First grade has attacked my living room, so if you walked into my house at this very moment, you wouldn't know how much I like organization. Piles are just not my favorite. A lengthy list of emails on my screen even feels like piles to me. So it makes sense that I like organization in my classroom, even inside those twenty-five student desks. I gasp inside when I see the disarray seeping from desks outside of the ones under my supervision. How can those kids find anything?!
Maybe I have OCD, but my fervor for organized kid spaces goes way beyond my appreciation for neatness. It seems obvious to me that disorganization slows down instruction. Precious minutes are lost if we have to stop and wait for the pencil, whiteboard marker, blue crayon, glue stick, etc. that can't be found. If this happens numerous times to numerous children throughout the day, those precious minutes add up fast. In my room, that pencil needs to be tracked down and ready to use by the time we've sung a song, recited a poem, or skip counted to 100. That doesn't happen if school tools are running around loose inside desks.
Some students are naturally organized like me. (Gotta love 'em.) For those who aren't, they learn to be if they're in my room. It helps that every Friday when the person who brought the Estimation Jar from home filled with delicious sweets, checks the insides of each desk before handing the candy over after our math lesson. Nothing can be floating - papers, pencils, erasers, crayons, you name it. This little trick is a lifesaver.
In my opinion, efficiency in the classroom can lead directly to student learning. (Routman would also agree. Gotta love her too.) We all have a boat load to accomplish in such a short time, often combined with insurmountable academic or behavioral challenges. Every minute counts, even the one lost trying to find that silly pencil.