On this page I have tried to brainstorm all the things I do to keep myself and students organized.  Teachers sift through so many papers daily that it is easy for a  paper to suddenly "disappear."  Or a student will say that the teacher lost the work!

When thinking about getting your room organized, keep in mind the "flow" of your room.   I like to break my room into different areas and then organize within that area.  For example my areas would be my desk, the reading table, the back counter, classroom library, the writing area and bookshelves at the front of the room.  By thinking about these areas, I can think how I want to organize.  To see pictures of my room, click here.  The pictures I have posted are still a work in progress-  I am still moving in!!

If you have any tips to add, please email me!  You will get credit for your ideas! 

Please make sure to click on any photographs to enlarge them.  The photographs will open in the same button, so please make sure to hit the BACK button!

 

 

 

  

Organizing Students

Where to Turn in Work

Updated 8/06

  • I have baskets that students must turn in all work to.  I have the baskets labeled to cut down on any confusion of where papers go.  I ALWAYS write directions or each assignment on the board, especially in the beginning of the year, and I always include which box to turn work into to.

 The yellow box is Reading, the blue is Reading, the red is Social Studies. These large baskets are sitting on a shoe organizer from Bed Bath and Beyond.  In the white shelf I have other baskets.  The yellow file folders are my absent work.  The two green baskets saw homework (one for homework assigned by myself, the other is for homework assigned by the teacher I team teach with).  On the very bottom I gave a green flip top box top hold extra pencils, a flat green basket to hold tape, stapler and hole punch.  I have one more basket for work on the bottom labeled morning work (bell work).

Ms. Pollard emailed and shared (yeah!  someone wants to share!) how her students turn in work.  "When my students complete their work, they put it in that subject's folder. (Each student has his own number.  They're supposed to put them in the folders in order, but this doesn't usually happen.)  At the end of the day, I take the papers out, take them home, and grade them."

 When I moved into the trailer I had to scale  down the area where materials were turned in.  There simply was not enough room to use the large colored crates.  Also, I noticed with the bigger crates allowed me to put off my grading and I had HUGE stacks to grade at one time.  I switched to the letter trays that can be found at office supply stores like these:

 

On the side of the letter trays I glued on labels for each subject area and students turned in work to this specific tray. Here are printable labels if you would like to down load and print the labels:

Turn In Tray Labels in PDF

Turn In Tray Labels in Word

Graphics from Cotton Tail Graphics were used and the font is Tinker Toy from Fonts for Kids.  If you do not have  this font, the labels will down load and look better as a PDF file. Or you can click on the title to browse the site.

Emmy shared a wonderful tip to brighten up these letter trays: "I just had to tell you that I have lots of stacking
plastic trays.  I always spray paint them.  They've been red, yellow, blue in addition to their original color...  It really helps to have the room look neat." I emailed her back and asked some questions about the paint she used and she responded "Well, I bought the plastic spray paint and the cheapest spray paint as well as a good quality spray
paint.   In actuality, I usually use the cheap paint on the trays.  They've been every color.  They take the paint very well." 

What a great idea to brighten up the room and you can color code subjects!

Here is a picture of the area work will be turned in in my new classroom. I have the letter stackers on top of a microwave cart I bought at Target.  In the pull out baskets below are office supplies for the kids (stapler, whole punch, tape, etc), clinic notes and notes for the counselors and the very bottom basket will be for library books.
 

Go back to the top

The Desk Monster

  • Students know that they are NEVER allowed to put ANY paper on my desk. Period.  I tell the desk monster eats it and I am not responsible for any paper that is put, or lost on my desk.  We have way to many professional paper floating around our desk to have students papers on it to!

Go back to the top

Cubbies Instead of Desks

Because students do not have tables, I needed to come up with a way to organize student materials.  I had my father and husband team together to build cubbies.  It wasn't cheap.  The cost of the wood to make this cost about $100, but they still look brand new after a year.

Each student has their own cubby.  Each cubby is labeled with a neon sticker with the student's name on it in case they forget which cubby is theirs. Every Friday we have "Cubby Clean Out Day" during morning work so students must clean out their cubby.  I encourage students to put all papers in their binders, not lying stray in their cubby.  It doesn't always work (see the middle cubby!) but many students do keep it clean.  This is a picture Friday morning before students have cleaned out the cubbies.

