Okay, so it’s taken me like, 5 years and 12 different systems to get my classroom organized but I think I’ve finally hit on a winning system (for me at least). In all of the different systems and Pinterest ideas and everything I have tried, I’ve found that the less organizing I try to do, the better. The more complicated the system is, the harder it is to maintain. So today I share what has finally worked.
For the past few years I had always been the keeper of supplies. Expo markers, calculators, periodic tables, etc. were all stored in folders and baskets in my cabinets and I would have to pass them out every time they were needed. Then I noticed my colleague had bins on her desks with all that stuff in them. No more need to pass out materials and collect them over and over again.
At first I started with all of the materials in tote bins. But then the kids kept moving things between tables and stuff would go missing because one table was hoarding all the expo markers or periodic tables. Then I got colored dots and gave each table a color. That way we could easily spot if something didn’t belong.
The dots really helped for when things got mixed up but things were still getting mixed up and it was hard to tell at a glance if something was amiss. In browsing Pinterest I saw a lot of elementary teachers using these sectioned caddies for pens, pencils, markers, etc. Elementary teachers have the best organization and I love taking those ideas and applying them to my high school classroom!
I found these caddies on Amazon for just under $10 for a pack of 6! They look great and so far my kids really like how organized they are. I use the large section for periodic tables and other reference sheets that we use all the time. One of the small compartments perfectly fits four TI-30 calculators, and the third compartment holds expo markers and erasers, highlighters, scissors, and rulers with room to spare.
Turning In Work
A lot of our work is done digitally, so I don’t collect a ton of paper. Those that I do collect go into a cardboard cubby. I have one for each class period. I use the other shelves for paper supplies (scratch paper, lined, graph, plain, blue books). I used to walk around to each table and collect their work, or have them bring their work to me. This is much easier. I keep it at the back of my classroom to avoid traffic jams. I’m also getting a stapler to put on top of the box for things that need to be stapled.
There are a couple of generic forms and worksheets that my scholars use a lot. These include Warmup Forms, Test Correction Forms, Article Summaries, and Review Packets for scholars working on relearning previous content. I used to keep these all in my filing cabinet but then I would have to retrieve them for the scholars whenever they were needed. Now I just keep them in a small bin for scholars to get themselves. Much more efficient.