Exciting lesson ideas, classroom strategies, book lists, videos, and reproducibles in a daily blog by teachers

Alycia

I live in New York

I teach third grade

I am an almost-digital-native and Ms. Frizzle wannabe

Rhonda

I live in New Jersey

I teach sixth grade literacy

I am passionate about my students becoming lifelong readers and writers

Christy

I live in New York

I teach K-5

I am a proud supporter of American public education and a tech integrationist

Erin

I live in Michigan

I teach second grade

I am a Tweet loving, technology integrating, mom of two with a passion for classroom design!

Allie

I live in Nevada

I teach PreK-K

I am a loving, enthusiastic teacher whose goal is to make learning exciting for every child

Genia

I live in Michigan

I teach third grade

I am seriously addicted to all things technology in my teaching

Kriscia

I live in California

I teach fourth and fifth grades

I am an eager educator, on the hunt to find the brilliance in all

Brian

I live in North Carolina

I teach kindergarten

I am a kindergarten teacher who takes creating a fun, engaging classroom seriously

Lindsey

I live in Illinois

I teach fourth grade

I am a theme-weaving, bargain-hunting, creative public educator

40 Quick and Easy Organization Tips

By Meghan Everette on November 23, 2012
  • Grades: PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5, 6–8, 9–12

I asked my coworkers to open their doors and give their best tip for staying organized and on top of information. Here are 40 quick and easy ways to help make your classroom more manageable thanks to my amazing friends. Be sure to comment with your quick tips that help your classroom run efficiently!

Word Walls

Classroom Libraries and Reading

Technology

Procedures and Workshops

Progress Monitoring and Intervention

Files and Notes

Storage

Organization and Smooth Operations


Word Walls

Words on Ribbons

  1. Attach ribbons under the alphabet to keep word walls organized without wrecking painted walls. —Mrs. McInnis

Pocket Chart Word Wall

  1. Use pocket charts for word walls that need constant updating. Words are easy to store in order and can be flipped over during tests. —Mrs. McInnis

Color Coded Math Words

  1. Vocabulary and word wall words that are color coded help keep information in order and make storing for next year simple. —Mrs. Jackson

Classroom Libraries and Reading

Sight Words on Tables

  1. Sight words label tables in the lower grades. Tables line up when their word is called. Adapt this idea for upper grades by using numbers and calling out factors or multiples. —Mrs. Campbell

Book Color Labels

  1. Libraries often use color coding for their books. Label yours with the same colors to make in-class library checkout simple.

Fiction Sign in the Library

  1. Large signs in the library help students find fiction, nonfiction, or easy level books without searching the labels. —Mrs. Mitchell

Central Reading Area

  1. A central reading area is a calming spot right outside the office. Children waiting to be picked up or parents waiting to conference can grab a book and read quietly.

Small Chairs for Pint-Sized Readers

  1. Pint-sized sofas make a cozy spot for young students to feel right at home while exploring books. Other rooms feature oversized pillows and beanbag chairs. —Mrs. Ederer

Magnet Names and Book Types

  1. Magnet name tags help readers make good book choices, varying their selections between fiction, nonfiction, and chapter books. It also gives teachers a quick glance at what everyone is reading. —Mrs. Miller

Labeled Book Baskets

  1. Leveled book bins keep students from endlessly searching in large classroom libraries while making sure they stay within their reading levels. We use Accelerated Reader levels, but you might separate books by series or genre.

Technology

Labeled Cords

  1. Matching labels on cords, storage spots, and Neos (similar to centralized writers or laptops) help students keep tech tools in place.

Round Computer Table

  1. Use unconventional tables, such as small, round tables, to maximize space for classroom computers. U-shaped tables, kidney tables, and trapezoid tables are all good solutions.

Computer Lab Organization

  1. Computer lab procedures keep computers neat. Headphones always sit atop the tower to the left while large numbers help identify which workstation students are at. —Mrs. Ellis

Computer Shortcuts

  1. Large computer shortcut signs help students with common computer tasks. Other signs show common logins for our most-used computer programs.

Procedures and Workshops

Photo Workshop Chart

  1. Younger grades display photos of workshops along with the title, so nonreaders can easily see their task. ESL students would also benefit from picture clues. —Mrs. Laubenthaul

Photo Faces Workshop Chart

  1. Student faces on the workshop rotation help identify who should be where at all times. —Mrs. Rider

Pocket Chart Organization

  1. Workshop rotations are easy to change when pocket charts are used. Groups can be color coded or easily switched around at a moment’s notice. —Mrs. Singleton

Workshop Boxes

  1. An extra dollar or two for strong and sturdy workshop boxes that stand the test of time is a worthwhile investment. Clear boxes allow students to see what is inside and help the teacher and students stay organized. —Mrs. Rider

Bell Work Instructions

  1. Simple and visible bell instructions help students follow set procedures daily. A familiar schedule means everyone is on task, even if the teacher happens to be absent. —Mrs. Singleton

Progress Monitoring and Intervention

Independent Self Assessment Baskets

  1. Simple baskets help older students with independent work. When their computer report prints, they correct their work and put it in the under 85% correct basket or the 85% or up basket, or let the teacher know new work is needed. —Mrs. Lowe

Motivation Charts with Sticky Notes

  1. Sticky notes are easily moved on a chart as students move up levels. There is a great sense of satisfaction in students' moving their sticky to the next level and aiming to be a part of the top group.