Another teacher emailed me (Ms. Pollard) and said in her classroom they  use interlocking plastic crates to hold the students' books.   I am imagining the Yaffa blocks that we used in college, or plastic milk crates.

Go back to the top

 Keeping Cubbies or Desks Clean

After surfing the net. I have found some wonderful ideas for how to help students keep there own area organized. This year in the beginning of the school I am going to ask students to help me brainstorm what a clean and organized cubby would look like.  Then I will draw a diagram that is labeled and hung it near the cubbies as a reference for their cubbies.  On Fridays, I will ask students to clean and organize their cubbies according to the picture.  I got this idea from Ms. Powell's website.

Go back to the top

Labeling Student Materials

I don't know WHY it took me forever to figure this out, but I have just discovered a love for labels! Here is how I impletmented this in the beginning of  the year..

One of the most difficult part to the beginning of the year (to me at least!!) is getting everyone's supplies ready.  This is SUCH a headache to me!  I actually dread taking out all the pencils and crayons and spiral notebooks because there is always stuff the kids DON'T need mixed in there and the supplies breed and take over their desks and area.

 

This year I found a way to simplify it. My grade level requested specific colored supplies.  This made everything SO MUCH EASIER!  Here is what I did:

First I decided what each supply would be used for (see above)

Then I used address label stickers to create a label for each subject area.  On the address label is the child's name and number and the subject area.  However the BEST part is I color coded the labels.  For example our writing folder is yellow and I knew we would all use a yellow folder for this.  So, for the writing label is says the child's name and number, and then writing folder in YELLOW.  Each child will also have a writers notebook (composition book).  On this label is the child's name and number and Writer's Notebook all in YELLOW.  The kids know all the yellow label things stay together. Here is an example of a label page.  I cut the page into thirds and each child got a "strip" of labels.

 

 It was SO much easier to label supplies this year. The kids understood it and it took no time at all.  In fact, I was really shocked.  I collected all but two of their pencils (unless they were cool colored ones- I only took yellow pencils), dry erase markers, extra highlighters and pens, and notebook paper.  I will use these to replenish the supplies as a class.

 

The kids kept their own crayons, scissors and markers.  instead of a pencil box or pouch which can break or fall out of the desk, This year I collect 20 white Sterilite baskets.  I purchased them 3 for $1.00.  I thought $7.00 for a class set was great! They are perfect for holding pencils.  Students keep all their markers, crayons, scissors and so on in the little baskets and two pencils in the tray in the front.  The white basket fits perfectly in the desk between their books and folders.  Also, it is really easy for kids to get supplies because all they have to do, is slide it out!

Go back to the top

 

 

Getting the Teacher Organized

This is the hardest part of teaching!  We have to keep up with so many people and so many things that by the time it is time to take care of ourselves we are exhausted!  I like to keep things simple so here are some of my more simple ideas.

Sending Home a Weekly Folder

Updated 8/06

Every week we send home a folder on Fridays.  inside this folder is student work, flyers and information from the school and teachers and a conduct and work habits grade.  To keep all this organized I have a Friday Folder box.

In a crate I have several hanging file folders label 1 to 26.  Each student has been assigned a number.  At the back of the crate  I keep all the Friday Folders that have been signed. Whenever I grade any papers that need to be retuned on Friday, I stick them in the Friday Folder basket.  Students then file them in the correct folder.  Same thing for flyers: anytime I receive any flyers or newsletters in my box I put them at the front of the Friday Folder box so students can file  them.  This is very easy, because I do not do the majority of the work.  Students can file during free time when work is completed or bus call.

This year I decide to splurge.  I have really been wanted a literature sorter to use for my Friday Folders, but could not justify a $75 purchase.  Last weekend I went to Office Max during their Teacher Appreciation weekend.   I found this literature sorter for only $54.99!

Even better, inside the bags Office Max was giving away was a $10 off a $50 dollar purchase!  With tax I paid a little over $47 dollars!  I was VERY pleased.  I have hunted around and even without the coupon, this was the best price I found.

There are 24 compartments and I am hoping I will have no more than 24 students.  On top of the literature sorter is a plastic basket for work that needs to be filed.  I labeled each "box" with a number instead of student names so the boxes can be used year after year!

