Classroom Organization: Must-Have’s for the Classroom

This is post #3 in my series of classroom organization blogs. The first blog was all about getting started and coming up with a classroom organization game plan. The next one was all about having some habits and routines in place to keep your classroom organized all year long. And I just didn’t think that I could have a series of classroom organization blogs without sharing some of my favorite items for classroom organization! So here are some of my favorite classroom organization items!

10-drawer cart

This cart is definitely one of my favorite items for paper organization. The drawers I have are: extras, prep, copy, grade, masters, file, next week, future, important, and mtss. I purchased my cart from Michael’s but there’s one on Amazon too!

teacher tool box

Okay it took me a couple of years to hop on the teacher tool box train, but I’m so glad I did and now I’ll never go back! It’s the perfect way to organize all of the little supplies that you want easily accessible, and I love it! I upgraded to this white one last year and absolutely love it!

magazine files

Okay these don’t last forever but they’re so darn cheap that it doesn’t matter. I use them for the materials and things that I will need for the week, hence the days of the week labels. I love using these because I can see everything and it’s right there ready to go! You can grab them here or if you want to go a sturdier route here is different option!

milk crates

These plastic milk crates are great for organizing papers. I use them to organize student data as well as unit resources! I love that they come in so many cute colors now and they’re super affordable! Here is a white one but be on the lookout around back to school season for all of the colorful ones!

3-drawer organizer

Love this little 3-drawer organizer for papers. I have a few…I use some to organizer papers in my student area, and some to organize things like cardstock, laminator sheets, etc in my teacher area. I had a hard time finding a link online but they have them at Target and Walmart.

hanging magazine rack

This hanging magazine rack is another one of my favorite ways to organize papers in my classroom. I use one for storing my cardstock and another one for organizing papers I’m sending home with students. (Sidenote: One question I get a lot is how do I hang it? I have a strip of corkboard on the top of my whiteboard and I use push pin hooks to hang it on there. I get the push pin hooks from Target. I can’t link them for you because they’re not on the website right now, but they’re by ubrand and in the supply section if you want to try to find them:))

3-tiered rolling cart

This cart was one of my very first purchases for my classroom and it’s been with me 10 years! I got it from ikea, and they don’t make it in this color anymore but here’s a white. You can also find them at Target, Michael’s, or Amazon. I’ve used it for many different things over the years: guided reading cart, student supplies cart, and most recently my little sanitizing/cleaning supply cart

hanging containers

Hands down one of my favorite items for organization! These are from ikea and only 99 cents! I use them for my whiteboard supplies and tech stuff like my board remote and pens! I also hang one on the side of my rolling cart (see above) for bandaids!

supply caddies, baskets, and bins…oh my!

I love having a variety of different caddies, bins, and baskets to organize ALL the things! I love having a place for everything, so having enough of these is key. Pro tip: I always look for utensil organizers and things in the target dollar spot (especially during summer)! These are perfect caddies for markers, pens, etc! The marker organizer pictured above was something I found in the target dollar section!

My absolute favorite and cheap bins are from the Dollar Tree! I only like purchasing them in white:) so I always look for them in the store, but you can get them online too! They’re only a $1 so they’re not amazing quality but they hold up pretty well for the price, and they’re so cheap that I don’t mind stocking up on more each year!

I also love these bins from target and always love looking for baskets from Homegoods!

here are a few more honorable mentions:

>Data Cart (this is definitely one of faves but I have a whole blog post devoted to it so I decided to leave it off of this list)

>Clip Boxes : I love using these to organize math centers

>Paper Trays : I actually get a lot of these from the Dollar Tree too!

>Dish Organizer (to organize laptops) + Cord Organizer

>Shoe Organizer (to organize headphones)

>Student Binders + Pencil Pouches: in our class my students use basic 1-inch binders (I love using these binder covers!) and pencil pouches for their individual supplies and papers! This is honestly one of my favorite systems and I feel like I may devote a whole blog post about it in the future 🙂

Don’t forget to check out my other classroom organization blogs on setting up a game plan and habits and routines to keep your classroom organized all year long! You can also check out some of my favorite organization items on this Amazon list! Hopefully some of these ideas will help you with your classroom organization!

Happy organizing friends!

(Please note: some of the links included in this blog post are affiliate links which means I receive a very small commission if purchases are made using the link, so thanks for the love and support!)


