How to Organize Classroom Materials

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  • 0:03 Classroom Organization
  • 0:56 Supporting Learning
  • 1:41 Organizing Classroom Materials
  • 3:31 Small Space Storage
  • 4:36 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Sharon Linde

Sharon has a Masters of Science in Mathematics

Teachers make many decisions about instruction, beginning with how to organize their classroom space. This lesson outlines methods of effectively organizing classroom materials to support learning, teach autonomy, and prolong the life of objects.

Classroom Organization

Mary is an organized teacher who works hard to make sure her student's needs are met, so she was surprised with her evaluation last year when she had points taken off for her classroom organization. Her principal told her one of the qualities of effective teachers is to have strong organizational skills. This consists of managing the classroom, organizing the environment, and setting clear expectations for students.

Managing classroom materials and having a plan for their use is good classroom organization, or the techniques teachers use to keep their classrooms humming smoothly along. Before Mary can start the process, though, she needs to determine her goals. What purpose will her classroom materials serve? How often will they be used? Will students have free range access to them? This and other information is necessary for Mary to know before she sets out to organize her classroom materials. Let's take a look at some keys to organizing.

Supporting Learning

Mary's review shows she wasn't good at one of the three qualities of effective teachers - organizing classroom materials. Mary is very good at managing her student's behavior and communicating clear expectations, and she thought her class and learning environment were organized as well. Desks were in neat rows and the floors were always clean. So where did she go wrong?

In the same way that the rules Mary established helped set routines and in turn fostered student behavior and an atmosphere of learning, so does the actual physical makeup of the classroom. In other words, the way Mary's classroom is organized - from student desks to educational materials - influences student leaning. An organized classroom environment actually supports learning. What does this look like? Let's take a look.

Organizing Classroom Materials

Mary visits the teacher next door, June, who has been a teacher for a long time. June has several tips for Mary on methods of organizing her classroom materials, ranging from color coding to putting materials in individual bins.

Color Coding

One easy way to keep materials, like folders and books, organized is to color code them. June arranges her desks into pods and assigns each group a color. The students then use materials with that same color: the blue group has books with blue covers and folders, the red group uses red scissors and rulers, and so on. This way the students are able to self-monitor their supplies on a small scale basis and are responsible for keeping them in tip-top shape. She can also color code on a larger scale - all homework folders are green, or all students in one reading group have red tubs. Color coding can take any shape a teacher determines.

Paper Work

June also has a plan for all paperwork in her classroom. Homework is placed in a basket marked 'Return Work.' She uses mailboxes to return paperwork to students and has students who are responsible for delivering mail every day. She also keeps important papers, such as permission slips, lunch count forms, attendance, and parent notices, in file folders on her desk. This way they're available at her fingertips easily.

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