Saturday, July 19, 2014

Bright Ideas Blog Hop: Help Students Keep Desks Organized

I'm linking up with the super fun Bright Ideas Blog Hop again, and here's my bright idea-- Desk Maps!

"Um, teacher? There's something growing in my desk. It's... squishy. It's hairy, too."
"I can't find my math book behind these papers."
"I had 60 pencils in here in September. Now I can't find one."
"Ow!!! My books keep falling out on my feet!"
"My desk won't... [jumps on desk] close!"
"Oh! Here's my homework from last month! [rip] Well, half of it!"

Sound like your students? Mine, too. That's why I started using Desk Maps! These are placed in students desks to show them exactly where all of their belongings should be stored. If it's not on the map, it stays in the backpack.

I made one for all of my students that I photocopied and laminated, but students could easily make their own if they have different desk setups.

To save ink, I made set student supplies on top of a sheet of paper and traced.

For my more concrete-thinking and younger students, I took a picture of the items on the desk map and made a color copy enlarged to 8 x 11.

Our desks have shelves, but for the desks that have opening lids, you could simply place the map on the underside of the lid, or on the bottom of the desk.

You could use small plastic bins from the dollar store to hold desk items. I've seen plastic drawer organizers used, too.

photo from

At the end of the day, I ring a bell, and all the students have to arrange their desks to match their desk maps. I have a student check desks for me. They make sure a sharpened pencil awaits them in the morning.

Big time saver!

If you enjoyed this bright idea, please consider joining me on Facebook, InstagramTwitter, and Teachers Pay Teachers for more ideas.

For more bright ideas more than 80 different bloggers, please browse through the link-up below, and choose a topic/grade level that interests you. Thanks for visiting!


  1. Thank you so much, Sra. Carro! You're welcome! Thanks for your comment!

  2. This is such a great idea. I am sharing this with my first grade teachers since I don't have desks.

    Mrs. Pauley’s Kindergarten

    1. Thank you so much, Amanda! I've seen teachers without desks do this on plastic bins so students have to put everything back exactly as they found it! Hope your colleagues like it! Thanks for your comment!

  3. This is a great idea for the kids that can't keep anything organized! I look forward to reading more of your blog!! I am also a special education teacher and I love finding new sped teachers! If you don't mind I am going to add your blog button to my list of sped blogs over at my blog!
    Mrs. H's Resource Room

  4. Thank you so much, Kim! I love finding new special ed teachers! Yay! Off to follow you now! I appreciate you putting my button on your blog! Thank you!

  5. Super smart! I bet that really helps your kiddos stay organized! The best part is, when they move on to their next teacher they will have practice keeping their area organized!!

    1. Oh, thanks, Haley! I hope so!! :) Thanks for your comment!

  6. How did I miss this last month - I thought I got through all of the bright ideas! I think this is pure genius and I can tell you that I will be trying it out FIRST thing back in September. Thank you so much - this is a fantastic blog and I will be back again!
    Whimsy Workshop Teaching

    1. Hi, Susana! I always accidentally skip a bright idea and then get super excited when I find it! I'm so excited you like the Desk Maps idea! You're welcome! Thanks for your comment!


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  8. Loved this idea so much! I just blogged about making team bucket maps (and linked to you of course for inspiration) and how much easier they have made my life!

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