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November 23, 2012 40 Quick and Easy Organization Tips By Meghan Everette
Grades PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5, 6–8

    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


    Procedures and Workshops

    Progress Monitoring and Intervention

    Files and Notes


    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.


    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 percent correct basket or the 85 percent 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!


    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!


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