Saturday, January 28, 2012

Teacher Area Challenge

Clutter-Free Classroom's Project Week 4 Challenge is the Teacher Work Area. 
Here is the arrangement of my teacher area at the beginning of the year.  It was my small group meeting area as well.  

What I Like:
*The CAFE menu on the board behind it.
*Small filing cabinet for student info and small group materials.
*Blue drawers in the corner are so wonderful.  They are wide enough for posters, charts, etc and deep enough to hold little baskets to sort all the supplies inside.

What I Don't LIke:
*The table is right by the classroom door, so students were distracted easily
*Half of it always ended up collecting papers, books, lesson plans, and clipboards, etc. (as evidenced by the picture)

What I Would Like to Change:
*Condense all the work space.  The table against the wall, the blue drawers, and the kidney table all provide work space....pretty sure I don't need three.
*Have a space to put everything once I finish with it, so it isn't left on the table.
*Want to have a smaller place to conference with one or two students.

What I Changed:
I didn't do too much to the blue drawers, except label the drawers and make space for the paper cutter.  The blue box has all the supplies for making lunch choices and then sending our lunch order to the office.

I found a shelf that was just about the same height and width as the blue drawer.  I need to fit some boards on each shelf so things won't fall through, but on the other hand, having the holes keeps me from putting stuff there:-)
On the second shelf, I put a tub for reading, math, social studies/science/health, and art.  Then when I am done with that part of the day, I return the teacher guides and materials to the appropriate box.  This keeps stuff off the table.

The 3-drawer plastic container is a teacher must have.  There are so many in my room, I could be keeping Sterlite in business.  And bulletin border is the perfect size to cute it up a little!  Next to the drawers are two magazine holders, turned on the long side.  This is where I keep my lesson plan binder and all the student info. clipboards.
The Tables:
I realized that a large part of the problem came from the size and location of the table.  So I simply moved it into the classroom library area.  This has been a brilliant move.  1)  I can meet with a group and have easy access when helping students change books.  (We still have some issues making appropriate choices)  2)  The space is far away from the door and papers don't get left there, because it would be out of the way to drop them off there.

Final adjustment:
Love the giant running records binder!
Move small table to the front of the room.  This is a perfect table for conferencing with students.  And it is still just in front of the CAFE menu.

Some Tips:
*Have a misc folder, for papers, ideas, etc that don't have a home yet.  At the end of the month whatever is still inside, recycle!
*Compete with your students.  Each table group in our class earns points at the end of the day for stacked chairs and clean work areas (only pencils in the basket, nothing on top or under the desk)  Well apply the same rules to yourself and have students award your work area.  My kids LOVE checking and deciding if I get points for the day.

Happy Organizing,


  1. Looks great!!! Way to be organized!

  2. I love the idea of competing with your students for an organized space!

  3. Looks like you are doing great! Come join the fun! I just tagged you!

    Peace, Love and First Grade

  4. I like your last tip! Never thought of competing with my students. I've tagged you in a post too - come check it out!

    Sara :)
    Smiling In Second Grade

  5. Love how organized your space is. Nice Job! I teach 6th and I might have to take that tip on "competing with my students."


  6. I love how you changed the two tables, it looks great! Thanks for sharing the ideas of competing with the children, and also the misc. folder. There are always those papers that you need for a week or to reference and just don't have a home. I usually find mine in June!