Classroom Organization


Alphabetize Your Book Titles 
Submitted by: Patty J., Preschool-1st
Over the summer at garage sales I look for little baskets, crates, organizers. As my class learns the letters of the alphabet, in class we create a basket for that letter (A-Z) and make a big label for it. Then they hunt and find titles of our books to “live” there for the year. It teaches many skills as the kids love to “spy” the books. Example: “Corduroy” would go in the “C” basket.
Grade Level(s): K, 1-2, 3-5

Bulletin Board Border Storage 
Submitted by: Christopher
I use those over the door shoe storage things to store my rolls of bulletin board border. They are much cheaper than any commercial storage system and most of them have clear pockets so you don’t have to HUNT for the border you want or need.
Grade Level(s): Preschool, K, 1-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12

Contain Those Pencils 
Submitted by: Christy Flynn, 4th grade teacher
I tired, very quickly, of pencils always rolling across the floor whenever my kids went to get a book out of their desk. Pencil boxes soon became a nightmare. They were always breaking or getting kicked across the floor. I solved this problem by attaching cups to the side of my kids desks. Deep plastic cups work the best. I punch a hole in the cup and tie it to the arm on the side of the desk. You must tie it tight or the cup will turn over. They also use the cup as a temporary trash can. Anything that needs to be thrown away is put in the cup and when the kids leave the room for recess, PE, etc. they take the trash with them. They’ve been a lifesaver!

Everyone gets a turn 
Submitted by: Donna King
In order to make sure all students are given an opportunity to answer, read or respond in my classroom, I purchased an inexpensive deck of playing cards and wrote a student’s name on each card, making sure to use each name an equal number of times. Before each class, I shuffle the cards. I hold them, name up, and use them to call on students. It adds ramdomness and keeps students alert because they do not know when they will be called on.
Grade Level(s): 5-7 Special Education

Filing System 
Submitted by: Molly Jones, 1st
I have found a wonderful way to file all my papers. It really cuts down on time and desk clutter and anybody can do it. Assign each subject a color. For example, red for reading, yellow for math, green for science, etc. Buy (I hate that word too, but they are not expensive), or get a parent to donate, file folders of each color for each subject. I started out with at least 5 of each color. Then file and label the various topics for each subject in the corresponding color. This way if you need a worksheet on clocks, you know that all the math files are yellow and you go to the yellow folder labled time. If you need a reading comprehension test sheet, you would look in the red folder labled comprehension tests. It is also an ideal system to use for memos from the office and order forms from various companies. I hope it works for you as well as it has for me!

Grade Books 
Submitted by: Michelle Adams, 2nd Grade Teacher
I set up my grade book by skill, not pages numbers. For example, instead of recording for “Math p.13”, I record it as “adding 2 digit numbers”. I highlight those that did not pass the assignment, therefore with a quick look I can tell who still needs assistance in certain skills. This helps with creating small skill groups and makes parent conferences and report cards much easier.

Handy-Dandy Notebook 
Submitted by: divey
Last year I purchased a 3 ring notebook (2 1/2″ last year… this year will buy one 3″) to organize all of MY things. I made sections for: staff meetings/grade level meetings/lesson plans/student info./To-Do/Mentoring info/Other. Each section had a pocket folder and lined notebook paper for memos/notes. Copies of my lesson plans (made on the computer) were 3-hole punched and put in the lesson plans section. When I would print out my student’s grades from the computer, they would also be put in the notebook. Anything and everything I would ever need/get would find a place in the notebook. It was the most wonderful thing to have, because when I would go to a staff/grade level meeting…I would grab my notebook, and everything I needed was in it! When I would be doing report cards at home….my notebook would come with me and everything I needed was there! I will never let another year pass without my handy-dandy notebook!
Grade Level(s): Preschool, K, 1-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12

Keep Track of Communication 
Submitted by: H
Don’t miss a communication moment with this idea. Keep a calendar Rolodex by the door. Each morning have that date displayed and anyone who comes in can quickly write a message whether you are in the room or not. Refer to it when you go in or out and keep in touch without interruptions or hassles.

Keeping Originals 
Submitted by: Amelia Whitaker
When making copies I was forever forgetting which paper was my original. Many times I gave a student my original to use and did not catch it until it was too late. To prevent that from happening again, I highlight the top corner with a yellow highlighter. The copier does not pick up the highlighted part and I immediately know which copy is mine.
Grade Level(s): K, 1-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12

Labeling Personal Property 
Submitted by: Hillary Taylor
As a first year teacher I wanted to be able to seperate all of the materials I bought from the materials provided by the school. I use the address labels I get free in the mail from the Humane Society, the ASPCA, PETA, etc. I give to those organizations once a year and they send me so many labels!! This way by the time I retire or if I move classrooms I will know what is mine!
Grade Level(s): Preschool, K, 1-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12

Submitted by: M. Abney
Pencils and pencil sharpening can be a source of noise, a source of wasting time as well as a frustration when a pencil cannot be found. I have put two boxes where students can get to them quickly. One is labeled “Borrow Box” and it is filled with sharpened old pencils or new. They are labeled with masking tape so we know they are borrowed. If a pencil is lost the students can quickly grab a sharpened pencil from the borrow box. The other box is labeled “Pencils for Sharpening”. Students’ unsharpened pencils will be sharpened at the end of the day by a person assigned to do so. Students can also use their reward money to buy a pencil from me for $1.00 (play money). This makes them want to be more responsbile for their pencil. I have found this to be rewarding in that no pencils are being sharpened during the day, not time is wasted, and it makes the student responsible for their “tools”.
Grade Level(s): 3-5

Organizing Memos 
Submitted by: Brenda, 6-8 Grade
I don’t know about you, but I receive many memos a day. Memos can tend to get thrown away or lost very easily. To prevent this, I have a specific file folder labeled “MEMOS”. I keep all the memos in it and refer back to them as necessary. You should have seen how thick the folder got by the end of the year!

