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Organize + Energize: Teachers! 8 Tips to Organize Your Classroom

Tuesday, August 29, 2017


This article is for all of the teachers that are disorganized and organized! This is the best time of year to get your classroom organized. You still have time to get into your room and transform it and have the best organized year yet!

How did you function in your room last year? Did your room have a good flow to it? What did you like about your space and what didn’t work for you? Ask yourself these questions and carve out some time and get into your classroom and make these changes.  Before you dive head first into this project, sit for a minute and think about how you would like to function going forward. What’s your vision for the room?

Here are 8 things you can to do to get started in the organizing process:

Create your vision. Before you begin to tear apart your room, think about your dream classroom. Write down all of the visions you have for your room. Get the mental clutter out of your head and onto paper. Don’t worry about it being organized. Once you get everything onto paper, then you can categorize and prioritize.

Make a plan. Carve 3 -4 hours out of your day and mark this day on your calendar. Limit your distractions. If you have to put a do not disturb sign on the door while you are working, do it. Your project will take half the time it normally would if you limit your distractions and stay focused.

Break it down. Break your classroom into sections. Don’t look at the classroom as the whole project. If you do, you’ll get overwhelmed and nothing will get done. Take one section at a time. Once you complete one section, you can move onto another.

Declutter.  You have to declutter in order to get organized. Empty the entire section where you are working.  You won’t know what you have until you take everything out of the space and go through each item. The last teacher I helped get organized, we filled 3 garbage cans full of clutter and 2 boxes of donate.  She described it as a cathartic release, as most of my clients do.

Categorize. As you are decluttering, use the classroom desks or floor space to categorize items. As you empty each section and declutter, you will be categorizing everything. By the time you have emptied all closets, cabinets, and shelves, you will have categorizes of items in the middle of the room.  You’ll be able to see everything clearly and wonder, “How did all of this stuff come out of the spaces in this room?” You’ll also notice things you’ve used, things you haven’t used and things you forgot you had.

Think about functionality. Now you can see everything that you have in this classroom categorized in front of you. Take a look at the spaces you have in the room. Look at your cabinets, closets, shelves and other storage spaces. Think about how you want to function. The old way may not have been working so it’s time for new systems.

Incorporate your students in the process. When the school year begins, take your students around the classroom and show them where everything is stored. Teach them if you take something out to put it back where it belongs. Label everything if you must to show that everything has a home.

Work with the systems. Work with the systems for a few months into the school year. If after a few months, the systems aren’t working for you, it’s time to re-evaluate and tweak the systems to work better for you. Don’t continue to work with broken systems.

The less clutter and visual distractions you have in the classroom, the more focused you and your students will be this school year. Organization plays a big role in the classroom and if you and your students are functioning in an organized classroom, everybody will thrive. Remember, less is more and keep it simple.

Kristin Carcieri-MacRae, is an organizing & efficiency expert and owner of Organizing in RI. Kristin teaches her clients that living an organized lifestyle will save them time and money, decrease their stress levels and help them become more efficient and productive. Her articles have been published in local and national magazines. She has also given over 70 presentations throughout the state. Watch Kristin LIVE every Thursday at 3pm here on GoLocal LIVE with Molly O’Brien.


Related Slideshow: Experts Advice for Back to School Sanity

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Lisa Condit 

Director of Marketing and Operations at Hanover Theatre 

I have a 17-year old daughter entering her senior year in just a few short weeks. My first tip for remaining sane is to make sure I keep taking deep breaths, which happens whenever we laugh out loud…or go running before work. Both of these are essential tips, since I have to keep my sense of humor as well as perspective during the fall frenzy, especially as we sprint toward college tours and application deadlines. Equally important is to remember that this is my daughter’s future, not mine. That means she needs to be responsible for her own preparation, healthy decision making and prioritization for the year ahead. 

While I may be tempted to micromanage each task that needs to be done and chore that is avoided, that really wouldn’t prepare her for independent living or help her learn the consequences of a job well or poorly done.  But the most important thing to remember?  We all need to relax and enjoy the journey with our children.  Be sure to let them know that we believe they can do what needs to be done. They are only with us for a short time and I know I’ll be missing her desperately by this time next year. At the same time, I know that wherever she’s going, it will be the right fit for her, even if it isn’t the path I would choose.

