There is nothing better than an organized classroom where everything has its place. This is an achievable goal, but it’s important to start early… even before the year gets going! Catching this after the fact? No problem! It’s never too late to get organized. Set yourself up for a successful school year with these tips for classroom organization!
An organized classroom is a happy classroom
Tip #1: Plan for an organized classroom in advance
Having an organized classroom is more than just supply bins and file folder. An organized teacher plans out every little detail of how they want their classroom to run. Every year I use this slideshow to organize and spell out my rules, expectations, procedures, curriculum and much more! This helps me stay organized even before school starts. Once I’ve worked out all the details, I go through it with my students so we’re all on the same page. I rely on this slideshow to keep my head on straight during the crazy hectic first day/week of school! It’s extremely helpful that everything is already planned out and in one place.
The editable slideshow includes pages for Open House and Parent Night, making it easy to stay ahead of the game and be ready for the parents! Using a slideshow cuts down on paper, makes it easy to tweak things year after year, and can be shared digitally with parents/students to use as reference throughout the year. Best part about using a slideshow: I’m not reinventing the wheel year after year!
Classroom Organization Tip #2: Small Group Supplies
Small groups are a big part of most classrooms and with all the little leveled books, manipulatives, and hands-on supplies we go through it can be hard to stay organized! That’s why I turn to the Iris Greeting Card and Craft Keeper box to hold all of my guided reading books. Each box comes with 6 dividers that can be used to keep book titles separate from each other or group books by level. They are the perfect size to fit the small group books and I especially love that they snap closed, keeping them safe from dust. I’ve had my boxes for years and they’re holding up perfectly!
I also use small Sterilite Pencil Boxes to organize tools my students use during reading group! I keep a line reader and reading strategies bookmark (both from Target Dollar Spot), pencil, highlighter, sticky notes and expo marker in the Guided Reading Toolkits.
Tip #3: Keep projects and planning materials organized
I used to have a hard time holding onto master copies and student samples, at some point they’d turn into clutter in a big pile of papers and get recycled. After a few years of having to reprint and recreate, I overcame the struggle and started keeping my master copies and samples in these Large Iris Desktop File boxes. You can find similar ones here!
I divide my projects up into two boxes, First Half Resources and Second Half Resources. The first box contains all of the projects that we do from August-December. The second box houses projects from January-June. This helps me remember, and prep for, all the things we do each month! You can download this freebie using the form at the top of this page.
The third box holds all of my student information. Forms required by the school, conference notes and important documents for each child. It is so helpful to organize them this way so I know exactly where everything is when I may need it. It also makes end of the year filing a breeze! Click here for the Haunted House Writing resource and click here to check out the Holiday Lights Book Analysis shown above!
This Student Information file holds one folder for every student. I put these Back to School Parent and Student Flip Books in them along with any other important information that needs to be tucked away safely. Keeping a folder for each student has been one of my favorite tips for classroom organization and such a time saver when prepping for conferences, data meetings and all of the end of year documentation!
Organization Tip #4: Student Materials and Book Bins
After polling my Instagram audience for advice, I decided to transition from traditional desks to tables a couple years ago. One of the biggest warnings I received from teachers was that I needed to have a solid organizational system for all of the things that typically live inside of a desk. So, that’s exactly what I did!
Students store what would normally be inside of their desk in Ikea Kallax Shelves. They each have one Small Iris Desktop File that is home to their notebooks and folders. Students place their textbooks, planner and pencil box in a neat stack next to the file box. I am also displaying a checklist of items that go in the file box directly on the side of each box so there is no question about what belongs and what does not!
Students pick up their file boxes first thing in the morning after putting their backpack and lunchbox away, and they return it to the Kallax shelf at the end of the day before getting their backpack and lunchbox to pack up! A solid afternoon routine is another top tips for classroom organization!
I don’t know how I ever functioned without having student book bins my first few years of teaching. They are an absolute necessity for me now! I’ve had my set of black book bins for years and they’re still in great condition. Definitely worth the investment! If you’re looking to spend less, these book bins are a great option, too!
Students grab their book bins in the morning, after unpacking and bringing their aforementioned (love that word) file boxes to their table. First thing in the morning is one of my favorite times for independent reading.
Contents of Student Book Bins:
- 3-5 Books– I ask that two books are a different genre from the rest so I know they’re diversifying their reading.
- “Reading Pouches” like these from Amazon– I put a Talking Back to Books Bookmark, pencil, highlighter, and sticky notes inside for students to use while reading.
Tip #5: Classroom Library Organization
One of the most important tips for classroom organization is in your classroom library! An organized library is inviting and encourages readers to read. It makes it easy for students to locate books they want and find other books in a series. I stopped using bins to organize my library a few years ago and now I use my library labels to stay organized!
The books are organized by genre and grouped together by similar series. My hope is that students will find one book they like on a shelf and know that all the books around it are similar and that they have a good chance of liking them if they liked that first book. It’s my subtle way of recommending books to students… and it works! The library labels are editable so you can use this strategy in your classroom too! I also include a student-friendly definition of each genre to make book shopping easier. You can read more about how I organize my library without the bins in this blog post- Ditching the Bins.
I hope you found some helpful ideas to keep your classroom organized! Leave a comment or send me a message on Instagram if you have questions, or just want to let me know how it’s going!
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