Organizational Techniques For Teachers

Use Color Folders To Organize

Get yourself 5 folders that are fully colored. Make sure each is a different color. Play Video

Each folder has specific information that you need with you at all times. A basic setup might look like this:

Red folder - For critical information. Medical information and parent contact information should appear in here.

Green folder - Attendance. You never know when you need to know where your students are.

Blue folder - Grading. Maybe daily grades or weekly posted grades.

Pink folder - Community news. Events and activties that are going on in the school community.

Yellow folder - Missed work and assignments. The first folder you will need for students that were recently absent.

and Sign-out Sheets

Being aware of where your students are at all times is critical. Parent entrust us with their children. Here is a simple way to monitor your students automatically. We also provide the printable sheets to go with the tip. Play video

I'm Late Sign-in Printable | I'm Leaving Printable

Teaching Idea

"Keep Track of Absentees for Makeup Test"
Mrs. Steckert: Spanish Teacher

"Easy way to keep track of Absentees for Makeup TEST:

  1. Markoff a section of the whiteboard with the heading MAKEUP TESTS: and Periods l, 2, 3, and so on.
  2. On the TEST day, I write absentees names on the TEST paper and put in a "hotfile" by the whiteboard to keep the untaken TESTS.
  3. When a student returns, they find the TEST PAPER in the 'hotfile". After taking the test, they erase their names off the whiteboard!

No longer do I have to check my gradebook as to how many absentees still have to take the TEST...before I mistakenly pass it out to review the answers."

Teaching Idea

"Make-Up Work Board"
Laura Becker: 7th Grade Math Teacher, Salisbury Middle School

"I have two laminated weekly calendars up in the back of my room. I place a brief description of what was done in class for each period for each day of the week, including any class or home assignments. One calendar is for the current week and the other is for the previous week. Students that are absent no longer have to ask me, "What did I miss?" They just look at the calendar and find their missing assignments. Any worksheets needed are placed in a "Make-up Work Folder" near the calendars. My 7th graders are responsible for getting and submitting their own make-up work. This really makes life less difficult for me."

Teaching Idea

"ASSIGNMENT SHEET l step better!"
Mrs. Steckert, Spanish Teacher

"In addition to having students keep a daily Assignment Sheet, I developed a code system that helps eliminate the endless questions "do we turn it in?", "does it go in the notebook", "will it be graded today?", "Is this homework?", "Do we get more time to finish tomorrow". Whenever I put the Assignment up, I also put the CODE IN A different COLORED MARKER. I KEEP THE CODE POSTER by the Assignment Board for easy reference.

P.I.T.--put in tray
P.I.N.--put in notebook
TBGT--to be graded today
TBGND-to be graded next day
TBFT--to be finished tomorrow
QS-quickstart (5 min. warm-up exercise)
Hmwk ? = homework if not finished
P.P. = partner practice (if done with classmate)

To encourage the students to learn the code, I reward students with "extra points". If a student forgets what the directions were when given, they can check the Assignment. If another student answers their question...without teacher help and disturbing the class...that "helper" gets 2 pts. for assisting others. Everyone likes the system. It shows self-reliance and helps students to be organized.

Another tip: If students keep an assignment sheet, have the students write down from the MASTER board, what the assignment is. When a student returns from their absences, they are to HIGHLIGHT it IN YELLOW so it serves as a visual reminder to do the MAKEUP WORK!

Later, this same assignment sheet can be used as a MAKEUP LIST. Call each student up to tell them what they are missing and they HIGHLIGHT it in PINK. Its a fast way to give out makeup work, by date and page, since it was written in sequence of assignments."

Teaching Idea

Medic Job
Lauren McGowan: 4th Grade Teacher

"For my fourth grade class, one of the jobs is "Medic". The two students accompany any student to the office, that way if the ill student should throw up or not be able to make it to the office, one can get help while one stays with the ill student. Also, they give out band-aids and alcohol wipes which they get from the first aid box. Because we are all concerned about the spread of blood, this keeps the student with a small cut from opening the first aid box and, perhaps, leaving blood there. Also, I don't have to stop what I'm doing to help with minor cuts."

Teaching Idea

"School Post Office"
Gary Nelson, Science Teacher

The grade level teachers at my school have created a cooperative school post office system that helps reinforce responsibility and critical thinking in our students. All of the mail for our grade level teachers is placed in one box in our school office. On a daily basis, we assign a pair of students from the various class to manage the mail. The mail is delivered by these students twice a day. Students sort the mail and place it in our classroom folders outside our doors. Students really take pride in doing a great job!

Teaching Idea

"Keeping Track of Homework"

Children put a number next to their name (Based on the alphabetical list of their first name on the class roster), on all papers they do in class. That way I know who did what in the classroom. The number is written big and circled. Any student can organize the papers from 1 to 20."

Teaching Idea

"Daily Assignment Sheet"
Retha Lippard: FACS Teacher

"Every day I write on the board the date and assignment, (written assignments, lecture, or discussion, whatever we do for the day.) Each class period is written with a different color marker. I give the students a table chart where there is a place for the date and assignment for the them to fill in and keep in their notebooks. I also keep a copy in my notebook. When the student gets out of my classroom they can refer back to the sheet to complete homework. When someone is absent we all have at our fingertips what we did yesterday."

