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Samantha Beattie's picture
Samantha Beattie has taught first grade for eight years and is currently teaching a multi-age classroom of first and second-graders. She graduated Nova Southeastern University with a master’s degree...
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Organization Tips

Classroom organization can be a challenge, especially in the primary grades. As a primary teacher, I tend to accumulate a lot of stuff. I have always been challenged with creating organization that works for both the students and myself. Here are a few quick tips that help me stay organized.

In order to be more organized, I purchased a set of filing stacking bins. These are labeled for Monday through Friday. In each bin, I have a folder for each subject area. I also have a bin for small group instruction. When I create my plans for the week, I pull read-alouds, manipulatives, and copies then file in the correct day and subject folder. This has been a tremendous help in keeping me organized for each day.

In order to limit the amount of papers I keep, another teacher suggested I take the filing cabinet out of my room. Once the filing cabinet was removed, I had to sort through and decide what I needed to keep. I use 3-ring binders for all my master copies. I have a binder for myself which holds calendars, schedules, teaching codes, lesson plans, etc. By placing the papers in a binder, I have to decide whether I really need it or not. I take five minutes each day to go through any papers that I have accumulated and decide whether to keep or toss. This has eliminated stacks of papers waiting to be filed.

To organize student manipulatives(both math and reading), I use various storage carts with drawers. Each drawer is labeled with the skill or concept. In the drawer, I place the anything I will use to teach the skill, including read-alouds. As I need the materials, I just pull the drawer. The teaching materials go into my daily bins and the student materials are left in the drawer. The drawers become "must-do" activities for the students, and they are placed in an accessible location for when the students need them.

Another organizing tip for student materials, is to assign students a number. These numbers are used on their cubbies, pencil boxes, book boxes, and various other places in the room. While this helps to keep the organization flowing, it also saves me time from changing out names from year to year on cubbies and book boxes.

What are some of your organizational challenges? What tips can you share? I'd love to hear from you!