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Having classroom volunteers can be a life saver! But unfortunately, we have to be organized enough before they arrive to make it worth while. That can be a little tricky, but over the years I have found a system that I think really helps. Check out these super useful tips for organizing volunteers in the classroom!
Getting Organized for Volunteers in the Classroom
Volunteers can be a huge asset to your classroom, but sometimes it takes all you’ve got to plan for what you and your students are doing, let alone another adult! Even though someone is coming in to help you, it can feel hard to manage or come up with ideas for volunteers to help with (though we can definitely use the help)!
I finally have a system for myself now where I don’t feel like I am wondering, “What will they do?” Or frantically trying to find those copies I need while the volunteer (and my class!) are waiting on me.
Organizing Clerical Work
I’m so grateful for volunteers that help me with clerical work. You know, all of the tracing, cutting, gluing, coloring, laminating, sorting, etc. In the end it saves me so much time, but sometimes it leaves me feeling so unorganized.
I found that I was so busy teaching, that those projects would get stuck on a table and get buried under piles, or pieces would get lost. It wasn’t as helpful as it should have been.
But, I now have a system for organizing clerical work for my volunteers in the classroom that has been so helpful! It seems so simple, but it really has made all the difference.
First, the “To-Do” bin. These are items that need to be taken care of. They stay in here until someone is able to start on them. This is super helpful, because if a parent shoots me an email asking if there’s anything I can send with their child that they could work on at home, I already have a bin ready to go!
Next, the “In Progress” bin. I tried two bins at first (To-Do and Finished) – but quickly realized that some projects take longer than others. So I needed a place to store those projects that didn’t quite get finished. So now, anything that we are in the middle of or didn’t finish goes in the “In Progress” bin.
Finally (my favorite bin), the “Completed” bin! This one is pretty self-explanatory. When my volunteers finish things out of the other bins, they get moved to this bin! Then I clean it out!
Organizing In Class Volunteers
I found a system for my clerical work but a bigger problem for me was organizing everything that my volunteers would do when they were in the classroom working with students.
I love having my volunteers work with small groups, and the kids get so excited to work with another grown up. But I did NOT want to be worrying on the day of about what they were going to do, or be spending time gathering the materials. So I developed the monthly “volunteer box” that literally has made my life so much easier!
At the beginning of the month, I look at our big themes and topics, and I gather games, books, activities, etc. that relate to and enrich what we are learning in class. I make all the copies (or have them in my clerical bins for helpers to make!), clip them together, and add them to the volunteer bin!
Spending an hour at the beginning of my month getting this box ready (or less if you have some of the work in your clerical bin!) is SO worth it. Plus, it makes it so easy for my parent volunteers. They just grab and go!
The best part is, I know that I have planned out meaningful things for my students to do that relate to our learning! My Volunteer Box has been a lifesaver for me, my volunteers, and my students!