifically as possible.
2nd Grade > Language Arts > Author’s Purpose
Step 3: Organize Your Files
Once you have all of the homes created, you can put your files into the appropriate homes. The goal is to have the majority of your files in a folder. Don’t stress too much, though. Sometimes you don’t have enough items of a certain theme and those items can just live inside the computer drive.
If you want to see this in action, check out this video below on how I organize my Google Drive. These same tactics can be used on your own desktop or within your drives.
Organize Your Computer Desktop
Once you have your computer files organized, then you can move the items hanging out on your desktop into their perspective folders.
If possible, try to keep your computer desktop as clear and clutter free as possible. Sometimes in order to get organized all you need to do is clear the clutter! I like to use a simple background on my computer (created in Canva) with labels. This helps keep my desktop organized.
How to Maintain Classroom Computer Organization
Once you have taken time to organize your classroom computer and digital files, it’s important to maintain a system to keep your files organized. I recommend doing this at least once a year. If you find yourself acquiring digital mess quickly, you can do this more frequently. (Although it’s probably not necessary to do more than once a month.)
I like to take time at the end of each school year to go through each and every folder on my computer desktop and in any drives I have (external or cloud based). The simple way to do this is to set a 10-15 minute timer each day to look through as many folders as you can. Trash items that are no longer worth keeping.
Don’t be afraid to get rid of digital files. More often than not, you can quickly get them back by re-downloading from TPT. If you forgot about a resource or haven’t used it in a couple years, go ahead and toss it! It’s not likely you will remember it for next year.
If your computer files are a mess then take time to follow the simple, three-step process to
- look through and write down themes you notice in your files
- create folders for your files that will serve as “homes” for your resources
- organize items into their new homes
Once you have folders created and files put away, you can clean off your desktop to make it as clutter-free as possible. Finally, build in a routine to clean out your desktop folders on a regular basis (monthly, quarterly, or yearly).
You can follow this same process with your physical papers. Learn more about organizing your classroom papers here.
Here is a quick list of all the links shared above in this post
- Working from Home: Teacher’s Edition– a free course to help you get organized for distance learning
- Tips to Organize Your Email Inbox
- 5 Ways to Stay Organized as a Teacher
- Watch the Google Drive Organization video
If you want help getting your digital files culled and organized, be sure to join the free course I created to help teachers get organized for working from home. Inside the course are lessons on email inbox and computer files organization.
Until next time,