Organizing using sheet protectors 
Submitted by: Sheri Poulter, Middle School Teacher
Throughout the year you will receive tons of notes, calls, passes, etc. from or for students. One way to keep this all organized together is to have a sheet protector that keeps all of the students “stuff” in it. I keep a “Getting to Know You” sheet the students fill out the first day, a “Call Report” Sheet to show parent contact, a “Discipline Sheet” that shows any problems with the student, and any other notes and passes that children bring in, and just stuff it inside the sheet protector for that student. That way, I can refer to it anytime, especially for a parent conference!

Organzing Library Cards 
Submitted by: Shelly Hunt, 1st Grade
I have tried many things to organize the students Library cards but I think this works the best. All you need is a regular calendar size pocket chart. The cards fit perfectly and everyone has his/her own spot. I just hang this on the wall by the door and each child can get his/her card on the way to the Media Center!

Pencils and Papers 
Submitted by: divey
When the students come in in the morning, I have 2 or 3 assignments for them to do. While they are working I pass around the “in box” (a basket/empty file tray/anything handy) and they put ALL things I need to see in it… notes from home, lunch money, homework, pictures for me, anything. At the same time, I also send around bowls (Gladware type) that have small handheld pencil sharpeners in them. The children sharpen their pencils, letting the shavings fall into the bowls, and then pass the bowls on. The last child empties the shavings and then puts the bowl back on the shelf. Both ideas keep the students in their seats in the morning, and allows me to get MY morning work done without interruptions and students up and down all of the time. (not to mention getting rid of the annoying sound of the electric pencil sharpener! )
Grade Level(s): K, 1-2, 3-5, 6-8

Storing Sentence Strips 
Submitted by: Mer, 4th Grade
I use a lot of sentence strips in my classroom and have found that shower curtain hooks used in a hole punched hole keep all for a particular subject in order. These can be stored in a wallpaper trough, or I hang them on a line.

Talk to Each Child Daily 
Submitted by: Tony K.
Have you ever said good bye to a student at the end of the day and asked yourself, “Did I even talk to that child or have that child answer a question today?” To make sure that I call upon each student, hear each child read and answer a question in each subject, I’ve made a classlist with room beside it for comments, put it on my podium and randomly call upon them. This enables me to check for reading fluency, comprehension, and keep in touch with each child each day. This also is great for comments at parent teacher conference and report cards.

The Copy Machine 
Submitted by: Michelle Adams, 2nd Grade Teacher
We store our paper in our room and bring it to the copy machine. After forgetting it 10,000 times, I figured out a way to remember! I have a teacher-type bag (one of the million that we get from banks, GAE, etc.) that I keep stocked with copy paper. I keep a yellow folder labeled “To Copy” on my desk that I add originals throughout the day of things I need to copy. When it is time to copy, I get the folder, put it in my bag and I’m on my way! The bag also helps carry all of the copies that I make back to my room :o)

The Many Uses of Clothespins 
Submitted by: Laura Greenwell, 2nd Grade
I have found a myriad of uses for clothespins. I use them for assignments that I need to check. My children use them to keep pages of a story together as they are working. I use them to hang work on the lines above the bulletin board. They can be painted to match anywhere in your room or labeled quite easily with permanent markers for math, spelling, science, etc.

Using clothespins in the classroom 
Submitted by: Holley Collins, Kindergarten
I use a lot of clothespins in my classroom. One activity that I do throughout the year is the Sign-In chart. I write each child’s name on a clothespin in permanent marker and clip them to the side of a plastic basket. I make a chart by drawing a line down the middle of a narrow piece of poster board (about a foot wide, and 2 ft long). Each day I write a question, with two possible answers, on a piece of construction paper and write the two possible answers at the bottom, one on the left side, one on the right side, so they will be above the divides on the chart. I clip the question to the top of the chartwith paper clips. The children come in to the classroom in the mornings and answer the question and clip their clothespin to the side of the chart. (Possible questions can include favorite colors, yes/no questions, etc). At a quick glance I can see who is at school that day and who is absent.

Whose Turn? 
Submitted by: R. Blake, 4th Grade Teacher
At the beginning of the year, I assign each student a number and write it on his/her nametag. I have matching numbers on popsicle sticks in a can or cup on my desk. To avoid choosing the same students to respond all of the time, I ask the class a question and instead of choosing names I pull out a random stick. If that student is too shy or unsure of the answer, he/she may “phone a friend” to get help =)

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