10 Classroom Organization Tips from Fellow Teachers

Being well-organized will help save you precious time and energy. Here are our Top 10 creative organizational tips from veteran teachers that will help you build an efficient classroom. New teachers, still determining the most effective methods in the classroom, will find this resource particularly valuable.
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Children's classroom
The first week of school, write all of your students' names on 3"x5" notecards.
When looking for "helpers," taking turns reading, or answering questions refer to the names on the cards. This will give everyone an equal chance and keep them on their toes. Use a blank card to separate the beginning and end; when you get to the blank card shuffle the cards before going on. It also cuts down on discipline problems because if students are not doing what they should be, then they forfeit their turn.

Patti Kopp
Sigel Elementary School
St. Louis, MO
Grade Levels: K-2
Teach your class an attention code.

I say "Hey" in a sing-song voice and the class responds with "Ho." This code alerts the children that they need to stop whatever they are doing and immediately look in my direction. This is useful in the classroom when the students are working in centers and I need their attention. If we are on the playground, my class is quickly distinguished from the others by this code.

Angie Dulaney

Delhi Elementary School

Delhi, LA

Grade Levels: 3-5

Find more Attention Getters on our Pinterest board.

Make a file folder for each child for all parent/teacher communication.
Then all year you have a concise record of every note you have either written to or received from parents.

Jerri McCreless
Brookwood Elementary School
Tuscaloosa, AL
Grade Levels: 3-5
Eye glasses
You don't have to grade and record every paper or piece of writing.
As a new teacher, I felt I had to read through every piece of their work, write comments, and record nearly everything in the grade book. Prioritize what work is important enough to grade, note which students aren't catching on, and then recycle the rest of the papers and worksheets!

St. Cecilia School
St. Louis, MO
Grade Levels: 3-5
Boy writing
Assign each child the number that corresponds to the number in the grade book.
Each child writes that number in the upper right-hand corner of everything that has to be turned in. With this done, I can simply put the papers in numerical order and call out any missing numbers. It also helps with recording grades in the grade book and saves loads of time.

Angie Dulaney
Delhi Elementary School
Delhi, LA
Grade Levels: 3-5
Teacher grading papers
Offer extra credit when you need papers back ASAP.
Give the extra credit to all that return the papers within two days!

Jennell Ward
Pines Middle School
Pembroke Pines, FL
Grade Levels: 6-8
When I was a new teacher, I amassed materials.

Since then, I have taught many different subjects and ability levels. I have also moved classrooms more times than I can count. With the wonder of the Internet and scanners and CD burners, it is no longer necessary to carry (and move) loads of papers and books everywhere. If I were starting out now, I would

a) choose a color-code system and stick to it from the get-go, and
b) store as much electronically as possible.
I'm preparing to go back to school to a new position and have spent much of the summer re-organizing, cleaning out files (wow, the things I'd forgotten I had!) and minimizing clutter. If only I'd started out that way!

Shyrl Cone
Third Grade Teacher
Hartland, Michigan
Kids writing in notebooks
At the beginning of a new quarter give each student a piece of paper with three bathroom passes drawn on it.

They may use them during the quarter, but if they do not, add extra points to their report card grades. It motivates the students to use the restroom during their normal break times, and really cuts back on class-time disruptions!

Marissa Hurley
Mt. Carmel School
Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands
Grade Levels: 3-5

Print bathroom passes for back to school.

Make sure you find out bus numbers for each child before school starts if you are a kindergarten, first grade or special education teacher.

Then you'll be sure to get each student on the correct bus, avoiding confusion.

Memorize and learn the students' names, first and last, before they arrive.

It is very important to start off your school year with knowledge. Know your students' name, write them on name cards and assign them a seat so you can also memorize them in order.

Doreen Travis
Fairview School
Sylva, NC
Grade Levels: 6-8

Browse more ideas to help you learn students' names quickly.

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