Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Teacher Week 2014- Why? Organization!

Today is Day 3 of the fabulous linky over at Bloghoppin'!
Today is all about how I organize and why it works for me.
Before we get started, you can check out my classroom reveal here and more pictures here to get a feel for my set-up before we delve into my cabinets. :)
Just like before, I'm going to include TONS of pictures!
My favorite posts and the posts that I refer back to the most have plenty of pictures to really show the details.
In case I forget at the end, today is a BONUS B2S 2014 TpT sale!!
28% off DEFINITELY helps me get those last minute purchases I really need!
Don't forget to enter the code BOOST when you checkout!
(click below to head to TpT)
I shared this picture yesterday and promised I'd be back today with an explanation of what's on their desks for Open House tomorrow night.
 On the left side are activities the kids will do while their families are filling out paperwork and the folder is just for families!
 I can't take credit for the little notebooks idea and "Write On" note.
This is from A Rocky Top Teacher and is a free download. I just needed a black and white version so I typed my own.
The notebooks came 4/$0.88 at Wal-Mart, and I already had the pencils-perfect B2S gift!
The Sneak Peek Checklist is an activity for the kids to have an opportunity to look around our classroom with a purpose instead of digging into things we're not ready for yet. :)
As much as I want to share it with you, I'm not sure how useful it would be because it is specific to my classroom set-up.
 This is the parent folder. The right side are items I need returned and the left are things to take home.
This helps save valuable time during the brief Open House!
 The right side has an envelope for the parents to self-address, a student information sheet (freebie here) and my Mystery Reader sign up sheet from my Mystery Reader pack (found here). I'm sur eI'll have a few things from the school to add tomorrow after our meeting, and I know I have to add these! I already typed my own, but I need to grab confetti tonight-SO adorable.
 The left side contains my parent handbook and a reading flyer. Both of these are amazing and I'm so glad I snagged them during the last sale!
Handbook purchased here.
Flyer included in this purchase.
 The parents will turn in their pens and paperwork in this tray.
(My sign wasn't printed yet!)
 Ok, so let's move on to how I organize my cabinets!
 Hey, I didn't say it was going to be pretty! ;)
A few cabinets are empty awaiting the influx of school supplies I hope to receive tomorrow night during our open house. The kids are going to sort all of their school supplies so all I have to do is put them away.
Top left: cleaning supplies, baggies, "kitchen-y" stuff.
Top right: The left cabinet is currently holding all of their folders and interactive notebooks that I'll put out after open house (no need to mess with them tomorrow!). The right contains buckets that have some supplies in them, but room to grow!
Bottom left: Left side contains all of my Literacy manipulatives and centers that do not fit in my filing cabinet. The right is just empty crates for supplies.
Bottom right: My seasonal supply buckets and all of my teacher read alouds. I keep these in gallon bags, grouped by theme/month and organized in the order I would use them.
 These are the cabinets on the opposite wall and contain my Science, Math, and craft supplies.
Top left- overview
Top right- extra paper, construction paper, and crafts
Bottom left- Crafts, Math shapes
Bottom right- indoor recess and extra storage bins (I have a problem with cute bins!)
The smaller drawers are empty (for now).
 Let's move onto Daily 5/Center organization!
At my writing center, I previously shared that I stored my choices in dry erase pockets. I still love these and use them, BUT I was at Office Max and found these amazing file folders for $1 and had to have them!
They're perfect because I can put our class example of the activity in the front of the folder!
 At my Work with Words area, I keep each choice in a drawer. If there are any manipulative type items that don't fit in the drawers, I simply place them on top.
Inside of the drawer I use the dry erase pockets, folders, or folder dividers to store the materials.  
Although each on of my kids has their own Chrome book, I also have my Listen to Reading center.
The tubs at the bottom hold all of my books on tape/CD with the book copies inside. These are organized by season and I still need to label the buckets.
 My Math centers are stored in the blue drawer units. Any extra manipulatives that won't fit in the drawers will be in little tubs to the right of the drawers.
Let's move to my Guided Reading/Small Group organization.
On my cart I have the group buckets at the top, my binders on the shelf, and any materials I use throughout the year for Guided Reading in the drawers.
My Guided Reading binders holds my group rotations and lesson plans.
 Here's a close up of a few drawers..
This makes it perfect for "in the moment" teaching needs that arise outside of my lesson planning.
Everything I could possibly need is right behind my small group table.
 I also keep my DATA notebook here.
This contains whole group assessments, IEP's, 504's, as well as student data charts from here.
 Moving to my teacher desk area...
The tall skinny cabinet holds my personal effects, teacher resource books, etc. The glass cabinet holds my media equipment for my interactive whiteboard, colored copy paper, and notes/cards to send home.  
The smaller cabinets are currently holding student workbooks I haven't distributed yet and my teacher editions for our Math curriculum. I'm planning on putting cumulative files here (writing portfolios, student work I want to hang on to, etc.)
Under my desk hides a few file boxes for phonics and poems, and my desk drawers are not so pretty!
Maybe next year... ;) 
 The pull out drawers hold my files.
I have to tell you, I'm not a fan of traditional files.
I tried it for about a year and couldn't stand it! I would get frustrated when they wouldn't slide well or my supplies would fall out.
I also tried putting everything in binders one year. That worked, but I felt like I was constantly pulling binders out to copy, and then re-file the papers. So I ended up throwing my papers in a stack to file and never got around to filing them!
One day I was browsing the ever-addicting Target Dollar Spot and I saw these. Light bulb!
I grabbed tons of them and went to work :)
 All of my units and materials (including centers) are in these expanding files.
I have these placed in the drawers in the order that I would use them.
 I love this system, because there are multiple spots in one file.
For a larger unit, I have an ELA, Math, ELA centers, and Math centers tab.
It's perfect because I just pull out what I need and set the file on top of my wire rack (below). Then once I'm finished copying I just put them back in the file along with any extras.
 I DO still have some traditional files, though!
These are files for each week, for the entire year.
This also holds my copies for the entire week.
 Here you can see I have a folder for each week of the school year.
 Inside of the folders I have my Reader's Workshop and Writer's Workshop mentor texts for the week, 1 copy of our spelling, 1 copy of homework, and the Math student workbook copies.
This will save time gathering materials each week to prep for the following week. I'll just pull out the file, grab any extras I'd like and head to the copier!
 The front of this cabinet holds my copies and materials for the week. I also have a 2nd set of these for the following week and I just rotate them each week.
You can tell I've used this system for a few years- some of my files really need some help!
 The night before (or Friday before), I pull out everything I will need for the following day and place it in this chevron bin at my whole group area. Everything is in order for the day, so we'll just grab and go throughout the day as needed!
 I also have this organizer at my desk. This helps for student work that I need to file, things I made need to copy the current day or that I could have a volunteer copy, copies for the following week, and things that I use frequently (such as Mystery Reader, Spelling Test forms, Scholastic Book Club orders, etc. The top bin holds my expanding file folder from above.
That's a WRAP!
Ok, so what questions do you have for me today?! I'd love to hear, err... read, them!
Click below to check out more organizational posts!