Intervention School-Wide

  1. Each grade level has specific color sticky notes and teachers routinely change and update students on a schoolwide board that represents all available interventions and needs. Students might be in the Tier II, Tier III, or Extended Day sections, for example. At a glance, we can see where each student is, their grade, teacher, and what interventions are currently happening. —Mrs. Mitchell

Progress Monitoring Folder

  1. A progress monitoring chart kept in a folder helps teachers keep track of which students to monitor and when in one glance. The same information translates to a motivational bulletin board for students. —Mrs. Singleton

Files and Notes

Daily Teacher Files

  1. Daily file organizers let a teacher grab exactly the plans and important papers she needs for each day. If a teacher is out, the substitute knows exactly where to find plans and important notes. —Mrs. Harris

Daily Work and Homework Storage

  1. Extra copies of class and homework get filed by day in an organizer. Students who are absent or out of the room just go to the day they need and pull their own make-up work. —Mrs. Harris

Parent Note Binder

  1. Parent contact information is stored in a binder with a clear sheet protector behind each student. Tardy slips, excuse notes, or parent letters get filed with each student's information for easy reference. —Mrs. Anez

Technology Binder Screenshot

  1. Make a technology binder with each program printout, username, and password as you add programs personally or as a school. You’ll never lose a password again!

Storage

Rolled Bulliten Borders

  1. Bull clips hold bulletin-board borders together in small rolls that can fit anywhere without being crunched or folded. Bonus — you probably already have them in your desk!

Mailbox Paper Storage

  1. FREE boxes from the post office become color paper storage with just a little clear tape holding the sides together. —Mrs. Laubenthaul

Shoe Holder Organization

  1. Shoe holders create extra closet storage behind any available door. Clear pockets make supplies easy to see. —Mrs. Harris

Cubbies for Puzzles

  1. Cubbies usually reserved for loose papers become puzzle and box storage that let students grab a box without trying to pull from the bottom of a tall stack. —Mrs. Ederer

Bookbag Tubs

  1. Two or three large tubs are big enough to store a classroom's worth of backpacks. Students can’t play in their bags and any unnecessary items are kept up and out of reach. —Mrs. Irby

Pendaflex Plastic Files

  1. Use letter folders that have sides for storing unit supplies. Word wall words and small samples can’t fall out the sides. I like the plastic ones for color coordination and durability.

Organization and Smooth Operations

Floor Tape

  1. Electrical tape on the carpet and floor lets students know exactly where to sit for even spacing and no arguments about “my spot.” — Mrs. Laubenthaul

Electrical Tape Tables

  1. Electrical tape on tables lets each student know exactly where their personal space is. No more fighting because “that was on my spot.” —Mrs. Laubenthaul

Dismissal Chart

  1. Dismissal charts are cute pictographs, but also remind students and substitutes exactly how each child should go home each day. A pocket chart allows changes if the route is updated.

Dismissal Name Tags

  1. Dismissal tags are color coded by type of dismissal and have each child’s full name and teacher. Young children wear their tag until they are dismissed to an adult. Quiet children don't have to say their name, which alleviates confusion.

Hanging Charts

  1. Purchased or self-made ceiling clips open up more wall space than ever before. Anchor charts can hang all over the room without taking up valuable board space. —Mrs. Jackson

Hallway Murals and Questions

  1. Hall murals look great, and a few strategic questions keep students thinking while waiting in line.

Hallway Map Mural

  1. Maps of the United States and our state with featured monuments give students something to think about while stopping for a sip at the water fountain.

Do you have a quick and easy tip that makes your day run smoothly? I'm always looking for ways to make the class run efficiently. I'd love to hear your ideas!

Comments (33)

Thanks for all the wonderful ideas. The ribbon word wall....anyone have an idea on how the words are attached? This would be much easier and less messy for me than blue sticky tack! Thanks

thank you very much for your tips, are fantastic.

www.ready4read.com

Fabulous ideas from everyone. It's funny how we all adapt the things we find, isn't it? Thanks for sharing and keep the ideas coming!

I also use the number system. When I get a new student, I simply assign them in the correct order but add a B to their number. For instance, 16B means the second person with the number 16. I skip lines between students in my gradebook whenever possible, so when I get a new student I can slip them into place.

