8 Ways to Bring Organization Back to Your Classroom
There is an old adage that a cluttered room promotes a cluttered mind. As a teacher, it is of utmost importance to provide an organized environment for your students so they are able to feel at ease with an uncluttered mind. As a teacher, your personality is going to shine through in the way you teach and in the way your classroom appears. If you are a person who does not give priority to the organization of your space outside of the classroom, it’s going to show inside the classroom. If you’re looking to become more organized, here are some tips to begin that journey to better organization and assist your students to be organized in the process.
Bins are in! You can find a bin to fit everything from a few pencils to all of your seasonal decorations for your classroom in one spot. You can find them everywhere for sale from a traditional dollar store to a home improvement store. As the teacher, you should use these to organize the inside of your desk so you can find what you need quickly. For the students, they can be used if you have shelving in your classroom to organize certain subjects for each student if they are in your class for the majority of the day. The bins can be used to organize art supplies, toys, they can be an inbox for assignments, the list is quite endless on what you can organize in bins. So, remember the bins are in!
Designate an Area for Coats and Bags
Kids of all ages are creatures of habit. They respond well to procedures that are repeated. Have a space that is designated specifically for coats, bags and snow boots give the student a focal point to go to as soon as they arrive. It helps them take ownership. That hook is his/hers. That cubby is their little spot on the planet that belongs to him/her. Having coat hooks creates a distraction-free learning environment for your students and allows you to focus on teaching instead of wrangling your students’ attention.
If your room has shelves with cubbies, put them to full use. Use them to organize student’s projects. Use them to organize art supplies. Use them to organize the day’s projects for certain subjects. The utilization of these shelves as cubbies will assist your student in organizing the inside of their desks as well. Additionally, you may be able to get permission from your school to mount a shelf that the children cannot reach where you can display your awards and pretty gifts that students have given you rather than displaying them on your desk.
Use Empty Tissue Boxes as Bag Dispensers
Keep your empty tissue boxes. Turn them into an art project. Use multimedia art processes to spruce it up. Or maybe, if you are a fan of a certain sports teams make the box a tribute to that team. Once it is dry and ready to be used, fill it with bags from the grocery store. You can use these to send home everything from wet clothes to stacks of returned assignments or art projects!
Make Those Mittens Work!
Put out the word that you are looking for old mittens, whether they are in a pair or not. Run a string across a wall or a window in the classroom at a level where the children are able to reach it. Rather than pinning the mittens onto the line, hot glue the edge of the top of a mitten and roll it onto the line so that the line is inside the crease. This should be on the farthest side of the mitten so that the mitten opening is facing you. This line of seasonal mittens can store small items like office supplies.
Dry Those Masterpieces
You can choose several ways to dry your art. There are collapsible drying racks you can purchase as the dollar store, they will hold approximately nine art projects on the three rods they have. The pro of these gadgets is that they are collapsible and can fit nicely in closet space. The con is that the kids can reach and touch the projects that are drying since it sits on the ground. There’s also the traditional clothesline. The choice of the clothesline offers the option to keep the children’s little hands away from the artwork and removes their temptation to keep checking to see if their piece is dry yet.
Create a Mail System
Buy a mailbox. You can set it on the edge of your desk or someplace near the door. Assign each child an “address”. If they are seat one in the third row, their address could be “1 Third Road” or “100 Third Street” to teach them the concept of mail. They could be reminded to check the mailbox and teach them that if they put mail in the mailbox for you to raise the red flag so that you know there is mail for you to pick up.
Reuse and Recycle
Upcycling is the way to go! You can demonstrate master organization just by saving all of your old jars, no matter what size. Even baby food jars can be utilized. You name it. A baby food jar can be used for paint colors for art projects so that the little guys don’t have access to too much, therefore creating waste. You can upcycle so much. Use an old suitcase for a dress-up corner. Old muffin tins can be used to sort beads. Tackle boxes can organize art supplies. There is no end to what you can upcycle for your classroom organization.
If you take the time to organize your classroom, you will see a difference in how focused your students will be from start to finish. Kids respond to routine and they love to be rewarded when they follow through with tasks that are set before them. On the contrary, you will find that if you deviate from the designated routine there will be a return to chaos. Doing your best to organize your time and your space will benefit you and each of the children who you are in charge of each school day.
Education is constantly changing, so make sure you keep up with it!