I am a firm believer in organized classrooms. Organized classrooms lead to a clearer headspace for teachers and less visual stimulation (umm… distraction!) for those kiddos. Here are six ways to simplify classroom organization and establish balance in your classroom and stay organized as a teacher!
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Why is Classroom Organization important
There are a million and one things to do in a teacher’s day, right?
So why should classroom organization be a top priority for teachers? Why is classroom organization important?
I’m a bit biased, but I think organization is important enough to devote a whole blog and business to it!
Classroom organization is important because it allows you to have more time, space, and energy to focus on the things that truly matter in your classroom- your students.
Once you learn how to be an organized teacher, you are going to free up so much time and mental capacity to spend on things like lesson planning, grading, interacting with students, and creating engaging lessons.
But don’t just take my word for it, here are some important facts about why classrom organization is important.
- Students who learn organization skills at a younger age are more likely to carry those lessons with them through high school and college
- Organization reduces stress and overwhelm
- Allows you to perform tasks more efficiently
6 Ways to Simplify Classroom Organization
The biggest secret to getting (and staying) organized is to create routines and systems. You need them for yourself (which I am going to talk about in this post) but you also need routines for your students.
The six ideas I am about to share here are all about setting up routines for your day, your weeks, and your year.
Some of these ideas might be time heavy on the front end but they will be well worth your investment during the year when things are hectic.
1. Everything Needs a Home
My number one rule for an organized classroom is to give everything a “home.”
If everything has a home, then you know exactly what to do with whatever item you need to put away.
Taking the time at the beginning of the year, or during a break, to figure out homes for everything will help you out in the long run!
Homes can be cabinets, boxes, bins, drawers, folders…anything that gives an item a place to “live.”
2. Organize Your Cabinets
Organizing your cabinets is important, but make sure to do it in an intentional way as this step is SO crucial!
I like to say that your cabinets are the backbone of your classroom. If cabinets aren’t organized, you are going to have a hard time organizing the rest of your classroom.
If you can take the time to organize your cabinets now then you are saving yourself A LOT of time in the future looking for things or trying to find homes for things.
3. Create a Year at a Glance
A Year at a Glance allows you to map out your whole year and with a birds-eye view.
This way, when it comes to lesson planning during the school year you already know where your going (and maybe even some ideas of activities you want to do).
All you have to do when you lesson plan is map out the specifics of when and how you will teach the concept, instead of looking through your standards to figure out what comes next.
4. Use a Lesson Planning Format
Speaking of planning for the year, you should also create a routine for planning for each week and day. I can’t stress this one enough!
I am pretty passionate about the difference between lesson planning and calendaring but essentially lesson planning is digging into the standards, mapping them out, figuring out what vocabulary is needed, how you will modify for each group of students.
Calendaring is deciding (and writing down) what days you will teach what.
My favorite way to plan is by unit with my team. We would go unit by unit using this format right below. We would go deep into the standards and everyone would share their ideas.
Then when it came time to calendaring we would each do that on our own to accommodate our specific schedules and our students.
Here are the steps I followed in my lesson planning workflow:
- Team planned with my team (usually on a Team Planning Da)
- I generally wrote out my plans on Thursday during my planning period. While doing this, I made a list of all the resources I needed for the upcoming week.
- I spent Friday making copies, creating anchor charts, and organizing my lesson plan materials for the following week.
5. Create a Routine for Organizing Papers
There are SO many papers we have as teachers. Turned in papers, graded papers, papers to be redone, notes from the office, notes from home. The list could go on!
Below is a graphic with a quick overview of the process each student paper went through.
Get all the tips on organizing classroom papers here, plus access to a free download and the Classroom Paper Organization Course.
6. Be Intentional About Organization
The biggest secret, like I mentioned above, to getting organized (and staying organized) is to establish routines.
Unfortunately, we aren’t going to get organized if we don’t spend time prioritizing it.
Here’s a few question to help you think through how you can set up organization routines in your classroom:
- What are the biggest problem areas in your classroom?
- How much time can you realistically commit to cleaning up each day (10-15 minutes? 30 minutes?)
- What would it be like to spend your after school time one day a week for the next month organizing one key area in your classroom?
Organize Your Classroom with Examples
Anyone has the ability to be organized, believe it or not! For some, it comes easier, than for others. That’s why you have me- your Classroom Organization BFF!
The Classroom Organization Guidebook is the guidebook I designed and wrote to help the busy overwhelmed teacher get a hold of her classroom organization so she can focus on what really matters- teaching her kids!
Here is what the Classroom Organization Guidebook is:
- A practical and helpful guidebook laying out key areas of your room that require intentionality when organizing and setting up. This guidebook will help you organize areas of your classroom whether you want to do it all at once or area by area
- In the guidebook are tons of pictures of real classrooms, efficient organization strategies, and checklists to help you organize your classroom
- Includes tips, additional resources, and recommended products for organizing the classroom
The book is broken up into four sections to help you in your organizing journey. There are also tons of pictures, checklists, and my favorite products listed.
My hope is these ways to simplify classroom organization help you restore balance in your classroom by creating organized spaces that allow you to breathe a little easier!
Organizing your classroom doesn’t have to be a huge project that you tackle in a weekend or over a holiday break. There are little classroom organization hacks you can do each day to create your organized classroom.
These six tips (discussed in more detail above) will help you organize your classroom with ease:
- Give everything a home (physical and digital things)
- Organize your cabinets (they are the backbone of your classroom)
- Create a Year at a Glance (start this now so you are already ahead for the next year)
- Use a lesson planning format that works for you (systemize it and keep at it)
- Establish a routine for every paper in your classroom (the Classroom Paper Organization Course helps you do this!)
- Make organization a priority (set a timer for 10 to 15 minutes a day to clean up the day’s mess)
I shared lots of links with you in this post, here is quick recap of them all!
- Classroom Routines and Procedures Every Teacher Needs
- 21 Classroom Organization Must-Haves (and How to Use Them!)
- Classroom Cabinet Organization Strategies
- How to Create a Year at a Glance
- Free Guide: Create Your Own Classroom Organization Routines
- Write Lesson Plans Quickly and Effectively with This Workflow
- Tips on Organizing Papers
- Classroom Paper Organization Course
- Classroom Organization Guidebook
Until next time,
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