When I chat with teachers struggling with organization, it’s not usually a struggle for them to GET organized. But it’s the part about staying organized that is the difficult part. We are SO busy in our classrooms that organization is one of the last things on our mind. I think that organization should be the FIRST thing on a teacher’s mind which is why I want to share with you five ways you can stay organized as a teacher.
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These ideas are things that I have been using in my classroom almost since day one. The tips I share here are not the end all be alls for staying organized, but it’s a start. In fact, I’d love to hear some of your suggestions!
5 Ways to Stay Organized as a Teacher
You can check out my 5 Tips to Staying Organized as a Teacher video here or read below if you are more of a quick scan reader kinda person. (I’ve started making videos because everyone in the blogging world is talking about how popular videos are, but if I am being completely honest… I hate watching videos, I’d much rather read what you have to say! So I offer both!)
1.Give Everything a Home
If all of your things have a home to reside in and you know where that home is, you have no need for piles to pile up or for stuff to sit around waiting for you to get to it later. If you tend to get stuff and set it to the side to deal with later, then get a box/bin and label it “deal with later.” Now that stuff has a home.
2. Bins, Bins, Bins and More Bins!
Go ahead and invest in bins. In a lot of bins! When they match, that’s great. But for inside your cabinets, don’t worry about them matching. The bins, boxes, crates, storage containers are what make the homes for all of your things.
Once you get your bins, be sure to label them. Again, they do not have to be cutesy labels from TPT. Sure, that makes things more cohesive but if that’s not your thing, don’t stress on it! Seriously! Not worth it!
3. Organize Your Cabinets
I cannot stress this one enough. I have written about this on my blog in three different posts and created two videos about cabinet organization. It really is so so important. If your cabinets are organized then that likely means everything in them has a home (see #1).
There are five pages dedicated to all the ways you can (and should!) organize your classroom cabinets in the Classroom Organization Guidebook.
And…this also means File Cabinets should be organized as well!!! In this day in age, I don’t really use my filing cabinet much because everything is digital. But I do break down how I organize my file cabinet and maintain it in this video!
4. Establish Routines for Papers
You are going to need routines for student papers. How they turn things in, get them back, correct them. etc. You can watch a video to see exactly how I managed that in my classroom or listen to the podcast version if you are on the go!
But you also want routines for your papers. Where are you going to house your lesson plans? How do you want to handle papers that come in from the office and need to go home with kids? Again, giving all of these things a home is key to establishing routines and not misplacing things!
5. Keep a List Nearby
When you are teaching it is likely that you will have a million and one things pop into your mind at any given time. Keep a to-do list in a central location, mine was always right by my computer. Then, anytime something popped into my mind, I could write it down and forget about it. At the end of the day or during my conference I could look at my list and prioritize what needed to be done and what could wait.
To-Do Lists should be intentional and not just everything written down on a piece of paper (that’s called a brain dump!). Here are Teacher To-Do Lists I created to help you organize your thoughts.
And because I am feeling extra generous, I’ll give you tip number 6.
6. Create a Planning Routine
Lesson planning is a long stressful process, especially if you are planning each day the day before. Come up with a planning routine and stick to it. Decide what day you are going to stay late and work on lesson plans and then hold true to that every single week.
A planning routine is really important, but really routines across the board are critical. I chatted with the ladies from Educalme and The Balanced Educator podcast about ways to simplify classroom organization and it all comes down to routines.
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Most of you know how to GET organized. Take the time to do that now and find homes for everything, then you can reap the benefits of an organized classroom for the year to come! Your initial time investment will be worth it, I promise!!!
Want to read more about getting organized? Check out the Classroom Organization Guidebook– a resource full of ideas, strategies, and practical things you can do to get your classroom organized!
Until next time,
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