Monday, June 2, 2014

Classroom Organization

I am SO excited to be taking part in this link party series!!! Thank you so much to the amazing Laura for putting it all together!!

I LOVE organizing my classroom for the year! I am always one of the teachers who go a week before preplanning starts so I can pull everything out, bring in the new things I have and start putting things up. Having an organized classroom is helpful for you, as the teacher, and helpful for your students. Not only will having an organized classroom help your students to be more secure, you will be teaching them an important skill.
Here are a few tips on how I like to organize my classroom. I hope you learn some new things!
{I am currently fortunate enough to be staying home with our wonderful little boy, so I'm sorry for the lack of photos!! I found some old ones, but am missing several ~ sorry!}

Bulletin Boards
My first year teaching Kindergarten I learned an awesome trick from a few of the other Kg teachers ~ using fabric instead of butcher paper on the bulletin boards. I love doing this for several reasons; it is good for the earth as you aren't tossing butcher paper every time you want to change your boards, you can pick out fun colors/patterns, it doesn't rip when you pull things down etc. The down side, however, is that it does cost you a little right off the bat. I bought mine 6 years ago and have no idea what I spent, but it was well worth it. I have also used it in two different classrooms with very different style boards and just fold it in different ways to make it fit (don't cut it!). I change out the border on certain boards with the seasons, but the fabric stays up all year. 
{Fabric covered boards with border} 

Classroom Library
I have tried a few different ways of organizing my classroom library over the years and have settled on sorting by genre and DRA level. I have a tub for Animals, Dr. Seuss books,  Fairytales, Seasons (this obviously changes throughout the year), Alphabet, Math, Science, and School Library Books (books the children have checked out of the school library and are are waiting to be returned on library day). I also have few different levels of DRA levels books. One bucket is empty and as we make books throughout the year I add my example books to the box so the kids can practice re-reading them. As the year progresses I switch out the books based on the season and the children's DRA levels. 
{An old photo but similar to how I set up my library now}

Binders, Drawers and Tubs
Drawers: One of the things that keeps me most organized are my days of the week drawers. I invested in plastic drawers and labeled one for each day of the week and one for copies that needed to be made/papers that need to be refiled. I make all the copies I need for each subject ahead of time, paper clip them together and label them with a sticky note, and put them in the drawer for the day I will need them. I also put Read Aloud books that I need for the day in the drawer (when they fit). I keep my lesson plan binder on top of the drawers with my lesson plans open so I (or my principal) can easily refer to them. 
Binders: I print out my lesson plan/daily schedule for each week and keep it in a binder for easy referencing. My former principal actually required this so he could easily pop in and see what we were working on. I also have many binders for full of all my master copies. At the end of each year I begin copying all the things I will need to begin the next year. I have been working on scanning my master copies into the computer so I can have them in digital form. It saves space, the quality is better, it's easy to print extras quickly (no dashing to the copy room at the last minute!), you can edit and add to them!
Tubs: Keeping items in tubs is super helpful. You can keep them loose or portion them out into ziplock baggies depending on what they are and what you need them for, for example, I had one tub with loose  coins and a tub with coins that were sorted. Kindergarteners love to help sort incase your tubs ever get all mixed up :)
{Community Supplies ~ the students used these at centers, for art projects and when they ran out of glue at their table they got a new one from here}

Thanks so much for stopping by! Again, sorry for the ancient photos! I hope my descriptions were clear. If you have any questions please feel free to ask :) Happy SUMMER!!

For more great tips on how to organize your classroom stop by Laura's Blog Where the Magic Happens and check out all the awesome teachers participating in this Linky Party!

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