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Maureen Binienda

Superintendent of Worcester Schools

Organize school supplies, change student daily routine so student will be used to school wake up and sleep schedule , complete and discuss summer readings with student, complete all dental , doctor appointments, but school shoes and clothing. 

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John Monfredo 

Worcester School Committee 

At home parents need to set up priorities at bedtime for sleep is at the center of a healthy lifestyle and in your child getting off to a good start at school. According to research it’s essential that parents keep a bedtime routine especially during school time. Another suggestion is an hour before bedtime put away all electronic devises to help them wind down  and use that time for reading before bed.

Parents need to develop good management practices at home for their children such as homework time and packing their backpacks before turning in and placing them at the outside door for this will take away the stress of the morning by being organized. Speaking of backpacks parents need to retrieve them as soon as their children come home and get those papers out … sign permission slips and add appointments on the family calendar. Routines can be a potent force in keeping everyone on the same track. Consider checklist for the simple tasks of who gets to use the bathroom first and what’s for breakfast.

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Abbie Goldberg Ph.D. 

Clark University, Assoc. Professor of Psychology 

On the one hand, getting back into a school routine can often be a welcome change, at least for parents, who often juggle work with unpredictable or constantly changing day care and camp schedules over the summer. On the other hand, it can be difficult for both parents and children to leave the summer behind and return to an often more structured as well as demanding schedule.

Doing everything you can to instill excitement about the school year, while also acknowledging the feelings that come along with any transition, is key. Also, doing what you can as a parent to keep sane as you transition back to school, whether it be stocking up on easy-to-pack lunch items, keeping plans at a minimum during the first few weeks back, and spending part of the weekend before the official start of school getting things in order.

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Robin Kall 

GoLocalWorcester Book Expert 

One  of the best pieces of advice I can give about getting ready and staying sane for the upcoming school year is “gradual transition.”

My mother did this with us and it works just as well today. It’s impossible to jump right into “school mode” after a summer void of schedules and late bedtimes. 

With a couple of weeks until school begins it’s a good idea to get the bedtimes going in the right direction and getting back into the routine of the day. This might include making sure the math packets are completed and how can I not mention the summer reading? The last thing you want is unhappy children cramming in the summer reading. School begins in two weeks. Now is the time.

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Kristin MacRae

GoLocalWorcester Organizing Expert 

During this back to school season, make life simple. Plan and prepare  anything you can ahead of time. Create morning and evening routines. 

Create organized spaces with simple, streamlined, functional systems  that everybody will follow. If your kids rooms aren't organized, this  would be a great time to declutter and organize their space! The less distractions they have around them, the easier it will be for them to  stay focused.

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Cristiana Quinn 

GoLocalWorcester College Admissions Expert 

Get a healthcare proxy signed before your son/daughter goes off to campus. This is critical for students over 18, otherwise you will not have access to medical info in the case of and emergency (due to healthcare privacy laws). You need to be able to speak with doctors and make decisions remotely and quickly if anything happens.

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American Psychological Association

Practice the first day of school routine: Getting into a sleep routine before the first week of school will aide in easing the shock of waking up early. Organizing things at home — backpack, binder, lunchbox or cafeteria money — will help make the first morning go smoothly. Having healthy, yet kid-friendly lunches will help keep them energized throughout the day. Also, walking through the building and visiting your child’s locker and classroom will help ease anxiety of the unknown.

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Get the kids to bed. Kids need more sleep than most people realize. While children up to third grade may require up to 12 hours per night, even high schoolers still need a solid eight to 10 hours, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Quickly address factors that may be resulting in sleep loss, such as managing a demanding schedule, feeling anxious, or using technology late at night. 

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Christine Pafumi Donovan of Care.com 

Fall into Routine Naturally 

I used to start putting The Boy to bed at his school bedtime about a week before school started. Just in case. Nowadays, he stays up until who knows when in the summer and he sleeps until 9:00 or so. Thank. God. When school starts I figure his body will get the hint when he starts bumping into walls and falling down stairs by lunchtime, then everything will work itself out and he'll be fine.


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