As any experienced teacher will tell you, keeping control of a classroom of children is no mean feat. Especially for junior school teachers in the UK, organising your classroom can work wonders to improve behaviour, increase students' independence and, most importantly, lower your own stress levels.
Take a look at some of our clever teaching hacks to keep your classroom in order.
They might seem more suited to an office environment, but everyday stationery materials are great tools to keep classroom materials tidy. Why not try keeping your students' work in order by providing them with their own magazine folders on their desks?
Or if you're always faced with a multicoloured stack of paper, try keeping coloured paper separated in hanging filing folders. These can also be used in trays to keep everyone's work separated. Even simple things like coloured post-it notes, can be great tools to colour code work and keep marking and homework organised.
So next time you're in your nearest stationery shop, consider how you could bring in some everyday office items to organise your own classroom.
One of the most demanding aspects of teaching is constantly having to respond to questions and problems by individual students. Verbal interruptions can be disturbing for the whole group, so try to introduce non-verbal signals and reminders to minimise disruption.
An easy way to do this is by teaching kids hand signals. If they can raise a different number of fingers for different problems – say needing a tissue, or needing to go to the bathroom – then you can respond to individuals without risking the rest of the class losing concentration.
Another good trick for this is giving individual children reminder bracelets. If they need to remember to bring in a piece of homework, for example, or maybe to always write the date on their work, create a personalised wrist band so you don't constantly have to tell them out loud.
This is also a great way to promote independence, and the student is likely to be just as satisfied as you are when they remember on their own without any prompting.
Dividing the class into smaller groups improves concentration and ensures everyone participates. The tricky part, however, is keeping track of who's in which group, and making sure everyone knows where they should be.
Colour coding here is your best friend. Put coloured stickers on everyone's desk for a quick and easy way to divide up the class – so when you say the green group, the students with green stickers know you mean them.
Similar tricks include putting down coloured velcro on the floor so the groups know where to sit, and having separate hand in trays – all colour coded of course.