  1. I am envious of your cabinet space - but I suppose if I had all that space I'd be honor bound to fill it - so maybe it's best I don't have it! I also use the target dollar bin expanding files. They are great for holding all sorts of things! Can I ask - how do you differentiate between what goes in the expanding file, and what goes in the file cabinet?

    1. Hi Michelle! Thanks so much for your question and stopping by!

      The filing cabinet holds weekly items I KNOW I'll be using for that week (mentor texts, spelling curriculum, homework packet, math lessons torn out from the workbooks, etc. The expanding files hold everything for a particular theme or text. They aren't for weekly copies or organized aside from their theme. For example, everything I have for Kevin Henkes would be in one file (even if I'm not using it all for the current year)

      Here's an example of a file folder for Week 3.:
      1. Kevin Henkes texts and single copies of the unit for Reader's Workshop
      2. Writer's Workshop mentor text (the kids have workbooks because we use Scholastic's Traits Writing curriculum, so no copies for this)
      3. 1 Homework packet (I'll type the cover sheet each week, but the work is already in the file)
      4. 1 copy of the spelling lists, sorts, tests (We use the Differentiated Spelling from Teacher's Clubhouse)
      5. Math student workbook pages (torn out from each chapter and filed in the week
      6. Introductory weather lessons for Science

      Hopefully this makes sense and answers your question, instead of me rambling! ;)

  2. Great Ideas. Where did you get the wire file, copy, next week organizer?

    1. Hi Molly! Thanks for your question. I purchased this from Michaels in the craft storage aisle. The chevron top is leftover contact paper from my bookshelf.