Sometimes I get overwhelmed looking at other classrooms. The amount of time and care (and money) that other teachers have spent is admirable.
I just don't have the patience (or budget) to do ridiculously adorable organizational things.
But instead of jumping into classroom shaming, I'll share a few more classroom snap shots of how I've dealt with some of the typical classroom organizational challenges.
Decision 1: Bathroom Log
It's generally a good idea to keep a bathroom log. It's an easy way to keep track of students and in case there's a fire drill, you know who is gone. (Also, in case the fire alarm was pulled, you know who was out of the room...speaking from experience on that one.)
I like the magnetic boards (cooking trays) where each student has a number, but that wasn't going to work with three dozen magnets.
So I got super fancy here folks...and use a notebook.
Yup, there it is! Bright yellow and right by the door. I model how to use it and one usually lasts the whole year.
Total cost? Maybe fifty cents.
Total time spent? Five minutes?
Decision 2: Returning Student Work
Coincidentally, it's in the same picture. One of my student jobs is paper passer, so at the end of the day, they file papers in everyone's folders. I've used the same crate for a few years now and appreciate that Target makes them in cute colors.
The desks underneath hold blue privacy screens. We use them for testing time in the classroom.
The polka dotted magnetic clipboard holds nurse passes. One is at the back of the room and one is at the front of the room. I found the mini clipboards in the dollar spot (yes, Target again) and added magnets myself. There's also a pen attached so I don't have to search for one in a moment of emergency. (Granted, fifth grade emergencies tend to be blood related because someone lost a tooth, but you can never be too sure!)
The pink tub (which were two for a dollar at the Dollar Tree) holds clothes pins with students' names. When they are ready for a conference, they clip their name to the polka dotted string and keep working.
Decision 3: Supplies
As much as I don't like losing two valuable shelves (my only two wall shelves), I like the ease of creating this student friendly supply station:
Each table has a bucket with color coded supplies. The smaller tubs hold post-its, note cards, scissors, and highlighters. Highlighters are split into yellow and every other color because sometimes we need two colors for tasks. One of those colors is always yellow so I eliminate fighting. You'd be surprised how feisty students can get when there is only one pink highlighter to share. The red backpack goes with us in case of emergencies and the last remaining bucket holds calculators.
By week three, I'm not really having any major issues with class supplies. They ask to get what they need and are treating the materials with respect. It's a win-win situation because they are on task and I'm not dealing with the headache of finding materials.
Managing these three small, but crucial things has saved me many, many headaches.
Where are your favorite spots in your classroom?
How do you stay organized?
How do you make your space accessible to students?