Tools You Actually Need For the Best Classroom Set-Up

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The issue many teachers, including myself, face is not knowing what tools we actually need in the classroom. 

We get stuck wondering things like, “Do I actually need what this ad is telling me I need?”,   or “How do I know what will work for me vs just what worked for them?”. 

When you’re unclear what the necessities are, it’s hard to know what to invest in. 

The good news is, you can easily get clarity on what you need with a few simple steps.

In this post, I’ll define how to know what you actually need for your classroom and provide ways for your classroom to feel more organized than ever. I hope that this will help you know what to buy for your classroom and feel confident that your money is well spent.

The Best State of Your Classroom

The main goal for your classroom is to be organized, efficient, and have everything inside serve a functional purpose.. 

In other words:

You want to only have things that you need. This means everything is either making your life more efficient, helping you or your students, adding joy, or used as decoration.

The added benefit is that you are not spending money on unnecessary things. 

Define What You Actually Need

There is so much noise everywhere telling teachers all the things they HAVE to have in their classrooms to be successful or for their students to be successful. If we’re really honest - it is so much more simple than we think. It's important for us to turn off the noise, get off social media, and truly think about what we think our class needs most to be an amazing learning environment. 

First, think about the tools and materials we need to get our day-to-day tasks done. So if I have to teach x ,y, and z, what materials will I need? Am I supplied with a curriculum? How am I storing these supplies and materials? Do I need bins and storage systems?

Next would be building out “nooks” in our classrooms. These are just different learning zones that you'll be using during daily classroom routines. It’s important to map these spaces out because once you identify all of these necessary zones, you can list out what you need for each one. Everything needs a purpose and a space to live. This is the best way to create a clean and working environment.

This is a crucial component because too many tools and materials create clutter and distractions. Defining the actual necessities of your classroom will help you know where to start. 

Get to Know Yourself and Your Students 

This is where you will begin asking yourself questions to know what is really important to your classroom. Defining you and your student’s needs will give you a guide for what tools are necessary. 

What can you do?

There are questions you can ask yourself that will help you determine you and your students’ needs: What is my teaching style? Are there tools I need to accomplish this? What will make my life easier and more efficient? What tools will help my students engage better? What tools will encourage student participation and collaboration? Consider tools that cater to different learning styles and abilities.

Without this, you can find yourself buying things that are unnecessary and unfulfilling. It is important that you are creating an environment that is organized. When there are things in the classroom that do not serve a purpose, it is more distracting for your students than anything else.

When you know you and your students’ needs, you can gather tools to cater to those needs and you will have tools that are actually helpful and necessary.


Creating Systems to Thrive

A key ingredient to a happy and productive classroom is organization. Organization within your classroom, but also organization in the systems you use to keep your classroom in its ideal state. 

For example, if you find your student workspace zone is too small or cluttered, figure out a way to declutter and maybe add more open space. Or if you feel like your teacher workspace zone is frequently covered in random papers or clutter, grab some trays and bins and label/categorize your papers in a system that works for you and allows your teacher workspace to be clutter-free. 

Here are classroom organization strategies you can pull from:

  1. Supply Organization:
    Label and organize all supplies in bins or containers. Clearly marked containers for pencils, paper, and other materials make it easy for students to find what they need.

  2. Storage Solutions:
    Invest in storage solutions such as shelves, cabinets, and bins to keep teaching materials, books, and supplies neatly organized.

  3. Daily Routines:
    Establish daily routines for students to follow, including how to enter and leave the classroom, where to find materials, and how to clean up.

  4. Student Cubbies or Folders:
    Assign each student a designated space for their belongings, whether it's cubbies, folders, or bins. Teach students to keep their materials organized.

  5. Classroom Library:
    Organize your classroom library by genre, author, or reading level. Clearly label shelves so students can return books to the correct location.

  6. Digital Organization:
    Maintain a well-organized digital system for lesson plans, assignments, and other documents. Use folders on your computer or a cloud-based system for easy access.

  7. Visual Aids:
    Use visual aids and labels throughout the classroom to remind students where things belong. Color-coded labels can be especially helpful.

  8. Task Baskets or Trays:
    Use baskets or trays for collecting assignments, permission slips, and other paperwork. Label each basket to avoid confusion.

Once you’re done,  you’ll be well on your way to an organized, systemized classroom that is clutter-free and extremely productive (all of our classroom goals right?). 


Putting it All Together for Your Perfect Classroom Set-Up

There you have it! The 3 components of your organized, clutter-free classroom. 

It may sound like a lot, but like most things practice makes perfect. Just focus on one tool at a time, and creating one system at a time. The perfect classroom doesn’t happen overnight, but with time and work, it is achievable.

What’s next? Join the Classroom Systems mini-course!

If you need help getting started defining what that is, my mini-course, Classroom Systems, will help you even more with confidently preparing to step into the new year.

>> Click here to join the Classroom Systems mini-course now!

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