When it comes to classroom organization (or the lack of), there’s nothing more frustrating than having a mess of files. Classroom organization that works means finding a system to organize both paper and digital files. Here are some tips for organizing your teacher files!
How to Organize Your Paper Files
Organizing paper files can be overwhelming, especially if you’ve been teaching for awhile or inherited some veteran teachers’ worksheets and materials. Try these simple steps to get organized and tame the clutter!
Purge the old stuff.
Take some time to go through your old files. Ask yourself, “When was the last time I used this paper?” If you haven’t used it in a year or more, it may be time to send it to the recycling bin.
Not quite ready to let something go? Scan it and save a digital copy. That reduces the paper clutter, but you have a copy to use for future lessons when you have time or circle back around.
Even when I print out worksheets or handouts for students, I rely on the digital copy as my master. In addition to keeping organized, you also have a copy to edit based on differentiated student needs or changing times.
Create a paper organization system that works!
Gone are the days of a giant filing cabinet with materials tucked away in ugly manila file folders. If that system works for you, great, but I find things that are out of sight are often out of mind!
Try using bins or crates to organize your files by quarter or unit. Keeping those files ready and organized for when you teach them helps you set up a classroom organization system that works for you! Our Classroom Organization Academy is a perfect way to put all those systems in place and get the tools and tips you need.
Always be prepared for a sub.
There are so many papers and files a substitute teacher needs to run your classroom effectively. Put everything in a sub tub to make sure your guest teacher has all the materials needed for the day or a long term sub situation. An added bonus is that all of your lesson materials will also be organized! Have a sub tub ready to go at the start of the school year to save time and stress.
How to Organize Your Digital Space
Create your own digital file organization system in your digital space. Whether you are using OneDrive, Google Drive, external storage, or Dropbox, the same tips can apply! Find a way to keep files organized that works for you.
Develop a Naming System
Make sure you name your files in a way that you understand! In Google Drive and OneDrive, the default setting is alphabetical order. You could also number files according to the order of the day or by units.
One way I like to organize files is by subject, then unit. For example, name folders, Math Lesson 1 – Addition, Math Lesson 2 – Subtraction, etc.
If you have periods of the day, you may want to start with a number like 1st Period, 2nd Period, etc.
Color Code or Symbols
Visually organize your files by including symbols (emojis for content areas or importance) or color coding folders for content areas or dates.
Organizing your teacher files will help you with your overall classroom organization. Whether you are tackling paper or digital files, find a system that works best for you. Join the Classroom Organization Academy and get started with your own classroom organization system!