How to Organize...everything

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by Teach in Tampa, May 1, 2008.

  1. Teach in Tampa

    Teach in Tampa Rookie

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    May 1, 2008

    This is my first year teaching and I have had a difficult time trying to organize everything. I am currently storing my teacher resources (i.e. lesson plans, worksheets, etc.) in binders using page protectors. I am not 100% sold on this method. I have wondered if Rubbermaid drawers or file folders would be better.

    Also, I haven't figured out whether to save these resources by theme or by month. I'm concerned that if I save them by the month, I won't be able to find a specific theme if I want to use it during another time of the year. On the other hand, I fear that saving resources by theme will make lesson planning more complicated next year since I won't remember what order I presented the material.

    I am looking for some feedback and suggestions. I'd love to hear methods and tips from the experts in regards to organization. :help: Thanks in advance!
     
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  3. MrsPatten

    MrsPatten Comrade

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    May 2, 2008

    I'm not an expert at all but I'll see if I can help. A lot of the stuff we do in lower elementary is based on either the season or what our reading/math programs tell us to cover. Therefore, chances are, you'll cover the same topics at about the same time. I'd put it in order by month. If you think you might want to do something at a different time get the binders with the pocket on the front. Organize by month but put on the front what all topics are in the binder. Then you won't have to sort through them to find what's in there.

    We're getting a new reading program next year and we're organizing our reading, grammar, science and social studies by week according to our new program.
     
  4. little317

    little317 Groupie

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    May 2, 2008

    The first step you need to take is to make a basic yearlong plan of the themes so that you will have a rough idea of how to start organizing the materials themselves. Mrs. Patten had a great idea to use the reading series organizer as a starting point.

    Plastic bins are a great way to organize materials. Target and Walmart sell those Rumbermaid/Sterlite three drawer plastic bins. Those drawers are great for storing the materials for each theme or unit. If you are capable, scan any papers/plans that you think you might use again onto a flash drive as a back up. Other themes may require larger bins. Some of those themes might be Christmas, Halloween, spring, etc.

    Whatever system you use needs to be simple and something that will be easy to maintain. Be sure to label everything too!
     
  5. Teach in Tampa

    Teach in Tampa Rookie

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    May 2, 2008

    Great ideas so far! Thank you for your help :)
     
  6. buck8teacher

    buck8teacher Devotee

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    May 2, 2008

    It honestly is a struggle for me, but I've tried to model some systems from organized teachers in my building. I think it is honestly something you just "have." This website has really helped me:
    http://www.mspowell.com/
     
  7. ~Nicole

    ~Nicole Comrade

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    May 2, 2008

    I use file folders for almost everything. My files are color coded (yellow for reading, green for science...) each drawer in my 4 drawer is for a seperate subject. I file by story (we use a basal reader) or chapter. I like the ease of just pulling the folder and having worksheets, transparencies and project samples all in one.

    As far as supplies-I designate storage shelves in my classroom and collect an assortment of rubbermaid containers to hold the supplies.
     
  8. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    May 2, 2008

    The 1st grade teacher for whom I am LT subbing is INCREDIBLY organized. Everything is filed by subject/theme. She has file boxes for each subject (sometimes multiple boxes). In her closet are plastic tubs (with lids) in which she keeps manipulatives and larger items. Posters are hung on pants hangers (!) on the closet rod for storage. She has a couple of extra lockers in the back of the classroom in which she keeps "soap" (hand sanitizer), extra office supplies, and longer bulletin board supplies. It is amazing how organized she is. I have not had to "dig" for anything since I walked into the classroom. Heavy sigh Now if I can just get myself organized!

    Forgot to mention.... I have begun my own filing system, which I am currently color coding. We'll see how long the coding lasts. Right now, I use blue for literacy (reading, spelling, & writing), yellow for language arts, red for math, green for science, social studies and health, and orange for Classroom Management, school forms, etc. I was lucky enough to find both the colored files AND matching hanging files (colored) on sale at Office Depot. Luckily, my school's library will also laminate almost anything for me free of charge, so I am slowing getting all of my file folders laminated so they will last. My student files are in regular manila file folders in a locked cabinet.
     
