Teacher Planning Tips Part 3: Staying Organized

Welcome back to my three part teacher planning mini series! This is part three, all about classroom organization ideas. Throughout the series, I have talked about teacher planning tips that have worked best for me over the years to help keep me organized.

In the part one, I talked about planners and annual plans. In part two, I talked about different strategies such as batching and work flows. If you missed them and would like to catch yourself up, you can find part two HERE and part one HERE :)

Today, I’ll be sharing some classroom organization ideas and tips and where I store all of the photocopies that I batch copy.

Teacher Planning Tips Part 3: Classroom Organization Ideas

How I Store My Copies in an Organized Way

A couple years ago, I bought four little units of 3 drawers each. The drawers are each a bit wider and longer than a piece of paper. I keep them on a shelf behind my desk, and that’s where I keep my copies, guided reading books, read alouds, etc.

Each day has its own drawer, and anything I need for that day I just pop inside as I find/copy it.

4×3 = 12, and there are obviously not 12 days in a week, haha! But, since I’m always working a week ahead, I find I need two groups of 6 drawers.

The first group is for the current week (Monday-Friday), and anything we don’t get done, I move into the 6th drawer to reorganize and use later.

As I get my copies done for the following week, I put them in the corresponding drawer (Mon-Fri) in the other group of drawers. The 6th drawer of that set is for any emergency/ back up/extra copies.

Looking for teacher planning tips? Check out this blog post for ideas to help keep all your photocopies and things organized!

(if you’re curious what kinds of activities I put in there, I’ll link some at the end of this post!)

I like the drawers because everything can lie flat inside, and I can stack things in the order that we will need them.

Each day, I take the day’s drawer, pull it out, and move it to a shelf at the front of the room, where I teach from.

When it’s time to hand something out, it’s right at my fingertips and I don’t have to go searching for it (which was previously a big problem for me – I get distracted and forget where I put things ALL the time!).

A system like this really helps me be successful, stay organized, and not waste time.

The best thing about my organized photocopy system?

Whenever I need a substitute (even in an emergency situation, which happened more frequently with Covid last year), my copies for the week are already done and easy to find. They are also ready and waiting for me when I get back – no last-minute morning fights with the machine!

There are definitely other ways to store your copies – I hope to someday get a drawer tower instead – but for now I find them expensive and flimsy (especially for the price), and I have this shelf space anyway.

As always, do what works for you!

What kinds of activities do I put in the “emergency drawer”?

As I said above, I like to keep spare, emergency copies in the last drawer. I can use them if I end up having an activity that didn’t take as long as planned, if I need to change plans on a dime, or if I have a last-minute sub.

Here are a few activities that I always have on hand:

Looking for teacher planning tips? Check out this blog post for ideas to help keep all your photocopies and things organized -- like these back up "emergency" worksheets!

I also like to keep some thematic colouring sheets, and any worksheets that I had planned to do with a lesson but we ran out of time to complete.

I always keep things in there that I know my students are familiar with. This helps when I’m not there to explain the activity.

Do you want some emergency plan worksheet inspiration?

When the pandemic first began, I created a freebie packet of worksheets that could be used for at-home learning.

They also work really well to have on hand for a substitute teacher!

You can download your copy of this freebie from TPT by clicking HERE.

I hope it’s helpful!

That wraps up my planning tips series. If you have any great ideas to share, be sure to add them to the comments below!

Looking for more classroom organization ideas and related blog posts? Click below!

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