Classroom systems are important for every teacher to have in their classroom. Read on to learn the 4 classroom systems I think are the most important.
What is a classroom system?
Classroom systems are the organization of your things. In other words, think about a classroom system as how you set up and organize your classroom routines.
Your classroom is full of routines (or it should be) that your students follow according to the expectations you have set up. Things like how to turn in papers, lining up, and what to do at dismissal are just a few routines you might have. How you have organized and set up these routines is what I consider a classroom system.
I love a good system. Keep reading to learn the 4 classroom systems you absolutely need to have in your classroom.
Classroom System #1 - Classroom Management System
The first and most important classroom system you need is a classroom management system. The best classroom management system is one that easily works for you and that you can maintain each day. I personally feel that classroom management systems that have a lot of parts can get too overwhelming to keep up with.
Your classroom management system should adapt as you find what works best for you. When I first started teaching I used a clip chart. After just a couple of years I revamped the clip chart system into a positive reward system. Parts of this system I still use today.
My classroom management system consists of my classroom rules, my rewards and consequences, and my parent communication. How I have organized this system allows the students to understand my expectations and follow them. If setting up a classroom management system is a struggle for you, check out my classroom management course - the CLASSroom Management Adventure.
Classroom System #2 - Paper Organization
The next classroom system that I feel all teachers should have is paper organization. As teachers, we deal with a lot of paper. Having a system for organizing all this paper is necessary to keep on top of the paper clutter.
My paper organization system is how I collect papers, grade papers, make copies, and pass out papers. Having a system for how I deal with the paper that comes through my classroom on a daily basis makes showing students those routines simple.
It’s really important to decide on your process for how you want to handle all the paper. For example, I have a three-drawer unit that sits in front of my desk that is labeled for copies to make, papers that need grading, and things that need filing. I love this part of the system because it provides an exact routine for where to put these types of papers.
Memos placed in my mailbox can go right into the filing drawer. Assignments gathered from the class can go in grading. When I work on my lesson planning, I can put the masters in the copy drawer so they don’t get misplaced when I’m ready to copy. Knowing the system makes creating a routine of dealing with all the paperwork a breeze.
Classroom System #3 - Classroom Jobs
The third classroom system is for classroom jobs. Teaching is hard so why not have students help you make it easier?
One of my favorite classroom systems is student jobs. I love utilizing a small set of jobs to run my classroom. Having less jobs, for me, means it is easier to track the jobs and students have a better understanding of my expectations.
Students love to help out the teacher so this classroom system is not only helping students gain more responsibility and ownership of the classroom, but it is allowing you to work a little less. Talk about a win-win!
If you’d like to know more about my exact system for classroom jobs, check out my post Streamlining Jobs for Students in the Classroom.
Classroom System #4 - Lesson Planning
The last of the classroom systems every teacher needs is a system for lesson planning. With the tough year of giving up preps to cover other classes, it’s more important than ever to have a system for planning that saves you time.
I found that the system that works best for me is to batch plan. This means that when I sit down I am planning for one subject at a time. Often I will plan out one or two weeks this way. When I plan for only one subject it is easier to stay focused on student objectives and my planned outcome.
In the past when I planned for an entire day before moving onto the next, it took me a lot longer. I also found myself having to go back and look at my teacher manuals and worksheets more frequently to keep on track.
Now my planning goes fast because I have a set system and a routine. My batch planning system means I can write my plans within 1 or 2 planning periods. Another part of my system that allows this to work is that my lesson plans have a template. I simply plug in the new information for the week without needing to write everything from scratch.
As I plan, I print a master copy and put it in my copy drawer. I only make copies when I have everything for the following week (sometimes two weeks) together. This makes running the copies go faster. I also put the copies in the order I will be using them so when I get back to my classroom I can load them into the correct files right away.
Think about a classroom system that would work best for you. Maybe you want to set aside a specific day to write the lessons and make the copies like I do. Part of your system should also include managing what to do with the copies or materials you need.