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May 23, 2013

Organization Linky Party

Linking up with Elizabeth and Kristen to share organizational ideas that have worked in my classroom.  

Get ready - I took a lot of pictures this week :)

Of course some of them are pretty old too...

First up - I LOVE my magnets.  I have them in one section of my whiteboard and the kids move them over when they are done working on the big thing of the week.  Sometimes it's a permission slip, sometimes a pen pal letter, sometimes a project.  I LOVE them!
Here's my classroom library.  I have it organized in clear plastic shoeboxes with packing tape holding on the different AR levels - AR levels are color coded.  I have chapter books in the smaller boxes, and in my big tubs are picture books.  I just can't part with my picture books.  My class librarians keep everything organized.  

Speaking of boxes - I have tons of those green & white moving boxes above my rolling carts.  They are mainly class sets of books.  I'm addicted to buying class sets of books with my bonus points.  I keep 2 class sets in each box - more than 2 means the boxes get too heavy and awkward lifting down.  Believe me, I've learned the hard way.  Also above my cabinet is an under the bed lift cover type of box - I use it to store my larger posters - you know the kind that I used to buy at the teacher supply store when there was a teacher supply store around here.

As for centers and task cards, I bought some of these 3 drawer plastic things (like my fancy terms?) over at Target.  I really want to get another one to fill in that spot with the crate.  Right now in the 9 drawers I have multiplication and division fact tests (one in each), math fact games, and math manipulatives.  The math manipulatives are in larger ziploc bags that are labeled.  I love ziploc bags.  Absolutely love them.

For task cards, I am in the process of switching some of the ones that are used all year long over to those cheap photo albums from the Dollar Store.  If something doesn't have color on it, I don't usually laminate it - but I want to keep them working for years to come.  I also picked up some of these reusable sandwich bags (super heavy duty) from Target's dollar spot, and want to switch them out from the sandwich bags.  It's a process that I'm hoping to finish before May 31st when I'm locked out of my classroom.  

Onto file cabinets - well 2 summers ago I went through my files and chucked a bunch of stuff that I never look at or that was already on my computer.  If I do use it I brought it home as a summer project and scanned the material into the computer to save it in digital form.  Now my cabinets have all my copies for the year (I send them off in April), assessments, extra math facts practice sheets & tests, and extra resources like those mentor texts that I can't just put into a rolling cabinet.  This week I also added a drawer filled with the printed 4th grade Common Core Workbook.   I organized them by standard and they are in a drawer waiting for other resources to join them. 
In past years I have used the plastic shoeboxes for my student's book bins (Daily 5) but this past year I learned my lesson when the first week of school many of the kids broke them.  Instead I changed out using my plastic shoeboxes for other needs - specifically to organize them in my rotating center station. This wire system used to be in my sons' closets - but it kept falling apart, so instead my husband zip tied it together extra tight and it holds the workshop binders and up to 16 plastic shoeboxes (if I squish them in) of different activities.  I keep one side for math, and another for reading. As kids finish their work they know where to go.  
Speaking of binders - I love them too.  Inside my binders are worksheets that kids can use during Word Work, Math time, etc... I have them stuck inside sheet protectors and the kids use their dry erase markers on them.  It makes it easy to put one or two copies of a story with comprehension questions on the back of it.  

What else?  
On my desk I made up my tool kit last summer.  This has been a lifesaver this year.  It makes it so easy to keep track of things.  I also have a smaller one that I keep on my table for parents to get supplies that they need.  It isn't labeled like my big one, but maybe this summer I will get around to it. 

I like these big tubs in my classroom too:
One has all my clipboards
Another has my privacy shields/offices/testing screens.
Another has my recess equipment.
Another has my rainy day games.

I can't forget about crates:
I use them for each team group to hold their books.  Our desks are super small and not everything can fit inside them.  These can hold 5 reading and 5 math books.
I keep a crate by my "real" teacher's desk with my go to resources to plan, as well as a crate by my cart up front with all the teacher editions in it.

I'm sure there is more organization in my classroom.  I love to be organized and I'm hopeful that one day soon I will be able to know where everything is within a matter of moments.  :)  

Hope you had a great day!


  1. My files/file cabinet is the one BIG project I have on my summer "to do" list. I mean how many copies of one worksheet do I need in the noun folder?? Thanks for the inspiration... maybe I'll go digital?? :)

    First Grade Fairytales

  2. I hope to get half as organized as you this summer! Love your blog and following it....Laura

  3. I love all your organization ideas!! Is your toolkit large enough to hold pens in the drawers? Do you remember where you picked it up? Thanks for the inspiration!
    Fourth Grade Flipper

  4. I love the idea of the reusable sandwich bags. Clever... :)
    Brandee @ Creating Lifelong Learners

  5. I love how you used file boxes for class sets of books. Right now mine are in a mishmash or containers on top of my cabinets and it looks horrible! I'll be adding these to my summer shopping list!
    Polka Dot Lesson Plans

  6. Wow, what organization! I love the idea of putting task cards into the cheap photo holders. So smart! Thank you for linking up!
    Fun in Room 4B

  7. You have a ton of organization! I like the idea of the crates for the texts...I can never seem to find the right place for ours...I think I will try this next year. Thanks so much for linking up! :)


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