If you’re a teacher, then you know just how much effort goes into planning and prepping your classroom for the beginning of the school year. And, while there’s a lot of excitement and anticipation surrounding the first day, there are a lot of moving parts — which includes everything from a thousand different school supplies to a room full of energetic children — that need to align for everything to go smoothly in the classroom for the entire year.
Keeping all those moving parts in order requires a person to be very organized — so it’s extremely important that ALL the organizing systems a teacher uses are as efficient as possible. BPH organizer, Turner, taught kindergarten for years and put together a few organizing tips to help any classroom run more smoothly this school year:
STORAGE! STORAGE! STORAGE!
Arm yourself with as many storage options as possible. The more storage the better! Invest in getting a variety of bins, boxes, and canisters that vary in shape and size. You can use them for anything from keeping books and similar supplies together to keeping your room decor sorted by holiday or theme.
You’ll also want to make sure you label absolutely everything! For kindergarteners, I labeled everything in the classroom with a word as well as a picture — which really helped the kids as they developed their literacy skills.
Make Sure Everything In The Classroom Has A Home
Designate a specific “home” for items in the classroom BEFORE school starts. Then take the time to show students where everything goes, so they don’t have to guess. In my classroom we’d spend the first few weeks of school learning how to use everything in the classroom. We’d even role play scenarios at each learning center, so that the kids could see exactly what to do with an item and where it needed to go when they were done using it. This made life a lot easier during the year and the kids always knew how to clean up their learning centers and keep them organized.
Have A Special File For Each Student
From homework and report cards to weekly reading quizzes and art work, there’s a ton of paperwork to keep track of when you’re a teacher. However, there are some papers that are more important than others, like student profiles that can include anything from emergency contact information to any known allergies. Over the years I learned that it was critical to create an individual file folder for each and every student to keep those significant papers all in one place that was easily accessible.
On the front of each folder I would put a copy of the student's important personal information, and then inside the folder I would store any communication that I had had with the child’s parents throughout the school year. That way, whenever a parent had an issue, or, a question about something, I could quickly find any documentation I had on the subject.
Substitute Teacher Information
Waking up sick as a teacher can often be a nightmare, because not only do you feel terrible, but you have to find a substitute, and manage to get some sort of lesson plan to them. To remedy some of this stress, I kept a substitute teacher binder on my desk with detailed classroom management instructions, class lists, important numbers, and also some work they could do with the kids if the sub showed up and my daily plans weren’t readily available.
I also kept a five-tier shelving system that held each day's plans, plus the materials needed in each one. I would always get this sorted out and ready on Friday the week before, so there would never be much stress the next week. This system also made it easy for any substitute to find my plans.