An organized classroom is an integral part of the learning process. Your classroom should be an environment where quality learning occurs. It should also be a safe, organized, space that allows students to thrive socially, academically, behaviorally, and creatively.
How Does An Organized Classroom Benefit Students?
Your classroom organization reflects the structure and management of your classroom. The classroom is a constant reminder to students of classroom expectations and procedures: organized classroom = high teacher expectations. Students also thrive in a predictable environment where they feel safe.
“Everything Has a Home”
I once heard a colleague say: “Everything Has A Home.” I love this line (and I use it at home with my own children). All items, whether in the classroom or in your home, have a specific place where they belong. Having specific, labeled locations for supplies, materials, and books makes for swift access and less time wasted.
Classroom Materials and Supplies
Materials and supplies that are used frequently should be easy to access for the teacher and students. Use baskets, storage bins, milk crates, and plastic drawers to help organize supplies. Labels are big help, too.
Preferences for how to arrange student desks varies greatly from teacher to teacher. One thing to think about is how you instruct or how you want students to learn. If you like students to work in groups, set up tables or clusters of desks. If you prefer whole group discussion, a U-shape or circle works well. Students working on self-paced learning may need learning stations. Many teachers also arrange student desks so they can make eye contact with as many students as possible. Students should also be able to see the instructor and the white board/projector. Whatever your preference, make sure you can move easily throughout the classroom.
Student Materials and Supplies
“Train” your students to be organized. Ask students to have a folder or binder for your class. If you require students to keep handouts, syllabi, and other paper materials with them, ask them to label a folder in which to keep said items. In my elementary classroom, we have a folder for each subject, a homework folder, and a Friday folder.
Why Should I Organize My Own Classroom?
In addition to benefiting students, classroom organization is also helpful to the teacher. Having an organized classroom allows teachers to spend more time on the more “important” stuff, like planning meaningful lessons and building student relationships. Creating and maintaining an organized classroom also causes less teacher stress, frustration, and fatigue. It sounds cheesy, but having a tidy classroom makes you look good to administrators and parents; you look like you’ve “got it together.” A neat and orderly classroom shows that you care about your students and your profession.