Control the Paper Chaos

Have you ever found yourself under a mound of papers?  Do you feel as though your teacher desk is just completely covered in student work and meeting agendas and forms?  I know the feeling.  Here are some tips for tackling that giant pile.

Have you ever found yourself under a mound of papers?  Do you feel as though your teacher desk is just completely covered in student work and meeting agendas and forms?  I know the feeling.  Here are some tips for tackling that giant pile.

Letter Trays

One issue I ran into was so much paperwork from meetings.  More often than not, our meetings were in the middle of the day or right before school started, so I would return to my classroom and jump immediately into teaching.  The important papers just got dumped on my desk, buried and eventually forgotten.  Not the best system.

To solve this problem, I placed a few letter trays behind my desk.  Each tray is dedicated to a certain committee (school improvement team, PBIS, faculty meetings, etc.).  When I returned to my classroom, I quickly placed the paperwork on the correct tray.  This kept them off my desk and I could easily find them later on.
Letter trays help teachers organize their paperwork!

Extra Copies Drawers

Sometimes, when I'm on top of my game, I make extra copies ahead of time.  And then, sometimes, I misplace those copies after they get dumped on my desk.  This not only wastes paper, but time too!  I ended up getting frustrated when I was really just trying to make things easier for myself.  

I remedied this by using plastic drawers.
Plastic drawers can help teachers organize their copies!
 Each drawer is labeled by either subject or the exact paper that is in there.  I use these mostly for papers we use repeatedly throughout the year.  *Note: this is an old photo - I don't use reading logs anymore.
Plastic drawers can help teachers organize their copies!

Days of the Week Bins

I also try to stay ahead of the game by making copies for the upcoming week.  That way, I was prepared on Monday morning or if I needed to be out of the classroom for any reason.  I used bins for each day of the week: 
Days of the Week bins keep teachers organized!
In each bin, I could place the papers that I needed for each day.  Instead of those worksheets getting lost on my desk, they would be organized for the whole week.  These bins were large enough that I could also place my read-alouds and papers to pass back into them as well.  So helpful!

What About Student Work?

Oftentimes, it's student work that creates the biggest piles of paper on your desk.  On a daily basis, my students would pass in their work in early (or late) by handing it to me.  I would toss it on my desk and risk the possibility of it getting lost.  

I created bins for each of my classes (which were named after literature locations).  If they had any work to pass into me, my students would place it in the correct bin.  I made it a point to check the bins at the end of each day, when I was able to give it more attention.
The teacher next door had a similar system.  She used a homework keeper, similar to this one from Amazon:
Each slot was labeled by class or subject.  When students were ready to hand in their work, they just slid it in the correct slot.  She could then open the back of the box and slide out each set of work, already organized for her!

These are not fancy or expensive ideas, but they work!  Putting even just one of these organization tips to use will greatly help you reduce that huge pile of papers on your desk.  Which one are you going to try out first?

Want to save these ideas for later or share with a friend?  Pin the image below!

2 comments

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