Three Basic Classroom Organizational Tips

color-coded-filesMany teachers have different ways of keeping their classrooms organized.  But there are three basic tips that pretty much everyone should follow.

First, everything that is in the classroom should be following a color coded scheme. The same color should be used for all materials for each subject/unit.    As well, assignments and handouts should follow this system by the use of colored copy paper. Colored labels can also work.  in addition, different colored labels can be stuck on students’ resource books so that they will return the articles to the correct notebook.

Secondly everything that is used should be filed away in binders.  Teacher resource books should be in three-ring binders with plastic sleeves.  Again the color coding system should be used – binders should be colored-coded according to subject and articles to keep should be put in these binders as well.

Third, plastic tubs/file boxes should be used to store holiday projects, art projects, supplies etc.  This kind of storage organization really reduces classroom clutter and thus keeps things much less chaotic.

There are so many ways one can organize a classroom.  But with this three principle tips, one can have a great start.

Organized Teacher, Happy Classroom

organized-teacherCheck out this book: “Organized Teacher, Happy Classroom: A Lesson Plan for Managing Your Time, Space and Materials.”  Written by Melanie S. Unger, it gives readers a fresh perspective on organizing that can encourage productivity and efficiency.  It also helps them concentrate more on student achievement and worry less about keeping their classroom materials in order. Readers will find specific help with purging their unused materials and papers, creating filing systems and managing daily routines. Checklists at the end of each chapter will help readers apply key principles as they organize.

The Classroom as a Vehicle for Growth

classroom-furnitureIn the classroom, students have to get from A to B. A being the beginning of the academic year and B being the following academic year. Thus an organized classroom is vital for success. It is important that a lack of chaos is present. Classroom management and student achievement often go hand-in-hand. Indeed, according to a 2003 study conducted by Sokal, Smith & Mowat, the majority of teachers – irrespective of their experience in the field – view classroom management as a high priority and an area of concern.
One way of facilitating classroom organization is by looking at how other, more experienced teachers have accomplished this. As well, reading up on the topic and seeing how children respond to different classroom layouts, can be very helpful.
Although teachers are not completely in control of their classroom environment (for example there is little they can do about physical problems in the classroom, etc.), there is still a lot they can do to make it more pleasant. And they do have control of how the classroom furniture is set out.  The most effective teachers are those who invest at the start of the year on checking out the environment and figuring out what can be done to improve on it.

The Importance of Classroom Organization

classIt is very important to keep a classroom properly organized.  For a start, if kids are in a room that is full of disarray, then there will be a sense of chaos.  There are many aspects that need to be considered.  Teachers who do not organize their classrooms ahead of time, will ultimately end up falling further behind throughout the year.  It is thus vital that teachers understand the importance of setting up an organized  and knowledge-enriching classroom for their students. 

Even if properly organizing a classroom takes a long time, it will be worth it.  Ultimately it will end up saving the teacher time.  The more organized the room, the easier everything will flow and teachers will be able to keep up with their workload.  By ensuing the classroom is stocked with the right supplies, has the furniture organized in an appropriate and comfortable manner and has the best possible set up for good acoustics, children will have a better opportunity to thrive and teachers will be more relaxed.

Another way to keep a classroom organized is to have calendars, whiteboards, daily and weekly lesson plans, etc.  All of these contribute to an improved learning environment.  If this system of order is maintained, organization throughout the academic year is more likely to be accomplished.  Indeed, for those teachers who start this process before the school year, it is even more likely that the classroom will be organized efficiently.


Importance of Classroom Resources

welcomeKristi Johnson Smith who works in new teacher support and is a LEARN Fellow, shares her experiences with what happens when there is a lack of organization in the school system.  She explains that while she was fortunate enough to have her own classroom, this was not the case for every member of staff since the school building was simply too small enough.  Thus some of her teaching colleagues had to move rooms every period, transporting their materials with carts and others – at different schools – had to make the best of rented trailers when additional students enrolled.

Thus staff at these schools could not even think about entertaining the possibility of giving each kid their own computer and computer table.  This really is quite unfortunate given the fact that this is the way the world is heading – into digital mode.  But the reality is, if kids are in schools like the one at which Smith taught at, they would be seen as lucky to have a regular classroom, let alone a computer.

Clearly in areas such as these, there needs to be many more resources than what currently exist.  With a lack in resources, the classroom can also  become chaotic and disorganized – certainly not the correct environment whereby students can thrive.

Nonetheless, there are things that can actually be done, that do not need to cost so much  money.  For example, Smith explains that she put up pictures, moved desks, added plans and organized the board space.  She then created student folders, a filing system for her materials and even hung a “welcome” sign on the door.

Of course money helps.  But as this teacher discovered, without it, a lot can still be done.

Cracking Down on Graffiti in Schools


Graffiti has long been a problem in schools.  It is in all sorts of places, and is especially prevalent in areas where students have more access than the staff, like in the privacy of school lockers, or in the playground.  Interestingly, in September 2013, to bring awareness to the issue in the UK, Rushmoor Borough Council and Hart District Council (that makes up the Safer North Hampshire community safety team) held a ‘Graffiti Focus Week.’   Aimed at letting people know that graffiti is illegal, the initiative aimed to encourage as many people as possible to remove as much of it as possible. In addition, the community safety projects officer, Richard Denham said that “as well as graffiti removal, there will be education sessions in schools, a ‘most wanted’ tag poster and increased patrols of hot spots.”

Graffiti in schools – apart from being criminal damage – is almost most unsightly and can cause a whole slew of problems for the school. For example, if prospective parents or donors are looking around and see graffiti throughout the school – in lockers, on podiums, in the gymnasium, at the cafeteria, in the playground etc. – then it immediately changes the entire reputation of a school.  Even if the school is known for high academic scores, excellent staff and being an educational institute that is home to kids from good homes, the unsightly graffiti can completely change that impression.

How to Organize Your Classroom

One of the many responsibilities of a school teacher is
keeping the classroom and its materials organized, in order to provide their
students with a structured, distraction-less learning environment. Keeping the
classroom space organized will also help teachers set up their classes, monitor
student progress and maintain and regular schedule.

Classroom organization starts with the layout, including
school furniture, desks and chairs, as well as cabinets and storage space, and
ends all the way at the individual students’ drawers, lockers and backpacks.

Art teachers have an especially difficult task, with their
less traditional spaces, and various art supplies and materials. Charity
Preston with the Organized Classroom blog offers some great tips for art
teachers here: