General, Organization, Teaching

When to Reorganize Your Classroom and How

Kids in a classroom

Are you losing student work?  Do you put something down only to not be able to find it 5 minutes later? Are there dust balls in your desk drawers?  It’s time to reorganize.  It’s so easy to get comfortable in a routine and be resistant to change, but if you take the time to evaluate the flaws in your system you will be thankful later.

Usually, it’s beginning the process that is the toughest. When it looks like a bomb went off in your room, it’s hard to find a starting point. And I don’t know about you, but I feel resentful when I think about cleaning something that isn’t my home and is mostly a mess because of my students.  However, a strong class environment starts with a comfortable room and atmosphere, so it’s our job as teachers to make sure we are providing that for our classes.

How to Re-organize Your Classroom:

  1. Start with your desk:

Your desk is where you spend most of your time, so it’s important to keep it neat and tidy.  However, that’s not usually the case. My desk is usually strewn with late passes, cracker crumbs, gum wrappers, and coffee stains. Take five minutes and organize what is just on your desk. Throw out old papers, put your pens in a cup, and restock the tape dispenser and stapler.

Ahhh.  Doesn’t that feel better?


  1. Wipe down your counters:

Get a container of Clorox wipes and go to town. Not only are you sanitizing and disinfecting your room, but this forces you to pick up what is on your counters.  Now the key here is to not just pick up and plop the items back where you found them, but to put them where they belong (see # 4).

  1. Clean out:

I usually do this at the end and beginning of each school year, but you can really do it whenever you please.  Get rid of things you do not use, and don’t look back.  Last year I finally decided to dispose of a whole, almost new, set of encyclopedias, and I didn’t want to do it.  I felt guilty but realized that in my 5 years at the school I had never had the kids use them.  They are irrelevant now that you can find everything online or use online encyclopedias.  That’s just an example, but decluttering your room and making space for other things will be helpful for your sanity.

  1. Label!

Friends fans: remember how excited Monica gets when she realizes she can use her label maker?  Channel your inner Monica.  Labeling makes it so much easier to find things and is a practically foolproof way to teach your kids where things go. It takes a little time, but it will save you many headaches in the long run.  Have specific, labeled places for homework, pens, pencils, markers, calculators, rulers, etc.  and make sure the students know they are expected to return everything to its designated area.

  1. Go paperless:

Filing cabinets can be a nightmare, and for that reason, I have never used them.  I am not the most organized person, nor am I the most motivated.  I’ll admit to being lazy, but I still make it work.  Having everything online is the easiest, most efficient way to keep my paperwork and lesson plans organized.  I use Google Drive so that I can access my stuff anywhere without worrying about a flash drive. I organize my folders into subjects, then in those folders, I have my different units with all of my past slideshows, assignments, and tests.  It’s wonderful. I’m never scrambling to find that activity that I did two years ago and want to revamp or worrying about having extra copies of everything to keep.

  1. Routine:

Obviously keeping a routine is the best way to ensure you stay on track with organization and classroom management, so make a point to recognize that routine and stick to it.  Many students thrive in structure, so give them an agenda for each day on the board, keep a large calendar with assignments that is visible to them, and maybe even give some of your eager beavers classroom jobs.  Not only will this help you out, but it will give them a sense of pride and identity in your room.

Read our previous blog post discussing Get Kids Want to Read here

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This article is written by Lauren Bubb, an English Teacher at Frankfort-Schuyler Central Schools
To reach Lauren, please contact here.