As teachers, we are always looking for new things for our classrooms. Whether our district will pay for it or it comes out of our own pockets, we are constantly searching for the next greatest thing to help our students or even just us be more productive and have a better classroom experience, including classroom organization ideas.
Creating a method of classroom organization is key to any functional classroom. I enjoy organization, but always found it difficult to keep myself organized, let alone an entire classroom! However, I found that having tools that allowed for consistent organization allowed me to have a functional classroom with a method to maintain it.
Table of Contents
- 1 Why It’s Worth the Time
- 2 Finding the Supplies You Need
- 3 Classroom Organization Tool #5: Dry Erase Packets
- 4 Classroom Organization Tool #4: Straw Dispenser….I mean…PENCIL dispenser
- 5 Classroom Organizational Tool #3: Giant Class Calendar
- 6 Classroom Organizational Tool #2: Caddies…not just for the dorm shower!
- 7 Classroom Organization Tool #1: Magnetic Borders
- 8 Determining the Best Classroom Organization Tools with the 4 Keys
Why It’s Worth the Time
For those teachers who are still on the fence about implementing a classroom organization system, here are five reasons why it is well worth the investment of your time to organize your classroom.
1. Having an organized space saves you time! You won’t have to waste time looking for things or reorganizing when you need something quickly.
This allows you to teach more efficiently because you don’t have to spend time teaching your students “where things go” during class time. It becomes a reflection of the teacher, and having an organized classroom gives a very distinct vibe to your classroom environment and in turn, your classroom culture.
2. Organization allows your students to be more independent. They will learn how to organize their space, putting things away when they are done with them without having to ask for help.
This allows your classroom to run more smoothly and efficiently, without wasting time on “how do we put this away?” or having to wait for the student who is keeping things organized. It’s a win-win situation: you teach students independence and organization skills while helping maintain the space you have!
3. Having a functional organization system gives you peace of mind that everything is where it should be at the end of the school day. This will allow you to feel more at ease when working with your students.
This means that at the end of class, everything is where it’s supposed to be. No more walking around trying to find equipment or being frustrated when you can’t locate something quickly. Efficiency leads to peace of mind!
4. Keeping organized allows you to be more prepared for special projects or activities that require space or supplies. If you know where everything is, setting up for special activities will be quick and easy.
Having an organized classroom allows you to be ready when the opportunity arises for certain activities or projects! You’ll never have to worry about not being prepared when something good comes along.
5. Having an organization system in place helps prevent conflict between classmates by creating a system of rights and responsibilities where everyone knows their obligations. For example, a student may have the right to use a particular bulletin board for an assignment due on Friday. In order to keep that space available for them, another student may be responsible for putting their work away when they are done with it.
Finding the Supplies You Need
Hopefully, you have seen our other post at some point, 10 Teacher Supplies You Need, which are all supplies that easily morph your classroom into a student-centered abyss. However, below I would like to present you with 5 AMAZING teacher organizational tools that will make your life so much easier and your classroom so much more organized!
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Classroom Organization Tool #5: Dry Erase Packets
Dry erase packets rock my world….and are a complete no-brainer! These guys save on copies and thus, save on trees. Sometimes you have activities that use a printout, but it isn’t something that necessarily needs to be saved, collected, etc. These little packets are PERFECT for that. You just slip a paper in and give each student a dry erase marker…POOF! Reusable. You can also use these in place of small whiteboards for trivia type games, etc. The possibilities are really endless and are well worth it. Find them here (ad).
Classroom Organization Tool #4: Straw Dispenser….I mean…PENCIL dispenser
I saw this idea once and my jaw fell to the floor. Another one of those, “Why didn’t I think of that?!” moments. I have a desk set up in my classroom that has anything my students may need….pencils, tissues, lint roller, you name it. I had the pencils in a large pencil cup, but then I saw this idea and it’s perfect!
There are so many different types of straw dispensers out there, but I like this kind the best because it just drops one at a time. It will keep your pencils nice and tidy since it just dispenses them one by one. This takes away from the “search for the perfect pencil” time suck that I was finding when the students could just pick one out. Plus, let’s be honest, it looks cool and was much cheaper than the option I REALLY wanted:
(But let’s be honest….this is pretty cool!)
You can find the red option above here (ad).
Classroom Organizational Tool #3: Giant Class Calendar
If your students are anything like mine, they like to see what is coming up. They like to see what they missed. Of course, they want to see excitement, too (birthday, assemblies, etc.) Enter this calendar. It is large enough that it can be visible from a distance. The nice part about this is it comes with a ton of different tools to use with it (tacks, markers, etc.) so they can be designated for the calendar only.
You can have a student who is in charge of amending or give them free rein to add relevant information. It’s also a great way to post due dates and if you’re a promoter of student choice, it’s easy to have conversations about fluid due dates when everyone can see the came calendar at once. Another game-changer. You can find it here (ad).
Classroom Organizational Tool #2: Caddies…not just for the dorm shower!
I remember having a version of this in college that I carted back and forth from the showers. It carried my shampoo, soap, etc. Fast forward [number left out on purpose] years and WHO KNEW there was such an awesome use for these in the classroom?!
These caddies can function however you see necessary. They can hold art supplies, make “all you need” stations for a table. Again, just another “ah-ha!” way to keep you and your students organized. When they’re done using whatever goes in them, it’s easy enough to just drop them in and be done with them. Such a fantastic idea. You can find them here (ad).
Classroom Organization Tool #1: Magnetic Borders
If your whiteboards are anything like mine, they don’t look the same from day-to-day. This makes it difficult when you want to keep things separated without it looking like a hot mess. Below are just some examples of how my boards transform on the regular:
You can see that no two days look alike. You can also see how I make my best attempts to divide up the board. I’ve used masking tape (the board gets gummy after a while), a yardstick and a dry erase marker (a student will inevitably bump into this and erase something), and even hanging up typed labels to try and make sections (you can’t edit these as you go, obviously). THEN I discovered magnetic borders!
Whoever came up with this idea was pure genius. You can create any type of division that works for you as easily as moving around a few magnets. If you’re someone who divvies up your board, these are an absolute must-have.
You can create any number of divisions on your whiteboard. You can also add an extra student-centered element and give your students this task when presenting or using the whiteboard for an activity. They like anything that gives them a little autonomy that everyone else will be taking a look at (and a little flair never hurt). Find them here (ad).
These by FAR are not the only organizational tools out there. A quick scan of Amazon alone will bring up dozens of “why didn’t I think of that?!” items. It is important that we are able to keep ourselves as stress-free as possible to keep us in a positive frame of mind.
Having a few of these items to help keep your classroom organized and tidy might make all the difference in the world. The best part about all of them is that they are an easy investment that you can use over and over, year after year, even as your styles and lessons change.
Determining the Best Classroom Organization Tools with the 4 Keys
Figuring out what classroom organization methods will work best for you and your students isn’t difficult, it just needs to ebb and flow with the students and where they are (physically, mentally, and emotionally). Being flexible is the key to making all of this work. The key is engagement. There are four keys to student engagement that I discuss in my video training challenge that releases twice per year. It is called “Finding Your Student Engagement Formula” and it walks you through those four keys and how to implement them in the classroom.
If you are interested in registering (it’s totally free), visit the Finding Your Student Engagement Formula Challenge registration page and you will be notified the next time the series is available.