Starting a new school year means establishing new classroom rules and routines. It also means reorganizing your space to make things flow for the new year. Each year we learn from our mistakes and our classroom gets better and better. We also learn from other more seasoned teachers who have a few tricks up their sleeve. Use these 10 classroom organization ideas to make your school year easier!
1. Use Book Bins
You probably have a plethora of books lying around the classroom for your kids to read during independent reading times or in small groups. It’s difficult to find them when they are bunched together on a shelf.
One of the first classroom organization ideas is using color-coded or labeled book bins. Print labels to tape to dollar store bins. The labels can be things like science-fiction, animals, popular authors, and other genres. Color coding the bins can also help if you need to organize them by reading level instead.
2. Laminate Worksheets for Less Printing
Printing the same worksheets year after year can use up a lot of paper and time. If you have a worksheet that you use every year, try laminating it so you only have to print it once. Students will be able to write on it with dry erase markers. Check their answers quickly and then have them erase their sheets to put back into your folder or binder for next year.
This is one of my favorite classroom organization ideas for group board games and activities that you use in centers. Instead of printing them or letting them get ruined, laminate anything you possibly can!
3. Color Code Your Teaching Materials
Teachers have so many different binders for different units and lessons. If you have the chance, place different units or subjects into different colored binders and bins. Have a red bin for math, a blue bin for reading, etc. Color code them based on your personal preference and you’ll find that things are a little easier to grab when you need them.
This is one of those classroom organization ideas that work for some teachers but not for all. It all depends on whether you can find a variety of binders or folders that you like.
4. Store Pencils in Toothbrush Cases
This one might just be a game-changer. Use a Dollar Store toothbrush holder to organize student pencils. Have the kids keep their personal stash of pencils inside the case. Let them decorate their case at the beginning of the school year with Sharpies or other materials. Be sure to have them write their name on the toothbrush case. These are easy to store in cubbies, desks, pencil pouches, and lockers.
5. Display the Daily Schedule with Magnets
Almost every teacher has a daily schedule they display on the board throughout the year. Instead of taping or gluing your schedule up on the wall, try adhering the pieces to magnets so they are easy to move around. When the schedule quickly changes because of an assembly or guest speaker, you can move the pieces with ease.
This is a great tip for calendar time because you will be able to swap out the month and the dates super quickly. Use classroom organization ideas like this year after year as long as the calendar pieces hold up!
6. Make a Sub Tub or Binder
Having sub plans on hand is one of the first things I recommend doing when you begin your teaching career. Get those plans ready because you never know when you will have to be out. Get a Rubbermaid tote or a large binder to place all of your plans in.
I recommend planning out a whole week (more if you can) of general plans for kids to focus on while you are gone. In the sub tub or binder, be sure to include seating charts, transportation for each child, allergies, rules and routines, daily schedule, contact information for the children in case of emergency, special helpers, etc.
Having the tub or binder on hand in your absence will leave you feeling less stressed!
7. Use a Digital Daily Schedule
A digital daily schedule is a great tool to project on the board while you are working with the students. Make the pieces movable and you can rotate the student groups during centers or day to day. It’s a fun visual to have and the kids often like to help swap the pieces if they are able.
A digitally displayed schedule allows the kids to stay on track. Include a timer and you won’t have to keep time every day. The schedule will do all of the work and you will have used one of the classroom organization ideas that doesn’t require any extra space.
Try my Digital Rotations Bundle to get started with math and literacy centers.
8. Create a Morning Cart
If you do morning work with your kids, create a morning cart that can wheel around the room. Include a space to turn in homework, grab their morning work, mark their attendance, and more. You won’t have to hand each student their paper, they can grab it straight from the cart. The kids will love knowing that the cart is where they start each day.
9. Promote an Organized Desk
To help keep your classroom organized from all angles, encourage your students to keep their desks tidy. Do this with a daily cleaning time or an anchor chart that shows students what an organized desk should look like. You might want to give out a reward for the neatest desk or reward all students when their desks are organized. You know how your students will react best!
10. Keep an Emergency Supply
One of my final classroom organization ideas is to create an emergency supply kit. This emergency supply kit is just for you and your colleagues. It’s a kit to get you through the day when needed or when in a pinch. Include things like:
- hand sanitizer
- feminine products
Having these items on hand may come in handy!
By using a variety of organizational tips and tricks from other teachers, you will be set up for success in the classroom this upcoming year. Pick and choose what works for you and get creative with the way you put things together. I hope these classroom organization ideas help make your school year easier!