Awesome Classroom Organization Ideas That Will Make Your Life Easier

Organization can truly make or break a successful classroom. When dealing with a group of people, especially children, organization can create more effective use of time and easier transitions. In unorganized classrooms, students and teachers spend time finding materials or explaining what to do rather than focusing on content. 

When students know routines and classrooms are organized, teachers can spend more time on the “meat” of teaching. With the demands placed on today’s teachers to provide rigorous instruction in a limited amount of time, classroom organization is key!

Organizing the physical space in a classroom helps students use materials effectively with ease. Here are some of my favorite classroom organization ideas. 

  •  Labeled bins are a necessity for small items such as math manipulatives. Students can then retrieve items and put them away with little intervention from the teacher. Label things like art supplies, construction paper, pencils, and other classroom tools. 
  • Book bins are also helpful, as teachers can organize reading materials by genre, reading level, or even seasonal themes. You can create a section of your classroom for books only with different types in different colored boxes. 
  • For individual desks or tables, frequently used materials should have specific homes. This way students can transition between activities easily and find the tools they need quickly. 
  • Use a colored filing system for your own supplies so you can easily find resources for your lessons when teaching. 
  • Create a substitute teacher bin. Store your sub plans and everything they will need in that. So if you ever need to take the day off, you know that everything is ready. 

If you are working in a blended classroom or distance learning there are some other classroom organization ideas that may be helpful to keep your class running smoothly. 

As many classrooms now operate at least partly in the virtual world, organization and routines are somewhat different than in previous years. Routines and classroom procedures are still of vital importance in order to keep the virtual or blended classroom operating smoothly. 

  • Online safety rules should be practiced by the class and reviewed frequently in order to avoid issues on the internet. Teachers can use a google slide to go over the rules frequently until students know them well.
  •  Daily calendar procedures can also be presented digitally, providing students with a routine that is organized and comfortable. 
  • For blended classrooms, social distancing rules are important for the physical organization of students and transitioning between areas. Hang easy to understand signs around the classroom as a visual reminder for students to keep their distance. Putting tape on the floor to mark spots students should stand on to keep their distance may also help. 

If you would like to prepare your blended classroom for an amazing year with routines, check out my  Distance Learning Back to School Bundle

classroom organization

Using Google classroom, this bundle has everything you need to start the new year right. Social distancing rules are included, as well as virtual Meet the Teacher slides and online safety rules. Once your students are familiar with these routines, you’ll be set for a smooth year! 

classroom organization

Organizing your classroom does require some prep work, but the benefits will last the entire year! What are your favorite classroom organization tips? Let me know in the comments!

If you want more tips for setting up your classroom, check out my post here on decoration ideas! 

classroom organization


 

Sight Word Center Ideas That Students Will Actually Love

All teachers of early elementary students can tell you that sight words are a huge part of their reading curriculum. What exactly are they? Sight words are words that children should be able to recognize instantly without sounding them out. They are common words found in many texts, and students become very familiar with them. However, they can often be tricky to read and spell since many do not follow common patterns.

Sights words are essential for learning to read with fluency and confidence. Flashcards are a common way to practice sight words, but fortunately, there are other (more fun!) ways as well. 

Centers are a perfect way for students to practice skills in the elementary classroom. Children benefit from working in small groups, as they learn how to collaborate and solve problems as a team. Teachers also benefit from the opportunity to work with small groups or individual students while the rest of the class is engaged in centers. Younger students can move between different activities during centers, keeping them engaged as they learn. Sight words centers are an ideal tool to increase your student’s knowledge of sight words!

There are hundreds of centers you can create to practice sight words, and many are very simple. For example, rainbow words are a fun way to practice writing their words. You can use many different mediums, such as watercolors, markers, or colored pencils. Students write each of the words in different colors. For the youngest students, they can use different colors to trace the words.

 Another option for a center is using magnets to build sight words. A simple cookie sheet provides a tray for students to work on, and they can manipulate the letters to make their words. For a little more sensory play, you can have students create their words with play-doh, then read them to each other. This activity also builds finger strength, which is great for handwriting skills. 

Looking for some no-prep sight word center activities to add to your rotation? I’ve got you! 