Organizing Data in the Classroom

Let’s talk data carts! I love classroom organization and there are a lot of items at the top of my list. All of the usuals like a teacher toolbox, 10-drawer organizer, ikea Sunnersta buckets, and supply caddies to name a few. This cart is something I added to my organization repertoire a few years ago and let me tell you it’s a must-have for me! If you want to make all of your data organization dreams come true you need this cart in your life!

Here’s why I love organizing my classroom data in a cart like this:

>>>Reason #1: I mean just look at how organized it is! Can you say sparks joy? Granted it’s a little empty in this photo because I had already removed most of things at the end of the year, but even when it’s packed with data it still looks great! Before using this cart I used plastic milk crates (and don’t get me wrong those are great), but this cart just keeps me even more organized. There’s room for plenty of files, a shelf below, it all just works!

>>>Reason #2: It has wheels! I love that you can quickly move it around and roll it into a closet or safe space when you’re not using it to keep that data secure!

>>>Reason #3: Easy access! Reason #2 and #3 kind of go in hand but because it has wheels and keeps everything super organized it makes it all super acessible. Different teachers that support students in our classroom (like sped teachers and gt support) know where to find our classroom data! My students know where to find our data! It’s all readily available and in one place!

I can wheel it over to my small group area if I’d like for a small group of students to use their data folders and do some reflecting. I can put it in the front of the classroom so students can grab their folders themselves and put it back when they’re finished! And when I’ m finished I can put it back in my closet for safe keeping!

Are you convinced that you need a Data Cart yet? Ok, let’s keep going…

data cart options . hanging files . file folders . paper trays .

*Just a little disclaimer: the exact cart I have is no longer available at the moment and I have not actually purchased the carts I linked, just provided some alternatives! Check out my instagram for some more options!

A few notes on how I manage my data organization in the classroom:

>I teach 2 classes of math and science so I have two of everything when it comes to paper organization, 1 for each class. Two turn-in bins, two sections of hanging files on my cart, and two “pass back” trays.

Once students turn in their assessments to the turn-in bins I clip these together and put them in my “grade” drawer (this is in my 10-drawer cart). Then, I grade them and put them in the “pass back” trays (I absolutely love having these)! Once I pass back the assessments and students track their data and reflect, they file it in their data folder and it goes back in the cart. If you’d like a few more tips on systems and things I have in place to keep my data organized all year long check this out!

>I label the front hanging file with the class (my two groups are the “cougars” and “cardinals”). I do this for two reasons: 1. it covers up the ugly green file folders I got from our school office (I’ll be swapping these out with white ones this year) and 2. I love labeling everything! You could label these with the types of data you are storing in your cart instead, such as “reading data” or “math data”. You can access some FREE labels (including “grade”, “save” and “pass back” labels) in my free resource library by clicking here!

>Data Folders: I have my students keep their data in file folders with covers (free covers here!). I absolutely love these craft paper file folders and I restock them every year! One question I get asked a lot is “what type of data do they keep in their folders?” Since I only teach math and science it’s mainly for math things: unit tests, our monthly computation assessment, that’s pretty much it. At the end of each unit I have them take home all of the data in their folders.

>One more thing since we’re on the topic of data…I love having an organized system for the data in my classroom, but the part I love the most is diving into the data with my students and teaching them to be reflective learners. One thing I stick to in my classroom is having one day a week to pass back assessments and things. We spend this 20ish minutes tracking our scores on our data trackers, reading feedback, and reflecting. Even if I don’t have anything to pass back we still use this time to set goals and reflect.

It’s so important to me that my students are able to critique and reflect on their own work and learning as math students. Collecting and organizing the data is one thing, but truly using this as a way for students to learn and grow as reflective learners is where it’s really at. If you’d like to see more resources on data trackers and reflection forms check out this resource!

Well that’s all the data cart info I have for you at this time! If you’ve made it this far, I love you! Thank you so much for joining me in my little corner of the internet for a while! Please let me know if you have any questions! And just a little sidenote: the exact cart I have is unavailable at this time (I know, bummer!) but I’ve linked some simlar ones!

Just to make it easy, here is a list of some of the things I linked above:

>A few more tips and tricks on data organization

>FREE Labels for Hanging Files: access to FREE Resource Library

>FREE Data Folder/Binder Covers

>Data Trackers & Reflection Forms

>Data Board Resources & much, much more!

Happy Teaching!