Here is a picture of the literature sorter.  On top I have a labeled basket for work that needs to be filed in the Friday Folder boxes and a pencil sharpener on top as well.  It is right next to my refrigerator on the back counter.

Go back to the top

Teacher's Desk

Here is a picture of my desk.

It is not the neatest desk in the world but I can find most anything I need.  I always keep my plan book open and any books I use during my plans (like the F&P Guided Reading book) in the center of desk.    The clipboards are my behavior management boards.  The small white basket at the far end holds any parent letters. I have bought several of the carbon copy preprinted letters from The School Box.  These are a life saver because I always have a copy of any note I have sent home.  The clear box is our pet frog (Bubba or Krystal-we are still voting on his name!)

Here is a more recent picture of my desk.  You can see that I have moved the black stackers that hold worksheets to a shelf behind my desk 9out of view of the photo). Since my desk is not near a bulletin board, I created my own!  I bought the four corkboard titles from Wal-Mart and used the stickers provided and hot glue to hang them up!

Keep Track of Worksheets and Materials

    This little black stacker thing is my life saver. I have one stacker for each day of the week.  I put any copies, notes, pictures books I will read, or cut paper for projects in this stacker in the day I will use it. For example, my Monday box (orange sticker) has the reading inventory copies, the book Tacky the Penguin, examples of logos and my example logo in that box.  On days where I have multiple sets of copies for students, I criss-cross the stacks so they do not get mixed together.

     I clean out the stackers at the end of the week and file away any papers, turn in any books or put away any unused paper.  The reason I wait until the end of the week is so if a student loses a copy, I have them right there in this stacker.

    The very top basket is my "junk basket."  Things that don't have a home yet, like Scholastic book order forms to send home and a parent information form that each parent filled out about their child.

Go back to the top

 Keeping Up with Student Information/ Portfolio

     I have a large clear, plastic file box with a lid.  Inside are numbered hanging file folders.  Each student has a corresponding number.  Any student information (notes, IEP, tests, work samples, parent communication) gets dumped in the front of the box.  Occasionally during bus call I will haul the box out and file everything.

I  keep papers that I need to access often or documents that are related to the data I have to collect on each student  separate.  I keep this in the binder I mention in the section below called Important Information.

This is the same picture as above (sorry) but I wanted to show the new way I am keeping up with students portfolios.  I felt the file box was too much of a pain to drag out and ending up stacking papers on top rather than filing them.  I found this rolling filing cart at Office Depot at the end of last school year. I got a great deal.  It is normal about $50 and I paid $25. I like it because I can file the papers immediately.  If I don't have time, I can stack the papers on top until I get to it, but the papers are not hidden so it is not "out of sight, out of mind!" It is actually a two tiered cart, but I don't need the second tier (yet) so I am using the bottom shelf to store black file folders so I can grab them quickly.

 Go back to the top

 

 Important Information

     I keep a binder with test information that I might need at any given moment (class profile sheet, running records, school wide goals, list of writing stages and reading stages, etc).  I call this my class date binder.  I have a section for each item.  In the front I keep my class profile sheet (this is a really cool paper my school requires us to do.  It is basically a giant spreadsheet of abilities, reading, writing and math bench mark test scores for the beginning, middle and end of the school year.  I just look at his one sheet for all the info).  After this paper I have dividers for school goals, running records (a paper clips separates beginning and mid year) and my personal professional goal info.

Go back to the top

Organizing Centers

This can be really tough.  I tried to figure out a simple way to organize centers.  This is my new plan.  First of all, I need to clarify that I do not actually use centers during the school day, I do not care for them personally (to each his own!).  HOWEVER, we have had so many problems with morning work when students get off the bus until the bell rings. Students trickle in from 8:20am to 8:50am. We were never getting work from students who came in with the bell.  Centers were our solutions. Have students prepare for the morning (unpack book bags, turn in homework, copy down tonight's homework, turn in lunch money, etc.) then they may play with a game or center until the bell.  They love it and it is easy on me.  You can read  more about how I use centers in the classroom as well as free printable centers on my Centers page.

I used an old cardboard shoe contain I got free from a next door neighbor who was moving.  Each little cubby holds a different center.  Students know when they are finished, they need to return the center as clean as they found it to an empty cubby.  I did not label the cubby on purpose because I want to use it for several different kinds of centers.

