One of the many challenges of teaching can be trying to keep track of all the stuff. Running a classroom involves a lot of supplies! You might have all the things but if you or your students can’t find them… it just causes frustration and wastes valuable time. Read on for some simple ideas for organizing classroom supplies. Let’s get organized!
1. MAKE A PLAN
Before you start organizing your classroom supplies… think about how they will work in your classroom.
Questions to ask:
- Are student supplies communal or individual? (think pencils, erasers, scissors etc.)
- What learning materials will your students use daily or frequently? (whiteboards, magnetic letters, math counters etc.)
- What classroom supplies are used only occasionally? (that’s you… glitter!)
- What supplies are your students allowed to access themselves and what supplies are only to be accessed by the teacher?
- What supplies are primarily for you… the teacher (office, first aid, cleaning supplies etc)
This is where all the bins, baskets and tubs come in. Remember.. they do not all have to match and look pretty. Your classroom does not have to be pinterest perfect to be organized! Pick containers that best fit the supplies and how they will be used. Most teachers end up with a mish-mash of containers they collect or inherit through the years… I did!
This one is important! I was always good about labeling student supplies but not always as diligent in labeling the stuff in my supply closet. You might have everything nicely sorted and organized in bins but if you have to go look through each one to find what you’re looking for…. it defeats the purpose!
Labeling things makes them easy to find for students, teachers and others helping out in the classroom. For student accessed supplies use labels with pictures. This is especially important in the primary grades where you may have non-readers but can also make any classroom more accessible.
4. EVERYTHING HAS A HOME
Your supplies are all organized and labeled…. now they need a home where they will live! It is so much easier to find something if it’s always in the same spot. Use your plan to help you determine where certain supplies will be kept. Make it easy for students to access the supplies they will use everyday and not so easy for supplies that may be distracting or only used occasionally.
You might not get it right the first go! I have had years where I have had to move things around a few times to get it right. Like the free time tubs in the shelves by the carpet area that were too distracting during lessons -or- the shelf where I kept the communal supplies causing congestion by the door.
One trick that was a game changer in helping everyone (students, volunteers & guest teachers) return supplies to their spot, was also labeling its home base!! Simply print 2 copies of the supply label. Then label the spot on the shelf where it belongs and the container. Viola! Tubs of supplies go back where they belong… without you having to say a thing!
Need more classroom organizing tips and tricks?
Check out this post: How to Organize your Classroom Library and Keep that Way!