By the end of the year school year, our classrooms are always a mess, right? We had stacks of paper, broken crayons, pencils with missing erasers, and bins and files were everywhere. So let’s ban together this year and start the year off with an organized classroom! Here are some back-to-school classroom organization hacks that should help.
Organization Tips and Tricks for the Classroom
Start the year off right and get things in order for back-to-school time. You’ll have peace of mind that your classroom is ready for kids and the year ahead. You can focus on teaching and shaping young minds, instead of trying to find that missing anchor chart. Let’s do this!
Checklists and To-Do’s
Start off your tasks by making a list of what you need to accomplish. Prioritize and then tackle the items on your list one by one. Here are some handy checklists to give you a place to start. Add your own tasks as you see fit.
- FREE beginning of the year checklist: Create a list of things you need to do at the beginning of the year and check them off as you complete them. This will help you remember all the important things, big and small, that you must do to get your classroom ready for the first week back to school.
- FREE daily, weekly, & monthly to-do list: Get and stay organized with these handy lists and manage your classroom like the star teacher you are!
Organizing Teacher Materials
Keep your files and supplies organized so you’ll never have trouble finding what you need when you need it. Spend a little time before school starts setting up your file cabinet, organizing digital resources, and refreshing your chart storage.
- File Cabinet Makeover: It’s amazing what a few brightly colored sheets of cardstock can do for your file cabinet! Download a free printable template and read all about this 30-minute file cabinet makeover.
- Anchor Chart Storage: All those detailed anchor charts you make this year will need a place to go so you can reference them later. Don’t throw them away! Store them in a repurposed trash can, like this creative storage bin (made from a trash can)!
Give students every opportunity possible to show pride in their work and be involved in displaying it, storing it, and sharing it with others. Here are some ways to store and organize it in ways that encourage children for their efforts.
- Student Portfolios: Use student portfolios to organize their best work by month, and then use them during parent-teacher or student-led conferences.
- Hanging Space – It’s always important to have a place where you can display student work. Kids enjoy looking for their work on your classroom wall. This encourages and motivates them to do their best work. Have a classroom work display to show that your room is an active learning environment. Have spaces labeled with a child’s name, or they assign them a number so they can easily find their work.
Prepare a few things that help your classroom run smoothly and efficiently. Plan how your classroom will function, how materials will be stored and accessed, and how you will manage behavior. Here are a few tips:
- Class Jobs: Assign regular class jobs to keep your class moving right along through the days and weeks.
- Monthly Organizing: Some things can be easily organized month by month, in boxes stored away until they are needed. The best items for this type of storage are seasonal items like holiday games, stickers, and manipulatives related to events, seasons, and holidays throughout the year.
- Parent Communication: As you’re organizing your classroom procedures and schedules, take a moment to consider informing the parents of your students about these things. Provide them with a handy flip-book of all the important information about your classroom. Include things like how to contact you, what your classroom schedule looks like, dress codes, and homework policy.
- New Student Bags: There’s nothing more stressful than a last-second notice that you’ll have a new student joining your class after you’ve already gotten everything set up. While you’re setting up your classroom, add a few things to a New Student Bag so that you’ll be prepared in advance to make that new child feel welcome.
Student Materials and Supplies
No matter how you store or arrange student materials and supplies, they’re bound to get misplaced, broken or disorganized by kids at some point. Start the year off right by having your storage and organization just the way you want it and show students what your expectations are. Model good organization habits by having your room well-organized ahead of time to prime kids to keep it that way!
- Baskets or Bins: A good idea for storage is simple baskets or bins. Organize student supplies such as crayons, markers, glue, stickers, etc. in them and keep them stored neatly but within reach on a common shelf. Your local dollar store or Target have good small baskets for these purposes.
- Label Everything: You can also number student baskets or bins, shelves, cubbies, books, or really anything with these FREE number labels.
- Individualized Storage: Provide students with their own bins or boxes for supplies or books with their name or assigned number with these FREE editable student labels to label books, cubbies, and more.
- Mason Jar Storage: Store pencils, markers, paint brushes, and other tall items is within cute and colorful mason jars. Add a ribbon and a label on the outside, and place them on a shelf for DIY decor.
- Table Caddies: If you place students into work groups at tables, table caddies can help keep things within reach and organized. Things like markers, scissors, glue, rulers, and pencils can be stored for anyone at the table to use. The dollar store usually has something similar to this kind of bin, or here are some on Amazon in different colors.
- Craft Supplies Closet: Do you absolutely love doing arts and crafts with your class? Then you’ll love this idea for a classroom craft supplies closet.
Books and Reading Organization
For organizing your reading areas and displaying your classroom books, here are a few helpful ideas.
- Home Reading Program and Leveled Library: Take these home reading folders and set up your own home reading program. Organize books into “Just Right” Bins so students can easily access books at their reading level.
- Class Library Set-Up: Your classroom library is a major part of your Reading program, so make it fabulous! Check out this amazing classroom library setup. You can do anything with a few brightly colored labels and some large book bins!
- Guided Reading: For your guided reading groups, a well-laid plan and organization is a must. Try these awesome tips and grab a free planning sheet.
Math Set-up and Supplies
Math manipulatives, worksheets, activities, and resources are often the hardest things to organize in a classroom. Read about how these teachers fixed that problem.
- Math Workshop: Ever wondered how to plan and run an effective Math Workshop in your classroom? I have explained how I do it so you can too!
- Math Centers: Find a wealth of ideas for organizing your math centers with this roundup of Ten Math Center Organization Tips. In it, you’ll find ways to plan ahead so activities flow freely without wasting time looking for supplies.
- STEM Resources: What to do with all those wonderful STEM supplies and materials? Here are five easy ways to organize them.