Spruce Up Your Classroom With a Little Spring Cleaning!
- Grades: PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5
Spring is the season for cleaning and simplifying. After the long days of winter, you can always find my once neat and organized classroom in total disarray. Due to the constant demands of the school day, I find it is very hard to stay organized. I’ve decided that it is finally time to put an end to my system of quickly shoving materials into any available space. My classroom is in desperate need of a brand new look and feel. I want my students to return from spring break excited and motivated to finish the year. Join me as I spruce things up by cleaning and reorganizing my classroom.
Make Three Piles
The first thing you do before starting the clean-up process is to make yourself three piles: trash, give away, and keep.
Trash or Recycle
If you're not using it, throw it out or give it away. Take a deep breath and just do it! We teachers are the kings and queens of hoarding. We tend to hold on to materials we think might come in handy one day. If this sounds a little like you, you might want to ask yourself these two questions: Do I use it often, and how easily can I replace it? Well, the truth is, if you haven’t used it in over two years, you probably don’t need it. Items such as shoe boxes, that take up tons of space, can be easily replaced when they are needed for a particular craft or project.
Organize the Keepers
I found that piles were slowly taking over my classroom — piles of books, piles of tests, and piles of papers. If you don’t already have them, get yourself several plastic bins. Closely examine your piles and label your bins according to each area of need. If you are like me and already have these labeled bins, use this time to sort through all your piles so you can once again gain control. I used these free printable labels provided by the site Kelly's Kindergarten.
To organize my printables, I’ve also begun using My File Cabinet by Scholastic. My File Cabinet is a personal storage system where you can save and organize your favorite printables.
Update Your Classroom Displays
I believe classroom displays should be used to showcase your students' learning. Students are always so excited to see their work displayed throughout the classroom. For this reason it is important to keep your displays updated with current work and materials. Remove student work and teaching materials from previous units. Give the work to the students that created it, file away items that can be reused, and throw out the rest. Check out Responsive Classroom Specialist Mike Anderson's suggestions for showcasing student work.
Reaccess Your Room Arrangement
Sit back and evaluate your room arrangement. You can free up tons of space by getting rid of any furniture that you are not using. By simply removing one bookshelf, I managed to create a more spacious area for my math and science center. I also rearranged my student seating.
Throughout my teaching career, I’ve found that elementary school students love the occasional seating change. I can’t wait to see the new perspective this simple change will bring to my classroom. If you would like to do a complete makeover, take a look at my blog posts on classroom setup and classroom organization.
Spring cleaning your classroom does take some time and effort, but after it is done, you can once again enjoy teaching in a clean, neat, and organized environment.
What tips do you have for spring cleaning your classroom? Please comment below!