Looking for practical solutions to organizational problems at the high school level? Keep reading to learn about some excellent traditional and technological options for your secondary classroom.
This post is the fourth part of an inspirational collaborative series for teachers. The entire series includes:
- In Defense of Teachers: Do We Really Have Our Summers Off?
- Top 10 List: The Craziest Thing Happened in the Classroom Today…
- Our Favorite Decor for the Secondary Classroom
- Must-Try Organizational Tools and Classroom Procedures
- How to Rejuvenate Over the Summer
- Our Summer Reading Lists
- Creating Literacy-Rich Environments all Summer Long
- Be Inspired: Favorite Quotes for Teachers
Every teacher has his or her own organizational struggles. At the secondary level, it seems like organizational systems become less cutesy and more utilitarian. Regardless of your goal (appealing, functional, or both), we can all benefit from sharing our favorite organization hacks for the secondary level. After reading about what works for us, please share your own favorites in the comments!
Favorite Non-Techie Tools
- Doc Cop: My favorite organization tool is my Teacher-Do Planner. It helps me stay organized and productive. You can check it out here.
- Kim@OCBeachTeacher: My plan book is my teaching bible! I’ve designed a template in Microsoft Word that works specifically for my organizational style. I copy the template and punch holes in the planning pages which I include in a three-ring binder. When I jot down my standards, warm ups, lesson activities, homework, and meetings, I either use post-it notes or pencil so that it’s easy to make changes. Fortunately, my supervisor agrees to let me use this concise format for my lesson planning.
- Doc at Education with DocRunning: Day of the week folders are my go to lifesaver! I have everything copied and notes for each day of the next week before I leave for the weekend. When I come in on Monday, I simply pick up the folder for the day of the week and class period, and I’am ready to go. It makes the day much less stressful.
- Melissa from The Reading and Writing Haven: If there’s one thing I detest, it’s messy art supplies. I bought Tupperware tubs of various sizes to organize colored pencils, crayons, markers, glue, and scissors. This particular scissor caddy is my favorite. It works well when my students work on their interactive notebooks.
Amanda from Engaging and Effective: Rearranging desks. Sounds odd but it helps keep things fresh in the room, gives an excuse to change up seating charts (instead of it looking as a punishment) and it makes for great group work activities. The more engaged students are in group work the less crowd control I need to do.
Rebecca Gettelman: I know it is old-fashioned, but a nice, sharp pencil (black Ticonderoga ones are my favorite, though I got some silver, sparkly Ticonderoga ones awhile ago which were pretty awesome!) and a legal pad. I always have these readily available to jot down notes and ideas, sketch out a basic outline of a project or unit, or anything else that I might need to write down so I don’t forget it until I have a chance to get to my computer or wherever else I need to make the thoughts more formal.
Laugh & Learn with Lindsay: I have a super-old-school alphabetical filing system from the 1960s. It makes filing papers to grade so quick and easy. It was given to me my first year teaching and I guard it with my life.
- Whitney LaDon from The Poetry That Is Life: Organization is not my strong suit honestly. Having access to an online gradebook is a lifesaver–I don’t think I could have been a teacher otherwise. Also, Google Forms is an amazing tool. Giving quizzes and surveys is such a great formative tool, but can take a lot of time to read, grade, or analyze. Using Google Forms (with the addition of the Flubaroo add-on for grading) really reduces the time and effort needed to make the most of such assessments.
- Meredith from Bespoke ELA: My computer and projector! I type out the class agenda on a Power Point slide and shine it every single day of class. It helps keep me on track, especially when teaching multiple preps. If I forget something, all I have to do is look up at the slide to cue my memory!
- Lyndsey from Lit with Lyns: Google Classroom and Google Drive are my favorites. They allow me to organize my files, students’ work, and everything else digital!
- Lauralee from Language Arts Classroom: I’m pretty simple with my organizational tools. I keep a running list of dates and lesson plans with standards on a word document.
Your turn! Tell us about your favorite tool in the comments.