Tips For Organizing Your Classroom from A Middle School Teacher Organization Freak
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Want to have an organized classroom but just don't know where to even start??
You're in the right place! I'm a middle school teacher and organization makes me VERY happy... All I wanted for my EIGHTH birthday was a planner. I was beyond thrilled when my Dad took me to Office Depot and let me pick out my very own planner. Enough said.
Whenever I share about classroom organization I get questions about HOW I organize my classroom so I put together 7 tips that will help you when organizing your classroom (or really anywhere for that matter)!
1. Try to put things in places near where they will be used
This may seem obvious but sometimes I have found that even I have for whatever reason stored something across the room from where I usually use it. Make life easier on you (or your students) by storing items near where they will be used. For example, I keep my extra printer ink in the cupboard right above my printer! I keep all my classroom DVDs in the same cupboard as my DVD player and remotes! I keep my laminator in a cupboard near the outlet and counter where I use my laminator! I keep my pens in my desk drawer cause I use them when writing things at my desk!
2. Store things by other things you will most often use them with
This is similar to the tip above, but a little different. Now we're talking about grouping things together... almost like creating a station. For example, I keep all of my classroom art supplies in the back of the classroom near each other. Usually students are using colored pencils and markers or scissors and glue so having them near each other makes sense. I keep my laminating pouches next to my laminator cause I use those together! Group things together like Office Supplies, Printer Supplies, Art Supplies. Find a common characteristic and put them near each other. This will also help you and/or students to remember where things are.
3. Try to make it so everything can be seen when opening a drawer/cupboard
It's amazing how this small thing can actually make a big difference. Being able to see everything from the second you open a drawer or cupboard is super helpful in you being able to find things and keep things organized. If possible, try not to have anything buried underneath or behind something else. The only time I do that is if it's excess of the same thing. I like to turn binders so I can see all the spines, turn bins in a way where you can see all the edges, turn supplies in a way where you can see how many you have.
4. Use containers to group supplies that are for one lesson or activity
I love having all the supplies for one lesson or activity together in a container because it makes it really easy for me to pull it out when we are using it and then put everything back in it and put it right back where it goes. I keep some containers in a storage room not in my classroom so it's especially important to me to have everything in one container to make it easy to transport back and forth. You can use small or large containers--whatever will fit all the items for that lesson.
5. Put things you use most often in easy to access places
Whatever you use on a daily basis should be super easy to reach. It should NOT be up high where you can't reach or have to get a step stool, or shoved behind other things. If it's something you use once a year then it's the perfect things to put up high where it takes more effort to get to it.
6. Use clear containers so you can see what's inside
There may be some who disagree with me on this, but I personally recommend using clear containers as much as possible! This allows you to see what's inside which makes it easier when finding things. You won't have to open every container to see what's inside. Even when we label things, we sometimes forget if we put something specific in that container. By having a clear container you get a glimpse of everything in it, saving you time and effort!
I love these clear containers for organizing drawers! I love these small & medium clear bins for cupboards! I love these large and extra large clear bins for storing larger items in my storage room! I love these clear organizers for my whiteboard markers!
7. LABEL everything!!
Even if you're using clear containers, you definitely want to label everything! I have found that my students really appreciate when I have things labeled. It helps them be more independent cause they can help themselves. It also helps them keep my classroom cleaner cause they know where to put things away.
I use this bluetooth label maker for smaller items. It's cool because you have lots more control over what your label looks like! I first had this label maker which is great if you don't care for the font and just want something super easy.
For larger things like bins and drawers, I like to simply print the words out on normal paper and then use packing tape to cover and tape the paper to the surface. You could laminate the paper first but by covering it completely with packing tape it creates that laminated affect in much less time!
I hope that these tips were helpful! If you're interested in more items I use to organize my classroom you can read this post about 10 of my fav organization items!
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