Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Classroom Organization PLUS Free Downloads and Shared Pinning Boards

I feel a little giddy when I get to organize things.  My latest project is my classroom.  Last school year, I had to switch classrooms with less than a week to go before school started and I never fully got moved in the way I wanted to.  This year is different.  I’m in the same room, so I started going into school  last week to start getting things organized. It’s not quite finished, but here are some of the highlights. 
My daughter keeping me company while I work-she wanted to wear the dress because she wanted to "be a princess". 

Classroom Library

I have an extensive classroom library, and I hate when the books get out of control, so I created these large genre labels to put on the outside of my book bins and drawers.  This way, students can easily find the genre of book they want.  The labels with the green border are fiction and the labels with the red border are nonfiction. 

Only a certain number of books are left out.  The rest are stored in these shipping boxes, labeled, and placed in the cabinet. (My students covered the boxes with construction paper for me.) Students know that if they can't find the book they want, they can pull out a box with the genre they are looking for and look through it to find a book that suits their interest.                





I took the organization to the next level  by creating these smaller genre labels to go on the inside of the books.  Once students grab a book, they need only to look at the inside front cover to see where it is to be returned. 



I also wanted students to know the level of the book they selected, so I created these reading level labels to add to the inside of each cover.  This way, students can easily grab a book that is at their independent reading level. 
I keep extra labels in a bin right by the classroom library so that as I get new books, I can quickly label them and put them in the proper place. These colorful bins were a fantastic find at  The Dollar Tree

Teacher Work Station

For my peace of mind,  I need an organized, clutter free work area where I can easily find what I need.  Is there anything worse than losing something and having to spend several precious minutes searching for it?  

 A printer is a necessity, but it is big and bulky, and takes up too much space.  This year, I used a shelf given to me by my friend Allison several years ago and put both of my printers under the desk.  They are out of sight, so now I have plenty of work space on my desk. 
*The black printer was a gift to myself last school year.  It is a color printer with a scanner.  LOVE IT!

When I was pregnant a few years ago, the doctor had me under some serious restrictions--one of which was to stay off of my feet as much as possible.  My solution was to order this stool.  I've kept it ever since.  It has replaced my teacher chair and allows me to move around my work station with ease.  I even use it when working with my students in small groups.  I get to be up close and personal with every student just by rolling over to them. 
I wanted some additional shelves, but I am probably the most unhandy woman on earth.  So my pick was these five-tiered storage shelves from Walmart that require no tools to assemble.  SCORE!  (After setting up my classroom, I found these similar shelves on Amazon with wheels.  This would have been even better!)  The fabric baskets hold teaching essentials, but everything looks nice and neat. (These were from my mother-in-law a few years ago.)  I don't have a filing cabinet in my classroom, so I chose to grab a crate with side bars to store my files. 

I need a place to put student work so that it doesn't pile up on my desk.  I created a pack of numbers, letters, and symbols to use so that I always have exactly what I need.  I use the same letters from the pack when setting up my classroom displays.

The idea to use a stack-on drawer unit to create a teacher toolbox came from Erin Cobb at Lovin' Lit.  She even included the labels as a free download with multiple options to choose from.  Check it out! 


Secret Student Rewards

I run a secret student rewards program and need a place to store the names of each student (by class period).  I created a shelf out of some shipping boxes that house class sets of books and covered it with a decorative curtain from Goodwill.  The bins were also a gift from my friend Allison several years ago.  I will add labels to show which period they are for once I have my schedule for the year.  The background is made up of some posters my students created for a reading fair last year.  I couldn't let these go to waste! 

That's it for now! I'm off to a good start.  Everything is nice, neat and organized.  Now, to make sure it stays that way after 115 teenagers make their way through the room!

Free Downloads From This Post

Classroom Library Sample Pack

(Includes large genre labels, small genre labels, reading level labels, and the letters/numbers/symbols pack)

Erin Cobb's Labels for the Teacher Toolbox

(The download to these are within the post on her blog)

Managing Behavior in the Middle School Classroom

(Includes an overview of how I run my program and the coupons I use for student rewards

Let's Share Some Ideas

I created a joint pinning board for secondary teachers so that we can share some ideas.  
Elementary teachers, your board is here. Send me your name and e-mail address and I'll add you to the board so that you can share your pictures as well. Be sure to specify if you want to be added to the secondary board or the elementary board. 

Happy Teaching!