Back to School is so stressful…and having things out of place makes it more so. Here are 5 extra tips with my Classroom Organization Series.
So far I have given tips for using Mailboxes, Pencil Boxes, Process/Product Centers and, after lots of questions, Center Organization.
I believe students thrive on organization, consistent expectations and routine. Each of the previously published blog posts encourage that!
Mailboxes help with beginning and ending the day in an organized way.
Pencil Boxes encourage personal organization and independence. All MY things are easily accessible and exactly where I put them.
Process/Product Centers help students with organization and independence because they know EXACTLY what to expect, how to complete the task independently AND how to be successful.
Finally, when centers are a large part of your day, we need all the organization ideas to make sure it works smoothly.
Today, I have 5 extra tips…to keep your classroom life organized.
When I started teaching in the 1900s, no one would have thought we needed a place to organized all the passwords our early learners would need.
I thought I was a genius when I put their name on one side of a clothespin and their lunch. number on the other. It worked!
But that what when they ONLY had one number to remember.
Now, students need log-ins for so many things including a lunch number, a library number, a computer log-in and any apps your class or school uses.
So let’s go to my favorite: paint chips! I got these at Lowe’s…and they already had a hole for my clip. But, how easy would it be to punch a hole in it.
I used Avery Labels 6572. I could add all their codes and keep them in one place. I pass them out when they need it and keep it handy on a lanyard.
I’ve talked about this before but it bares more explanation. I let my students pick a new seat each day.
Yep! They are always mixed up, don’t get too used to the people around them and get to know everyone.
When they come in each morning they pick a stick (tongue depressors with numbers on it). They find the corresponding numbers on their chairs. That’s their seat for the day.
You can also have sticks that match upper- to lowercase letters, random “bigger numbers,” picture to word with cvc or other patterns. Anything that mixes everyone up.
I will admit their were students in my room who could not sit together or work together…so everyone’s sake.
I had a quiet conversation with those students and discussed how they worked better separately. If they ever picked sticks that were beside each other…one of them re-picked the stick. No big deal.
This also worked because my students had tables and pencil boxes…nothing was stored in a specific desk each day.
I discovered this by accident and out of necessity. Each student had a file box with all their “stuff” in it.
I could keep center items like poetry folders and squiggle folders. They don’t have to shuffle through a stack of 25 folders…there’s is ready to go.
They can keep a small dry erase board, so I don’t need to take time to pass them out or collect them (markers and personal erasers can be in their pencil box).
They put them back on the shelves when they’re done. It certainly promotes independence.
organized small group bags
One of my favorite kindergarten teachers of all time, Heather Murphy, invited me into her classroom this Spring. Check out these small group bags.
She has chair pockets on her small group chairs and a bag in each.
Bags contain charts, pop-it box, a box with chips for segmenting or sound chaining, dry erase marker and eraser, and individual pop-its.
The dry erase dots also had two velcro dots so students could strategically set her vowel and reading helper charts around their daily book.
She’s amazing and I can’t wait to go back again!
organization at home
Finally, this is a little different. I always had the classroom supplies for students ready to go. Knowing the school would ask for additional supplies also made me a little crazy.
BUT, I was surprised how many students didn’t have materials at home to homework. (I certainly have a love/hate relationship with homework, but I do have ideas.)
I put their materials in boxes to help with homework. Some students transported materials in the backpack. Some kept it at home.
I used toothbrush holders for 2 pencils and a highlighter. I also used a small container from Dollar Tree as a crayon holder (it fits 24 crayons).
This blog contains affiliate links.
You could use these organizers in your classroom, too.
I hope you have lots of ideas for organizing the upcoming school year.