Go back to the top

Keeping Track of Dates

This is an idea that I got from my partner teacher.  It is so simple I cannot believe I had never thought of it!

 

Teachers have so many dates to keep track of, assembly dates, parent conferences, student birthdays, faculty meetings and the list goes on and on.  At one point I had a desk calendar (the large calendars that lie flat on the desk with one month per large tear off page).  While I like this idea, I found myself laying my plan book over the dates so I couldn't see the dates!  It defeated it's purpose for me.

 

That's when I noticed what my teaching partner did.  She used the old fashioned plan book with the six boxes per day, five days on a two sheet spread.  She saved the last box and wrote down any important dates and the assigned homework for that night in this block. 

 

So now I always use the far right block because it is easy to scan down the right column and see if there is anything I need to prepare for.  I have gotten in the habit of penciling in when I have a sub (for those times you know you will out) and a few days in advance penciling in that I need to make sub plans.  I write down any papers that are due to the administration in this block.  Talk about easy!

 

I have actually moved from using a traditional planning book and now use a computer template. Click here to see examples of my planning template as well as other teacher's lesson plan templates.  In my most recent template I have a section for each day of the week for important reminders, and also a section for my to do list for the week.

Go back to the top

Keeping Track of Those Great Ideas

I find SO many GREAT ideas on the internet. So many, that it is hard to keep track of how or when I want to sue the.  Most often I find these sites and ideas when I am at home.  Usually, I email the link or the idea to myself at school.  When I get to school I print the idea or link and file it in the appropriate file folder at my school.  This way, when I am planning I unit I find the idea and web address so I can return to it.

 

Another great way to organize ideas is found on  on Ms. Powell's site.  She has a sheet that she has created to get all of those ideas on one piece of paper.  It is a great resource!

http://mspowell.com/planning.html

Go back to the top

Keeping Track of Permission Slips/ Collecting Money

     It is the little things that overwhelm me in teaching.  Collecting the Scholastic book order money, keeping track of student picture money or field trip permission slips and money.  Ahh!  Just the  thought of it all stresses me out.

Field Trip/ Scholastic/ Money Collected  

Here is what I have been doing that REALLY keeps me organized and on my toes.  I bought a huge box of the mailing clasp envelopes.  Whenever I am collecting field trip money and permission slips, I grab one of these envelopes.  I print out a copy of my class list and staple it to the front of the envelope.  Whenever a student turns in the permission slip, I put it in the envelope and cross off their name.  If a student brings in money and a permission slip, I cross off the name and mark "PAID" next to the name.  I keep all the money in a smaller clasp envelop inside the big envelope and track the money on a form we are required to use by the school (which ALSO stays in the big envelope).  It works perfectly and everything is in the same spot.

Forms From Home

In the beginning of the school year we are required to send a home a billion forms to sign and collect.  Here is  how I keep track of these.  It is very similar to field trip collection.  I print out a copy of my class list and staple it to a file folder.  I label the tab with the name of the form (Ex. Student Handbooks) Whenever a student brings back a form I put it in the folder and cross off the name.  Each day I write a list of students missing the forms on the board so they know they are missing the form.  When I finish collecting all the papers, I either turn them in to the correct school personnel, or I put the entire folder in my file box of student portfolios (I have a hanging folder in the very back to hold these kinds of files).

Go back to the top

Notes from Meetings

     This is really classy.  For my faculty notes I just use a spiral notebook.  Any handouts for meetings get stuck in the spiral notebook.  If I need them, I know where they are.  I have NEVER had to pull these out before, but I got them if I need them.  My "plan book" is actually a binder with all these cool pockets.  I keep the staff meeting spiral notebook zipped in one of the pockets and pull it out when I go to ANY meeting (and we have plenty).  I find it easier to keep all my meeting notes in one spiral.

Go back to the top

Grading Papers

           This is the one area that was a HUGE struggle for me when I first began teaching.  I have somewhat come up with a system. 

