My Favorite Organizational Systems (Photos)

September 15, 2013

My Favorite Organizational Systems (Photos)

September 15, 2013
Hello everyone!! I’ve missed being on here and talking with you so much! I think I am getting into a groove now and should be able to come back more often to share happenings and organization from our class.
And I thought I would share some of my favorite organizational systems for this new school year today!
We’ve been back to school for a couple of weeks now and I’ve been anxious to see how those summer projects have panned out…you know how sometimes the seemingly best ideas from the summer don’t always work out how you imagined? How quickly things can get ruined or misplaced, despite all of your careful planning?? I can’t even tell you how many times that has happened to me! 
Well, I’m happy to say, here are a few systems that have worked well in our room:

Student Toolboxes
I know I shared a lot about these toolboxes over summer and I just have to tell you…
I LOVE THEM!!! 
And, more importantly, so do my students! These toolboxes have kept our tables completely clean and organized-looking, all throughout the day…
 (labels for the Student Toolboxes can be found in my store here)
Right before school started, my sister Melissa had the fantastic idea of adding some old pencil baskets I had from Really Good Stuff to the tops of each of my student toolboxes (of course, they color-coordinate with the table signs):
Now my students truly have everything they need for the day, right at the fingertips. I haven’t had to pass out a single crayon, marker, highlighter, or anything during the day–sheer joy!!
The folders on the back have been helpful as well. I will admit I am not quite to the point where the work is always available in the folder throughout the day BUT I do always have the morning work all set to go the night before (which is the lovely Stephanie’s Calendar Math!):
Color-Coded Subjects
I have a lot more to share on this one, so there will be a separate blog post on it very soon. 
Early in the summer, I decided I would color-code everything this year. I’ve always had a colorful room, but I wanted the colors to be more purposeful this year, as well as a visual tool for my newcomer English Language Learners.
So our room is entirely color-coded according to the five brights:
Math
Reader’s Workshop
Writer’s Workshop
Science
Social Studies
We have a bin for each subject area, to turn in notebooks if I’m checking them, or just our papers:

And the notebooks for each subject (from Walmart) were the luckiest find of my summer, since they match perfectly!

As much as I love making labels, I was relieved to not have the need to do so for these notebooks…the color really is the perfect visual reminder for both organizing and locating the right notebook!
Weekly Papers
This is an idea I learned about from a very dear friend…Kim over at Finding Joy in 6th Grade. Sweet Kim has a wonderfully organized method of managing papers to be sent home: My First Monday Made It!
Our weekly papers are sent home in Wednesday Folders, so I set up this crate:
Again, I was lucky to find some coordinating folders at Walmart…because you know how important that is!
I used to have one of those large shoebox organizer things, but I really prefer this because it takes up less space and it is portable.
Ready to Go Dry Erase Boards
Like so many bloggers out there, I decided to try some dry erase boards right on my tables this year. I first read about this wonderful idea from Kinder Keri’s brilliant post on Dry Erase Circles. And my sister decorated her tables with them last year and loved them: Built in Whiteboards.
They’ve worked like a dream! My students use them for math work, spelling practice, drafting ideas before writing…so many ways I didn’t even think about originally!
My other project from the summer was the 2-in-1 Clipboard and Whiteboard:
Thanks to these dual-purpose tools, I have been able to donate my old, clunky whiteboards and clipboards and open up some more space in our room. My students love to use these while working in groups on the carpet or sofa (oooooh…did I tell you about that yet??? More to come soon!).

Ok, I hope I didn’t tire you out with too many photos…and I hope your school year has been going very well!! Take care and I will be back soon! 🙂

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  • A little progress with packing up.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀I am really trying to get rid of anything we haven’t used in years and pack up everything in its place. We’ll see if I shove things randomly away when I run out of time next week 😂!⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀Are you packing up next week?⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀#classroomorganization #classroommanagement #iteachfourth #iteach4th #iteach456 #teachersfollowteachers #teachersofinstagram
  • Do you ever feel like you make MORE of a mess as you clean out your classroom?⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀Today was our students’ last day and I stayed for a bit to get things cleaned out and packed but I got so overwhelmed I finally just left. It can wait, right?⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀#classroomorganization #notpicturedhere #ineed50daystocleanmyroom #wegetone #iteachfourth #iteach4th #teachersfollowteachers #teachersofinstagram
  • Anyone still in school? Our students’ last day is tomorrow and I’m feeling all the emotions right now!⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀I got this sweet framed gift from one of my students today 😍😭 Getting myself ready for tomorrow’s whirlwind of emotions!!⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀If you are wrapping up school soon, best wishes! And if you are already on break, happy summer!⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀#almostsummerbreak #iteachfourth #iteach4th #iteach456 #teachersfollowteachers #teachersofinstagram
  • Have you seen the new outline feature in google docs?⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀If you click on the outline icon on the left hand side of your doc (picture two) you will see an outline of all the headings you’ve created.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀When you click on a heading in the outline, it will bring you right to that section...even on different pages! It’s like inserting jump links just by typing out headings!!⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀Have you tried this new feature yet?⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀#lovegoogledrive #googledrive #googledocs #iteachfourth #iteach4th #teachersfollowteachers #teachersofinstagram
  • 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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