Teachers know classroom organization plays a big role in how smoothly the day goes. We also know that things can get overwhelming fast! It’s easy to lose focus when prepping your room for the next group of students. Here’s a simple list I use to refocus on the big picture and get my classroom back to school ready!
~ The Great Purge ~
Follow your gut instincts. What do you know you can get rid of before you even begin? Get rid of it! All of it. Okay, not all of it.
First, I toss any surface clutter that is lingering from last year. Then, I stand back and take a look at my cabinets….doors wide open. I look for the first few items that grab my eye as unused and nonessential, and toss ‘em!
~ Label Love ~
Where ever I find chaos, I empty that space. Take it one space at a time. Look at what’s in the pile, and start putting like things together. Create a label for the empty area, and put like items back into that empty space. Now, they officially have a home that you and others will be able to return those items to (most of the time 🙂 ). This process also helps me see other items I might need to get rid of. When I find that I have enough borders to fill 3 border boxes, I figure it’s a good time to donate half of them to the newest teacher on the team. Staple removers are my exception. If you find yourself with 15 staple removers, keep them all. Those things are like teacher gold. Lol!
Avery Address Labels with typed student names for portfolios, mailboxes, folders, files, and such. They have blank templates on their website that match the numbers on the packet you buy to make printing easy. However, those plain labels just don’t cut it for areas that are highly visable like workshop boxes, leveled readers, table materials, etc. I created the colored versions below for a more visual impact. I use them to make groups easily identifiable. In the upper grades, I also like to use the chalkboard themed version to keep things looking nice without the primary vibe.I use a lot of the standard
~ Create Easy Ambiance ~
I can’t believe how long it took me to figure this one out! Shameful, really. But, now I have it. A few special touches can take a classroom from a dingy, cold space and turn it into a second home. Compared to purging and labeling this is a breeze! With only a few items, your classroom will be transformed.
1. Bring in a lamp: The soft light is wonderful! If you only make one improvement, this should be the one.
2. Fabric: Go to a fabric store. There are thousands of choices. Several will easily fit in with your theme you’re striving for. You can purchase it by the yard to cover tables or serve as bulletin board backdrops.
3. Personalized seating options: This might be a comfy chair for the front of the room or beanbags for your reading area. Whatever you choose, your room will become more personalized and inviting. (Yard sales, Craig’s list, and thrift stores are great places to find furniture on the cheap.)
Because we all love before and after pics, here’s a before and after of my class library overhaul!
I was lucky enough to inherit too many bookshelves! Crazy, right? Well, that was the case. I got to choose which fit the space best. Then, I reloaded them with books that were previously stored in various plastic boxes. Finally, I had student helpers use the scholastic reads scanning/labeling system to level them.
I reference the 3 points above to help me prioritize during the craziness of back to school preparation. If I didn’t, I know I could spend hours planning or prepping when my basic classroom organization wasn’t in place. I hope you find it helpful, and I’d love to hear any additional tips you might have for getting your classroom back to school ready.