Keeping these papers to grade  organized:

First, I never, ever remove any papers from the work turn in baskets until I am ready to look at them.  If they are ready to grade I put them in my plastic drawers.  This is the cheap $6.00 plastic box with three drawers from Wal-Mart.  I use the top drawer for my class, the second drawer for the other class I teach, and the bottom drawer for any papers I use very often (rubrics, mystery state or Star Student certificates.  Whenever, the drawer is full, I HAVE to spend time grading.  This helps prevent to HUGE stack that I used to let build up.  The drawers are only about 3 1/2 inches tall so they don't hold many papers!

 

Updated 8/06- I have gotten to the point where I no longer move the papers from the turn in baskets to the plastic drawers. I simply take the work out of the baskets and grade them immediately at the end of the day, or stick them in my bag to grade at home or at the doctors office or so on.  Whenever I take them out of the basket to grade at home I clip them with a paper clip, and I stick them in a plastic clasp folder.  This keeps them from being loose in my teacher bag, which can be dangerous.

 

 

 

Using Rubrics to Grade

I personally use a rubric for MANY things I grade!  All projects are graded with a rubric and all writing is graded with a rubric.  A teacher who retied a few years ago gave me the neatest thing.  It is a stamp that she had made at Home Depot/ Staples.  On it is (I am doing this from memory so forgive me if it isn't perfect!)

Neatness___________

Work Complete___________

Work Correct ___________

Time Used _____________

And one more that I can't remember!   Anyway the point of this is now I simple stamp the rubric on the back of any Social Studies or Reading project and it is simple to grade.  I love this!

 

Managing the Grading Load

 I also have students grade their own papers.  Same rules, nothing out but a marker or colored pencil.  The only thing I want to add is I only let studentís grade simple papers themselves, like multiple choice or fill in the blank.  I find it is quicker and I am not wasting class time.  My problem is I feel guilty for using class time to grade so this is a compromise for me!

 

 When students are taking tests I try to grade them as they turn them in, this way I have a few graded before the test is actually over and have cut down on my list.  since students generally finish at different times, I can have 20-25 minutes of down time to grade papers as they trickle in.  Also, students love to have immediate feedback and love knowing their test grade before they leave!

 

Also, I have been teaching mini lessons in reading.  I do not generally use the basal, but have found it very helpful for my mini lessons.  When I teach a skills based mini lessons we do a different activity that I make up (a game or something).  Then to assess the mini lesson I use a practice sheet from our basal.  These are in the student workbooks so I do not need to make copies and usually, these kinds of sheets are VERY easy to grade (about 5-7) problems.

 

When you are creating your own test and quizzes that you will grade be very aware of the total number of questions.  This is so obvious, but took me forever to think of it on my own!  I try to keep the total number or questions 5, 10, 20 or 25 because I can immediately calculate the grade in my head and do not need to use an EZ grader or calculator.

 

Circular Folder

 

 

 Next, it is OK to throw papers away!  This was another huge struggle for me.  I never knew when it would be "OK' to throw them away.  Now I go by this rule of thumb:  is it practice or have they had time to grasp it and master it?  If it is practice, we either check it as a class or I toss it.  I try to give students many opportunities to practice before I ever grade it.  If they have had many opportunities to get it, I grade it.

 

A site with great grading advice is

http://www.mspowell.com/otherwebpages/passingoutpapers.html.

 

Here is a great thread on the ProTeacher chat board with grading advice from several teachers:

http://www.proteacher.net/discussions/showthread.php?t=12342

 

This means I do not have as many grades in my grade book.  I am ok with that.  I have learned that the grades will still be accurate if you have 9 grades or 18 grades.  A  B student will usually be a B student. In fact, if you have too many grades it can lower your students score because it makes it harder to raise the grade!!!

 

Entering Grades in the Grade Book

My districts provided (and requires teachers ) to use a computer grade book.  We use a program called IGPro.  I have found it to be pretty user friendly.  I have heard of Easy Grade Pro and a few other grading programs that are available on line. 

Whenever I grade papers I take the entire stack to my computer and enter the grades in our computer grading system (this is county adopted and I love it).  I used to write the grades down and then type them in, but it was an extra step that I never had to refer back to in two years.  So I chunked it.

Go back to the top

File Cabinets

This summer I decided to go through my file cabinets.  I had TWO full cabinets of materials I had created or inherited over the last four and a half years.  Yikes!  It was a HUGE undertaking.  Four hours and three HUGE trash bags later I am down to one file cabinet that is neatly organized.

So how did I do it? 

