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Healthy Teacher Series: Part 4 – Getting Organized in the Classroom

Getting Organized in the Classroom is a struggle every teacher faces. It’s the middle of the school year (or end of the school year) and you’re sitting at your desk. After gazing up from the 1 millionth paper you’ve graded that day, what do you see? Disarray? Garbage? More papers? Desks everywhere? A child on the ceiling? It’s really hard to tell.

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It’s the middle of the school year (or end of the school year) and you’re sitting at your desk. After gazing up from the 1 millionth paper you’ve graded that day, what do you see? Disarray? More papers? Is it hard to tell? In Part 4 of the Healthy Teacher series we will focus on Getting Organized in the Classroom.
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We start the beginning of the year with all of these plans to stay organized but sometimes that can be really hard! Here are 11 ways to stay organized in the classroom and hopefully keep it that way.  One of the biggest problems some of us might have when it comes to organizing is the money it can take.

It’s so nice to have these cute bins that cost 1,000 dollars each that kids are eventually going to ruin because they are cute, but there are other ways to stay organized in the classroom at a low cost.

Getting Organized in the Classroom is a struggle every teacher faces. See how you can have an organized classroom on a budget. Click To Tweet

Getting Organized in the Classroom

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

• Use empty tissue boxes to store plastic bags for those moments when a student runs into something sticky, icky, and wet. While having a plastic bag drawer or cupboard at home is fine, in the classroom there is no space to waste!

• Do you like drinking? I mean pop…or other beverages. Transform a six-pack “soda” carton into a supply tote that’s perfect for storing items for group work, tools for outside activities, or art supplies. You can cover the soda box up with some fun paper to disguise whatever it was that you were drinking and you have a cheap handy tool to keep your classroom organized. Check out these containers you can buy should you not have any laying around: 6 Pack Cardboard Carrier

• You can also use anything that you may find at home such as old vases, baskets, a tackle box, silverware trays, muffin tins, oatmeal canisters, or mason jars and tin cans. These items can all help create an organized classroom by putting like materials or materials needed for a specific project in one place.

Once you have your materials organized, it’s time to get some material put together. If you’re anything like me the most stressful day of school is the day I am not there. Whenever there is a sub, I’m always worried I have forgotten something. Here are some ideas to help keep your classroom organized even when you are not there.

Getting Organized for Your Substitute

• Make 50 copies of your class list at the beginning of the year and put them in a binder. This way you have a quick list always on hand for substitutes and any notes they may have on students’ behavior that day. This will also come in handy for participation points or keeping track of students on a field trip.

• Create a binder of activities student can do with the sub while you are away. Just in case the students burn through things faster than you expected, it’s good to have a backup plan.

It’s all well and good to keep your supplies organized, but first you have to keep your supplies. We all know the supplies we get is precious because we are usually paying for it out of our own pockets. Here are a few ways you can keep your classroom organized as well as keep your supplies.

Your Stuff is Your Stuff

• Label, label, label. Put your name on everything! Take that trusted sharpie and put it to use on anything that is yours.

• If you want to make labeling easier, you can use old address labels that you aren’t using anymore. (Maybe cross off your address though unless you want unwanted visitors).

I use the Brother P-Touch and absolutely love it!  It is bluetooth capable so with an app on my phone I can send labels to it from anywhere in my classroom.  Makes printing labels as I walk around easy peasy!

Materials aren’t the only part of a classroom that needs organizing. One of the more trying parts of being a teacher is the mass amounts of paper work that accrue throughout the day. How can we keep those papers from piling up? Follow these organizing tips to help keep your classroom organized.

Tame the Paper Mountain

• Clear up counter space by getting a vertical organizer that you can put files in. This will help you keep papers off of your desk. I would recommend either having a folder for each student or for each subject. Which one you choose will depend on your own personal organizing style. Either way you are keeping the paper off of your desk.

• Designate a time to purge file. If you don’t have time to put something away, get a folder or bin to put those papers in. Then designate a time of the day to put those files away in their proper place. This will keep papers off your desk and keep everything where it belongs.

In order to have all these papers, you need to have some curriculum. Often times we create dynamite curriculum and we misplace it over the summer or we find great curriculum and it suffers the same fate. It’s hard to keep everything organized in the classroom from year to year. We find all these great sources, but sometimes they get lost in the shuffle. Use these tips to help create a fun and organized environment.

Find It When You Need It

• Color-code your life! I mean curriculum. I know this sounds simple, but it’s so important to keep things organized and color coding is an easy way to accomplish this. Color code each area of study (Math, Grammar, Social Studies etc.) and keep that system up all year. Using simple colored labels is the easiest way I have found to color code my resources.

• When you find useful sources, make sure you create a file folder or binder (depending on the size of the information) and label it appropriately. I know it sounds silly, label and color-code, but they are two tried and true ways to keep your classroom organized.

Getting organized in the classroom can be really fun, especially once you find your own organizational style. Instead of looking up and seeing disarray, imagine looking up and seeing a nice, neat, organized space where you can work without clutter or anxiety. Keeping your classroom organized is a great way to start and end your school year and is a definite must for being a healthy teacher.

Have you been following along on this journey to becoming a healthier and happier teacher?  If you missed the previous posts check them out here:

Healthy Teacher Series: Part One The WHY

Healthy Teacher Series: Part Two The Food

Healthy Teacher Series: Part Three The Exercise

Check back soon for the next installment in this Healthy Teacher Series where we look at Finding Your Chair!  You won’t want to miss it!  See you next time and until then, Happy Teaching!

It’s the middle of the school year (or end of the school year) and you’re sitting at your desk. After gazing up from the 1 millionth paper you’ve graded that day, what do you see? Disarray? More papers? Is it hard to tell? In Part 4 of the Healthy Teacher series we will focus on Getting Organized in the Classroom.

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