Book Review: Organized Teacher, Happy Classroom

What do you remember about your classrooms as a child?  Were your teachers organized or was their room complete chaos?  I firmly believe that teachers set the tone for student organization by the way they keep their classroom and themselves organized.  That doesn’t mean that all teachers have to be paperless or have a classroom that looks like it was designed by a label maker, but there must be some semblance of order in your classroom to help students feel at ease and prepared to be successful in their academic endeavors.

Organized Teacher, Happy Classroom by Melanie Unger is a great read for teachers and administrators that desire to help their students be as successful as possible by creating a positive classroom environment.  I appreciate the practical tips that Unger shares throughout this book about classroom suggestions, how to organize your desk, and how to model organization for your students.  She also gives some milestones for how to keep your classroom organized throughout the year, how to do a year end inventory, and how to be the best steward of the resources available to you.  This is a great read for a new teacher or someone that has been teaching for many years.  I believe everyone can learn something from this book.
Below I have pasted some things that I highlighted while reading this book…

  • Without an organized classroom, we cannot ensure that our lessons are sound, our materials are accounted for, or our classroom spaces are functional and useful for our students.
  • What is important is to find a level of organization that will help you promote a calm, caring environment; support you in carrying out effective instruction; and allow you to find, use, and manage materials, supplies, and resources easily and efficiently.
  • A teacher’s level of organization (or lack thereof) has a direct impact on students’ learning and motivation.
  • Being organized allows us to actually give more of ourselves—more of our energy—to the things that count!
  • When you have a solid sense of organization within your classroom, you’ll achieve greater clarity in identifying educational goals for your students.
  • “Organizing is what you do before you do something, so that when you do it, it is not all mixed up.” — A.A. Milne
  • Your classroom reflects who you are.
  • Purging is about evaluating what you own and making smart decisions about the value of your possessions in regard to the space that you have.
  • Making smart decisions about where to house your resource materials will help you plan effectively for instruction.
  • “For every minute spent in organizing, an hour is earned.” — Unknown
  • An organized and consistent paperwork system is key to continued organizational success in the classroom.
  • “Each problem that I solved became a rule which served afterwards to solve other problems.” — René Descartes
  • Having an effective, well-designed lesson plan promotes efficiency and contributes to an overall organized plan for the year.
  • We shouldn’t use technology just to say we’ve used it. Being tech savvy may improve our clout with colleagues, but at the end of the day, what really matters is greater, deeper student learning.
  • For a teacher, the key to dealing with technology is to be willing to educate yourself and keep an open mind about trying new things.
  • Being organized and prepared for the next day starts at the end of the previous day.
  • “But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way.” — 1 Corinthians 14:40
  • “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.” — Aristotle
  • Realize that understanding your boundaries is not a sign of weakness, but rather a sign of strength. Give yourself permission to discover what you need to do to maintain perspective and still appreciate the work you do.


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