Our list of 15 helpful organizational tools for teachers include:
- Microsoft OneDrive
- Google Drive
- Bulletin boards
- Pocket charts
- Project Cases
- A physical planner
- Rolling carts
- Storage caddies
If your school already uses Microsoft products regularly, then utilizing Microsoft OneDrive is a no-brainer when it comes to organizing your files and is arguably our number one choice in our list of 15 helpful organizational tools for teachers. This software is widely known as a cloud storage location, but there are many ways that you can use it to organize your classroom and your interactions with students and peers.
Microsoft OneDrive for Organizing Files
Microsoft OneDrive is available across several types of devices, so you can access the material you need on your smartphone, tablet, laptop, or desktop. As long as you can log into your account, you have access to your materials.
This cloud-saving feature is beneficial when moving from your classroom to house or swapping back and forth between in-person and remote teaching.
It also protects your files from accidental deletion or hardware issues. All your information is protected and stored online instead of storing everything on a network drive or taking up space on your devices.
You can download files or materials as needed and even edit them without internet access. Any offline edits made will automatically sync when you connect again.
Microsoft OneDrive for Organized Interactions
Microsoft OneDrive fits in nicely with Microsoft Teams and plays its part as a digital storage hub.
Files from OneDrive upload easily into teams, allowing you to chat and collaborate on these files in real-time. All progress is synced to the cloud to keep anything you work on up to date.
Files can be shared with students or colleagues without requiring them to download the items directly to their devices. This also ensures that they have the updated version of the file, and Microsoft’s Known Folder Move Group Policy will automatically sync content in shared folders.
Teachers can utilize the “request file” feature to request work from students, keeping them on track and noting when the request was made.
Microsoft OneDrive is the best of the best when it comes to our 15 helpful organizational tools for teachers.
Google Drive operates similarly to Microsoft OneDrive. It is a file-sharing device that stores material online. This allows users to access their material from almost any device compatible with Google products.
Google Drive Integrations
You can work with many different file types for Google Drive, but the service pairs seamlessly with:
- Google Docs
- Google Sheets
- Google Slides
These software options are similar to Microsoft Office products that can create documents, spreadsheets, and PowerPoints.
Teachers can easily create lesson materials and organize them into folders on their Google Drive when used together.
Google Drive and Organized Interactions
Google Drive can be used to manage virtual or technology-based classrooms.
Teachers can create folders for assignment submissions while keeping the folder private for their eyes only. This reduces any need for stacks of papers, and these online documents allow for in-line comments that do not cramp up the page (or your hand).
Google Forms can be used to complete class forms, such as contact information or surveys, and automatically collect the data into spreadsheets.
Next up on our list of 115 helpful organizational tools for teachers is Remind. While Remind is not a powerhouse for organizing your files, this is a fantastic tool to keep parents in the loop and on track with what is happening in the classroom. It also serves as a way to remind students about deadlines, homework assignments, or any scheduling changes.
Remind is a quick, easy, and private way to touch base. You can send messages to the entire class or work with smaller groups and even individuals, and as everything operates through the app, you can keep your personal contact information private. Messages on the app cannot be edited or deleted, so if you run into any problems, then the message history is easy to access and provide.
Remind as a Point of Communication
Remind provides an accessible and effective alternative to sending home notes, updating websites, or constructing emails. Messages are short and sweet at 300 characters or less, and they get the information you need across.
Remind sends out notifications through:
- Push notifications
This allows students and parents to use any device, including non-smartphones, to stay connected.
Remind also serves as a point of contact for parents and teachers, allowing both parties to send out private messages. Teachers can note their office hours, and parents can send over information such as PDFs or photos of permission slips to submit forms.
Our 4th option in our list of 15 helpful organizational tools for teachers is one of my favorite graphic design platforms of all time, and that is Canva. For those that love to present information visually, Canva can be the solution you have been looking for. This program can be used to organize information for yourself (such as schedules or lesson plans) or design stellar presentations.
Canva is a fantastic freemium tool used for many other graphic design applications, but teachers can find plenty of value in its visual appeal.
What Canva Has to Offer
If you do a quick search on Canva, you will find several existing templates, including lesson plans and worksheets. This program provides a unique approach to what you might otherwise organize as a text-only document, and it can improve the appearance and effect of these items.
Canva has millions of images and over 65,000 layouts to choose from, saving you time and keeping all the information in one place. You can also adapt anything you find to fit your specific needs, and you can copy any documents you make to keep everything as similar as possible.
