Take a peek at 5 ideas for organizing teaching stuff. Organizing teaching materials, digital files, and worksheets will make each day run smoother. Don’t be harried! Get organized so you can enjoy teaching.
Ms. Sneed Starts Organizing Her Teaching Stuff
Our favorite fourth grade teacher, Ms. Sneed, was halfway through her first year of teaching. Unfortunately, her classroom was a mess. On her desk, piles of worksheets gave her no room to work. In her bookcase, piles of papers needed filing. Our poor Ms. Sneed needed help.
Fortunately, her mentor, Mrs. Brown, came to the rescue. “Honey, you need some help organizing your teaching stuff! Let’s take a look at some options.”
Obediently, Ms. Sneed followed Mrs. Brown down the hall.
Idea #1 – Use Binders
First, they stopped in Ms. Pollard’s classroom. “I place all worksheets/lessons/papers for the topic into a binder,” she says. “I have a binder for every math topic that I teach. When I get to that topic, I simply pull out that binder. Extra copies left over from the previous year are inserted into the clear plastic sheet protectors. The front side of the sheet protector has the worksheet; turn it over to the back for the answer key. I find this works so much better than a filing cabinet.”
Ms. Sneed opened one of the binders and looked inside. Sure enough, all of the student sheets were stored in plastic page protectors – with the answer key as well. This gave Ms. Sneed some food for thought.
Idea #2 – Use a Stand-Alone Filing System
Next, they visited Mr. Aker’s classroom. “If you need to share materials with another adult in the room (paraprofessional, student teacher, co-teacher, etc.), try a stand-alone filing system. I use this handy file box for my math class. It helps me organize daily warm-ups, exit tickets, and assignments for two math groups, remediation and enrichment (ready if needed), standards checklists, and more. My paraprofessional and I can simply walk up and find what’s needed at a moment’s notice. It’s a lifesaver!”
Ms. Sneed took a peek at Mr. Aker’s filing system. Since she used multiple worksheets for her math class, she could see that this would be helpful.
Idea #3 – Organize Your Desktop
“Now let’s go to my classroom,” said Mrs. Brown. They mosied down the hall then settled in front of Mrs. Brown’s computer. “What’s on your desktop?” she asked. “A rat’s nest of random documents? It’s time to get organized. First, create a folder for each subject you teach under Documents. In each of those folders, create additional folders for every topic (or standard) you teach. It won’t take long to reorganize your files, and you’ll be glad you did. No need to search your computer for lost files! You now know where to look.”
As Ms. Sneed looked at Mrs. Brown’s filing system, she began to formulate a plan. First, she’d make a few main folders, such as teaching, committees, and professional development. Second, she’d put major categories under those. For example, under teaching, she would make folders for every subject. And third, Ms. Sneed would create folders for unit plans. It all started to make sense. Mrs. Brown was right. She needed a lot of help organizing teaching stuff!
Idea #4 – Use an Online Organizational Tool
Next, Mrs. Brown opened her Google account. “Oodles of online organizational tools are available, but I like creating Google sites to store my materials. It’s free and easy to do. My grade-level colleagues and I organize our curricula on clickable tables.”
When Mrs. Brown opened the file, Ms. Sneed couldn’t believe her eyes! A website stored curriculum for an entire year. She liked this idea best of all.
“We create a document for each major topic (as shown below) and link teacher-created materials below. Any online materials (videos, games, worksheets, etc.) that do not belong to us are linked to the page with hyperlinks,” shared Mrs. Brown. “I’ll share this website with you too.”
Idea #5 – Store Worksheets in Drawers
Mrs. Brown moved over to her desk. As she moved her chair, Ms. Sneed noticed two plastic organizers. “I’m obsessed with these multi-drawer units,” she said. “I stick two of them under this table adjacent to my desk. As soon as worksheets are copied, in they go. It’s simple! I just pull out the worksheets and distribute.”
Each drawer was labeled with the name of a specific subject. Now Ms. Sneed knew where those piles of worksheets on her desk would go. Sure enough, she’d head to the office store after school.
“These ideas should get you started,” Mrs. Brown concluded. “If you’re looking for more great ideas for organizing teaching stuff, I’ll send you a few articles.”
“Yes, please,” said Ms. Sneed. “You’ve given me so many good ideas. Now I just need to get started.”
When she returned to her classroom, she found two articles in an email from her mentor.
- 18 Amazing Classroom Organization Tips & Tricks by Happy Teacher, Happy Kids
- Classroom Organization Tips and Tricks by Catherine Reed, The Brown Bag Teacher
“Just a little more light reading,” Ms. Sneed sighed. But she smiled slightly and said out loud, “No time like the present for organizing teaching stuff!”
Over the course of her career, Ms. Sneed realized that there were 6 steps to enjoy teaching. First on the list was to organize. In addition to organizing her teaching stuff, she realized the need to organize student stuff, parent stuff, and professional stuff too. Follow the Fabulous Teaching Adventures of Ms. Sneed and learn how you can enjoy teaching too.