How to keep your classroom and students organized
Classroom organization is essential to the learning and growth of your students. It not only helps students learn responsibility, cooperation and independence but also gives them a sense of individuality as well as group work. Students learn the value of resources and material and appreciate their environment more when the space they are in is organized and clean. A room that has organization is also mentally and emotionally comforting to students (and teachers). A space with order helps students feel welcome and enhances their mood so they can be friendlier towards one another.
A clean and tidy space also reduces the spread of smells as well as diseases. For the benefit of students’ health and ability to thrive, a clean classroom is ideal. When a workspace is organized, it also motivates students to get organized. Learning how to organize, clean and stay on top of their tasks helps them learn the value of self-care and respect for their space which is shared by others. Below are some ways to keep your students and classroom organized.
Designated Cleaning Time
The best way to get students to help clean and organize their classroom is to designate cleaning time. It is best to do this at least once a day or once a week so that it becomes habitual. If you don’t have the time to do this on a daily or weekly basis, at least try to do it once a month. The downside to doing this activity monthly is that clutter can pile up, and it defeats the purpose of striving for a clean and organized classroom.
Having a designated cleaning time that occurs once a day or once a week will get everyone in the habit of cleaning, and it will remove the build-up of papers and other materials that become a mess. If the cleaning time is every Wednesday right after lunch, then stick to that schedule. Or, if cleaning time is every day right before lunch period, be sure to keep that consistent. The teacher is responsible for holding students accountable to these designated cleaning times. In order to get everyone in the habit of cleanliness and organization, it is important to maintain consistency.
Assign Tasks to Students
Another way to get students in the scheduled routine of organization is by assigning tasks. Have a rotation of job assignments for each student. You can assign the task of passing out papers (worksheets, quizzes, class assignments, etc.), washing the chalkboard, cleaning erasers, sweeping the floor, wiping down windows, etc. Students enjoy being assigned tasks that give them some kind of activity. It feels like a break from just sitting and reading or listening.
Classroom organization and cleaning is also a physical activity that helps students get their brains to function better. Rotating these job assignments also helps. Some students enjoy some jobs more than others, so a rotation system gives everyone a chance to do something once. This also allows students to experience different types of assignments which enhances and diversifies their skills.
Reward Students for Cleaning
Incentivizing tasks by rewarding students for cleaning and tidying up the classroom is a great way to get them to feel motivated to clean again. While the whole purpose of getting students to participate in cleaning and organization is for their own benefit, it also helps to reward them with small incentives so that they associate the process with something good.
Whenever students finish organizing and cleaning their workspace, hand out small rewards from a treat jar, or give students stickers they can collect to earn a bigger reward later. Give students verbal affirmations by complimenting them for doing a great job at whatever their assigned task was.
These positive affirmations count as rewards for students, and they’ll be motivated to do the work again. Be sure to have these tasks scheduled on a classroom calendar so that students will remember to do these activities on a regular basis. One small way to get students to learn organization on a daily basis is to ask students to use coat hooks or cubbies to organize backpacks. This scheduled routine will help students get in the habit of organization.
Designate a Place for Everything
Part of learning how to clean and organize is knowing where everything goes. The whole purpose of organization is to understand that there’s a place for everything and that’s also where the item we’re looking for can be found. The only way everyone can find it is when we all share the same knowledge of where we keep that item.
Classrooms are a great place for students to learn this. Create a list that includes where each item goes. At the start of the school year, go over the placement of things with your students and teach them that there’s a place for everything. If it goes misplaced or moved, students will know where to bring it. This teaches students respect for others as well as helpfulness.
Help students get organized by saving things like jars and crates. Label them with things like “books,” “paperwork,” “assignments,” “markers,” etc. so students know where to put what. If the students are younger, this will also help them learn words faster. The best way to organize your classroom physically and visually is by using space savers. Get a cubby or shoe holders. These kinds of cubbies can be labeled for specific classroom materials or assigned to each student for keeping their work items. Space savers also help your classroom look tidier overall.
There are lots of benefits to an organized classroom. This organization is even better when it is a group effort. Getting students in the routine of a scheduled cleaning day will help them learn the benefits of habitual cleaning and organization. It not only fosters their growth but helps keep them healthy. Be sure to incentivize cleaning assignments with small rewards and positive feedback. These tips will help to improve the organization of both your students and classroom.