Classroom Organization: The No Name Drop

One of my classroom team members and I were chatting about 'nice classrooms' last week. As all good teachers do, we thrashed around ideas about the effects of Pinterest on the expectations for teachers - decor, cutesy printables and neon plastic tubs and containers. 

Lesson #6 - foundations 

Following along with my Less=More posts of late I considered all of this. How can you delight in the appeal of the organized, aesthetically appealing classroom and not spend a fortune or every minute of your life labelling tubs. 

The answer is to take the time to analyse exactly what it is that you find appealing about those classrooms. I can guarantee you that when you identify those specific elements and apply them to a space that you can manage, in the time you have available, you will achieve the same sense of classroom-fulfilment. 

Is it the $500 worth of neon plastic that is really appealing, or is it just the colors used? Is it the rows and rows of labelled tubs, or is it just that things are straight and lined up - easy on the eye? 

Think about color, line, shape and space. Take a look at the pinterest-classrooms and look deeper than the things you have to buy. Incorporate some of those elements with the items the school has provided you or with what you already have.

I know from years of practical classroom experience that there are some ordinary 'daily housework' type routines that will make your classroom ooze 'organization'. 

Now, don't laugh, but a simple one is 'nothing on the floor' {mostly 15 minutes before ether final bell rings}. Nobody ever left my classroom until desks and the floor were clear. If you don't think this has any impact on the appearance and 'feel' of your classroom environment, I challenge you to try it for a month. Everything gets returned to its place - and with 50 hands helping you, it can get done pretty fast.

When the children do not know who something belongs to (random pencils, erasers, books, toys and trinkets) or they can't remember where something belongs - it goes into a tub. One tub. It gets emptied on a Friday and sorted. Students can go to find their lost possessions in there through the week if needed.

Here is one I have made for my classroom team member, with a $12 plastic trash can. Students can simply drop items through the flip-flap lid as they tidy the desk and floor. 

If you would like to make one, download the little sign from Google Drive HERE

Similarly to the clean floor, a bright clear clean wall can make a big difference to your overall classroom appeal too. 

One of my classrooms was covered in staples (like, thousands), old blu tac, double sided tape and torn gyprock. It happens over the years. 

Lucky for me, I have a very handy Dad who spent every morning over 8 days with me in the summer, repairing, patching and painting. My sweet husband might have got several blisters from pulling staples out as well. 

The result was sensational. The effect it had on the whole space was so much more than thousands of dollars worth of plastic tubs ever could have made. Elbow grease, some time and a few tins of paint and plaster.

You can see in the photo below (that is my Dad and daughter, very proud of their hard work) I used elements of color and line in my word wall. The effect this has on the room is similar to one you might feel looking at rows and rows of plastic tubs - but cost me nothing. I trimmed a centimetre off the edge of each piece of paper so that the blue background made a line between each pieces - both horizontally and vertically. This gives a sense of organisation and order too. 

Many of my readers are on summer break at the moment and I encourage you to think a little deeper about what it is in a Pinterest picture of a classroom that draws you in - other than the things you have to buy. 

Thanks so much for stopping by, have a fantastic day!

- Mel x

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