See Teachnology's Weekly Assignment Sheets

Teaching Idea

"Getting students to come on time to class!"
Niv´┐Ż Naga: CW Jefferys C. I (Teacher-Candidate)

"I am currently teaching Grade 12 and 13 Biology at CW Jefferys C. I. Even though there is 5 minutes given to get to the classes, I had students coming in 5-10 mins. late, once the bell has been rung. So, I created a rule that the last person to come into the class today will be the one to give a summary of what we learn today and tomorrow. It is very effective. And the review/summary is actually a very informal 2-3 minutes interactive session to remember what we covered the previous day."

Teaching Idea

"Homework Notes"
Laura Barker, Teacher

"I have had problems with students telling me one reason why their homework isn't done and their parents another. I devised a slip that takes up one fourth of a standard piece of paper. If a student doesn't have his or her homework they must fill one of these notes out and turn it in where they were supposed to turn in their homework. On the slip it asks for name, date, title of subject, reason for not having homework, and a place for them to sign the paper. When parent teacher conferences come around, I can pull out their stack of homework notes and show them to the parent. It has also stopped that problem of "I know I turned it in." I check the box and see if I got a note for that assignment and show it to them. If you want you can also mark the notes after they do finally turn the assignment in. These notes don't take place of the homework, they must still turn it in, but it does show that the assignment was late."

Teaching Idea

"Don't say "here" say ?"
Karen, Teacher

"In the mornings, we mark the class roll to check who is at school and who is away sick. I have a large class with 60 children because I team-teach with another teacher. Often, children can get very bored and restless by the time we finish marking the roll. To make this time more interesting, we ask the children to say an answer to a question such as "What is your favorite movie?", and then the children say their favorite movie instead of saying "here". We also get the children to listen and tell us the most favorite movie that was said earlier. This gets them to listen for the entire marking of the roll and keeps behavior problems down to a minimum."

Teaching Idea

"Marbles for Transitions"
Beth B., Second Grade Teacher

"While student teaching, I used marbles for smooth transitions. The student's desks were divided into 5 "Teams". When it was time to take out a book or switch to another activity, all I had to say was "For a marble, get out your phonics book and tear out p. 120". The students would quickly get out their books and encourage other team members to do the same. I would give each team that got ready in a reasonable time a marble (we just had small plastic cups numbered 1-5 to put the marbles in). At the end of the week, the marbles are counted up and the winning team gets a piece of candy or gets to pick from the prize jar."

Teaching Idea

"Easy Filing!"
Cristie P., Teacher

"The most time consuming part is getting the supplies! Instead of filing worksheets in a filing cabinet where they can be easily lost, file them in a notebook with sheet protectors. I have 2 - 3" Notebooks for each semester. Every worksheet, lesson, etc. I have is filed in them. The best part of this is the copying. If you use the thin transparent covers, all you have to do is take it out of the notebook, copy it in the sheet protector, and put it right back. Even having to take the sheets out for two sided copies, its has still saved me tons of time."

Teaching Idea

Student Notebooks (Beyond "Just Taking Notes")
Heather Mayfield, Junior High Teacher (Language Arts/ Social Studies)

"My students keep all notes, comprehension questions, short-answer responses, charts, etc. in a spiral notebook for each subject (Social Studies and Language Arts). The notebook also includes pasted-in handouts, etc. That way, students can take their notebooks home to study and they don't have to lug huge textbooks back and forth. When I want to grade a homework assignment, I walk around the room with a decorative hole punch (stars, trees, etc..) or a fun stamp and give students credit for completing the assignment. At the end of a unit, I collect notebooks and give students a grade based upon the number of punches or stamps they earned for having homework/assignments prepared for each class period."

Teaching Idea

"Following Directions Assignment"
Nelson Rites, Middle Level Teacher

Many times I find that students begin assignments without ever reading the directions. This is a very bad habit for students to get into. So, I began to give students follow-the-directions assignments where they were given a series of procedures to complete a task. Of course, the students actually read the directions during these assessments. When I reverted back to normal assignments students continued to disregard the directions section of the assignment.

So I developed a new strategy. I post hint items for the assessment in the directions area. I have noticed that students are clearly reading the directions first before they try to tackle any assignment.

Teaching Idea

"Grade multiple choice tests with ease..."
Mrs. Valentin: Teacher (Spanish)

"Put all your papers on a long table in a staggered horizontal row. Spread them out 10-12 wide so you can easily see the answers. Then place your ANSWER KEY IN the middle OF THE STACK highlight all your answers so it stickout. Now begin grading papers from left to right memorizing or say aloud to yourself the first three answers. Scan each paper, only check those three answers until finished with the complete row. Continue with the next 3 answers etc. until you finish the stack. This makes grading FAST."

Teaching Idea

Color code
Heidi Streuber: Teacher EFL grade 5-10 in Germany

"I have been using this color code for over 10 yrs. All material for a special grade is marked in the same color: e.g. grade 6 yellow folder, yellow filing cabinet, textbook covers, CD cover, paper clips etc. As there are no zip bags for copies in any colour available, I put a sheet of colored printer paper in. Saves lots of 'looking for stuff' time."