Teachers’ Best Organization Ideas

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Some of my best organization ideas have come from visiting my colleague’s classrooms and checking out photos that teachers have emailed to me. This page includes a compilation of some of my favorite organization tips submitted by teachers. Click on any photo to enlarge.

Organization Tips From Teachers

This is how Mrs. Dreiss, a 3rd grade teacher at my former school, keeps track of papers that kids turn in.  When a child completes an assignment, he erases his number from the board, so that he and his teacher can both tell at a glance what’s still outstanding.

Mrs. Widelitz and I once taught 3rd grade at the same school.  She uses those clippy hangers to attach posters, then stores them on chart stands and/or portable wardrobes, which you buy from Target or Wal-Mart.  I like this system because it’s easy to sort through the posters, and if you have a problem with roaches at your school (who doesn’t?), the bugs don’t have any cool, dark cardboard boxes to hide in.  You don’t even have to take the posters off the hangers when you want to use them in a lesson: stick a tack above your board (or wherever you want to hang the poster).  Then loop a twelve inch piece of yarn over the tack and hang the hanger from the yarn.  When the lesson is over, put the hanger back on the rack.  Couldn’t be simpler!

 

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Mrs. Ginter taught 1st grade at one of my former schools.  She has a ton of books on tape and had no way to store them.  So, she hung a dowel rod at the either end of a shelf and lets the bags hang inside the shelf.  How creative!

Mrs. Fransceze, a second grade teacher, found that her non-adjustable chart stand was too high for her second graders to reach, so she intertwined two pipe cleaners and strung the pocket chart up that way.  Very resourceful.  This could be done with a tension rod that’s meant for curtains, as well.

 

This is the work of Mrs. Paige, first grade teacher extraordinaire!  She was the inspiration for organizing all my lesson materials.  She uses one drawer for each story in the reading curriculum.  It’s hard to tell from this blurry picture, but she actually types all the labels and put a cute little border around each one!

Tips from Website Visitors

“Hi, Angela, I’m an organization freak, too, and I’m always looking for fresh ideas.  One thing I found is a fantastic desk organizer from Staples. It is very large, but it is the only thing you will have to have on your desk. Everything I had spread out in containers, etc., along the top portion of my desk (pen/ markers/ scissors/ white-out carousel, paperclips, frequently used folders, planning book, behavior notebook, sub folder, medicine notebook, fits in the compartments of this ONE organizer. Also, I have room for my ‘everything file folder’ for each child in my class. Now I don’t have to run to the filing cabinet every morning when I get parent notes, tardy slips, etc., to file these. I love this organizer!”  -submitted by Melanie   (NOTE: I loved this product so much that I bought one myself–that’s my photo pictured here!  It’s been a lifesaver. –Angela)

“Hi Angela, I just took a look at your website and felt that my product might be of interest to you.  I am a retired  school teacher.  I invented my product while in the classroom in an effort to help those students in my classroom with organizational problems.  My product is presently featured in School Specialty Sensory. Learning & Behavior Solutions catalog.  I’d love to share website links with your website.” -Delores Walker, www.deskadoo.com (Note: I don’t promote every product that’s shared with me, but I thought this was an exceptionally clever invention that might be really helpful to you all, so I’ve included it here. At $9.95 each, it might not be feasible for you to buy a class set, but you could place the Desk-a-Doo on your suggested school supply list for parents to send in if possible. –Angela)

Share YOUR organization tips below in the comments!

Now What?

classroom organization and decoration tipsAvoiding the Paper Trap
Bulletin Board Problems Solved
Classroom Desk Arrangements
Lesson Materials and Files
Photo and video tours of over a dozen other classrooms
Pictures of teachers’ rug/carpet areas for class meetings

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Angela Watson was a classroom teacher for 11 years and has turned her passion for helping other teachers into a career as an educational consultant based in Brooklyn, NY. As founder of Due Season Press and Educational Services, she has published 3 books, launched a blog and webinar series, designs curriculum resources, and conducts seminars in schools around the world. Subscribe via email for blog updates, exclusive tips & tricks, activities, printables, and more.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Analiese February 10, 2011 at 6:43 pm

Thank you so much for these resources! I also have the desk organizer from staples and use it for my writing station. Each student has a hanging file for published work or work about which we will be conferencing. The outer compartments are for pre-writing worksheets, six-traits rubrics, and fun paper for publishing. It makes my writing station completely mobile!

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2 Lesley April 19, 2011 at 8:08 am

Your book has been so wonderfully helpful to me in organizing my classroom and materials! Organization has been my biggest teaching challenge since I first began teaching fourteen years ago. I have spent hours upon hours of time searching for things I can’t find and then either recreating the lesson or skipping an activity I know would be perfect because of my inability to organize and quickly locate things.

I recently purchased a scansnap digital paper scanner (a similar product is the neatdesk scanner) which scans papers – both sides – in color or black and white, and saves them as pdf documents. It also captures text to make searching for them easier. For me, this one item, though expensive, has been a lifesaver. I no longer need to worry about all the loose papers I have lying around being the only copy I have of something, and can finally toss hundreds of pages of papers (I check them first to make sure I can access and print what I’ve scanned before I toss) since they are now available to me on my computer (and on easy to store flash drives). For the chronically disorganized, this may be a tool worth looking at. I no longer bother to save a hard copy of weekly school bulletins/notices, etc. since I know I can access them easily.

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3 Sarah S. June 10, 2013 at 9:56 am

Hi Angela,

I’ve been following your website for a few years now, and love coming back for new ideas. I also just ordered your second book–looking forward to its arrival! I was wondering if you have any information posted on how to “pack up” a classroom for the summer. I plan to return to this classroom next year, but I want to pack up in an effective way, so that I can be organized and start fresh in August. Any ideas??? Thanks!

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