It's the fourth year in a row that I have reorganised my desk in the classroom. In the past my desk consisted of two desks pushed together with trays of materials, loose papers, big folders, rulers, space for naughty kids and all the rest. Cluttered probably springs to mind. I guess in a way it was.
This year I've gone a bit minimalist, reduced down to a single desk and disposed of anything I don't need or use (Marie Kondo, I thank you).
Tidying up done, I kept what I thought were the best, most useful parts of any teacher desk. A few, busy weeks into the first term I'm still happy with the choices I've made.
So here it is, my most useful items to have on any teacher’s desk:
1. A jumbo sized desk tidy for all your stationery requirements
I found this wooden tray in my classroom a while ago when I was clearing up. I keep this on my desk within reach and store the majority of my stationery in here, everything from a hole-puncher to spare pencils for the class.
2. A big wad of sticky notes
My desk gets covered in these. There are some awesome ones out there in fancy shapes and pretty patterns but the bog-standard rainbow square is probably best (and cheapest) for quick notes and mini lists.
3. Stamps for books
Some of these were provided by the school but the majority I’ve had made up myself to save time when marking books. I’ll explain more about these in a later post, but in short they vary from literacy comments to homework grades to evidencing verbal feedback. Expensive but extremely useful.
4. A staple-free stapler
This was an impulse buy from a Muji store in London. It’s only small and you can’t expect it to staple big, thick documents but it’s great for quickly stapling a few things together for myself or the class. The kids were oddly fascinated by it.
5. A tray for organising loose documents
This tray was bought from Wilkinson’s and so far I’ve used it to store any loose papers I need to deal with by the end of the week. I like that it holds Kirby too.
6. Peer and Self assessment tickets
Both of the schools I trained at along with my current school like to see peer and self assessment in a lesson, so I try to have some little peer/self tickets on hand. I find they work well as a mini task in the middle of a lesson.
7. Highlighter pens in at least three colours
Sounds obvious but these are a life saver. My planner gets pretty full up early in the term and it’s easy to miss the important notes I scribbled amidst everything else...unless of course I highlighted them.
8. A termly tracker for all classes
I started using these in my second year of teaching to help me keep track of what I needed to complete with each class (in line with what the school asked for). Each term I print out a new one and track which class I’ve marked, along with whether I’ve set homework, assessed their literacy, completed a peer/self task etc. I mostly do it for myself but it’s great for evidencing what you do each term.
9. A mini whiteboard
An impulse buy but I think it was a good one - I use this mini whiteboard to take notes as I walk around the classroom. So far it’s mostly been used to show the class I’m assessing their work/behaviour and writing names down for ‘star of the lesson’. They definitely respond well to this!