The start of a brand new school year is already here for some and just around the corner for others. While we are getting started at the beginning of the year, one of the most important things we can do is be organized! However, it can be difficult to find an organizational system that is sustainable. These tips will help you start the school year organized and keep it organized all year long.
1: Know Your Class List to start Your Year Organized
When you first start planning your classroom, you have to know how many bodies are going to be in the classroom. This will help you know how much space you have for different things like classroom décor or alternative seating. In addition, by having a class list on hand, you’ll know how many supplies you need for your students and your classroom as a whole.
2: Setting Up Your Classroom
One of the biggest stressors for me is always what my classroom is going to look like. I know this might sound silly, but I want my classroom to be a place where students enjoy being. I also want my space to be functional for myself as well. That’s why when I am setting up my classroom, I organize one area at a time.
Start Your Year Organized with a Clean Desk
I always start organizing my classroom by focusing on my teacher desk area. On my teacher desk, I want to have designated areas for everything that I will use daily. In addition, I want to have folders and filing cabinets labeled so I know where I can find things while keeping them confidential for students’ privacy.
Create an Art Area
I love doing art with my students. I actually have different art projects I do each month with my students. However, not having the materials necessary can be a real drag when you are ready to start working. That’s why I always have my art materials in a place where all students can access them if they need to. If you have the benefit of a sink in your classroom, setting up your art supplies near the sink will help with an easy clean up.
Keep Student Gear Organized
One thing that can be so frustrating is the mess students leave because their stuff doesn’t get put away accurately. Having an organized coat hook area or little cubby for students’ jackets, coats, bags, and more can help keep your classroom looking extra sleek. Having your class list for this is important so you don’t forget any students.
Create a Carpet Area
I love using my carpeted area of my classroom to start the year organized. The carpet area is a great place for whole group instruction because it should be near your Smart Board, whiteboard, and calendar wall. When you start your school year organized, you want to make sure your carpet is near these essential classroom tools so you aren’t running around asking students to focus in too many places. If you do, this can cause students to be over stimulated and they might act out.
Start Your Year Organized with a Clean Classroom Library
There are a thousand ways you can organize your classroom library. However, it can be hard to keep it organized. I like to start my year organized with bins of books that have similar themes. You can use visual cues that you put on the books and the bin they belong in to keep your library organized. While this might not be perfect, you will spend less time reorganizing your library in the long run.
Organize Your Students’ Home Base
While you might spend a lot of time in different areas around the room, one place will always be your students’ home base: their desk. When you start your year organized, you might want to put some needed supplies like pencils and colored pencils in iris boxes on your students’ desks so they have them right on hand. You could also include a pencil sharpener, erasers, scratch paper, and more! Having some supplies at the students’ desks can reduce the amount of time they spend searching for a pencil.
Organize Your Small Group Instruction Area
Having small group instruction is so important in the elementary classroom. It’s a great way to differentiate instruction and get more meaningful time with students. Because your small group area can have such an impact, you want to start your year organized here too. You can organize this area by having student supplies on hand, differentiated centers or activities already planned, as well as directions for how your small group time goes in case you had a sub for the day.
3: Start the Year Organized with Storage Options
One thing every classroom needs is storage solutions. Teachers come with a moving van of things when they start the school year. Most of these items are there for students to use and need to be easy to find for the teacher and the students. I like to make sure to have containers for math manipulatives, student notebooks, literacy and math center activities, and student supplies. Having all of these items organized in specific, labeled storage bins will keep your classroom organized.
4: Utilize Binders to Start the Year Organized
If there is anything in my classroom that can become a hot, unorganized mess fast it’s papers! That’s why having a binder for planning, assessments, grades, curriculum, and data is so important! I like to have all of my weekly plans in a binder to themselves. Having them in a binder makes them easier to look back on in the future so I don’t have to start over. In addition to weekly plans, I like to have a detailed binder with my daily plans in case I need to be done unexpectedly for a day.
Beyond planning, I like to start my year organized with standards or curriculum in mind. Having a binder with the various standards and curriculum can help keep you focused on what you’re teaching. Either with the curriculum and standards or in a different binder, I like to keep my assessments and data. Having the curriculum on hand to determine how proficient my students are in a specific skill can be a huge eye opener. In addition, with the assessments right there, my data becomes so much easier to manage.
It can be hard to start the year organized. However, if you take the steps to get to know your students, set up your room, and get your binders all put together, you can start the year organized and you can end it that way too. If you need more organizational tools, make sure to check out what we have in store!
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