These highly-effective and easy classroom organization ideas will keep your elementary classroom tidy and running efficiently.
Related: For more ideas for keeping your teaching life streamlined, see our page of classroom management strategies.
Simple Classroom Organization Ideas
Invest in Chair Pockets.
Chair pockets are great for storing extra supplies that don’t fit into desks or cubbies.
When students are done working, they quietly take out what they need from their chair pocket, without the need to roam around.
Use Student Cubbies or Mailboxes.
Student desks can get rather messy or overloaded with textbooks, notebooks, papers, pencils/pens, etc.
Using cubbies allows more space for student materials. Mailboxes are especially useful for placing papers that need to be sent home.
Keep Accessible Frequently-Used Documents.
Keep student work in file organizers.
Place on a cork-type board important papers such as the school calendar, parent phone numbers, grading rubrics, dismissal procedures, etc.
Organize with a Planner.
At the beginning of the school year, use the school’s calendar as a reference as you pencil in the year’s significant events.
Doing so helps you to lesson plan strategically.
Create Emergency Lesson Plans.
Create one or two sets of emergency lesson plans at the beginning of the school year. Store them in a labeled, brightly-colored folder that’s easily accessible.
Store Materials Strategically.
Utilize old boxes, baskets, or pocket charts to store extra materials.
Crates with hanging folders are especially helpful for storing student papers and archived lesson plans.
Have Students Pitch In.
Give each of your little ones a classroom helper job.
Organize Papers in Folders and File Cabinets.
Various types of paper organizers can be purchased from an office store, or save money by using the tops of discarded printer paper boxes.
Plain or colored manila folders work just as well. Label each folder, drawer, or shelf so that you know exactly what content each contains.
Also consider file cabinets…
Make labeled folders for each unit of study and for other topics such as parent communication, back-to-school, quarterly assessments, running records, etc. Then place all the folders in a file cabinet.
All the math folders are grouped together, the reading folders grouped together, and so on.
When you need a folder, simply look for the appropriate labeled tab.
Get rid of any furniture, books, or materials that you no longer need. Donate it to other teachers or have maintenance put it into storage.
Use the extra space for something useful that will benefit students. If it’s too overwhelming to de-clutter during the school year, then put the idea on your summer to-do list.
Assign Each Student a Number & Memorize Each One.
This simple idea is most effective for those teaching 30 students or less.
At the beginning of the school year, begin requiring your kids to put their names and classroom numbers on each assignment.
Then when grading or collecting papers, you’ll simply organize the papers by number. You can easily see whose paper is missing.
Implement a Strong Classroom Management System.
The success of these easy classroom organization ideas is due to a good classroom management plan.
Decide a System for Backpacks.
Hang backpacks in the hallway, or place them on a window sill. Make a decision based on the layout of your classroom.
Which Classroom Organization Tips Will You Try?
Classroom organization is the foundation to a successful school year. You’ll be off to a great start following these tips.