Get Organized.16 February 2015
I get asked daily by custodians, teachers, administrators and parents how I keep such a clean and organized classroom. For me it comes easily because that’s how my somewhat OCD mind works. But I know for others it’s not that easy.
So how do I do it?
First off think of a perfectly clean white board. No left over marks from the day before. You can see the beautiful shine in the light. That’s how I think of my classroom as and it’s not like that just that first day of school.
My trick is consistency and having a place for EVERYTHING. You have to make organization a priority. The moment you let the piles start building, you’ve let yourself down. My classroom is clean and lacking clutter. I can’t function walking into a classroom where you can’t see the floor or walls. How do you think the children feel in environments like this? They can’t concentrate. Classroom learning environments should be organized, clean, and happy places to learn!
Every single day at 3:00 p.m. as my second graders exit that door when the bell rings, I get to work. No i’m not grading papers, running copies, or chatting with coworkers. I mean, I get to work cleaning up and organizing my classroom. I clean up for the day. I put away papers that need to be filed. I organize manipulatives and supplies we used that day. I wipe down counter tops with disinfecting wipes (my best friend). I clean my desk space. I put the papers I need copied in the drawer labeled “copy.” I have a place for EVERYTHING. White Sterilite tubs and drawers are my (other) best friends. I simply cannot attend to the other after school tasks mentioned above until my classroom is picked up. I will not leave for the day until its done because I never want to come to school the next day with a messy classroom that isn’t ready for my 23 second graders.
Another thing I do at the beginning of the year and throughout the year is teach my students organization routines and procedures. I teach/show them what their desk will look like at all times. All students have the same desk. Their books, journals, and folders are stacked on the left side, and their clear plastic tub with their supplies is on the right. I always purchase a clear caddy or tub for each student that fits inside their desk. It’s much easier to fit their supplies in than a silly ole’ pencil box. If they aren’t organized and have respect for their belongings, supplies will go missing and get ruined. All students even kindergarteners are capable of this. You just have to train them!
You can do this. Stop dreaming of being organized and be it! Never leave your classroom at the end of the day messy. Don’t let your students leave things behind on their desk after school. The moment you change your expectations, the better you will feel because you will be that organized teacher you have always dreamt of being!