Congratulations! You’ve survived your first week, and possibly second week of school! How does it feel? Are you a little overwhelmed? Do you know all your student’s names yet? Have you felt the vibe of this new class of students?
Your thoughts might be a jumbled mess, but whose aren’t? There’s one thing you can organize though — your classroom! A clean classroom is as happy classroom; and definitely reduces stress for you, too. And through proper organization you start to carve out a management plan for your classroom.
What is a Classroom Management Plan?
Even if you don't have a documented plan - besides your daily lesson plans - chances are you have a strong sense of how you want your day to flow, where lessons will take place, when to shift to new subjects and where papers, book, binders and artwork will be arranged.
This structure is essentially your management plan. It's what makes you and your students know what to expect and where everything goes. The rules that you establish early in the year will curb anxiety, chaos and help students understand the roles they play and the proper procedures they must follow.
I’ve created a few useful DIYs to help you stay organized and fully functional!
Tips for Organizing Classrooms
I think everyone can testify that throughout life you've always had a pencil cup on your desk. You shoved in your pens, pencils, highlighters, and other mysterious things you never used. And still to this day, you can never find what you’re looking for in that pencil cup.
Take an empty soup can, empty candle jar, or any cylinder object you have around the house. You’re going to need a few of them, but all different shapes and sizes will create that collect feel, and help you to easily identify one from the other.
Now it’s time to decorate! Use ribbon, scrap booking paper, or even Mod Podge some newspaper on your makeshift containers.
And finally, label, label, label! I’ve used these adorable clothespins with chalkboard faces on them. That way if I ever change my mind, I can erase it and write something else. It’s also a lot easier than making labels to tape on your containers.
Motivating Students in the Classroom
I remember when I took my son to daycare when he was two years old. The teacher gave me a tour, which included the day's activities and expectations. She walked us around the room and showed us where the toddlers put this and that. What? These little kids are putting things away - in the right bin?
Sure enough they were because they clearly knew where things went and did it repeatedly.
Same thing with classroom workflow. When the students know exactly what's going on, they are confident, less distracted and more helpful.
Having their own mailbox is a great way to give students an organized home base for their important papers and homework. And they can inexpensively made from cereal boxes!
There’s literally a million things you can repurpose a cereal box into. If you wanted to, you could stack them horizontally and create a mailbox for each of your students! I prefer storing things vertically rather than horizontally, like mailboxes. So I’ve cut my cereal boxes to look like magazine holders and store paper and handouts in them.
For quick and easy decorating, I’ll use wrapping paper rather than scrap book paper. It’s just easier for those larger surface areas. And depending on how you place your cereal boxes, you can use the chalk board clothespins to label too!
Making the Best Use of Space in the Classroom
When you don’t have any shelf space or surface space left on your desk, where do you put it? On the wall of course! As vertical gardens are a popular space hack in crowded urban dwellings, wall space is a perfect work-around for limited classroom space.
Command Hooks aren't only loved in College dorms; you'll get your school's maintenance person's approval with these sturdy hooks that don’t pull off the paint on your wall. You can also put them anywhere! Even on the side of your bookcase, or desk.
And what teacher doesn’t have access to binder clips? If you subscribed to the Pampered Teacher box over the summer you got some! They’re a lifesaver when you have to bind paper, but there has to be another purpose for them. Are you picking up what I’m putting down?
Use your binder clips as a hanger and hang them on your Command Hooks! Now I’m not telling you to bind your papers and hang them… I mean you could try it out. But why not keep those calendar numbers right next to the calendar instead of in a drawer half way across the room? If you don’t have big enough clips to hold all 30 days, put your numbers in a Ziplock bag, clip the top of the bag with your binder clip, metal hoops facing upwards, and hang it like that! I’ve also used it to hang vocabulary cards, game pieces, you name it!
Classroom Management Tools for Teachers
Each Pampered Teacher box includes at least one product for the classroom, each with the intent to help teachers with organizing, managing and (sometimes) decorating the class. As we move further into the 2015-2016 school year we looking forward to bringing you quality supplies to make your life easier.