Check out these great lab organization tips written by another great science teacher-author, Liezel Pienaar!
I have spent most of my 16 years in the classroom as the only Science teacher at a school. Yes, me, myself and I being the whole Biology, Chemistry and Physics departments! Throw in some Maths and Geography and you get an idea of my normal teaching load. As a result of this, I had to develop some strategies to remain organized.
- I use a planner!
I would be lost without my Erin Condren Teacher Planner. My life is in there! We have a digital format for lesson plans and yearly planning, etc. but I still prefer paper when it comes to my weekly planning. I use the checklists for keeping track of work handed in and students who have missed lessons and presentations.
And then there is the small added bonus of pretty stickers…
2. File Organizers!
I’ve found these beauties at our local container shop. I have labelled them for my different subject groups. They live on a shelf at my desk and students know to look for work that they missed, mark schemes to worksheets and extra notes in there. I also keep a stash of laminated periodic tables in the Chemistry one. Students will come and get one when they need it for work. They always return things that are laminated, so it works well and I always have Periodic Tables on hand.
3. Laboratory Cupboard Checklists!
All of the cupboards in my lab have little lists stuck on the inside of the door. Each list shows exactly what should be on each shelf. It is really helpful when I have students help with clean-up. They know where everything should go. It is a huge timesaver whenever I have to take an inventory of lab equipment. I can also easily see whether I need to order extras for practical exams.
4. A Weekly Lab Prep List!
I love a list. It helps me to keep my sanity. I have lists for everything! I use this weekly lab prep list to plan my labs for the week. I can quickly see what I need to do when and what I need to buy.
5. Lab equipment sign out list!
We have an elementary and middle school on the property and they also make use of my lab equipment. It is crucial to keep track of who has what. I always joke that I still have pregnancy brain 5 years on and without this list I probably won’t have anything left in my lab.
6. Task Card sign out list!
My students do a lot of independent work and they love to use my Biology task cards for review before tests and exams. I allow them to take sets home as long as they have filled out the sign out form. I keep this checklist near all of my sets so they can sign them in and out.
7. Plastic Trays!
I use plastic trays to organize my labs. Each student will get a tray with all the equipment and chemicals needed for a lab. At the end it is easy to clean up as they just return everything to their trays and place it on the countertop next to the basin. This is really useful when I have labs running consecutively and don’t have any prep time in between. I just get the next set of trays out and we are ready to go!
What other tips do you have for organizing everything in your science classroom? Leave a comment and let us know!
If you’d like more tips for organizing paperwork in your classroom, check out these blog posts:
Organizing using Color in the Secondary Classroom
Weekly Lab Setup Tips for Teachers
Libel Pienaar is from South Africa. She lives in Cape Town with her husband and her 5-year old daughter, Maja. She has a degree in Biochemistry and a PGCE. She has taught in London as well and she is currently the Head of High School at a Montessori School. You can find her here on Teachers Pay Teachers at The Lab, and on Facebook here and on Instagram here.