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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