Where do you get ceiling hooks? Does the fire dept regulate how close things are to the ceiling?

I bought a rolling cart with 6 drawers where student turn in papers for me to grade. Each is labeled with the subject, and since we are departmentalized, my partner teacher's name. I have never lost a student paper, they do not get mixed up, an I can stay organized.

I went to K-Mart and bought a white shoe organizer with 25 slots. It makes the greatest mailbox system and is so much more durable than the cardboard ones that cost a lot in the teacher catalogs. You can also purchase two 15 slot ones if you had up to 30 students. I would put notices, etc. in the students' boxes and it was their responsibility to take the papers out and put them in their backpacks at the end of the day.

For organizing colored copy paper and small construction paper, I use a crate with hanging files. Each file is labeled with a color. One pack of construction paper fits nicely in a file. I put the crate on the counter for easy access. I also keep graph paper, cardstock, and other speciality papers there for easy access.

To help students remember on which section of the Math manipulative shelf to return the container they've been using, I number the sections on the shelf and write the corresponding numbers on the manipulative container.

A great way to store your copies for the week is by
using the plastic file drawers. The ones I bought at Walmart have 3 in a unit. I label them Monday, Tues....... and put what ever I need for the week in that drawer. Great for subs too. I Actually just bough another set to put master copies, extra copies, papers to file.

Do you know the brand or type of storage containers that are shown. I like them, but want to know how to search for them.

I will find out and let you know!

They are steralite from Walmart.

The ideas for organizing are awesome, they were a great help. Thanx.

All the above ideas for organising are awesome.

Where did Mrs. McInnis obtain her Math Word Wall words with examples? I like her tip and I LOVE the word cards. Did she create the cards or can I buy or download them?

Cindy - She got hers from Teachers Pay Teachers. Thanks for asking!

Meghan

It always seems that papers to be graded pile up and get all mixed up. I've developed a system using file folders. I have 5 in different colors with labels, and papers immediately go where they belong.
1) To be graded
2) Graded, to be recorded in gradebook
3) Recorded, to be returned
4) Late Work/Make Up Work
5) Corrected Work

You are better than me... I get a big stack and when they are ready to be filed or handed back, they pile up in a second pike. It is crazy. I should get some folders!

Several of my students weren't sure where they were suppoed to go home each day. The parents would send me a note so I could remind their child. I suggested getting a luggage tag and place a piece of paper inside so their child could quickly and easily look to see if they were to walk home, wait to be picked up or some other way. This helped the parents so they wouldn't have to write every day and eased the anxiety for many children.

That's a great idea! Our school doesn't allow changes to dismissal without a parent coming to the office (except in special cases, but that's few and far between.) it cuts down on dismissal confusion!

I was disappointed that Scholastic showed the "free" boxes from the post office as a storage solution. Those boxes are free to be used with flat rate shipping. If he boxes have already been used to ship something, great. I applaud your use of reusing materials. Otherwise it is a violation of Federal law and models to the students that it is acceptable to follow only rules/laws you choose.

Good point! I didn't ask Mrs. L, but I'd be surprised if they weren't used already. The same thing could be accomplished with other empty boxes. I know our sets of plastic folders ordered at the start of the year come in similar sized boxes.

I agree. Reusing only previously used USPS boxes is a great idea.

Reusing boxes is a great idea! But as an alternative to the post office boxes (as I agree they are not free to the postal service unless they have been used as their intended purpose) I collect used cereal boxes and tape them together for box strength. It's perfect for a homemade mailbox/paper center:) and it usually is a cool art piece too with the many different patterns on the cereal boxes.

A fellow teacher shared a wonderful organizing tip for keeping student work easily alphabetized. Each student is assigned a number that corresponds with the alphabetical order of their last name. They put "their number" on the top left corner of each paper they have and then papers can be quickly ordered for entering grades into a grade book or passing back to their mailboxes to take home. Such a simple solution to a task that used to waste so much of my time! I wish I could say I thought of it!!

I know several teachers that use the number thing. It seems to work pretty well! I file with just their name, but then again, I'M doing the filing. This sure would simplify entering in the grade book! Good suggestion!

What happens when you get a new student? I love this idea, but my population changes so often. Do you have a system of reordering? The kids can't keep remembering different numbers. I couldn't figure anything out so I thought I would ask if you did!

Thanks!

I also use a number for each student. As another student is added to the roster, that student just gets the next available number, regardless of last name. I do not change everyone's number after it is assigned for the year.

Meghan,

amazingly great post!

Thanks, David!

Thanks! I had a hard time narrowing it down. Our teachers are so crafty and love to share.

This is an amazing post. So many great ideas--I want to share these at a staff meeting to help teachers to plan for back to school after the holidays! Thanks

Post a Comment
(Please sign in to leave a comment. Privacy Policy)
Back to Top