Classroom Organization - Managing Paper in the Classroom
One of the many challenges of running an efficient classroom is keeping up with the never ending flow of paper - papers to copy for classroom centers and activities, papers to grade and hand back, papers to file, etc. Here are a few ideas that will help reduce the clutter on your desk, make things a bit cuter, and (hopefully!) help make the task more manageable!
Hanging File Organizers
Have you seen these handy little organizers? If you want to get the paper off your desk, you might consider a hanging file organizer. Hang it on a wall by your desk or try what Mrs. Pollard did over at Tales of a Teacherista and hang it on an unsightly filing cabinet near your desk! To make it blend in with your classroom theme, you might even consider adding some background paper and a border to 'create' your own little bulletin board (like the mock-up above)! When you're headed to the copy room, simply grab the "To Copy" file folder with notated worksheets, copy what you need, and return the empty folder to the organizer upon your return. Scholastic makes a great file folder pocket chart or you could also create your own organizer using this tutorial from ReMarkable Home. File Totes
If you need your files to be portable (i.e. if you're taking papers home to grade, etc.), a file tote is a great option. Set by your desk for easy access, this option works well if you have a lot of files to keep track of. For example, if you teach upper grade levels and need to keep track of the paper derived from multiple class periods, as well as other administrative tasks like copying, filing, etc. Target has some cute options or, if you're looking for more trendy options, you might try The Office Stylist. You can also show your style with fun hanging file folders and labels!
Expanding File Folders
If you like the idea of a portable file system, but prefer something a little less bulky than a file tote, a colorful expanding file folder would be a great solution. With different sizes and number of pockets, you can select the folder that works best for your classroom needs and a fun color that goes along with your classroom theme. The great thing about this option is that the entire folder can travel with you around school (i.e. to the copy room to run copies, to the office to turn in forms, etc.) and easily be kept in your bag for use at home or school.
The above options all remove the clutter from your desk, but if you're interested in a desktop organization solution, here are a few you might consider...
- A desktop expanding folder. You can find these in fun patterns to match your classroom decor and, if you punch holes in the top and add binder rings, can hang plastic sheet protectors with important information inside to make it easily accessible. Here's a cute plaid desktop expanding folder from MPM School Supplies.
- File trays. While inboxes/file trays have been on the market for a while, there are many companies that have worked to infuse new life into the product design. Check out these awesomely vibrant plastic trays from Poppin! Not only are they useful, they're sure to cheer up any classroom work space!
- Plastic 3-drawer units. This is a relatively popular concept and we're sure you've seen it floating around Pinterest/the teacher blogosphere, but it still bears mentioning. Overhauled with some cute labels (like these adorable ones from Elizabeth of Fun in Room 4B), a simple Sterilite 3-drawer unit can offer a super cute and useful addition to your desk. Not to mention, each drawer can hold quite a bit of paper!
Whatever organizational system you put in place, the important thing to remember is that it's only a good as you are. If you aren't diligent in cleaning out the files at the end of each day or every several days, you'll still have the same problems - overwhelming amounts of paperwork and clutter - even if it is presented in a cuter way!