Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Organized for Instruction

First, I'll admit it.  I lied yesterday.  I am NOT finished with my classroom, and I do NOT have photos to share with you, but that awful tree IS gone!  As it turns out, my first "official" day back at school was spent mostly in meetings, so I think I spent about an hour in my actual classroom.

Now, as for organization, my OCD is all over it!
If you have upper and lower cabinets, use one set of upper, per subject, for your teaching manuals, other professional books on that subject, teaching kits and materials, and mentor texts.  Use the lower cabinets, directly below, for any charts, manipulative materials, activities, etc. for the same subject.  In other words, organize by subject first, then by "stuff".
This photo from last year is super blurry, because I tried to crop it closely and enlarge it, but if you look very, very carefully, just under the doors on the cabinet trim under the handles of each set of cabinets, there is a label that identifies the subject area.  These two say "Reading/ELA" and "Math".  These were my upper cabinets, so just below them, under the countertop, were all my Reading/ELA props, games, big books, charts, etc. and all my Math materials, anchor charts, games, etc.  I also loved double using the cabinets as my word wall, because I had literally zero wall space last year.

Baskets are your Friend!  I have all kinds of baskets and bins, mostly from the Dollar Tree or Dollar General, even the Mighty Dollar, that hold every little thing.  Each one is labeled and they hold like items, so, in my science cabinet (at the bottom, of course) are several clear 10 gallon totes, each labeled with a particular unit.  Everything I need to teach about animals is in one, matter in another, etc.  Those containers all match.  

 In addition to my teacher toolbox, on my personal bookshelf, I have flat baskets labeled "to grade", "to file", "to copy", and "volunteer".  These hold all kinds of papers, and are all the same size, but are different colors.  I've had them forever, and I LOVE them!  I have used them for my students, too.  They have had "green folder", "math homework", "spelling homework", and "classwork" baskets.  But this year, I have my wonderful Goodwill find, with 12 slots (and I'll only have 12 students), so I'm going to try having each student have a slot there, instead.

Each of my students has a "personal library bin" to store several books from my classroom library in for a week at a time.  The classroom library is also divided into bins.
These are for students to
keep in their cubbies
These are all labeled by genre,
topic, author, etc., on my shelves.
 Even inside my students' desks, there are baskets, used as drawers:
{source - Pinterest} mine are a little different.
Inside my storage closet, are all kinds of labeled baskets, too, for school supplies.
I have a lot of learning file folder games in this storage unit that holds bins like drawers, too.
When all else fails, use a tablecloth!  Under this table, I can hide clutter, in a pinch, if some kind of emergency arises, like a surprise visit from someone ultra-important!  You can see lots more baskets on the bookshelf, too.  It's part of the obsession.

I am loving my teacher binder this year, and have also created student binders, so my students can stay on top of things too.  You can click the pictures here to get your copy of each!

With everything labeled, and in its place, I can find things so easily, not waste one minute of instructional time, and even my volunteers and students know where everything is, so they can help grab anything at any given moment.  Now, Teach!  (well, next week, anyway)

Visit {my TPT store} for all those labels I talked about, the teacher toolbox I use, and more organizational tools!

 photo websignature_zps82211fd2.png


  1. Hehe! Are we ever finished in our classroom? I love the table cloth idea - I am going to pin it on pinterest!

    Teaching Maths with Meaning

    1. That's a good one! I don't think we ever really are! You should see the humongous pile under there right now. At 2:00, I started shoving everything that was out anywhere under, because Meet the Teacher was at 3:00. Thanks for the pin and your comment!

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