lets share storage tips

Discussion in 'Debate & Marathon Threads Archive' started by patti2, Jun 9, 2007.

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  1. patti2

    patti2 Cohort

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    This summer I have vowed to get organized in my room. I used a lot of tubs last year, but was wondering what everyone else's little secret storage/organizational tips are! I'll start ...

    border-wrap around a heavyweight cardboard tube and rubber band

    tub for each day of the week
     
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  3. MissMcCollum

    MissMcCollum Companion

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    I'm no expert, but I love these ideas:

    hanging files for each day of the week (especially great for homework!)

    numbering kiddos to keep them in order (with papers, tests, etc.)

    a binder, utilizing the numbering, with numbered tabs to keep assessment info (spelling inventories, writing samples, reading assessments, math check-ups, whatever you might use)--this way you're ready for impromptu conferences or if you need data to refer a child for child study/intervention stuff
     
  4. teachersk

    teachersk Connoisseur

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    I am not sure if you have a shelf with things on it that the kids use, but in my room there is a "free-choice" area in the corner of the room. During free time, the kids can take things off of this shelf (pattern blocks, puzzles, rubber band geo-boards, manipulatives, flash cards, math games, etc) and play with them. I was finding that at the end of the day I was constantly having to organize this shelf; as the kids would just throw stuff back onto it. Being that I teach in a special education classroom with kids of varying ability levels (some who can't read) - I took pictures of each item, and paired it with the word underneath, and laminated it. These cards are velcroed to the shelf where that item goes. It looks incredibly visually pleasing, especially for my students with autism who truly appreciate organization. I have also noticed my room looking extremely clean (well, over in that area at least!) It has helped the kids to become more responsible because they can look and see where the stuff goes back on the shelf.
     
  5. patti2

    patti2 Cohort

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    Great so far. I like the numbered binder idea to keep things for each child. I have been putting them in the hanging files in my desk and would rather use my desk for other purposes! :) I also LOVE the idea of pictures! I had 2 little autistic boys last year and this would have been a wonderful thing for them. I will share this idea with his next teacher!

    Lets keep them coming!
     
  6. TeacherGrl7

    TeacherGrl7 Devotee

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    I use pictures for all of my toys in my classroom, thank goodness for digital cameras. They are SO great, because everyone can figure out where things go back and I don't have to remind them! I love when we get new things into the room before I can take a picture of them and the kids ask me, "Where's the picture? You have to put a picture there."

    I keep my border in a border box from LL Weans.

    I bought photo/video boxes to store my die-cut letters. I got alphabetical index cards and I have all of my letters stored in them so they are ready to go when I need them.
     
  7. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    I store my BB letters in plastic sleeves in 3-ring binders. One binder is just for vowels, 2 more are for consonants, alphabetized, of course. I put a sample of each color/style on the cover (there is a clear pocket there).
     
  8. hescollin

    hescollin Fanatic

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    BB borders. Save the empty plastic cake frosting cans. Glue a sample around the edge of the can. Roll the BB border up and put in the can. They don't fade, stay clean and the rubber band doesn't break.

    File cabinets. Color code. Red folders are reading. Yellow is spelling. Green is science. Blue is math.

    Put the letters that you use every year in a clear pocket so you can see it without taking it out of the pocket and put them in a notebook.
     
  9. Mable

    Mable Enthusiast

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    I use a metal desk-sized file that I has 5 slots- Monday through Friday. Then, I have everything I need at my fingertips for each day of the week.

    I use ziplocs to store puzzles- cut off the front of puzzles, write the # of pieces and name of puzzle on outside of ziploc. Then I store in a basket.

    I have a tall rubbermaid carry case (file folder size) to store all of my calendar days in envelopes marked for each month.

    My unused pocket charts I roll and put a large rubberband on them.
     
  10. knittingbec

    knittingbec Comrade

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    I love that idea! I don't change or save my borders, but if I did it would be a great excuse to eat more frosting!

    I also assign each student a number. I then label the things in our room (cubbies, clothespins-for jobs/reading zones/etc., popsicle sticks-for calling on students, etc.) with their number rather than their name. Then if students move out and in, I don't have to fuss over changing the names.
     
