Student Toolboxes!

July 29, 2013

Student Toolboxes!

July 29, 2013
Happy Monday my friends! I’m psyched to be sharing a project I’ve been working on for my students this summer. And I’m linking it up with my dear friend Tara for her delightful…
So I think I may have posted about how much I adore my Teacher Toolbox a couple of times. Or several, really.
I just love it! It’s the ONLY part of my classroom that never once got out of order last year and I could find things so easily, even in the busiest of times.
It was so easy to manage that I would even let my 5th graders borrow items from there last year if needed…they were always SO careful to put things back in the right place.
And how could you not? Each drawer was labeled and was the perfect size for the items inside.
This got me thinking. 
What if I had smaller-scale toolboxes for my students, at each table? With everything we use during a school day?
I imagined how much easier it would be to track supplies, each in their own proper place. How much instructional time would be saved in not having to pass out materials.
So I decided to test it out. It was still June with weeks to go in our school year. I purchased this little toolbox from Walmart: Stack-On 12 Drawer Storage Cabinet and tested it out with my soon-to-be-graduating 5th graders.
It worked out great! And that was without any labels (since it was the end of the year). I decided to make it my summer project in the coming weeks.
There was only one snag.
That lovely toolbox from Walmart has been out of stock. For a long time. And while it is supposed to come back (yes, I emailed and asked obsessively!) I started thinking about how much I did NOT want to spray paint six of those toolboxes for my students.
In the end, it worked out for the best because I found some that were exactly the same and already black (no spray painting needed!). They were more expensive but honestly the time and money invested in spray painting this summer was just not worth it for me. Plus those guys are still out of stock! I ended up getting: Homak 12 Drawer Organizer. UPDATE! Our friend Emily also found them on Amazon here: Homak 12 Drawer Organizer. Thank you Emily!!
The rest was very easy. I planned out all of the items we use within our day, made some labels, laminated them, and hot glued them right to the outside of the drawers (even though I love how my teacher toolbox has the labels on the handles,
I was afraid my students would knock them off over time, so I left the
handles clear and labeled the front of the drawers):
(please don’t mind my lack of school supplies to show it off…we don’t go back ’til September and I’m holding off on buying supplies for now!)
I made six altogether, for my six tables (here’s a shot of four of them):
Since the backs of the toolboxes are open…

I covered them with folders in which I could pass out assignments ahead of time, complete with table numbers (I posted about these Table Folders the other day):

So each toolbox will be like a complete organizer (hopefully!) with everything we need for the day.
I have some more plans for these toolboxes, so I am working on a Part Two to this post! I will be sure to show it full of school supplies next time I am in my class, so you can have a better idea of how it looks in action.
Thanks so much for reading! I hope you all have a wonderful week and best of luck to those heading back to school!!

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  • Two of my dear friends and colleagues retired today. I worked on teams with both over the years (one in 4th and one in 5th) and they’ve both been my next door (classroom door) neighbors. They’ve taught a combined total of 74 years!!⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀We had an outdoor luncheon on our school patio to celebrate their years of dedication to our school. The theme was beachy/nautical and it was so fun to set up...I found most of the decor at the Dollar Tree! We had tons of candles, shells, flowers, and a fishnet with class photos from over the years. (Don’t mind the masking tape on the table in that last photo, it was a bit windy 😂). ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀It was a happy and sad kind of day 💕 #retiringfriends #cantimagineschoolwithoutthem #teachersfollowteachers #teachersofinstagram
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  • Yesterday I shared how I’ve been trying to not just get organized, but STAY organized.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀One of the best things I’ve done to stay organized this year is to presort and store all of the math manipulatives we use often into individual containers.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀So instead of keeping everything in big bins like I had in the past, I started to use individual boxes with the manipulatives already sorted out, enough for each student. (The storage boxes are Iris 4 x 6 Photo Cases...I’ve found them on Amazon in a 10 pack and on some great sales at Michaels).⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀This saves SO much time in distributing materials during math, which is the main reason I started organizing like this in the first place.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀But there was an unexpected bonus of extra organization! Since the manipulatives are sorted for individuals, my students manage their setup and cleanup!⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀Like in the first picture there are the tiles we use a ton during the year (for area, perimeter, arrays, factors, etc.) Each box holds 48 tiles, four rows of six and two layers deep to fill the box. So when we are done using the tiles, my students arrange them back into the boxes and store them in our math area.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀Keeping my math manipulatives like this has helped me stay much more organized this year...everything has its place and my students manage it all!⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀How do you like to keep your math manipulatives organized? I loved reading your ideas yesterday...we would love to learn what works best for you!⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀#classroomorganization #classroommanagement #iteachfourth #iteach4th #teachersfollowteachers #teachersofinstagram

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