The Simply Organized Teacher

If you have known me for any length of time (…say 5 minutes…) you know I am an organizing freak. I love it, live it, and breathe it. Last time I talked with my sister and she mentioned that last time I was home (for all of 3 days) I organized my closet. At home. In Cypress.  Where I don’t live. But yet, I still felt it needed to be organized.

Want to see how to get your classroom organized before the start of a new school year? This post takes you through a 2nd grade classroom and shows how it is organized effectively.

My classroom is, sadly, where I spend the majority of my life during the school year. Although, I am proud to say that I just wrapped up year 4 and I have successfully mastered the “I’m not staying till any later than 4:00” motto. Because…let’s be real, teaching isn’t my life, I can’t spend all my time there. Besides…4 years in, my classroom is about as organized as it can get 😉

I thought it would be fun to do a little tour of my classroom and check out a few of the ways that I keep things organized and running smoothly in Room 154.

Organized classroom- Check out this blog to see how this teacher organized her classroom for a new year in 2nd grade!

When you first enter our classroom, this is what you are greeted with! Desks situated in groups of 4 (and 5) to accommodate for Cooperative Learning, which I am a huge believer in. In the left corner is my teacher area. I have my teacher desk along with my U-Table. Just this year I added a cute little shelf behind my U-Table to better organize (go figure) my Guided Reading supplies and materials.

The bookshelf to the right of the U-Table holds all of my professional learning materials, my personal children’s books that I don’t want my kids having round-the-clock access too, and leveled readers. I also keep track of attendance and classroom jobs on the red cabinet to the right.

Chapter Books are kept in the empty bookshelf below the globe. When I took this picture, I was awaiting the help of a former 2nd grader to come and organize my chapter books for me! 🙂 All about that child labor!

Organized classroom- Check out this blog to see how this teacher organized her classroom for a new year in 2nd grade!

To the right of the door, after you enter, is “command central”. Here is where students turn in their Take Home Journals, homework spirals, and where I return work after it has been graded, This is also the computer/technology area. However, the iPads are still stowed away in a drawer for a few more days. The circular green tin houses all of the kid’s headphones so it is easy to pick up and grab on the way to the computer lab.

The green magazine holder holds their Take Home folders. Then to the left of that are our “Mailboxes.” Essentially a box with legal size hanging folders with each students classroom number. When I am done grading, papers go in the top silver tray for my homeroom and the bottom silver tray for my partner’s homeroom. My handy-dandy mail person then sorts the graded work into each student’s folder. This system works great!…Except for the part about me forgetting to have them empty their stuff out on a regular basis.

Organized classroom- Check out this blog to see how this teacher organized her classroom for a new year in 2nd grade!

To the left of the door is our Writing Center, Listening Center, Word Wall (English), schedule and objectives. As well as the Math Manipulatives center and an open space for students to sit and do Math activities in the corner. Above the manipulative cart is the Math Word Wall where I will hang important anchor charts throughout the year.

You can also see the easel where I do most of my whole group teaching at. Behind that is a pocket chart where I keep track of Literacy Stations. You can also see more green tape on this white board. This year, in the Dual Language Program, we are implementing both an English and Spanish Word Wall. I was not happy about this at first. In fact, I told my teammates I wasn’t doing it….It takes me a while to warm up to change! 🙂 But now, I am actually kind of excited about it. Mostly selfishly because I am looking forward to all the Spanish I am actually going to learn from my little babes this year!

Organized classroom library- Check out this blog to see how this teacher organized her classroom for a new year in 2nd grade!

The next thing you are likely to see is the Classroom Library. Here is where I store all the books my children have access to in the classroom. In the past I have always had a “library nook” in my room. I close the library off with the bookshelves to create a quiet little space. I have always loved it, but it always takes up so much space.

Our campus has had the privilege of having Debbie Diller on our campus for the last 2 years. She told me to move my library the first year. I didn’t listen. The second year she continued to talk about how important it was to have “open space”…Yeah, yeah, yeah. (Remember how I told you it takes me a while to warm up to change?) By year 2.5, I finally decided to give her way a try. And I am SOLD! Keeping my library open allows for so much space and room to move around!
This classroom has been organized and is ready for a class full of 2nd grade students.
Lastly, here is a shot of our room from standing in my desk area. The back wall is full of cubbies and cabinets. The cubbies store all of the Team Materials. I am a big believer in sharing materials in the classroom. Probably because I have never even tried individual materials…Actually, I lie, I did let my kids do that for a little while at the end of last year and it drove me CrAzY! But I digress….The caddies hold things like talking objects, sticky notes, notepads, and pencils. The 3 pencil boxes below hold glue sticks and scissors in one box, markers in another, and crayons in the third. I have found this to be super helpful because A. kids can’t fight over “what’s mine” and “what’s yours” cause IT’S OURS! B. Supplies aren’t a distraction at the table C. This teaches sharing and cooperating. Oh…and taking care of OUR supplies.
So there it is! My organized classroom geared (almost) up for another year in 2nd grade. Of course, not everything is complete. I have completed some more things since taking these pictures yesterday. Two years away from the blogging world, but I am happy to be back! I have some really exciting plans around the corner and can’t wait to share them with you.

Stay tuned for a follow up post on my cabinets. I didn’t think mine were all that organized, but I have a friend/co-worker (Shout out to Holly!) who every year comes in my room to ask me how I organize my cabinets. I’ll give ya a peak in my cabinets soon! You can read about those organized cabinets here and here!

Also in the coming weeks, I will post some classroom makeovers I have helped out with this past week. I decided to post my organizing services online and have had a few people take me up on that! I will share before and afters, as well as talk about what we did to get their classroom ready, and some great things they are doing in their rooms!

Until next time!

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