Classroom Organization Ideas: Part 1

organization Pic 1





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EdTech537-Week 8-Blog Post 1

Just as school was ending, a teacher came to me asking about organizational ideas. This reminded me that some teachers have a great rapport with the students, some teachers have amazing behind the scenes organizational skills, and some teachers have both. So I want to help that teacher and all new teachers with some simple organizational ideas to help you save time. A happy teacher equates to happy students! Here are five must-do organizational techniques for the high school classroom.

  1. Designate a “Turn it in Here” basket for your students.
    • One trick here is to NOT make it complicated. Just have one basket for all of your classes. This way students are not constantly asking you where to turn something in.
    • Then sort through the basket when you are not distracted. (Everyday? once or twice per week?)
  2. Designate a “Pick up Worksheets” location.
    • I put this location right next to the Turn it in Here basket.
    • Usually it is the absent students that need this feature, but some students lose their copy or want a second copy.
    • For this section, I do separate hanging files by course. I have three preps, just about every year in my high school math classroom.
    • I use a portable file crate and make a section for each topic.
    • At the end of the day, I gather up all the extra copies, paperclip them and put in the FRONT of the class’s hanging file. Everything will be in date order.
  3. Designate a Folder for Daily Warm Ups.
    • You may not do daily warm ups, but do you do something else regularly in class that absent students need to make up?
    • Get a 3-ring binder or a 3-prong portfolio folder.
    • I put this in the portable file crate, next to where students Pick Up Worksheets.
    • I write the class title and warm up on the outside in sharpie pen…along with Does Not Leave the Classroom!!
    • At the end of the day, I simply put the warm up in the folder, in the back. Everything will be in order by date.
    • This could work with any daily or frequently performed classroom task.
  4. Designate a Hanging File for Papers to be Passed Back.
    • I label another file folder and put it in the portable file crate, next to where students Pick Up Worksheets and Daily Warm Ups.
    • This time I designate a separate file for each class period.
    • I tell my TA’s to put all work that has been scored and entered in the corresponding file.
    • I also put all work I have finished grading in the folder.
    • About once every week or two, I grab the folder and have students help pass back the work.
    • I make sure to pass back all work on a review for a test day. As soon as major exams are scored, I pass everything back as well.
    • I do pass back all tests myself to maintain student confidentiality.
  5. Get a Teaching Assistant!!
    • This can be a student (teacher assistant/TA) or a parent volunteer. But the extra help to shuffle paperwork is priceless!
      • Unfortunately teachers do not have ANY executive assistant help.
      • I do not know of any job with so much paperwork/grading, data entry, meeting attendance and regular client/parent communication expectations without any hired assistant. You have about 1.5 to 2 hours each day to do a ton of behind the scenes work.
      • Visit my teacher job description post for further thoughts on this topic.
    • As the teacher you need to see your students’ progress, but do you need to see absolutely everything? NO!
      • Pick one piece of vital work per week that you want to see to check for student understanding.
      • I give a pop quiz every week. It is very short. The quiz is only covers one skill. My TA scans it, then I score it.
      • By looking at one skill each week, you can quickly keep tabs on which students have it and which need more right away.
    • I do not personally grade all student homework (HW) assignments. I have my TA do it.
    • My personal opinion – TEACHER ASSISTANTS ARE UNDER-VALUED!!

Math Homework is probably its own conversation!! I listen to many veteran teachers struggle how to deal with math HW. I think this topic and some other organizational techniques are needed in my next post. If this can help just a few people, then I have done my job too!!



Filed under AECT Standard 2.4

9 responses to “Classroom Organization Ideas: Part 1

  1. Heather Lodwick

    I always love hearing other teacher’s organization strategies! I implemented a pick up worksheets station about midway through last year. I bought a small table and placed it by the door for when students walked it. It worked really well and saved a lot of time! Thanks for sharing.

    • Thank you for mentioning the table!! Everyone needs a table by the entry for sure! I also put student supplies there like stapler, hole puncher, Kleenex, etc. I learned from another teacher to not put Kleenex on my own desk because then all the sick students come to your desk with their germs.

  2. I always here people talk about how teacher’s college doesn’t actually prepare you to teach. Only your teaching practicums prepare you and that’s because of ideas like this. So much of teaching is organization, behavior management and actually talking to kids. I really love all the ideas you’ve shared. I have an awful time keeping papers organized (one of the reasons I try to do everything digitally). Thanks.

    • Thanks Bryan: Well I hope this gives you some ideas! In math, it is so hard to type math symbols, so paper and pencil is still far more efficient than computer technology to complete work. I do try to save paper whenever possible!!

  3. Angie, this is some great tips and hints that every teacher could really use. You hit the nail on the head that organization is the key!! Keep up the great blogging!

    • Ideally teachers are super people that are both organized and excellent presenters in the front of the room. I can only help with the organizational piece, so that I will do!!

  4. Pingback: Classroom Organizational Ideas: Part 2 | Angie Kruzich: EdTech Learning Log

  5. Angie, these are very good ideas not only for teachers, but I would think your students would appreciate your organized manner too. I know my own children complain to me when they think they have turned something in but their teacher can’t seem to find it. With as many students as you see during the day I would think this advice would be helpful.

    • Hi Lynn:
      Yes indeed, since I have developed these organizational techniques, nothing gets lost…well almost nothing! Only about 1-2 times per year is something lost, lost. Usually kids find their paper in the no name folder. Oh yeah, I also keep a no name folder next to the pass back papers folder!! The only papers that leave the room for grading are quizzes and tests. This also helps reduce loss. I can tell kids that I did not take anything out of the classroom in terms of HW papers. I hope students appreciate it all…but usually it isn’t until they have left me and moved on to the next math teacher!! – Angie

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