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Student Organization Ideas for Upper Elementary

These student organization ideas for upper elementary will help students get organized at school.

Taking time to set up systems for students at the beginning of the school year, really helps to keep things flowing the rest of the year. This is why helping students get organized at school is very important.

If you're looking for some organization tips for students, here are ten student organization ideas that have worked for my students for several years now, helping us move efficiently and effectively throughout the school year.

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These student organization ideas for upper elementary will help students get organized at school.

The very first thing I do to help students get organized, and one of the best student organization ideas I can share with you, is to assign a color to each subject. For example, I teach in a departmentalized setting, and I assign yellow for writing, green for reading, and blue for social studies. Students' notebooks and folders will coordinate with the color of each subject.

This helps in a couple of ways:

  • It helps students identify their materials quickly.
  • It helps me see if students have pulled out the correct materials.

I specify the colors that we will be using on the school supply list, so families can purchase the appropriate colored folders. I always buy a few myself for students who for one reason or another do not bring in the folders. (They usually have great deals on folders in most office supply stores the month before school starts.)

These student organization ideas for upper elementary will help students get organized at school.

The next thing I do to help students get organized is to have them color the edges of each of their notebooks using a marker or highlighter. I provide them with a list of the colors we are using and ask them to color each notebook a different color. (ex. one notebook green, one notebook yellow, one notebook light blue, etc.)

This will allow them to easily identify the correct notebook in their desk or in their book bag once they have familiarized themselves with the color for each subject. This also helps us move quickly in class because I will usually say something like, "Take out your green writing notebook," and students are able to access their materials quickly.

These student organization ideas for upper elementary will help students get organized at school.

Once their notebooks' edges are colored, I have them use a permanent marker to write their names on the bottom and top edges of their notebook. This helps students to distinguish their notebook from someone else's quickly when it's inside of their desks.
These student organization ideas for upper elementary will help students get organized at school.

They should also use the permanent marker to write their names on their folders and other supplies.

These student organization ideas for upper elementary will help students get organized at school.

The last step in prepping their notebooks and folders is to have them place a label on all of their folders and notebooks.

Each year, I purchase 1in. x 2 5/8 in. labels, print each subject on them for both the notebooks and folders, and have the students place the labels on the top right corner of their notebooks and folders.

I have them place the matching labels on the matching notebooks and folders. For example, they will stick the "Writing Notebook" label on their green edged notebook and their "Writing Folder" label on their green folder.
These student organization ideas for upper elementary will help students get organized at school.

To help students keep their notebooks organized, I have them number the front and the back of each of the pages of their composition notebooks.

They skip a couple of the pages in the front to use as a Table of Contents, then they number the pages until they get to the middle of the notebook. (In the middle of the composition notebook, you will find the stitching.)
These student organization ideas for upper elementary will help students get organized at school.

The numbered half of their notebook is where students will include the lessons of the week which
usually include a print and fold booklet and sometimes notes.

These student organization ideas for upper elementary will help students get organized at school.
The second half of their notebook is where students do independent work. Since they work independently in that section and will not be using it as reference later on in the year, they do not need to number these pages.
These student organization ideas for upper elementary will help students get organized at school.

Another student organization idea is to teach students how to organize their desks. This includes what supplies should and should not be included inside.

Because we are in a departmentalized setting, I tell students to only keep their notebooks, folders, and textbooks inside their desk. Their personal items should be kept with them inside of their book bags at all times. The left side of the desk is reserved for the morning class, and the right side of the desk is reserved for the afternoon class. Since they share desks, this is another reason why I emphasize keeping a clean and neat desk.

Find a system that works for you, and share that system with your students. At the beginning of the school year, a great way to help students get organized at school and stay organized is to do a check-in every few days and provide feedback or treats to those who are keeping their desks organized.

These student organization ideas for upper elementary will help students get organized at school.

Staying on the topic of desks, one of the student organization ideas that doesn't happen at the start of the school year, but is essential to helping students stay organized at school, is to have students clean out their desks, folders, and book bags at the end of each term. As much as we try to keep students organized, papers can pile up quickly, so make sure to have students clear out their folders and book bags of any old papers that they will no longer need.

Students will have such a sense of relief starting off the new term without any extra clutter.

These student organization ideas for upper elementary will help students get organized at school.

Moving on to supplies, many students bring in extra supplies at the start of the year. While it's nice to have extra available, it can be a distraction. If you've communicated with parents that supplies would be used as community supplies, organize them in specific area. If each students will be using their own supplies, hold onto their extra supplies.

A great way to hold on to extra supplies is to use individual zip up bags and label them with each students' name.
These student organization ideas for upper elementary will help students get organized at school.

Another one of my favorite organization tips for students is to have students use an agenda to write down important events, homework assignments, and projects.

At the start of the school year, I teach students how to use the agenda and include:

  • what to write down
  • where to write it
  • how to cross off or checkmark the assignments they have completed
At my school, we are fortunate that the school provides each student with an agenda. However, each year, I have a few students that struggle with their Executive Functioning Skills. For those students, I provide them with a daily assignment agenda.

These student organization ideas for upper elementary will help students get organized at school.

This helps them make sure they have everything they need, resulting in them feeling less overwhelmed and helping them focus on one day at a time instead of seeing all of the week's assignments at once. 
These student organization ideas for upper elementary will help students get organized at school.

The last tip is to have the expectations up on the board informing students of what they should do immediately when they walk in. Providing a list helps students stay on task, focused, and organized.

For those students who lack Executive Functioning Skills, I have either had them use a dry erase marker to check off each step on the board as they accomplish it, or I have placed a copy of the expectations of their desk for them to be able to cross off. 

Informing students of the expectations and building these routines at the start of the school year will help the rest of the year run much smoother.
These student organization ideas for upper elementary will help students get organized at school.

There you have it!

Which one of the student organization tips shared in this post did you find most helpful? Let me know in the comments below. I'd love your feedback.




These student organization ideas for upper elementary will help students get organized at school.

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