The Ultimate Organized Classroom

Ultra-organized classrooms seem practically to run themselves. Here are five steps you can follow that include advice on organizing resources, records, students, and how to prepare for your absence.
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Step Four: Prepare for extracurricular events.

Preparing for activities in addition to the everyday routine can be a lot of work. If you plan ahead, you'll minimize the amount of stress that these events can produce.

  • Plan field trips in advance. Take a large envelope (10" x 13"), glue a checklist to the front and laminate it. On the checklist include the following:
    • group list
    • directions
    • consent forms
    • emergency treatment forms
    • name tags
    • anything else that you might find necessary

      On the day of the field trip use a wipe-off pen to check off which items are inside. Enclose what you need for the field trip and place the envelope on a table so the volunteer drivers can pick it up as they come inside.

  • Make Back-to-School Night packets. On the day of Back-to-School Night, have your students create a packet for their families. Include the following:
    • a welcome letter
    • the school calendar
    • your homework policy
    • a copy of your daily/weekly schedule
    • important phone numbers
    • enrichment activities for parents to do with their children at home
    • a calendar outline of your curriculum for the upcoming school year
On Back-to-School Night, have all sign-up sheets for the entire school year out on one table. Include field-trip volunteers, room parents, classroom volunteers, etc.

Step Five: Be prepared for absences.

If you've organized your classroom well enough, a substitute teacher should have no problem working in your class when you're out with the flu. Here are a few tips that should help you be prepared for a substitute teacher at any time:
  • Create a substitute teacher folder or binder early in the year. Use it to file class lists, fire drill rules, seating charts, times and schedule change information, and a general plan for the day for substitutes to follow. You might also include the names and numbers of teachers' aides, helpful teachers, office procedures, and classroom rules and policies.
  • Provide substitutes with class subject information. Include notes on students to assist in certain areas.
  • Label your cabinets. Itemize the contents of each cabinet so that substitutes can easily find any supplies or materials they need.
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