Be willing to commit a lot of time.

      I came in two different days for two hours each to get the project done.  The summer time was a perfect time for me because there was no one at school to distract me. During the school year I tend to get "off task" and start wandering around for a neighbor to talk to.

 

Get a BIG trashcan.

     The hardest thing I had to do was actually COMMIT to throwing things away.  it sounds ridiculous, but I would run across things and think, "But I might, maybe..." This time I was ruthless.  If I had not used it in the last two years I tossed it. Period.  If I haven't missed it by now, I won't.  I kept only ONE copy of everything.  I used to think I might use it "next year" but by "next year" I forgot I had copies and would run them off again!

 

Find an organized area to work.

      Start with a clean area- you will mess it up quick!  I opened my file cabinet drawer by drawer.  Then I took out one hanging file folder at a time.  I threw away anything I hadn't used in awhile or multiple copies.  I was luck because most of my stuff was organized to a topic (for example Tales of A Fourth Grade Nothing is a folder) so I didn't have to sort too much.  When I did need to sort I simply created a stack for a new subject or topic. I put all extra folders or hanging folders in a stack so I could use them later.  When I finished a drawer I made sure all papers that need to go in the trash had been stashed and put all new topics or subjects in a new hanging folder.

 

Take out all books.

     I had been storing any books that relate to the topic files in the file folder.  While this seems like a great idea it takes up LOTS of space.  Instead I pulled out all books and grouped them on a shelf.  I separated each topic with a sheet of construction paper that sticks out slightly and labeled it.  My teammate did the same thing, but instead used labeled sentence strips to divide each topic.

 

One drawer= One Subject.

     I devoted one drawer to each subject I teach.  Please note there are no drawers for science and math because I don't teach those subjects.  I took all of these files home and stored them away.

 

Top Drawer- Reading

  • Mini Lessons- folder for each skill taught (Ex. cause and effect, poetry, etc)

  • Guided Reading books- I have a folder for each book with the tab labeled with the level and any skill I like to teach with it (sequencing, setting, foreshadowing, etc.)

  • Novels- one file for each book title  I have taught- I grouped these together and alphabetized the story titles to help locate the info

  • Readers Theaters- grouped into fractured fairy tales and others

  • Parent Tips and Information

 

*I *think* this is it.  I am working from my memory so I may be missing something.  Also, this file was so large it had to move down to the second drawer.*

 

Second Drawer- Writing, Grammar, the rest of the Reading Files

  • Writing Mini Lessons- one folder per topic. (Vivid verbs, beginning Middles and Ends, Using Quotations, Editing)

  • File for ideas for mini lessons

  • Starting Writers Workshop- papers for their writing folders, initial activities, books to start, etc

  • Prompts

**In this drawer I also have all my grammar activities.  I organized them into skill and then ordered them from beginning to the end of the school year.**

  •  Sentences-four kinds of sentences, subject and predicate, incomplete sentences/ fragments

  • Nouns-proper and common

  • Verbs

  • and so on.... I think you get the picture!

Third Drawer- Social Studies

I divide this drawer into units and put them in the order we study them.  For example

Bottom Drawer- My Stuff

  • Personal documentation (leave forms, references, copies of evaluations),

  • School forms from students (technology release forms, inclement weather forms, student handbook forms, etc.)

  • Holiday related files (Christmas, Mothers Day, I also include Beginning and End of the Year files here).

 

Good luck!  I felt so much better after cleaning these monsters out.  Now I have more room in my itty-bitty trailer!

Go back to the top

Tip to KEEP the Files Organized

      Keep a box of blank manila file folders near your desk.  If you do come up with some great, creative lesson, grab a file folder and mark the top.  Put anything you use for this lesson (Or this could be a set of lessons.  For example, if you were teaching Fact and Opinion and you covered it for a few days). I keep my "In Progress" files on my top letter tray on my desk until I have finished the unit and added everything to the folder.   Then on the inside of the file folder write what you did (short hand notes about your lessons) to remind you the next time you teach this concept.

 I started doing this last year and I was amazed at how much I forgot this year.   When I pulled the folder this year, I was amazed at my creativeness from last year!!!!  Writing it down help me stay on track.  When you finish the entire unit, close the folder and file it. This helps me stay more organized as I go.