One especially attractive feature is the integrated presentation mode. Not only can you organize information onto Canva’s slides, but you can run the presentation directly from the site, eliminating the need to adapt them to another slideshow program.
These presentations can also be shared as an interactive website where students can access the information without modifying any of it. This is perfect for self-paced assignments or virtual learning.
So there we are, Canva is an amazing graphic and visual design platform, and truly deserves its place on our list of 15 helpful organizational tools for teachers.
If you are looking to gather information from several abstract sources, Wakelet can be the perfect tool for you. While Pinterest deals with visual material and LiveBinders is a virtual version of a physical binder, Wakelet allows you to gather material such as:
- Social media posts
You can create and share lesson plans, group projects, assignments, and research folders for students to access, or you can use it to organize the material for personal use.
Wakelet and Student Interaction
One unique use for Wakelet is to create an area for students to interact with the lesson. By allowing them to submit content in an organized manner, you can:
- Encourage participation
- Access understanding
- Respond to the material
Wakelet can easily break up a mundane lesson plan or be another mode of connection for students learning online.
Pinterest serves as a popular search engine website and application for sharing ideas nd fits nicely as one of our 15 helpful organizational tools for teachers. You can pin content to different boards, similarly to mood boards or reference folders. These boards can be private for secret projects, and each can be broken down into sections for more straightforward navigation.
You can interact with boards and pins through comments and notes, and you can follow other users who pin and post content relevant to your needs.
Uses for Pinterest in a Classroom Setting
The most immediate use for Pinterest is to search and gather ideas for your classroom. There are hundreds of thousands of pins out there that apply to a variety of subjects on teaching alone, including
- Lesson plans
- Classroom organization
- The psychology of learning
Following major accounts on the platform can help you stay updated on organization trends and teaching hacks.
Pinterest can also be used to organize any teaching resources you accumulate. You can “pin” reference material such as articles or videos to a board to visit during a specific lesson or unit.
You can also seek out other boards that are similar to what you are looking for to see what materials others have found. This is similar to searching for information on Google, but it takes a more visual approach that some teachers may find more compelling.
Whether you are teaching in a classroom or at home, bulletin boards provide a great way to organize information and keep it available, and is a staple as one of our 15 helpful organizational tools for teachers.
You can decorate the bulletin board to fit your style or even update it for holidays and seasons. This is a fantastic place to post:
- Weekly updates
- Reference material
You can use as many as you need, and they preserve the integrity of your walls while allowing you to change up what is posted.
Pocket charts are another great tool to keep visual items on display and organized and are amazingly useful for educators, so we have included them as number 7 on our list of 15 helpful organizational tools for teachers. These items can be swapped out throughout the year (such as calendars), used to store items (such as name tags), or utilized for learning displays.
Pocket charts are great because they are easily stored when not in use, unlike bulletin boards, and you do not need to stick to the materials you are organizing. They can also accommodate a wider variety of items, including:
- Glue sticks
If you are teaching from home, pocket charts can keep visual material close at hand and organized, so you are not cluttering your desk.
If you have ever needed to carry around a heavy binder full of reference material, then you understand how beneficial a virtual binder may be.
LiveBinders provides a different approach to organizing materials found on the internet, and you can easily sort through items such as:
You can even include a Table of Contents in your binder for faster navigation.
The free version provides 10 binders with limited storage, while paid versions offer larger storage options, upgraded privacy, and collaboration features.
LiveBinders to Organize Lessons and Materials
As we get to the 2nd half of our list of 15 helpful organizational tools for teachers, let’s now talk about LiveBinders. With LiveBinders, you can create a tab for each grading period or unit and then upload materials such as:
- Class notes
- Additional resources
This gives students a point of reference if they want to review, and any students that miss the class can check the binder for these materials without needing to bother you or send you to the printer.
If you work with a substitute teacher that can handle the task, creating a LiveBinder with sub-adapted plans can help them keep the ball rolling while you are out of the classroom and is a great addition to our 15 helpful organizational tools to teachers
Next up on our list of 15 helpful organizational tools for teachers are Project cases offer the same organization as file folders as binders with added benefits.
These plastic cases can hold files, printed documents, and even materials that are not flat.
These provide the extra protection of a plastic case without requiring you to carry around a binder, deal with punching holes, or fuss with page protectors.
Cases can be labeled to differentiate between:
They are easy to carry from home to school, and they store easily in legal-size filing cabinets when not in use.
