Why is Classroom Organization Important?
If you’re a first year teacher, you’ll soon discover the massive amount of paperwork you’ll have to sort through on a daily basis. Aside from organizing physical space in the classroom, maintaining some kind of organizational system is KEY to a healthy school year.
I’m sharing some smart classroom organization ideas that have worked for me throughout my teaching career. If you’re not an organized person, that’s totally fine! One tiny change in the way you collect papers or where you “store” papers can go a long way.
Classroom Organization Resources:
Top Five Classroom Organization Hacks
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1. Using Student Numbers to Stay Organized
Assigning student numbers will make your teacher life 100x easier. Print out a class roster in alphabetical order and assign each student a number based on their order.
When you’re collecting assignments, call students up in numerical order. The assignments are automatically in alphabetical order which means I can easily grade, input grades, and file papers without having to reorganize them.
Here are a few things that are also a lot easier when you have assigned student numbers:
Changing Out Classroom Jobs: Switch out their numbers on the chart using velcro
Assigning Laptops or Tech Materials: You know exactly which student is using each laptop.
Lining Up: Call students up in number order
2. Use a Cart as a Classroom Paper Organizer
A rolling cart is a must-have tool for elementary classroom organization. Once I collect my students’ assignments, I place them in the “to be graded” drawer of the cart. It helps me keep all of my papers in one place. If I’m done grading, the papers move to the “input in gradebook” and then to the “to file” drawer. This system helps me visualize just how much needs to get done, while also keeping all the clutter off my desk.
I make copies for the week and sort them into the days of the week drawers. I know exactly where to find the worksheets we’ll be using each morning. This cart has been an absolute life saver.
3. Debrief and File with Students
I truly believe in the power of letting students reflect on their work after its been graded. They should be able to see what they did well on and what their areas for growth are.
I distribute student work on a bi-weekly basis. Students spend about five minutes looking over their work, plugging percentages into their data chart, and reflecting on areas for growth.
I call students up in number order and have them place all of their papers inside of their filing folder.
This whole process only takes about 10-15 minutes at the end of the day, while saving me tons of filing time. #winwin
4. Time-Saving Hack for Teachers (That also saves your sticky notes!)
We have a copy assistant at our school who makes copies for us on a weekly basis. It’s truly a blessing. I have my lesson plans and activities planned before my copy day so that I’m able to get everything done on time.
I used to place a post-it note on every piece of paper that needed copying. I quickly realized that my directions were pretty much the same every week.”23 copies front and back, 23 copies single sided, 23 copies stapled…” So, I grabbed a couple of clothes pins and wrote down the different copy procedures on them. Now, I spend less time writing on sticky notes and can actually use my sticky notes for student note-taking.
Once the copies are done, I organize them inside my “days of the week” folders (pictured below). I take out the folder from the rolling cart every morning and keep it on my desk. All of my copies are organized and ready for the day!
FREE Copy Folder Covers
These FREE templates are perfect to use for your Days of the Week folders.
Grab this free resource that will help you keep your daily copies organized!
5. Make Sure Important Documents are Easily Accessible
There are certain documents that we use over and over as teachers.
Our school requires absent forms every time a student is absent. We also use lots of checklists, recap sheets to track fundraiser money, and accident reports.
I make a ton of copies of each document in the beginning of the year and store them in my accordion classroom paper organizer behind my desk. This classroom file organizer access documents right when I need them!
More Classroom Organization Ideas
I can’t wait to see you get organized this school year! If you decide to use any of these hacks or ideas, make sure to snap a photo and tag me on Insta! @sweettoothteaching
This post is part two of the Fundamental Four Series! This series was created to help teachers tackle the four essential components of a successful school year.
Click below to read more from the Fundamental Four Series:
+ Classroom Management Ideas