I used to have one of those wall posters that said, “I’ve lost my mind….it is all on my desk!” with a picture of a messy desk. For a poster, it was just fine. But teacher desks like that are extensions of a messy classroom. A disorganized and cluttered classroom affects all students, irrespective of whether they have behavioral/learning problems or not.
Assign some time to organize your classroom, every day or every week, depending on your routine. Organizing the classroom allows teachers to be more efficient but there is a benefit to the students as well. They develop organizational skills from being exposed to the strategies used by the adults around them—parents and teachers.
Look around your room and ask yourself these questions to help you get started on organizing your classroom:
Is the timetable posted in full view of the students? For younger classes, do you use pictures to show the routine? Are the pictures of the daily schedule posted at students’ eye level? It is not enough to let the students know orally what comes next; they need visuals.
Is there a clear wall space for all the important notices/messages for the students?
Do you post important information about assignment deadlines and upcoming tests?
Do you use this space frequently so that your students know they can find the information on this wall/board? A cluttered message board can make it difficult to identify the latest information. Do you clear the old papers/information regularly?
Where do the students pick up papers and information sheets? Do you distribute these individually or do they have to pick them up from an assigned spot (student mailbox, shelf space)?
Is there a designated, quiet area where students can read or do their work without too many distractions?
Do students have a locker for their belongings? If not do they have a separate place to keep their bags and other material?
Are the classroom supplies easily accessible? Do your students know where the supplies are? Are the supply shelves labeled (with pictures as well for younger classes)?
Organizing the classroom is not a one-time event. As new materials and new assignments come up teachers must review and rethink how they organize materials and plans.