COVID-Friendly Classroom Organization Ideas

COVID-Friendly Classroom Organization Ideas

Now more than ever maintaining clean and orderly spaces in schools is a top priority. Whether or not kids are back in their seats on a full or part-time basis, or if they remain distance learners, developing an organization system that can live up to changes, and provide flexibility and peace of mind, is key for back-to-school times and beyond. 

We’ve brainstormed ideas and handy products to help you create your own systems within your classroom to help it run smoothly. Discover ideas for keeping an organized teacher work area, minimizing student contact, keeping students, families, and visitors informed, and practicing independence and distance.

COVID pandemic classroom organization ideas

Organize Teacher Spaces

Your personal workspace is often the hub of the classroom and where you keep important paperwork, lesson plans, student information, and so on. Keeping this area decluttered can be key to feeling organized and ready for each day, plus cleaned surfaces are always easier to sanitize.

What TREND Products to Shop: 

    Ways to Use Them: 

    • Rank ‘n File:
      • Prioritize items you use often and those you use on rare occasions. If you can’t remember the last time your 3-hole punch was used, it’s probably safe to store it elsewhere. Place these “rarely used” items in a tote or box. Attach a Terrific Labels™ to the container and write what’s inside on it. Tuck it away where you’ll find it later.
    • Play Favorites:
      • Choose a selection of supplies to keep on hand and put the rest away. If you need your supplies out, find a clear organizer with a lid to keep them in so it can easily be wiped down and sanitized while maintaining easy access to all your things.
    • Filing Filters:
      • Take a look at your current organization and decide what works best for you. It may seem natural to put all charts together, but how would it help you to group by topic, season, or theme instead? Evaluate your filing system and adjust to what will work best this year. Use File 'n Save System® to organize your items in folders. Label each folder and slide into the File 'n Save System® storage box for easy retrieval later.

    COVID friendly classroom organization ideas for teachers

    Post Information & Expectations

    Paper charts are super-versatile tools for communicating custom information. Colorful designs get everyone’s attention right away and there’s plenty of writing space to provide key, need-to-know details and expectations. If the information changes often, use a Wipe-Off® Chart to keep it up to date regularly!

    What TREND Products to Shop:

      Ways to Use Them: 

      • New rules:
        • Keep everyone informed on school/classroom policies regarding visitors, masks, and health and safety guidelines by posting the information on a chart inside school common areas, outside classroom and office doors, and in other key areas. 
      • Need to send some rule reminders home to parents?
        • Use a free printable rules sheet so kids’ families can display them at home for a quick reminder before heading off to school. 
      • Organize arrivals:
        • If your school has staged arrival and drop-off times, blank charts may be a handy way to communicate arrival times and locations that can be easily viewed by parents and students. Consider color-coding so kids and parents can quickly and easily recognize their group (“I’m in the blue group!”) and everyone knows where to go. 
      • Visitors:
        • Post a written notice on a chart outside your classroom or office to greet visitors and notify them of any restrictions or requirements for entering. 
      • Reminders:
        • Use charts to display quick written reminders for physical distancing, covering coughs and sneezes, and directional or procedural alerts specific to your group of students. Shop a variety of bright colors to get kids’ attention – and don’t forget to save space for special charts and banners with positive phrases and encouragement too!

      organization ideas for distance learning classroom hybrid covid friendly

      Label. Label. Label. 

      Labels are a clear and effective way to designate bins, student seats, organize classroom supplies, and more. If you’re working with shifting groups of students, use the bright colors and patterns to reinforce student groups and cohorts. 

      What to TREND Products to Shop:

        Ways to Use Them: 

        • Clean/Dirty:
          • In a classroom where supplies may be shared, it’s important to keep track of what items have been properly cleaned and are ready for use and what items are not. Label bins or shelves to designate the status of items in those locations. Whether you’re using this as a communication tool to other staff, for your own tracking, or to alert students, you’ll be glad to have clearly marked bins or shelves available. 
        • Student “Stuff”:
          • Create individual bins for students. These can replace common coat rack areas or other tight, “bottleneck” spaces. Place the cubbies at intervals that encourage distancing between kids so they have room to enter/exit and put things away without unnecessary contact.
        • Color-Code Cohorts:
          • You may find that you have rotating sets or groups of students. Keep everyone organized by using labels with a color or pattern for each group. Easily mark bins for each cohort, label desks or equipment, and so on. Choose a design theme or pattern that is easily recognized and remembered by students. With many options for coordinated essentials, you'll be able to create a cohesive learning environment that's color-coded and organized just right!

        covid friendly organization labeling bins for classroom and distance learning

        Hands-Free Hand Offs

        When students need to turn in paperwork, create a space for them to do this that’s organized and clutter-free so they can quickly find their names and drop or pick up item(s) without a lot of hassle and contact. There are lots of ways to accomplish this based on your available space, class size, and so on.

        What to TREND Products to Shop: 

        Ways to Use Them: 

        • Touch-Free Take-Homes:
          • If you’ll have take-home items for students and are using a cubby or have labeled (and distanced) areas for their jackets and personal items, use these spaces as a “hand-off” spot so kids can gather their items and what they’ll need to take home at the end of the day easily and safely from one spot. 
        • The In Crowd:
          • Create one “In” box for everyone to hand in paperwork contact-free. Invite them up one at a time or coordinate throughout the day so that all students aren’t trying to turn in items at the same time. Label your inbox bin or organizer tray clearly with a mini accent so all students know where to put their work when it’s ready.
        • You’ve Got Mail:
          • Create a mail hub (if you have space) and assign each student their own cubby-style storage area for picking up and returning assignments, permissions slips, and so on. Label each shelf area with stick-on letters or labels, or use stickers to write “In” and “Out” on separate folders for each child so they can pick up what’s new and drop off what’s complete.

        Library pockets for classroom organization ideas

        Ideas for Independence

        Depending on your school’s procedures for returning to the classroom, it may be likely you will not have typical recess, library, lunch, or restroom break schedules. This year will call for limited-numbers during activities so be prepared with systems to support student independence when groups are not an option. 

        What TREND Products to Shop:

        Ways to Use Them: 

        • FUN When You’re Done: Have activities at the ready for fast-finishers to move onto independently without disturbing the rest of the class. Pre-filling pockets with activities will create fewer disturbances for the rest of the class and also ensures that only one student will use those items for the day, reducing daily sharing.
          1. Choose flash cards or fold a Free Printable word find, maze, or other activity and place it in each pocket.
          2. Create a bulletin board and attach pockets, store them in students’ mail cubbies, or tape Terrific Pockets™ to each student’s desk.
          3. Refill items that are used each day.
        • Hall Passes & Head Counts: Choose Terrific Index Cards™ or blank Flash Cards so there’s enough for each child to have his or her own hall pass. Write the student’s name on the card (include their classroom number and any other information needed for your school's policies). BONUS: Hand out a variety of stickers and invite kids to decorate their hall passes too.
          1. Turn your cards into lanyards for kids to wear by punching a hole in the top and adding a fun, colorful string.
          2. Kids place the passes in a mail holder or hang on a hook outside their destination.
          3. This not only is a quick way to alert teachers and staff to who is where but is a quick check for overcrowded spaces and makes sure the hall passes aren’t worn or carried into restroom areas.
        Not face-to-face (or mask-to-mask) with your students just yet? Let them know you're thinking of them and excited to welcome them back by sending an encouraging note home on Terrific Papers®, a welcome or birthday award, or a selection of cute stickers to say hello!
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