The Easiest way to be an Organized Kindergarten Teacher

The Easiest way to be an Organized Kindergarten Teacher

Class Lists for Kindergarten

You might be surprised that I do not have a super complicated organization system in Kindergarten- but there is a fantastic reason for that.  My students need ALL my time.  There are typically a LOT of them.  Many of them have special needs- so when my students are in the room, I am focused on them.  However, I need to record their learning, progress and observations.  I do some of this by sharing an online portfolio with the parents.  Over the years I have used Seesaw, FreshGrade, and ClassDojo, but this year I will be using BrightSpace.  My teaching partner and I need our own place to quickly jot down, track, and record student progress and areas we need to work on. So I have the easiest system to share with you today.  Enter the workhorse of Kindergarten…my class list. (And a link for the free templates at the bottom of this post!)

How I use my Class Lists in Kindergarten

At school I document in two ways- with my phone taking photos and anecdotal notes in an app like Brightspace portfolios, Google Keep, Seesaw, class Dojo, or my personal favourite, FreshGrade.  But often, I use a clipboard and a class list. It is easy, fast, and really helpful especially at the beginning of the year when you can’t really take your eyes off some of your students that are still starting to develop their self control skills!  For years I taught in a classroom with 7 exits- two of which led directly outside, and the rest leading to an open concept school with over 20 other external exits!!! There was no way I was able to track on a device while making sure one of my 30 friends didn’t suddenly bolt for a door.  Each educator in our room has a clipboard, and we make ongoing observations on them. Some mornings as we pull down the chairs and prepare our classroom for student entry we decide what our focus might be for that day, and everyone puts that at the top of their clipboard to be the focal point of our observations that day.

My Class Lists

I make these in an ordinary Google Doc and make them alphabetical by first name.  I make 4 types of class lists that get me through most of my year! 

Basic classroom class list

I put my name and my teacher’s partner name at the top.  I add the school year. Then I make a table with 5 columns and 30 rows.  I leave the first row blank. The first column gets numbers.  The second gets names- alphabetically listed by FIRST name.  I also put an asterisk * beside any student with a life threatening situation so any staff or volunteer is aware as long as they have ANY copy of my class list.

The rest remain blank.  (These are made up names for the purpose of sharing with you) It ends up looking like this:

Basic classroom class list for Kindergarten

I then copy that entire page and paste it below three times.

Multi-step project Class List

For the second Class list that I use more like a checklist I add four more columns. This works great for checking off tasks, or monitoring progress.

Kindergarten checklist class list how to

Anecdotal note class list

The third Checklist I actually get rid of most of the columns so I can write a whole sentence.  This works really well for recording what students say about a task or while playing in a centre.

Anecdotal notes Kindergarten class list how to

Name and school year class list

The fourth is actually something I use for art and STEM projects.  

I replace the number column with our school years (for example, this year 2020-2021), I use only first names, and repeat this twice.  When we do a fabulous project where we might paint over our names by accident, we slice up this list, fold the tags over, attach these name tags with tape.  It makes a cute craft even more of a keepsake.  I’ve done this with many of the wooden ornaments we have created in class.

Name and school year Kindergarten class lists for art, STEM and STEAM

Top Tips

Don’t print all your lists right away- I usually get 5-6 new names right before school starts up.

A couple days before school begins I print just a few of the updated ones with spots at the bottom for walk-in registrations (we have some every year!) and at the end of the first week of school I print an updated version.

Lists for the First day of school

First Day of School lists for Kindergarten Teachers

HOW DO I GO HOME?

For the first day of school I print several lists.  The first has the heading: HOW DO I GO HOME? As I meet each child, I ask the caregiver they arrive with if the child will be picked up by our in-school day care, take a school bus, or be picked up by a family member or caregiver.  This list gets posted inside our exit door as soon as we walk in.

How do I go home from school Kindergarten class list

URGENT!

I also ask if there are any allergies, or any other urgent things I need to know immediately and I write them down on my second chart- the one with the long line for information- because of my goodness that first day is so busy I KNOW I WON’T REMEMBER who is deathly afraid of thunderstorms, and who carries an epi pen and three inhalers, and who is in a custody battle at risk for abduction, and who can’t use the classroom hand soap because their skin is too fragile. All absolutely vital and possibly life altering if I don’t know and keep it straight!!!  Also a few parents like to let me know it is the FIRST TIME that their child is wearing underwear and not a pull-up so could I please sit them on the potty every 20 minutes…That first day drop off is no joke! And we want everyone to have a safe, positive and fun day!!!  Ms. Flowers and I both read this URGENT list over as soon as possible and try to immediately safety the room depending on the information. (One year we had to confiscate all the apples from snack bags to prevent anaphylaxis that first day!)

First day urgent list when parents meet the teacher Kindergarten first day

BIG QUESTIONS

The third list I use to jot down any pressing questions that I want answers to as soon as possible about a child, for example, if a child didn’t come with a lunch is it because it was forgotten, or are they experiencing food scarcity, or do parents maybe not read in English so they didn’t know that one was required…? Of course in all the business my statement might look more like a quick all caps LUNCH WHY??? But that way at the end of the day I know that I would need to send a note or email the bus friend’s parents, chat with the daycare teachers, or ask the caregivers at the pick up door and get my answers so our next day is even better.

First day of Kindergarten list for teachers.

Free Google Doc Templates for Kindergarten Class Lists

If you are pressed for time- and what teacher isn’t? I have my Google Doc Templates available for you.  Click on the link, and then make yourself your own copy! You can then edit all the lists quickly with your class list and be ready for the first day of school!  You can’t edit on my copy- it won’t work- so make sure you make your own and name it something smart like Class Lists 2020-2021 so you can find it!

Free google templates for Kindergarten Class Lists
I’m a link! Click on the image to get to the templates!

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