  11. patti2

    patti2 Cohort

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    I just told my kids about the frosting cans and THEY are all for it! Great idea! I am hearing a lot of good ideas! Keep them coming!
     
  12. Miss Kirby

    Miss Kirby Fanatic

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    I just think the frosting cans would take a lot of storage space, compared to one of those long, skinny boxes.
     
  13. loves2teach

    loves2teach Enthusiast

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    I agree w/ the frosting cans- but I have space for a long skinny box.

    I also give my kids a number- would like to do the popsicle stick thing, but have a phobia of them (weird, I know!) Anyone have any other suggestions?

    I use baskets to help my groups stay organized. Each group gets a basket with community supplies to use. I am hoping to use the back to school sales to help get those better organized.

    I am planning on labeling my cabinets this year so that everything has a place. Drives me nuts to not be able to find things.
     
  14. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    Forever ago I hit a clearance sale at a party store and got 500 plastic knives for a $1. I am down to a quart size bag of them. I use them for my name sticks. I write a number on the blade of the knife and keep them in one of the dozen or so teacher mugs I've gotten.(I like the knives better because I can easily see that they are all right side up. As I pull one and call on a child I'll put theirs in upside down. I know who I have and haven't called on, and they all stay in the cup.) I also have a set for spelling baseball.
    One thing that I added this year was a checkbook expandible folder (you buy them at WalMart for a buck or so). I had A LOT of tardies. They get tardy slips and we need to keep up with them. I had a slot for each six weeks. I also had two kids who took medicine at school and got slips for that. They each had their own slot. At the beginning of each year I make up a couple of sheets with class lists on them. I leave a few blank lines to add new students. Then, as things come in (permission slips, drug forms, etc) I can paperclip a class list to the front and it's easy to mark off the ones who turn in a paper. Another thing that helped me this year was to set up a drawer for the kids. I had extra tape, a stapler, a 3-hole punch, etc and all went into a drawer for them on the other side of the room. That way they weren't at my desk all the time looking for one of those, and mine were always on my desk where I needed them.
     
  15. Proud2BATeacher

    Proud2BATeacher Phenom

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    I put all my paint brushes, yarn, water colors, colored pencils, bandaides, crayons, pencils, erasers, dry erase markers, seasonal art supplies,... in separate shoebox size rubbermaid containers. I loved them. It kept my storage cabinets and cupboards neat and I did not have to hunt around for everything.
     
  16. loves2teach

    loves2teach Enthusiast

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    I love that check-organizer idea! I had over 100 tardy slips this year, and was never told to keep up with them (I taught at a different school this year). I also had to keep up with bookkeeper receipts... Will give this idea a try! Thanks :)
     
  17. TeacherGrl7

    TeacherGrl7 Devotee

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    I do this too, and I found that my kids had a problem because a few would work different puzzles at a table at the same time, and their pieces would get confused. Then I would call clean-up and they took forever trying to figure out what pieces went to what puzzle. So I sat down one day with every puzzle and a marker. I got all the pieces in the right bags, and picked a symbol for every puzzle (smiley face, star, square). I drew the symbol on the outside of the ziploc, and on the back of every single puzzle piece. Now when my kids get the pieces mixed up and I call clean-up, they just get any piece that has their matching symbol on it and put it in the bag. No more trying to figure out which piece goes where!!!
     
  18. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    Another puzzle tip is to label the back of each puzzle piece with a letter and put that letter on the box. That way when you find a loose puzzle piece, all you have to do is look at the letter and look for that box. I can't even begin to tell you how many headaches that has saved me! The kids do it for me when I get a new puzzle. They love it.
     
  19. yclark

    yclark Comrade

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    Numbering Students

    I have a question about numbering students. I use this system and it's wonderful. They line up, they number papers, I file papers, I enter grades, everything but I am really, really blessed to teach in a very stable situation where kids do not move in and out. I started with 21 students the past two year and ended with the same students. (well one left but it didn't hurt the system)

    What I'm wondering is how do the new kids figure in? When I take up papers by number they are alphabetized so that I can sit down and the computer and enter grades easily. If new kids move in, doesn't that throw off the whole system. In my old fashioned world when I recorded everything in a written grade book, new kids would have gotten the next number 22, 23, 24, etc. I could do that now but the grade book and attendance on the computer are going to place them in alphabetical order.

