Sunday, August 26, 2012

An Organized Classroom

Being organized is probably one of the things I am best at. I'm not sure when I became super organized, but basically life doesn't make sense to me if it's not organized. Like right now I'm sitting here looking at our DVD case and the DVDs are OBVIOUSLY in alphabetical me that just makes sense, why wouldn't you put your DVDs in alphabetical order?? I know plenty of people that don't, but I wonder how they find the DVD they're looking for without having to look throughout the entire case. Which basically leads me to why I am organized and why I enjoy (need?) to be organized...I like to know where things are because in the end it saves me time and effort. It's that simple.

Being a super (obsessive?) organized person transfers into my classroom as well. My students ALWAYS comment about how organized I am and my hope is that a little bit of that rubs off on them. The way I keep organized in my classroom basically comes down to three things: 1. EVERYTHING needs/has a home (which is also labeled), 2. color coding and 3. making lists.

In my classroom there isn't anything that doesn't have a permanent "home" and I make the effort to make sure everything gets put back where it belongs. By doing so I never have to wonder where something is and I hardly ever misplace things because I know where it belongs and it's there. A lot of my organization has developed based on a need for a "home" for something. Before I started teaching I don't think I could have imagined most of the things I would need to have a place for, but as the need arises I create it or I give it a home. For example, I have two vinyl (vinyl because they are more durable and they take a beating throughout the school year) folders for work that needs to be corrected and work that needs to be entered into the grade book. I made those folders because those papers needed a home and I didn't want to lose papers.

I LOVE to use color to help keep me organized as well. Each year I assign each of my preps a color and then each of my classes for that prep an associated color. For example this year Geometry is green, Honors PreCalc is purple and Algebra 2 is orange. For my one Geometry class I use green, for one Honors PreCalc class I use purple and for the other I use blue, and for one Algebra 2 class I use yellow and for the other I use orange. Each of these classes has a colored folder (this year I made 4 pocket folders!) that I use for attendance, homework, seating charts, etc.. I also obsessively use colored paper clips for everything. Again, anything associated with a certain class gets "their color" paper clip. I use them in my "to get corrected" folder to keep different classes and assignments separated. I also use them in a folder that I keep for work that needs to be made up.

Lists also play an important part in keeping me organized. I like keeping a running "to do" list so that I don't forget something. It also helps to keep my mind freed up, prioritize tasks and have a big picture looks at what needs to be done. There is also no better feeling than crossing things off of my to do list :)

I wish I had pictures to help show some of the ways that I organize, but my classroom is still a huge mess and in the process of getting ready for day one. I might update later with pictures once I am more settled in.


  1. Love this post! Giving everything a home is my theory on organization too..and everything definitely needs a label. One of my most exciting purchases this summer was a label maker :) I'd love to see pictures of the kind of organization you use in your classroom when you're all settled in!

  2. I'm TERRIBLE at organization. It is one of the things I'm focusing on this next school year. :-)