One of the questions that I get a lot from teachers is how do I keep my classroom so organized and seem so well managed. While I would love to share my tips and make it seem like it’s easy and effortless to create a clutter-free, organized, well-managed classroom, the truth is it is NOT.
It has definitely taken lots of trials and errors and years experimenting with what works for me and what doesn’t.
After more than decade in two different grade levels and six classrooms later, I finally feel like I have gotten into my own groove of how I want my classroom to be organized and managed that is functional, accessible to the children, and aesthetically inducing of a calming and positive classroom environment.
Here are my 5 creative and easy tips for better classroom management!
1. Create A Fun and Personalized Routine and Stick to It the Best You Can
I am a girl of routines. How I greet my students at the door, what they do after they hang up their backpacks, and everything in between then and dismissal is part of our daily routine that is introduced at the beginning of the year, posted on the front board, practiced, practiced, and practiced throughout the year.
While following a routine helps keep me on track of completing all of my tasks and gives me a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day, my students and many students alike, also love and thrive on routines.
Routines help children understand their day better, know what to expect, and create a safe space for them to concentrate of learning and growing. Yes, schedules can change, but having a routine with a schedule posted in your classroom for students to follow along is essential in better managing your classroom and students. Here are two examples that I have used: the Editable Shiplap Schedule Cards and Daily Schedule Cards (Bright and Editable).
2. Store & Organize All the Things
I love finding new functions for items that I already have!
May they be crate seats for flexible seating by our classroom library and storage for extra classroom decorations and learning games or an old book crate that now helps me to distribute STEM supplies for each table, I love all the things that can store and organize all of my things.
Once you have everything organized and labeled, directly teach it to your students. Let them know how you want things to be kept organized. If you can even include them in the process, they would love that even more! The more organized your classroom is, the less time you will spend finding things and more time teaching your kids.
Since I have no built-in storage in my classroom, I have had to be creative. Here are examples of how I store my supplies and organize different items.
3. Try Not to Have Too Many Classroom Jobs
I love having jobs in the classroom, but I try not to have too many because it takes a lot of time at the beginning of the week to change them out and my kids often forget from week to week. Therefore, these are the only ones that I must have, which the kids love and get so excited when it’s their turn.
- Table Captains help manage the community supplies at their tables, collect and pass out journals, clarify information for the kids at their table, if needed, and are their table’s leader.
- Table Buddy is an assistant to their Table Captain and will take on their job if they are absent. If the Table Captain loses his/her job, the Table Buddy is then promoted. 🙂
- Line Leader and Door Holder
- Bathroom Monitors- One for the boys and one for the girls. They are the first ones to use the restroom then monitor to make sure the restrooms are clean after our group breaks together.
4. Create a Weekly Schedule for Yourself
Sometimes in the midst of doing all the things, it’s hard to find time to actually finish anything. One of the things that has really helped me to be productive is making sure that I use my planning time efficiently. Yes, that means I have to close my door at times to get work done, but I have to.
For instance, this is what my week usually looks like during planning time.
Monday- Plan for next week.
Tuesday- Go over RTI notes and activities for my groups.
Wednesday- Complete any administrative tasks and make sure my copies are all made for next week.
Thursday- Plan with my team.
Friday- Grade all the papers and record them. Pull books for next week.
5. Build a Strong and Positive Relationship with Your Students
To have a well managed classroom, you have to build a strong and positive relationship with your students. They need to know that they matter to you, they have a voice, and you truly truly love and care for them.
Once they know and understand this, you can then create a well managed classroom with high expectations.
Focus on the relationships on day one and continue to do so. Celebrate their birthday, progress, accomplishments, and them individually every day with the lessons that you teach and the books and characters that you introduce them too.
Let be heard and seen and be valued. This is the secret to a well managed classroom, even if you have to do so from afar, temporarily.
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