    I was just wondering because it looks like my husband's job could mess up my perfectly ordered world if we have to move.

    Does this just need to be moved to start a new question? I just saw people talking about numbering papers and wanted to ask.
     
  20. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    I usually get at least one new child a year. They do get the next number. It can be a pain, but you just learn to remember to shift them as need be. By law, they have to get the next line in the gradebook. No whiteout, no lining out, just the next empty line. I highlight the new child and that always sparks my memory when it comes time for report cards.
     
  21. teachersk

    teachersk Connoisseur

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    On the puzzle organizing: I color the backs of puzzle pieces different colors. Sounds like this would be a lot of work, but I actually have the kids do the puzzle and then we slide it off the table onto a piece of cardboard. After that, we flip it over, and I let the kids color the back of it! We just go through the markers, and of course there are colors that are repeated, but the chances of one red puzzle out at the same time as another red puzzle - are slim to none. It works out well because you can immediately notice if a piece is out of place. The kids like being a part of it too!
     
  22. loves2teach

    loves2teach Enthusiast

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    I have had the same problems w/ numbering kids. I work in a changing school system (This year I had 8-10 new kids with several leaving as well). This year I had 5 new kids within the first week, after I had already given out numbers.

    I am debating on waiting a day or two after school starts to actually give out numbers. This year my kids only could use their numbers to get locker placement, and on their behavior folders. I couldn't use it for anything else because they were so off. Anyone else have this problem?
     
  23. MissMcCollum

    MissMcCollum Companion

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    In my student teaching, my lead teacher had numbered her kids but didn't use the numbering system often. (It saved me on many occasions...but that's beside the point.) She had a couple of kids that had been mixed up with numbering, so not all of the kids were alphabetical. It made me nuts, but after a while I stopped connecting their number to keeping them in alphabetical order. Also, when you have kids that are out of alphabetical order, due to coming later in the year, the computer program that my district uses allows the teacher to rearrange the kids in the computerized grade book. You might want to see if your program allows you to do the same.
     
  24. TeacherC

    TeacherC Connoisseur

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    I heard this year that a great way to store games was by putting all the game pieces into a zip-lock bag and then just stacking the game boards- then label the folded up board and the bag with the same symbol so they both go together- no more broken boxes with pieces falling all over the place!
     
  25. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    I don't write in the gradebook for the first several weeks. The kids don't get their number until I write in the gradebook. (I keep a spreadsheet from excel until then).

     
  26. MissAmy

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    Loves2Teach, If you have a phobia of popsicle sticks, here's an idea. Put your student's names on clothespins and get a really cute bowl to put them in.
     
  27. knittingbec

    knittingbec Comrade

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    Instead of popsicle sticks, you can also use Unifix cubes. They're plastic though and every once in a while you have to go back and re-write the numbers.

    I live & work on an overseas military base and I get lots of kids moving in and out throughout the year. I've learned not to be particular about their numbers being in ABC order.
     
  28. TeacherC

    TeacherC Connoisseur

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    This really isn't storage, but I thought I'd share anyways...
    I have all my names on popsicle sticks and pull them for certain children to read or to report on information when they are in a group. Another teacher does the same, but instead of writing names, she has little slips of paper with certain traits, like "person with the longest hair", "oldest member of group", person/people wearing red, etc. Especially for older kids, that sounds like a fun way to change it up once in a while!
     
  29. Steph-ernie

    Steph-ernie Groupie

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    As for the problem of kids coming in mid-year and throwing off the numbering system, I heard of a teacher who numbered them 5,10,15,20, and so on. Then, when a new kid came in, they could become number 7 if they were alphabetically between 5 and 10.

    The computer gradebook we use at my school automatically puts kids who come in mid-year at the end of the list, so it's not an issue for me.
     
  30. Miss Kirby

    Miss Kirby Fanatic

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    Oh that's a good idea. Even counting by 2's. Great way to reinforce the skill as well! I might try that for next year.
     
