Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Teacher Week Day 3-- Now Teach! Organizing for Instruction

I can't believe we are halfway through Teacher Week already!  Although I have definitely read these posts in the past, it's been nice to participate in them myself!  I'm linking up with Blog Hoppin' for Day 3 of Teacher Week, which is called "Now Teach!  Organizing for Instruction."

I love organization, especially at school.  It maybe should be my middle name.  There is nothing better than a clean, organized classroom just ready for instruction.  There are many things I do to get ready for instruction in the classroom (I should warn you that once again, I do not have pictures from school because A.) I did not take them last year before the year began and B.) I haven't been able to get into my school yet.

Here's seven ways I organize in the classroom!!!

1.) I LOVE to organize are my lesson plan book and my teacher bag.  This year I am using a 31 organizing utility with the open hanging file bin inside and colorful hanging file folders.  I am tired of my papers getting mixed up and thrown around, so this might be the solution.  We'll see how it goes!  In the past I have tried an accordion file folder but putting papers in and taking them out and having too many all seemed to ruin the ease of the single accordion folder.  I'll do a post in a week or two and let you know how it goes!

I love shopping for teacher bags, don't you?!?! 
Mine came from School Specialty and seems very strong. 
Love these bright colors!!!

My lesson plan template changes year-to-year.  By the end of the year I hate what I've done for that entire year and end up changing it somehow.  I like to include the CCSS alignments so that I am clear on what the expectations are...I will definitely be doing that again this year.  Last year my plan book looked like this:

I liked the ease of writing in the topic but it was too simple.  I'm getting more complicated for this school year instead (yikes)!  This is in the works and I will be posting about this soon!!!

2.)  Drawers

I love using drawers to organize materials in the classroom.
I use this to organize all of the materials needed to our Everyday Math curriculum and games.  The kids are responsible for cleaning up the materials and putting them away in the labeled drawers.  It works perfectly for us!

I purchased this at the end of the school year last year...I'm still waiting for my husband to put it together for me!  I'm planning on putting the daily copies in each drawer and leaving the bottom drawer for papers that need to be graded.

Love the green drawers!

3.)  Files

I love files...file organizers, hanging files, file folders, file cabinets.  They make organizing my materials so much easier.  I have a giant four-drawer file cabinet that my BFF at school gave me.  I put our cumulative folders in there, have a drawer of literacy materials, a drawer of math materials and a drawer filled with student work.  It's an easy system for me!

I have these hanging on the wall by my classroom door.  The bottom file is for parent notes, the middle file is for field trip forms and other important papers, the top file is for school emergency information.  I love having this by the door because I can grab anything in here at a moment's notice!

I use these magazine files to organize our curriculum materials.  These are currently in my coat closet set to go for the next school year!

 4.)  Letter Baskets

I saw these about two years ago and could not resist.  I bought 4 of them at Target (I LOVE Target...who doesn't?!?!) and have since been back to purchase more.  I think I maybe have ten or twelve total in my classroom.  I use them for my students to put their finished work in (I have a deeper one for that) as well as their homework.  I put the math center materials in them, so each center has a basket containing the materials.  I sometimes use them for professional development sessions and I also use them to organize substitute materials.  The options for these are endless!!!

5.)  Binders!

I think my classroom has been overrun by binders.  I inherited a bunch from my assistant principal, then received a few from my husband, got rid of old materials in a few others and I somehow ended up with about twenty extra binders!  I have leveled reading materials photocopied and ready to go (from Reading A-Z) in about 15 binders.  This is great for when a parent asks for's instantly ready to go.

For guided reading, conferencing, and Math Centers I use the below binders.  They are Wilson presentation binders and I bought them on Amazon.  I like how they easily fit in my teacher bag and aren't so bulky that I can't bring them to meetings and such.  They held up pretty good this school year!

Guided Reading

Math Centers

Writer's Workshop
6.)  Number System

I have used a number system for as long as I have been a teacher.  It works with Kindergarteners and with Fifth graders.  I don't have to relabel things year after year and I am able to determine who is missing things just based on numbers.  The students are great about remembering their numbers.  It has never been a problem ever!!!

7.)  Labeling

I label EVERYTHING!  I have several items available in my TpT store for labeling.  I label folders, journals, where paperwork goes in the classroom, student picture frames for leaving the classroom, the writing process, daily objectives, bulletin boards, book bins, our classroom library, etc.  It works extremely well when having classroom jobs as well.

It's been great linking up again!  I'm looking forward to participating in tomorrow's topic, which is classroom management.  I'll talk about my number system, some of the different routines and rituals I have in place as well as more about classroom jobs and responsibilities.  Can't wait!!!


  1. Your blog is adorable! So many great ideas here! I appreciate your organizational skills. I am not as organized as I'd like to be, but I am working on this this year! ;)

    Mrs. Laffin's Laughings

    1. Hi Jennifer! Thank you for the blog is a work in progress in terms of design. I love reflecting on everything with everyone in the blog community. It's been great! Thank you for reading and following!!!