Getting your classroom organized for the start of the year

There are typically two times of year when classrooms are organized – the start of the first semester and immediately following Christmas break. This is true because teachers have the time to organize before delving into educating students. But wouldn't it be nice to keep your class clutter-free all year? Start with these organizational tips:

Label everything
Kids likely don't put everything in designated spots at home, so they'll need some reminding when it comes to cleaning up at school. You likely have plenty of items that students can access, like glue sticks, markers and scissors. Create labels for the bins where you keep these items so kids can quickly and easily see where everything goes. They'll have no excuse for making unnecessary junk drawers with this system!

Create a Velcro wall gallery
Like many teachers, you may start out the year with a plan to change out an art gallery and swap classroom posters various times throughout the year. Now, fast forward two months. Have you changed out the gallery? Are there new, relevant posters on the walls? When you're using sticky tack or tape, this task can become a pain. Instead, affix Velcro dots to the wall where you want to make your gallery. Then, add the opposite side of the Velcro to whatever artwork or posters you want to hang. Now you can change up the entire look of your classroom in just a few swift pull and stick motions. You can even let your students become art curators and complete this fun project themselves.

Gather plenty of organizers
Whether you teach elementary kids or high​ schoolers, you likely have a lot of supplies to organize and not a lot of money to do it. That's why keeping track of said products is so important. To make sure everything is easily located and stays in good shape, keep organizers on hand. Muffin tins, photo boxes, mason jars, silverware trays and even tackle boxes are super helpful for storage. Also designate drawers and cabinets for bigger items like tablets, laptops, microscopes and more.

Make classroom zones
Think of your classroom as broken into parts. How many subjects do you teach in this room? Perhaps you are in charge of math in the morning and reading in the afternoon. Split the room in half in your head for organizational purposes. Now, do the same with the physical aspects of the classroom. Move all the reading-related materials to the reading half and everything involved in math to the other. This way you won't have to run all over the room to find what you need. Plus, if you ever need to have students working on different things, they can do so without getting in each other's way. 

Plan ahead
You have to stay organized too, not just keeping your classroom clutter-free. Teachers are more effective when they know each day's assignments and can locate homework and tests. Consider labeling one file folder for each day of the month. Then, slip in any daily worksheets, quizzes, Common Core prep or project information that you'll need that day. This is especially helpful in the event you need a substitute.

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