When I first began teaching I found that keeping everything in order was a serious challenge.  I remember that first quarter I had piles and piles of materials sitting on a shelf/radiator cover.  At the time I didn’t even have a filing cabinet!  When quarter two arrived I decided that I was going to be more organized and have not ever looked back.  I still get chuckles from my fellow teachers, since I still have piles all over the place, but they are my piles and I know what is in them.  Below are a few things that I have done now that help me stay organized and help learning flow better in my classroom.  

      1. Use a bin with file folders for all the classwork that the students do in a quarter: This helps me when students come asking for missing work from when they were absent.  I just always need to make more copies.  

      2.       I have used bins this year to put the textbooks and other materials on the desks at the table groups.  This has made getting and cleaning up textbooks much easier.  I used to keep them under the desks, but then half the time they were destroyed.  Now I can just have one student per group get the bin and everyone has a book.  I also put folders in there if there is a reading that I have copied. 

      3.       I have a cart that I put the papers the students are going to write on for the day right in front of the door when they walk in.  Most don’t miss it and grab the paper.  Took me years to figure out that unless it is right in front of them the middle schoolers/9th graders will not pick it up.

      4.       I have a student keep my classroom library clean.  This was something I hated doing so I just assigned a student who wanted to help.  Much cleaner and organized.

      5.       Building systems of expectations that the students are supposed to follow:  I have all kinds of things that we do on a regular basis so the classroom activities move smoothly from one period to another.  After all, in a crisis situation we are all just a product of our training and the classroom really is no different.  The most obvious is doing a do now/objective sheet that gets students clam and seated while I take attendance.
Why kinds of things do you all do that helps make your classroom run?

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