It’s no secret that one of the best ways to keep productivity high and work days flowing is to be organized. However, maintaining this structure is an entirely different challenge when bustling classrooms are involved. Students thrive just as much, if not more, than their teachers do with proper organization methods put into place. If you’ve been looking for new means to keep your work space and your students’ learning space in better order, we have some tips for you!
For the educator:
Make sure your space is tidy and clean. Your mental wellbeing is important and one of the easiest ways to maintain a positive outlook in the workspace is to organize your workspace and give it a touch of home. Find a bin in your favorite color for loose odds and ends. Make sure paperwork is organized into categorized folders. And of course, adding a bit of your own flair through pictures or a favorite trinket serves as a grounding object to focus on during the harder days. How you organize will depend entirely on your personal needs, so have fun customizing your workspace and making it fit your demands.
Begin working on substitute teacher materials as soon as possible. Emergencies happen, sometimes as early as the first week of school, and extra preparation never hurts. Routine is important for young minds, especially in a learning environment, and the extra time put into lesson planning will go a long way in keeping your students engaged and at ease in the classroom. In addition, it takes a load off of your shoulders to have the lessons prepared early, as well as helps the substitute teachers that may drop in your classroom throughout the year!
For the classroom:
Put into place a reward system for cleaning and organizing. Children learn by exploring and creating a mess. However, when learning time stops, the mess needs to be cleaned up so everyone- student and teacher alike- can feel at peace. If you have a classroom of students that don’t quite understand the importance of being tidy, a simple reward system can help inspire them. Rewards can vary, spanning from extra free time to a prize. Positive reinforcement is a great way to build lasting habits with your students that will apply not just to the classroom, but to their life outside of class, too.
Consider introducing a chore list for your classroom with each student having a new task each week. Tasks can be as simple as making sure all chairs are pushed in or assigning something more complex, like wiping down the desks each day. Take proper time to explain the expectation for each chore, demonstrating if needed, so the students feel confident in their work. Consider adding a task for you to complete and check off, too, so the students can see you equally care about the learning space and have a positive role model to follow.
For the students:
Give each student the proper space to spread out. Most students have their own desk- allow them the chance to customize it with a fun name tag or trinket so they feel comfortable in their space. Consider introducing a bin system where each student has a bin in their favorite color to put extra pencils or a toy they brought from home for recess time. Finding small ways to make the classroom feel welcoming will help your students take pride in their space and encourage them to keep their space neat.
Review dismissal processes. As children learn to navigate the world, it can be difficult to keep them on task. End-of-day dismissal is no exception. Having a strong dismissal routine allows students to find their ride safely and quickly, two very important things for easily-distracted minds! In addition, a strong dismissal system helps parents/guardians and teachers feel at peace and able to trust their students are safe and in good hands.
As you know, there are thousands of different ways to keep yourself, your students, and your classroom organized and tidy. While we recommended five different tactics, the methods you choose ultimately depend on your classroom’s needs and personality.