Primary Chalkboard: Helping Students Keep Their Desks and Materials Organized

Helping Students Keep Their Desks and Materials Organized

Hi everyone!  Just popping by with a quick tip for Back to School.  I just finished my fourth week with my 2nd grade students, and we are chugging along.  Funny how I always forget how much work it is to start over every year, and teach 24 new students all of my expectations!

No, BTS is hard work….HAARRRRD WORK!

One of the things I really stress in my classroom is organization and responsibility.  Students know when I ask them to come down to the carpet, that I will only tell them ONE time what it is they need to bring with them. If they don't hear me, or don't pay attention (which is more often the case), they know they need to ask a friend or use their observation skills to figure it out on their own.  

My students are called down to our whole group area using a 50 second Mario Bros. song that I downloaded from Rick Morris' behavior management website (see link at end of post). If they are not down to the rug 1) sitting on their backside 2) criss-cross applesauce 3) eyes, ears, and mouth ready to learn, and 4) with all of the materials I asked for, they will turn their behavior card.  In my opinion, 50 second is more than enough time to get everything they need, and walk down to the rug….that is…IF, they are organized! 

Showing students exactly HOW to stay organized has been super helpful in reducing the number of students who arrive late to lessons, or who just can't find that paper you gave them yesterday.

So, in the beginning of the year we do a few big, guided, "clean up" sessions of our desks and materials, each week.  The first time I asked students to "clean and organize" their desks, many of them looked just like they did before we started cleaning.  Ugh!

Obviously, some of my little darlings simply did not know what "organized" meant, or looked like.  So, I started taking pictures of exemplary models using my phone.  I walk around while students organize 3 areas: 

1) their pencil boxes, 

2) their classroom folder

 and 3) the inside of their desks.  

After I take the pics, I show them to my students under my docucam.  HUGE difference!  Students work really hard at keeping themselves organized because they want to be the example I show to the class (and I let them pick a small treat before we go home).  

RESULT: Pencil boxes look tidy.  Class folders contain all their papers (and said papers are neatly placed inside).  Desks are orderly.  

Looking for more information on Classroom Management?

Read more about Rick Morris and musical transitions HERE.

Check out My Classroom Management board on Pinterest HERE.

Thanks for stopping by,

Mrs. Rios Teaches


  1. Great post! It is SOO important to teach them organization from the get go! I swear it makes for a smoother running classroom!

  2. We are in the 3rd week and we are still working on our organization!! Great tips!

  3. Love the pictures! Great ideas!