Teaching with Intention: A 60-Day Plan to Organizational Excellence

classroom organization

Are you a new teacher? Do you want to organize your classroom so effectively that the occurrence of classroom disruption is significantly reduced?

You are not alone. Embarking on a journey to refine your classroom management skills can significantly impact your teaching experience and your student’s learning environment.

Having been a master teacher for nearly 30 years, I would like for like to share with you an highly effective 60-day learning plan focused on classroom organization. If you commit to this plan, you will be taking a pivotal step towards creating a setting that is not only structured and efficient but also nurturing and supportive for your students.

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A Godsend for Beginning Teachers

This carefully crafted plan is designed to guide beginning teachers through the process of enhancing their organizational skills, ensuring a well-arranged, productive, and encouraging classroom atmosphere that fosters educational growth and development.

You and your students will enjoy a structured, efficient, and supportive learning environment for the entire school year. Here’s a step-by-step plan tailored for a beginner teacher to improve classroom organization skills:

Week 1-2: Understanding the Basics

  • Day 1-3: Research foundational texts and resources on classroom organization. Good starting points are “The First Days of School” by Harry K. Wong and “The Cornerstone for Teachers” website by Angela Watson.
  • Day 4-7: Conduct a self-audit of your classroom. Create a list of strengths (e.g., “My classroom library is well-organized and inviting”) and areas for improvement (e.g., “Student desks are cluttered and lack personal space”).

Week 3-4: Planning and Designing Your Space

  • Day 8-14: Explore classroom layout theories, like the importance of clear sight lines for all students and creating distinct zones for different activities. Use online tools like Classroom Architect to experiment with layouts.
  • Day 15-21: Draft a detailed plan for your classroom layout. For example, decide to create a reading corner with comfortable seating and a rug, an area for group work with round tables, and a clear open area for whole-class discussions.

Week 5-6: Implementing Systems for Organization

  • Day 22-28: Investigate and choose storage solutions. For instance, use color-coded bins for different subjects or activities, and label shelves with pictures and words for younger students.
  • Day 29-35: Develop a system for handling student work. You might decide to have a “turn-in” tray for each class and a “graded work” area where students can pick up their assignments.

Week 7-8: Classroom Procedures and Routines

  • Day 36-42: Design specific routines. For example, create a morning routine that involves students turning in homework, updating a daily journal, and a brief mindfulness activity to start the day.
  • Day 43-49: Implement and refine these routines. For instance, if you notice the morning routine takes too long, you might streamline the process by having students prepare their journals the day before.

Week 9-10: Technology Integration

  • Day 50-56: Research and select technological tools. For classroom management, Google Classroom can be an excellent platform for assignments and communications, while apps like ClassDojo can help with behavior management and parent communication.
  • Day 57-60: Start small with technology. Introduce one app or platform to your class, such as using Google Classroom for homework assignments, and observe its impact on your organization and workflow.

Ongoing Tasks Throughout the 60 Days:

  • Reflect and Adjust: Keep a reflective journal. At the end of each week, note what changes have been effective and what still needs adjustment. For example, you might find that the new layout reduces noise levels but makes it harder for some students to focus.
  • Professional Development: Join a teacher’s organization or online community such as the National Education Association (NEA) or “Teachers Pay Teachers” for access to resources and forums for advice.
  • Student Feedback: Implement a simple feedback mechanism, like a suggestion box or a weekly “class council” where students can voice suggestions on classroom organization and routines.

Additional Tips:

  • Weekends/Off Days: Use these days for self-care and reflection. Consider visiting other teachers’ classrooms or inviting a mentor teacher to give feedback on your classroom setup and routines.
  • Support Network: Create or join a study group with fellow beginning teachers to share experiences and strategies for classroom organization.

Enhancing your learning plan with these details and examples will provide you with a more structured and practical approach to improving your classroom organization.

Be patient while implementing the plan. A great classroom environment want happen overnight. Remember, the key to success is flexibility and openness to change based on what works best for you and your students.