Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Teacher Week 2013: Now Teach! Organizing for Instruction (and a freebie!)

Today's teacher week topic is "Now Teach!". I'm gonna show you a little peek at how I organize for instruction.

This summer I made a promise to myself that I was going to get my classroom as organized as possible, so I went in a couple of weeks earlier than normal in July to get that accomplished! Needless to say, during the cleaning process things got worse before they got better (don't they always?), but now I'm more organized than ever and I am loving it! 

I got this organizational system from Lakeshore a few years back and it was one of the best purchases I ever made! I use it to organize my lesson plans and resources for the week. It's so handy because I keep it up front where I do most of my teaching, so everything is right there for me to grab and go throughout the day. As you can see from the picture... 2 days to go till the weekend!!!

On the same shelving unit is where my student's table buckets are stored. I like to keep them off of the kids' tables to provide for more space and... less distractions! I keep the basic essentials in here: glue bottles, scissors, and glue sticks. It's at their level, so it's easy for the kids to take care of their supplies on their own.

I keep most of my math manipulatives stored in this cubby shelf. I didn't make labels for these drawers like you'll see on some of my other tubs because I wanted the kids to be able to see what was inside without having to pull out the drawer. On top of the shelves are where my pencil cans are kept: one for sharp, one for dull. And can I just say that I absolutely love using the fat pencils at the beginning of the year simply because I don't have to sharpen them so often?!

See the cubby hole in the bottom right corner? That's the only part of this block of cubbies that doesn't hold some form of teaching curriculum. Why, you ask? This is where the kids keep their interactive notebooks. They can easily access it themselves and it keeps all the journals in one place so that one doesn't accidentally walk away to their house!

This shelf in the front of my classroom is where I store word wall resources, circle time games and activities, and miscellaneous calendar items -- anything used near the front of the room that I'll need easy access to. This is also where I store literacy station baskets for the week - those are the items on the bottom of the shelf. Later on in the year when we are no longer learning how to "do centers", this will be filled with a lot more baskets!

Last year, my class was very high academically and seemed to finish their work more quickly than classes I had had in the past. You know how students get when they are left to their own devices, so I decided to create this "fast finishers" crate. Each student has their own file filled with sight word readers, ABC books, roll and cover games, etc. Anytime they finished their work early, they could go to their folder on their own and choose which activity they wanted to do. They absolutely LOVED it, and I did too! It made things run so much more smoothly. It's not exactly a novel concept, but after I implemented it I wondered why I never had before!

Okay, back to my original statement at the beginning of this post -- remember how I mentioned that I had come in extra early over the summer in order to get myself organized? Well this is a big result of that organization! I cleaned out a couple of shelves in my office that had served no great purpose before and turned 2 of them into a math shelf and a reading shelf. The first picture shows you my reading resources shelf, where I keep items such as my sight word hands, magnetic letters, word work activities, and more!

This second shelf holds some of my math resources such as number stamps, spinner game whiteboards, dice, and games! It's so wonderful having everything all in one area.. no stopping to search for items because I forgot where they were!

I also organized a few of my bigger themes such as Fall, Christmas, and Valentine's Day into tubs. I bought these from Ikea last year for super cheap.

Interested in having the labels that you see in these pictures? They are available as a FREEBIE in my TPT store! Click on the picture below to download them... I am willing to update the product within reason with any other labels you need, so take a look!

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I've struggled with finding a good system to store my math and literacy centers. I had been creating these manila folders with a cover page for each game, but as I've collected more, I don't like how big and clunky they are.

I was fortunate enough to receive a Wal-Mart gift card from our wonderful school PTO and bought this hanging file folder box as a new way to store my games... and pieces from Deedee Wills' super awesome Poetry Station Bundle! As you can see, I haven't put it to good use yet, but I am very excited to put it all together!

We got a new reading series this year, HM Journeys, and I love how they came in these convenient skinny tubs! It did all the organization for me! Much nicer than the two huge clunky cardboard boxes the old series came in.

Here's another fruit of my summer organization labor. For my entire first four years of teaching, I had all of my extra school supplies in one giant tub. Uh, not exactly the most handy way to keep supplies, as I had to dig through everything to actually find what I wanted. I found this awesome HUGE 5-drawer tub at Wal-Mart and finally got all my supplies in order! It's so wonderful... and easy for me to send the kids over to get an item without me having to stop instruction.

The last photo is where I need your help... I bought this great organizer from Ikea over the summer, but now that I've hung it up, I can't decide what to actually keep in it! Do you have any ideas for me? 

Link up over at Blog Hoppin' to join in on the last 2 days of Teacher Week 2013!

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1 comment:

  1. I have that same organizer from IKEA! I put all of my reading buddies in it (The Pigeon, Lilly from Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse, Mini-Junie B. Jones, etc). Kids can grab one on their way to Read to Self.
    Polka Dot Kinders