Go back to the top

Storage Cabinets

In my storage cabinet I keep all my art supplies, office supplies and general knick knacks I use for teaching.  I really try to organize at the beginning of the school year (or like I did this year, during post planning) to make sure I have neat space for all my new supplies.  Here is how I organize my cabinets and a before and after picture.

This is my BEFORE picture. I did not do ANYTHING to make it look neater!

It is kind of a wreak isn't it?  However, I will make one note: this year I let students get materials out of my cabinet.  I usually NEVER do this but I had a very honest (and pretty neat) group this year and they were allowed to get things out as long as they asked (pencils were stored in here).  It was nice because in a trailer there is NO extra room!

Ok, so I laid bare my " dirty" secret.  It looked like this and I would just shut the door! So now how did I clean it up?

First, I took out my items and sorted them into like categories.  I already had the shelves organized (believe it or not) so this was not to hard.  For example:

My top shelf: construction paper, glue gun, glue for students

Second Shelf: My office materials, hanging folders, clasp envelopes, post its, pencils,

Third Shelf: Art materials for students: pastels, watercolor paints, crayons, glue, etc

Fourth Shelf: Drawing paper, white drawing paper and cardstock, legal pads for writers workshop (I call it my paper shelf!)

Bottom Shelf: Junk Shelf: Miscellaneous, tape players, light bulbs,  band aids, box for my biography project, etc.

 

The AFTER Picture!

Much neat, if I do say so myself! I organized it like I listed below, I put almost everything in baskets- this makes such a difference.  Then I LABELED all the baskets so the materials would be easier to find, in case I forgot where I put something.

 

Since this picture I have printed off labels and I like the way it looks.  The cabinet is not as neat as the previous picture because we have been in school for almost a month - but you can really see what it REALLY looks like! : )

 

You can see the 12" x 18" construction paper holder my father built me over the summer in the top right side of the photo.  I LOVE IT! No more wrinkly papers!

 

 

Go back to the top

Materials Labels

 

This  year I have gotten on a labeling kick. I keep many of my class materials in boxes and containers.   I am am trying to label all the often accessed materials and community materials in my classroom.  I am doing this for two reasons; 1) I have several ESOL students this upcoming school year.  I think the labels with words and pictures will be helpful, and 2) I think it looks neat!

 

Please feel free to down load these labels for your classroom.

The font is Tinker Toy from Fonts for Kids.  If you do not have  this font, the labels will down load and look better as a PDF file. Or you can click on the title to browse the site.

 

Scissors, Crayons, Glue and Colored Pencils

PDF

Word

Stencils, Markers, Pattern blocks (I have 4 boxes of pattern blocks, so there are 4 total labels)

PDF

Word

Highlighters, File in Mailboxes (Friday folder work to send home), pattern blocks

PDF

Word
Games and Puzzles, tissues, notes to the counselor and clinic passes, Thursday follow up folders PDF Word
Dry erase markers, board erasers, brain phones, Markers PDF Word

Here is another page with several organizational labels.  These are meant for daycare/ preschool but have many uses in the elementary classroom as well!

Go back to the top

 Links to Other Organization Pages

 

Here are a few pages that I have stumbled across with amazingly organized people, or people who really have their stuff together!  Wow!

Jessica Meacham

Tons of organizational ideas for the primary grades.

Vanessa Levin

Pre-k organization ideas, but these are easily adaptable.
Angela Powell I want to be like her when I grow up!
Collins Trott This was a new page to me, but very good stuff.
Ms. Campioni Very well organized!  Easy to read!

 

Go back to the top

Organizing Math Manipulatives

 This year I am attempting to organize my math manipulatives.  Because I have not taught math in several years, this is a completely new undertaking to me!!!  I am following the lead of several other second grade teachers at my school.  I purchased several 8 and 1/2" by 11" drawers from Wal-Mart.  Then I organized each manipulative into the drawers, unless it was too large to be stored.  If it was too large, it went into a larger plastic container.  Then I labeled each tub or drawer with the items inside.  Below are the labeled that I created.

 

Base Ten Block, colored Counters,  tangrams and coins

PDF

Word
Fraction bars, fraction circles, playing cards, dice PDF Word
Ten frames, pattern blocks, Judy clocks PDF Word

 

Go back to the top

All graphics on this page are from