  9. love_reading

    love_reading Comrade

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    May 2, 2008

    Well, I have a binder that I keep my lesson plans in, along with various duties, calendar, etc. I type my own lesson plan form to fill in each week. For my materials needed for each lesson, I have the Monday-Friday bins from a teacher catalog (maybe reallygoodstuff?) They are colored plastic with a label on the front and are held in a wire rack. These are great and worth the money. As for files, I have a drawer for theme files like space, animals, etc. This drawer also includes my monthly files. Then I have a drawer for each subject: comm arts, math, and content areas. I just use my judgement on where to put it. Like if there is a worksheet on beginning addition and the theme is apples I would probably file it under my Aug/Sept file. But sometimes I might put a copy in two different files: Aug/Sept and beginning addition. hth!
     
  10. 5thgraderocks

    5thgraderocks Companion

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    May 3, 2008

    This idea works for me. I've been teaching fifth grade for 15 years so I have a pretty good idea of when I'll need stuff. It seems like there are always new ideas to "add" to an exisiting lesson which, for me, was a major clutter disaster until ... plastic crates and hanging files!! The crates are stackable. When you grab the
    "Weather Crate" you get the manual, handouts, overheads, lesson plans, etc. I keep the crates I'm currently using on my counter which makes it easy to put "stuff" away as I go.

    I've purchased crates by color to help with eye-balling what I need. The most important part of my "system" are two crates (one at home and one at school) that contain a hanging folder with the name of each unit. When I find a cool idea for my "Weather Unit" I put it in one of these "Temporary Crates" until I get it out.

    I keep an list in the first folder of each crate to list location of DVD's, manipulatives, supplies, etc. used in the unit. I had a few great colonial biography projects this year so I took digital pictures for next year. I wish I would have thought of the pictures a long time ago! It's not perfect ...but it's better than piles or cardboard boxes!
     
  11. little317

    little317 Groupie

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    May 4, 2008

    I love this idea too! When I got my digital camera I went crazy taking pictures of the projects I liked and the kids working on them. Taking pictures of my classroom from time to time has also helped me with room arrangements.
     
  12. MrsMikesell

    MrsMikesell Cohort

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    May 4, 2008

    Hi!

    I teach in Tampa, too! :)

    I save items by theme. I keep them in boxes with everything together so when it comes to planning I just pull down a box and go. Plus, the boxes are stackable and neat in the classroom.

    Kelly :)
     
  13. Teach in Tampa

    Teach in Tampa Rookie

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    May 4, 2008

    I really appreciate all of the fantastic ideas. Thank you so much for sharing. I am looking forward to organizing this summer!!
     
  14. TulipsGirl

    TulipsGirl Cohort

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    May 4, 2008

    Right now I have topics in color coded file folders. Red for math. Blue for reading/LA, Yellow for science etc...

    I keep units such as time, money, addition, subtraction, shapes etc all in the red folders labeled.
    I have a blue L/A folder for all the vowels as they are taught, punctuation, blends etc.
    I have science units and seasonal things in yellow.

    It does get a little confusing when I have an addition worksheet where they have to add acorns. Should that go in a yellow fall folder? or red addtion folder? I just use my judgement. Usually something like that will go in the seasonal folder b/c I won't be using it in the spring, and I know that I will see it when I check my fall folder in September.

    I usually have a few folders out at a time during each planning session. The seasonal folder, the reading skill folder we are up to, the math skill we are up to, and a writing skill.

    I would love to have those super organized binders but I hate having to open and close those rings every time I want to copy something.... But if I use plastic sheet covers, I could really just pull it out to copy... and they would be reallly convenient to store class sets of worksheets...
    But I like the convenience of being able to just slip a worksheet that I discovered right into the file folder with hassle, if I have no time to start fiddling with new sheet covers and putting things in the right spot in a binder.

    Anyone else have the dillema?
     
  15. katrinkakat

    katrinkakat Connoisseur

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    May 5, 2008

    Yes, I agree with the helpfulness of the photos. If my walls look great, I will take a picture and file it in my monthly file. Then when that month rolls around next year, I will get a memory boost of what the room looked like. Of course it changes each year, but some of the ideas are keepers. :)
     
  16. a_apple_z_zebra

    a_apple_z_zebra Rookie

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    May 5, 2008

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