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August 26, 2016

5 Classroom Organization Tips for the School Year

By Tiffani Mugurussa
Grades PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5, 6–8, 9–12

    Starting the school year organized is something I live for. I work many hours in my classroom organizing, cleaning, purging, and labeling. I’m the girl who gets excited over organizational containers. Today I’m sharing five classroom organizational tips that will help you start your school year off right.

     

    Tip #1: Label, Label, Label

    Label everything in your classroom. I create labels for all my containers, for homework, clipboards, whiteboards and even whiteboard markers. The labels serve multiple purposes. They are providing words for students should they need them when they are writing, but they are also directing the adults in my room (such as volunteers and substitutes) on where to find these items. One of the most popular tools here on Scholastic.com is Word Workshop, with which you can make labels choosing your own borders and font styles, whether you want one, two, three, or four words on a page or a list. Beyond labeling, the tool has countless applications, but let's just say it is a (free) label maker extraordinaire!

    I use adhesive labels a lot in my classroom for students’ belongings. At the beginning of the school year I make multiple sets of class labels with every student's name. I use the labels for coat hooks, cubbies, journals, pencil boxes, and anything else that needs their name on it. This saves so much time and I don’t have to worry about accidentally misspelling any name when I’m writing it. Labels also come in handy for substitutes and field trips too.

     

    Tip #2: Let Students File Their Own Work

    I don’t spend time filing my students' work when they are capable of doing it. Yes, even kindergarteners can handle this task! Of course a few might need help in the beginning to locate their name, but the majority of the students can perform filing jobs after a few lessons. Once I have checked their work, they file it. At the end of the week, students remove the work from their file folder to take home. This is such a time-saver.     

     

    Tip #3: Create a Lost and Found Container

    To avoid students from continually bringing me random items they find, I have created a Lost and Found container. Anytime a student finds a paperclip, linker cube pattern block, or anything else that that they cannot put away without my help, it goes in the Lost and Found container. At the end of the day/week I can then take the container and put everything away.  I can now teach without having my lessons continually interrupted with the never-ending cries of “Teacher, look I found this,” and be handed a Lego. As the year progresses, tending to the Lost and Found container will become one of our classroom jobs: whoever has this job will be responsible for putting away as many of the items in the container as they can. 

     

    Tip #4: Create an Absent Folder

    At the beginning of the school year, I always create a few “While You Were Absent" folders. When a student is absent, these folders are placed on the table where they sit.  Anything that is handed out, such as notes from the office, class assignments, or homework, are all placed into this folder. When the student returns to school they will find all the papers they need from the days they have been absent. What makes this system so wonderful is I do not have to compile missed assignments for students when they return to class — everything is already gathered. 

     

    Tip #5: Display a Parent Information Board

    The Parent Information Board is my best organizational tip, which is why I have saved it for last! I have created this board out of an old rolling big book stand, but I have also used a bulletin board propped up in a window. Be creative! The most important thing is to get the information out and displayed for the parents to see. This is where I display all notes from the office; we know these get lost in the bottom of backpacks. I use this board to communicate with my parents on a daily basis. It also includes my class volunteer schedule, sign-up sheets for donations when we have special events; basically, anything and everything I need my parents to know. Many times I see my parents taking photos of the information. I guess a picture is really worth a thousand words.

    I hope you have found these five back-to-school organizational tips helpful in starting out your 2016-17 school year. Here's to an organized school year, and if you have some great organizational tips that go along with these, please share them in the comments below.

     

    Starting the school year organized is something I live for. I work many hours in my classroom organizing, cleaning, purging, and labeling. I’m the girl who gets excited over organizational containers. Today I’m sharing five classroom organizational tips that will help you start your school year off right.

     

    Tip #1: Label, Label, Label

    Label everything in your classroom. I create labels for all my containers, for homework, clipboards, whiteboards and even whiteboard markers. The labels serve multiple purposes. They are providing words for students should they need them when they are writing, but they are also directing the adults in my room (such as volunteers and substitutes) on where to find these items. One of the most popular tools here on Scholastic.com is Word Workshop, with which you can make labels choosing your own borders and font styles, whether you want one, two, three, or four words on a page or a list. Beyond labeling, the tool has countless applications, but let's just say it is a (free) label maker extraordinaire!

    I use adhesive labels a lot in my classroom for students’ belongings. At the beginning of the school year I make multiple sets of class labels with every student's name. I use the labels for coat hooks, cubbies, journals, pencil boxes, and anything else that needs their name on it. This saves so much time and I don’t have to worry about accidentally misspelling any name when I’m writing it. Labels also come in handy for substitutes and field trips too.

     

    Tip #2: Let Students File Their Own Work

    I don’t spend time filing my students' work when they are capable of doing it. Yes, even kindergarteners can handle this task! Of course a few might need help in the beginning to locate their name, but the majority of the students can perform filing jobs after a few lessons. Once I have checked their work, they file it. At the end of the week, students remove the work from their file folder to take home. This is such a time-saver.     

     

    Tip #3: Create a Lost and Found Container

    To avoid students from continually bringing me random items they find, I have created a Lost and Found container. Anytime a student finds a paperclip, linker cube pattern block, or anything else that that they cannot put away without my help, it goes in the Lost and Found container. At the end of the day/week I can then take the container and put everything away.  I can now teach without having my lessons continually interrupted with the never-ending cries of “Teacher, look I found this,” and be handed a Lego. As the year progresses, tending to the Lost and Found container will become one of our classroom jobs: whoever has this job will be responsible for putting away as many of the items in the container as they can. 

     

    Tip #4: Create an Absent Folder

    At the beginning of the school year, I always create a few “While You Were Absent" folders. When a student is absent, these folders are placed on the table where they sit.  Anything that is handed out, such as notes from the office, class assignments, or homework, are all placed into this folder. When the student returns to school they will find all the papers they need from the days they have been absent. What makes this system so wonderful is I do not have to compile missed assignments for students when they return to class — everything is already gathered. 

     

    Tip #5: Display a Parent Information Board

    The Parent Information Board is my best organizational tip, which is why I have saved it for last! I have created this board out of an old rolling big book stand, but I have also used a bulletin board propped up in a window. Be creative! The most important thing is to get the information out and displayed for the parents to see. This is where I display all notes from the office; we know these get lost in the bottom of backpacks. I use this board to communicate with my parents on a daily basis. It also includes my class volunteer schedule, sign-up sheets for donations when we have special events; basically, anything and everything I need my parents to know. Many times I see my parents taking photos of the information. I guess a picture is really worth a thousand words.

    I hope you have found these five back-to-school organizational tips helpful in starting out your 2016-17 school year. Here's to an organized school year, and if you have some great organizational tips that go along with these, please share them in the comments below.

     

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