To wrap up our organization series, I thought it’d be fun to do a compilation of some amazing tips from other teachers! So, I reached out to some teacher bloggers and Instagrammers, and they’re kindly sharing helpful ways they’ve gotten organized in their classroom. Here are some of their favorite teacher organization tips!
Library Organization Tips
Library organization can be tricky! Here are a few teacher organization tips for keeping those books organized.
“Using the app BookBuddy has saved my life when it comes to classroom libraries! The app is user friendly and is so easy to check books in and out of your classroom library! I used to have check out sheets that made it hard to keep track of books and who had what. We spend a lot of time and money on our classroom libraries, so this app has totally helped me get books returned and keep track of them!”– Megan Fairchild from @missfairchildsmuggles
I love this budget-friendly organization tip from Kayleigh:
“Boxes for Books: If your class library looked anything like mine half-way through the year, then you understand the pain of keeping books neatly on the shelf. Instead of buying plastic containers, spray paint cardboard boxes and set the books inside the boxes. The boxes will help keep the books from constantly falling over and provide students with a specific place to return their books.”– Kayleigh Collier from Inspire. Teach. Grow.
I have a library tip of my own to add! I sorted my books by topic/genre and made labels for my library cart. Then, I used Avery labels to make matching stickers for the cover of each book. I included a picture on each one so that it was easy for kids to identify the correct section for each book. This made it easy for students to put books back in the right place!
Plan Ahead to Reduce Stress Later
Part of getting organized is planning ahead! This can help reduce the stress of having to deal with things later on. Here are a few tips to help you plan ahead!
“My teacher organization tip is to meal plan for the week on Sunday. I keep a growing Google Doc of all recipes. Some are favorites, while others are new recipes I want to try. From the list, I easily select meals for the upcoming week. With a crazy teaching schedule, this has been one way to reduce stress.”– Heather from Miss Iced Coffee
I can personally vouch for this next tip from Amber! I do this in my classroom, and it has been so helpful!
“As you get materials ready for your new class, plan ahead for potential new students you will inevitably acquire later in the year. I create 5 New Student Bags with items like a lunch card, clip for the behavior chart, and name tag, as well as a checklist for larger items such as textbooks and tasks such as updating my gradebook. This way when I find out 20 minutes before my day starts that a new student is on their way, I just have to concentrate on welcoming them and how to rally my other students to be gracious.”– Amber Thomas from Amber-Thomas
Documentation Made Easy
We all know how important documentation is in teaching! Ashleigh and Erika share a few tips to help streamline documentation and make sure you have everything ready to go when needed.
“I have created an IEP process checklist to help organize and track all parts of the IEP process from before, during a meeting and after a meeting. This helps me ensure I have fulfilled every part of the IEP process accurately!”– Ashleigh from Successes and Struggles
You can download Ashleigh’s checklist by clicking her link above!
“You never know when someone (student, fellow teacher, administrator, etc.) is going to ask you to recall something that occurred in your class days or weeks earlier. To help ensure that you have a good chance of being able to give them the information they ask for, keep a teaching journal throughout the school year. In it, create a bullet point list of the basic activities that occurred during each day of class. You might have lesson plans with this information already created.
What I suggest is listing out the class events after class ends, so you can include unexpected changes from the lesson plan or spontaneous pieces of information that pop up during the class session (for example, giving an extension on an assignment to a student or changing how an assignment is submitted). Creating the daily list should only take you a few minutes, but it can save you a lot of time and hassle if someone asks you to confirm that something did or did not occur in your class earlier in the year.“– Erika Romero from @EverEducating
Reduce Paper Clutter
We talked about how to organize paper clutter earlier in the series, but here are a few more helpful teacher organization tips to keep your classroom neat and free of miscellaneous papers.
“Slip a class list in your most used binder cover or page protector for a ready to use checklist! If you need to take attendance or quickly check off a few assignments, you can use dry or wet erase marker and then reuse your list. Simplify your desk and reduce clutter!”– Casey Boehm from Organize and Educate
This next tip from Annette is so genius!! What a great way to collect and keep track of important information.
“Use Google Forms to gather information from parents! Instead of collecting papers with names, emails, dismissal procedures, etc., create a Google Form that collects all the information in one place. Easy to copy and paste the information and it’s easy for the parents to fill out!”– Annette Franco from Let’s Be Franco
I love these teacher storage ideas from Nicole, Meredith, and Teanna!
“Get a HUGE file cabinet! I was lucky and found a tall four drawer file cabinet in perfect condition at the dumpster! I use this big file cabinet to store all my games, worksheets & crafts for every subject.
To store them, I bought a ton of hanging file folders off Amazon. Each drawer is labeled. Mine is labeled math, ELA, science/social studies and miscellaneous. Then, I labeled the hanging file folders for a skill area. Example: rhyming. Then I place rhyming games, worksheets, posters etc in the hanging file folder so it’s all in one place! It saves me from having to dig through worksheets and plastic bins of games. When I know I am working on that specific skill for a while, I will pull the whole file folder out. Then when we are finished with the skill, I will put everything back and place it back into the cabinet!”– Nicole Hillburn from happycampinginkindergarten
I couldn’t agree more, Nicole! Y’all know how I love my filing cabinet!
“I have a rectangular table instead of a teacher desk, so I use a rolling cart to organize my supplies. My personal supplies are on top, then supplies for Reading small group, then Math small group supplies are on the bottom. I also use binder clips and lanyard hooks to attach small buckets for more storage. Keeps me organized and keeps my table clear!”– Meredith Gore from @goresglobetrotters
You can see how Meredith organizes her cart in her link above. I have a similar one that I use now for my library, but previously used as a craft cart!
I also love this creative solution from Teanna:
“This little hack has been so helpful when organizing units! I like to store certain units or resources that I use regularly in binders but I was always at a loss as to how to store some of the prepped materials that went along with it. If I stored them separately it was too easy to misplace them and have to make them again. I’d see people use plastic page protectors but bigger items would fall right out! I needed something that could clip into the binder but close on the top… enter gallon sized baggies! Just hole punch to fit in your binder and you have a quick solution to storing all of your materials together in one place!”– Teanna Dosch from @toteachwithpurpose
Other Teacher Organization Tips
“Have one folder dedicated for each student in a community bin. Add early finisher material in each of your students folder. It’s a perfect way to differentiate student work and easy for you to add to it throughout the year.”– Nicole Senden from Senden’s Sources
I couldn’t agree more with this tip from Emily! I do love me some labels.
“Label everything! Include pictures if you can, and have students practice putting things away correctly.”– Emily Carnes from @GigglesAndGrading
“Colour code EVERYTHING. Teaching in Junior High means that I teach 6+ different groups of kids. Each class gets a colour, and I have coloured folders for completed work that I keep together with matching binder clips. I also have an hanging file holder that displays upcoming worksheets. Without this I would be SO lost!”– Kristen Frost from @pommebox
I am a big fan of color coding as well, just like Kristen! I had a color for each of my two classes (one class was blue, one was green). Each of my classes knew which color basket to find their supplies in or turn their work into.
I hope you have enjoyed this series as much as I have enjoyed putting it together! Hopefully it has been helpful to you as you prepare your classroom for the new school year. If you ever have any questions or need organization advice, please feel free to reach out to me via my contact page! I am so happy to help!
If you missed any of the other posts in the series, check them out here: