Thursday, March 20, 2014

Keeping Things Organized! {Five No-Fuss Ideas for an Organized Classroom}

Teachers have a lot of stuff.  A lot.  We like to use our stuff over and over, and we like to be able to find things quickly and easily because, let's be honest, we just don't have a lot of time on our hands.  That's where being organized comes in handy!


I thought it might be fun to share with you a few of my favorite, no-fuss ways of staying organized.  These examples are just a few ways to keep the clutter at bay, yet still allow for easy access to resources.  I hope you can use an idea or two!

First up, picture books.  We all have them, and most of us have lots of them.  I store mine in my filing cabinet. I have two filing cabinets (4 drawers each).

I am currently using three drawers to store all the picture books that I use to teach various units and lessons.  I separate the books with manila file folders. Nothing fancy, but it's highly functional and I can easily find what I need.


Each file folder is labeled and the books for that category are placed behind the folder.





How about all of those task cards, scoot cards, I Spy cards, etc. that we all love and use? (See below). I've accumulated a lot of these over the years and I use them all the time, so I need to be able to get to them easily. 


I organize these materials by subject, in shoe box sized tubs. I store the tubs in my closet on wheels.  We call it a wardrobe (but to this day, I still wonder why it is called that).  I hot glued a laminated label to the box so that I can easily find what I need year after year. As you can see, the labels are handwritten.  Keep reading to find out why this is my preferred M.O.


I know that printed labels are super pretty and all the rage, but sometimes I need to reorganize my bins and let's be honest, it isn't the greatest use of my time to be reprinting new labels all the time.  Sharpie can be removed with hand sanitizer and a bit of elbow grease, which allows me to relabel with ease, as frequently as needed.  Plus, I'm the only one who sees these labels, so functionality wins in the end.  ;)

NOTE: Some people prefer rubbing Expo marker over the Sharpie to remove it from laminated surfaces, but my go to is hand sanitizer and a tissue (or paper towel). 

This storage system works for my math related Scoot cards, I Spy cards, etc. too.  While I didn't grab a picture of them, I do organize my math manipulatives in the same manner. Dice, counters, student clocks, and so forth are kept in similar labeled bins (some are slightly larger, of course). 



To keep my daily materials organized, I have relied on this staple from Lakeshore for the past 9 years.  I'm not crazy about the colors, but (once again) functionality supersedes aesthetics in this case.


Next to (and beneath) these tubs I have two baskets.  I use these baskets to store small items and/or oversized items for each week. This way small things don't get lost in the tubs and big things don't make them fall over (my reading TE is pretty top heavy, so the basket is the perfect place to store this item).


Instead of putting these items in the bins, where they get overlooked or lost, I can easily grab them from this basket.  It's also a great place to store "filler" activities, like the pink set of cards in the lower right hand corner.


I have a lot of center activities.  These days, they mostly make appearances as "fast finisher" activities, but that doesn't mean I'm not organized about how I store them!  I place each of the center activities into its own file folder. 


The activity pieces are placed in a zip top baggie and I put a highlighter mark on the recording sheet master (it doesn't show up on copies and this way I always know which page is my master).


I store all of the file folders in these bankers boxes, which I found at Target a few years ago.


These are just a few of my favorite ways of keeping things organized.  I hope you can use an idea or two!

Looking for more ideas?  You can check out more of my organizational ideas HERE.

I also have a classroom organization board on Pinterest with useful ideas.  Check it out!


Toodles!

DON'T FORGET IT, PIN IT!



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4 comments:

  1. What a helpful post, thank you! I have been sighing a lot in my classroom, before and after school, because I think I am organized, but with all of my curriculum changes, Tpt purchases, standards...well, you know. :) thank you!

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  2. Great post Aimee! You have a super system in your room and I love those banker boxes. I can never have enough plastic containers! It would be really nice to have a few days this summer to just go in and reorganize and pitch unused things away. I'd also like to get better at filing. It is a dreaded task so I procrastinate!

    Jeannine
    Creative Lesson Cafe

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  3. Thank you so much for this post!!
    I love how organized you are. Since I just moved to first grade, I must reorganize everything.
    I have those same banker boxes and I love them :)
    Sara
    Miss Elementary

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  4. Great ideas! Highlighter on a master copy! Love it! You learn something every day! Love the bins for the week! I keep plastic file drawers under my desk that are labeled with days of the week. Your idea is great for those bigger things that wouldn't fit in my drawers! Thanks for sharing!

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