Organizing a classroom
It is an honor and privilege for me to partner with teachers in setting up their classrooms. Teachers and classrooms are set up to maximize a productive, nurturing environment for learning. In our work together, we create a custom space for the teacher to reinforce concepts and classroom management.
Setting up your classsroom begins with room/space arrangement. Start with the global view of what do you want to accomplish in which space. Typically there is a teacher work zone with the desk, files, and bookshelves. The student spaces include personal desks and small group spaces. There is storage for supplies and the daily lessons. Final room touches include the bulletin board and the wall decor. By asking yourself questions and centering on the curriculum, the classroom takes shape.
Take each zone individually to maximize productivity for the task and to store items.
For the teacher work area, have a space for computer, a small quantity of school supplies, easy access for adminstrative tasks, easy access for the day’s curriculum, and a small space for personal items such as snacks. For the admin tasks, think of the papers you will get daily and need to be filed, returned to the office, or send back to parents. Each should have a “slot” to drop these in and then take a few minutes to act on the appropriate paper. The cascading file tote from The Container Store works well for admin papers. Be sure to label it with your categories of paper, including administrative, parents, or filing. By using the wall space you are keeping paper off your desk too!
Curriculum and lessons need a specific spot. You can use vertically stacked letter trays or plastic drawers to hold each day’s lessons. Keep lessons in the space you are using these, in the front of the classroom, at your small group work station, or in the file cabinet for the following week. Again, lots of labels needed! You can categorize by day of the week, curriculum concept (such as sequencing), or curriculum area (such as math).
Storage in classrooms follows the same concepts as all organized storage. Keep like things together and items you access frequently easy to reach. Use containers to keep floppy, small items each to store. The most difficult aspect of storage is to keep ONLY what you use. Review your cabinets frequently to get items back to where these belong. Curriculum resources can be found on bookshelves behind the teacher’s desk.
Keeping your classroom organized occurs with good routines. Have your students help you maintain the order in the class by returning items to their proper homes. You are teaching more than curriculums of math, science or language. Organizing is a life skill that is very important to share.
Here’s what made a difference for this teacher:
Since I moved to a new classroom this year, I had to do more than just rearrange and re-organize. I had to rebuild. Ellen helped me to begin by thinking globally. What do I want the big picture to look like? What will I need to accomplish today to feel as though I have been productive? She also helped me to narrow down and focus on one task at a time while prioritizing which one needed to come first, second, and so on. Just another set of hands makes a great difference, but sometimes having someone to guide you (and sometimes push you to get the work done) is what leaves you with the feeling of complete success. From arranging student desks to connecting extension wires, from desk drawers to cabinet shelves, and from storing unused materials to decorating walls, my feelings of overwhelmed and impossible changed to prepared and confident with a little help from a fantastic organizer. Thanks professional-organizer.com! Ellen, you’re the best!
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Great advice! Love the after pictures! WOW! 🙂