These Sight Word Worksheets are perfect for kindergarten students to complete independently during sight word centers.

sight word center

The bundle includes 40 pages of sight word practice that can be used in clear pouches for dry-erase activities, or printed for pencil and paperwork. 

sight word center

Another sight word center option is the Reading Comprehension Passages and Questions resource.

sight word center

This digital learning bundle includes over 90 pages of sight word practice as students find the words, answer questions, and more. The activities are completed in Google Drive, making it a perfect fit for a computer center or as a distance learning activity.

sight word center

 

Love these center ideas? Check out these math center ideas! 

I hope your students love these center ideas! What is your favorite way to work on sight words? Let me know in the comments!


 

Wow! Teaching How to Write a Personal Narrative Just Got EASY!

Looking for a super simple way to teach students how to write a personal narrative? I have you covered!

After struggling with teaching how to write personal narratives on my own in the classroom, I wrote the entire week process down following the I DO, WE DO, YOU DO method. Then, I made a video for students to walk them step-by-step through the process of how to write their own narrative that not only is engaging to readers, but also sets a foundation for future writing.  My favorite GO-TO resource is Google Slides.  I love that they are interactive with movable parts, colorful, easy for virtual teaching and that I can also add black and white printables for print and go in-person teaching.  Teaching Narrative Writing

The 60 slide Narrative Writing Unit Download Covers:

  • 1 Week Suggested Plan (I DO, WE DO, YOU DO)
  • Video Tutorial for Students > Have you heard of a POTATO CHIP Beginning? (SEE THE VIDEO HERE)
  • 7 POSTERS
  • REMINDER Checklist for Students
  • Optional Choice Board
  • Example of Writing to Share with Students
  • Colorful Digital Slides to share Virtually or on an Overhead that includes:

    > Brainstorming Options
> Story Maps or Storyboard Choices
> Writing (ROUGH DRAFTS to PUBLISHING)
> A Rubric

  • BLACK and WHITE Ink-Saving Option Included

There is 60 Google Slides total. Some colorful with editing text boxes and movable parts for virtual learning. The process walks students through brainstorming for a mini moment to write about, to a published narrative writing piece.

Rough Draft Personal Narrative

Introductions

If you have not heard of a POTATO CHIP BEGINNING, your kids will love using these ideas to make the reader want MORE!

Writing an Introduction

Watch the video tutorial on YouTube:

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Math Center Ideas For Kindergarten That Are Actually Fun

Most teachers are familiar with using math centers in the classroom. Centers provide a great way to practice skills while encouraging group interaction. They also allow students to work with concepts while teachers employ direct instruction with an individual student or small group of students. Centers can provide the perfect opportunity for students to use manipulatives for practice. 

Math instruction, especially for younger students, is often most effective with manipulatives. Children learn math concepts more easily when they are able to touch, move, and see them in action. They can explore challenging concepts with manipulatives, and increase their confidence before moving on to algorithms or memorization. 

Ready to use centers and manipulatives in the classroom, but not sure where to start? Here is an easy way to get started with math centers.

First, choose an area that will store your math centers where students can access them. You may use a particular bookcase, or even a rolling cart that can be moved as needed. Next, choose containers for your manipulatives. Fabric bins with a clear window for labels are a great choice, as you can put one of the manipulatives in the window to identify what belongs in that bin. Even the youngest students can then clean up easily.

 You will also need containers for your task cards (or “recipes”), and a container for the worksheets needed. Worksheets can be placed in clear pockets and students can use dry erase markers if you like the idea of using less paper. Be sure students know where to turn in assignments if you would like to check them. 

Now that you have your “Math Cafe” ready, you can add the assignments to match your needs! Each recipe card should list the manipulatives needed, how many students should be in the group, and worksheets needed. It should also include picture cues for younger students. Students can then choose a recipe card and complete the tasks independently. 

math centers

The tasks do not need to be super involved- just simple, fun, and engaging. Need some help finding the right tasks for kindergarten? Check out my Kindergarten Math Centers Yearlong Bundle. This bundle includes enough math salad bar or math cafe task cards for 14 math units.

math centers

You’ll also get posters, assessments, photos, material lists, crafts, and more!

Here’s a video tutorial on how to set it up in your classroom

 

Your students will love visiting the Math Cafe and practicing their skills!

For more kindergarten tips, check out my post on homework ideas for kindergarten students.

math centers