The Ultimate Organized Classroom

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Girl writingA well organized classroom that can practically run itself is easy to achieve. A classroom where files, supplies, and forms can be easily found, where you can easily identify and access student records, and where a substitute teacher can come in and pick up where you left off without any hitches. Just follow our easy steps to creating the ultimate organized classroom.

Step One: Organize resources and materials.
Step Two: Organize student records.
Step Three: Train your students.
Step Four: Prepare for extracurricular events.
Step Five: Be prepared for absences.

Step One: Organize resources and materials.

Every teacher gets buried in paperwork from time to time. But there are painless ways to reduce clutter and confusion. Here are a few tips:

  • Color code everything. Use the same color for all materials for each subject or unit. If you can, color code assignments and handouts by using colored copy paper. If you don't have access to colored paper, then use colored labels. Use colored labels on resource books for students so they'll return articles to the right notebook. Use different colors for student records in each class.
  • Put everything in binders. Place your teacher resource books in three-ring binders using plastic sleeves. Once again, color code these binders according to subject. Use binders to store articles that you'd like to keep.
  • Store items in boxes. Use plastic tubs or cardboard file boxes to store holiday projects, art projects, special books, and supplies. Be sure to label these boxes with the name of each project or unit.

Step Two: Organize student records.

As soon as you get your student list, set up a system that will allow you to access student records quickly and easily. Here are a few suggestions:
  • Assign numbers to students. Assign the same number to each student that you used in your gradebook. Have each student write his or her number on every assignment. Use corresponding student numbers to label all student materials, including mailboxes.
  • Use an online gradebook. Online gradebooks allow you to automatically give out online assignments and record grades. Check out http://mygradebook.com for an example.
  • Make labels with each student's name. Have your students write their names and numbers on labels, which you can peel off and use for all folders, notebooks, and other materials that need student identification, including forms. This is a real time-saver.
  • Be prepared for new students. Have packets of information for new students prepared ahead of time so that when a new student enters your class in the middle of a lesson, you're ready.
  • Create a seating chart. As soon as your class list is final, create a seating chart from your perspective at the front of the class. This should help you learn students' names and help keep some order in the classroom.
  • Create an assignment basket or tray. Use a basket or tray for students to turn in assignments. You can have a different basket or tray for each class or subject. Then train your students to turn in assignments in these places.

Step Three: Train your students.

When your students know and understand class rules and procedures, they'll help you maintain order in the classroom throughout the school year. Here are a few key points:
  • Establish classroom rules and policies. During the first week of school ask your students to suggest class rules. Chances are, the rules that they suggest will be similar to those you have in mind. If not, you can guide them. ("Should we have rules for getting ready for lunch? What should they be?") Include general classroom standards such as cooperation and routines, including restroom use, assignment turn-in, and work standards.
  • Go over district rules with students. These might include suspension and school behavior codes.
  • Explain class organization to students. Tell students where they will find supplies and how they should put supplies and materials back. Give them rewards or credits for following directions.

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