Organizing files and materials are important, but you need a tool that can keep track of your schedule as well. Any.Do is a highly recommended mobile manager that keeps track of your tasks, allowing you to create lists and view any important upcoming dates.
Any.Do is available on:
- Most browsers
- Mac OS X
With customizable themes and color-coding options, your schedule can be managed more effectively and seamlessly across devices.
Any.Do and Scheduling
Any.Do has many features to make planning a breeze which makes it a fantastic addition (in our opinion) to our list of 15 helpful organizational tools for teachers. It can serve as both a personal agenda and a work organizer, so you can see your personal life and teaching needs all in one place.
Tasks can be dragged to be reordered or deleted, and you can assign due dates to ensure you are prioritizing effectively.
Collaboration tools allow you to share lists and monitor progress, which can enable you to oversee work you are doing with other teachers or even students.
While a digital planner is great at keeping things on hand, nothing beats a paper planner. Many still prefer the physical way of planning things out, and this can be a therapeutic task for many. It also gives you a break from the screens that already gather so much attention.
A great physical planner will meet your planning needs, and it should be as structured or mouldable as you need. You should have different sheet layouts to help you organize your schedule, including:
Many teachers can utilize daily pages to stay on track with their lessons and ensure they are not spending too much time in one area. Having a section for checklists can help you keep track of details like attendance or homework completion, and a notes section is beneficial for any other information you want to keep on hand.
Trello is another web-based organizer that ended up on our list of 15 helpful organizational tools for teachers, that focuses on making cards and organizing them into lists within a board.
Each card is an item (such as a task or an idea), and you can move it to any list on the board depending on how you are organizing everything.
Trello expands on this idea, allowing you to add photos, attachments, documents, and even comments on these items. Boards can be shared for collaborative tasks, and Trello can be accessed through applications or browsers.
Trello’s To-Do Lists
A simple way to stay organized with Trello is to keep track of any tasks you need to work on, moving them through lists such as “to-do,” “doing,” and “done” to have a visual eye on what you accomplish.
You can also prioritize these tasks by organizing them into lists like:
- This week
- Next Week
Trello allows you to add labels, which can help you differentiate between classes or subjects, and you can add on due dates and reminders to keep you on top of things. You can view tasks in list format or look at them laid out on a calendar.
Checklists can be used inside of each card to break tasks down into smaller steps, and paid plans can add due dates to these bite-sized tasks.
Trello Boards and Organization Ideas
Beyond managing your tasks, a Trello board can be used to organize resources that you gather.
You can create a board for a specific lesson or unit, then list out different types of content or categories within that lesson. By attaching PDFs, links, and documents to the card, you can collect resources applying to a specific subject in one place.
You can create an entire lesson plan, complete with all the necessary documents and reference material, in one area. You can even add comments to the card, providing feedback on how each lesson went and what you want to change next time you teach it.
Number 14 on our list of 15 helpful organizational tools for teachers are rolling carts or wheeled organizers for the classroom. Rolling carts are becoming an organizational staple in classrooms because they:
- Are easy to find
- Do not take up much space
- Allow you to move material without displacing it
You can modify a rolling card with command hooks or additional baskets to accommodate specific storage needs, but most are able to handle usually classrooms supplies such as:
- Material boxes
The most common rolling cart you will find is the three-tiered variety, but many craft stores will have larger options.
If you are looking for another mobile way to organize classroom supplies, storage caddies might be a better solution. These can be used to create a supply station for specific tables, or they can be project-based.
They keep writing utensils upright and prevent them from rolling on the ground, and you can easily host all the supplies a student may need right at their seat.
If you want to maintain this level of portability but need more space, there are larger options available.
So, that was our 15 helpful organizational tools for teachers.
In this list, we hope there is something for everyone, from technological organizational marvels to old skool planners, we have tried to cover a wide variety of tastes to appeal to all teachers.
All of these tools are to make your life as a teacher easier and to speed up your workflow, whether you are in the classroom, teaching over zoom, or marking homework at home, we’ve got you covered.
If you have any tools you use which are not on this list, we’d love to hear about them in the comments.
If you do use any of the items we have listed in this post, we would equally love to hear about your experiences in the comments.
Catch you soon
Hey, I’m Kris Taylor. I’m a Learning and Development professional currently in the healthcare field, with over 8 years of experience in the area of corporate education. I have created numerous instructional content for various corporate projects including eLearning, in-person facilitation, and virtual training across a wide variety of learning interventions and sectors. On Taughtup, I discuss topics ranging from how to succeed through K-12 to college all the way to instructional design tips for L&D designers.