Keeping the classroom clean is often a challenge when your primary focus is on educating young minds. However, a clutter-free classroom can help foster solid habits for your students and also save time searching for lost glue sticks, paints and more. If your clutter is out of control and slowing down your progress and productivity, here are a few simple ways to get creative and organize classroom supplies.
Organizing All Those Classroom Papers
Keeping yourself organized is half the battle when managing a classroom. Color-coding folders for the subjects you teach can help you stay organized. If you just have to look for the purple folder instead of rummaging through all the papers on your desk for those missing math papers that need grading, you save yourself time. The color theme can easily be transferred over to folders that contain your students’ work. Label folders or bins by different colors and have students turn in papers by subject/color. You can also buy fun colored binder clips and label them as needed, including: handout, graded, to be graded and need to copy, among other things. Save time during your hectic day by grouping papers with labeled and colored clips.
Put Artwork in Progress on Display
After an exciting day of cutting, gluing and painting, teachers often find themselves desperate for space to hang artwork that needs to dry. Instead of placing shimmering illustrations and glitter-filled construction paper on every flat surface in the classroom, get crafty by using a pop-up rack that is typically used to hang wet clothes. Use clothespins to neatly hang each painted piece of paper so that the artwork dries without any smears and your students can admire their work all day long. When the artwork is dry, simply fold up the rack and stow it away in a storage space. You can also keep art supplies handy and mobile with an art cart on wheels that easily glides from one workstation to the next.
Provide Furnishings With Function and Style
Teaching does not allow for much downtime to clean up and achieve a clutter-free classroom. That’s why it’s crucial for you to choose furnishings to keep your teacher supplies organized and within reach. Paper, especially, accounts for a large volume of classroom clutter, which is reason enough for acquiring a construction paper storage unit as an essential piece of furniture. Store colored paper in designated spaces of a large or small unit, or designate each slot for student papers, tests or worksheets. You can also have students create their own storage units by covering corrugated boxes with colored or patterned duct tape. If your classroom furniture is showing signs of overuse, consider sprucing up the decor by painting file cabinets with chalkboard paint to write notes, in addition to using them for storing supplies and student files.
Make Desks Trendy and Neat
Eliminate pencils rolling over the floor with desk accessories for classroom supplies. Place a durable steel pencil holder on each desk or on craft or testing tables. These can be easily spray painted different colors as needed. You can prompt each student to make a personalized supply organizer out of shoe boxes. You can even use plastic cups placed in a wine rack to store crayons and markers. Eliminate book bags lying around that can create a tripping hazard by attaching canvas work aprons to the back of each student's desk. Simply slide books, notebooks, markers and crayons in the pockets so your students can easily access the supplies they need and store their book bags on hooks out of the way.
Get Boxy With Storage Options
While you use certain items every day, it's still important to keep them cleaned up and organized when not in use. Bring some color to the classroom with unique storage solutions, such as colorful crates lined together to store recess games or books for circle time. Make these crates serve a dual purpose by securing a wood board or padding over the top of three connected crates to create a reading bench for your classroom. Hang boxes, crates or bins on the wall instead of using up much-needed floor space by attaching them to hooks firmly drilled into the wall. Clear file boxes are also handy to have when sorting through graded assignments or unit worksheets.
A clutter-free classroom does not have to be just a dream for hard-working teachers. With the right tools and organizational skills, you can whip your classroom into shape and eliminate loose classroom supplies from getting in the way of learning.