  31. goopp

    goopp Devotee

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    I number my kids, and I did have some that came in late or moved during the year. I just added them to the end of the list, or gave them a number that was no longer used if someone had moved. My electronic gradebook lets me order by number instead of alphabetically, so it wasn't a problem. The only time we had to line up alphabetically was for lunch, and they could do that without my help (5th grade). They knew to do it after the 1st time so it wasn't a big deal.
     
  32. hescollin

    hescollin Fanatic

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    I like my cupboard with shelves to store paper in. One shelf for each color. It stays clean and doesn't fade. Not a cheap way to go, but is really nice. The cupboard was cheap for a cupboard. I got it on sale for less than a hundred dollars. I had to add shelves. I put the reams of copy paper on the bottom shelves.
     
  33. Irissa

    Irissa Cohort

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    My file cabinet is sorted based on the skills we teach. Top drawer reading all author's purpose in yellow hanging files, compare contrast in blue, context clues in green, etc... This way I know what to go in and pull without looking when I need to plan.
    I also have 2 letter sorters with a slot for each child (numbered) where all their papers to go home are put.
     
  34. yclark

    yclark Comrade

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    I use clothespins too. Our kids have lunch numbers that can have as many as five digits. It's wild for the little ones to remember at first, especially since I teach in an international school and have several students who don't speak English. All the teachers have a different system, name tags, popsicle sticks, etc., but I found that the clothespins are great because they clip to their clothes, it's not another thing to hold onto in the lunchroom and this keeps them from getting food on them or getting thrown away. When everyone is settled, I walk around and pick them up. Eventually, they are unnecessary.

    This would work well if you had to have a number or barcode for the library as well.
     
  35. SaraFirst

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    I give student numbers and got this tip from a fellow teacher. Write each student's number on a post-it and stick it to their desk name plate at the beginning of the year. Then if a few kids moved out over the summer or new kids moved in, you can adjust the numbers before permanently assigning them. This works at first, but if students move in later in the year, I just have to give them the next number in the sequence. I also wait a few weeks to write names in my grade book.
     
  36. MissMcCollum

    MissMcCollum Companion

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    The post-its are a good idea. I was trying to determine how I would go about assigning numbers, especially because I want an efficient system from the start, when they return all of the beginning of the year paperwork. By using stickies at first, I can still have my efficient system and finalize it later. Thanks! :)
     
  37. C2Teach

    C2Teach Rookie

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    Oh I like the skip counting numbering system. I have usually taught in very transient schools and will again be teaching in a very transient school this next year. What a great solution to a very annoying problem. (Our gradebook (STI) in the past wouldn't let us move kids around)
     
  38. Andrea L

    Andrea L Habitué

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    I too have had many new students and others leave. I add their name and number to the end of my grade book (on paper). When it is time to do report cards, I do my grades using a computer program. The computer program allows you to cut and paste to arrange names. So, although the numbers are messed up, getting my grades in the computer turns out to be okay.
     
  39. Gopher4

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    I have 3 sections of 4th graders, so I have colored coded each section. The baskets used for turning in work, mailboxes, cups for drawing names and baskets/boxes for folders or novel units are all colored green, blue or red. I use the tongue depresser-sized sticks and keep them in small plastic colored cups with magnets hot glued to the back. They stay on the whiteboard up front, so anytime I need to draw names for prizes, groups students or choose a helper, the sticks are ready to go. They also work great for subs.
     
  40. dillpickle

    dillpickle Rookie

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    Jun 11, 2007

    I have a large binder with dividers in it. Each divider is for a different student. All of their contact info, important info, discipline problems, not turning in homework record, incident reports...heck everything dealing wtih that student is behind that divider. It is so much easier to deal with during conferences because I just flip to that child's name and there is their record of performance, behavior, etc. It's a good way to keep up with documentation. I used to document in a small, 5 subject notebook and just do it like a diary with the date at the top and write what happened throughout the day, but that ended up being hard to go back and find stuff a particular student did as far as behavior problems. I have forms that I use that they sign now and that form will be in their section of the binder. I used to use scraps of construction paper and put their numbers on them. I'd fold them up and put them inside this plastic apple. I shook the apple up and would draw numbers to assign jobs for the week. The only thing was that some of the papers would start to tear so I like the idea of popsicle sticks. I also use clothespins for discipline. They are hanging on a ribbon with the number on it. When they get in trouble they pull their pin a clip it to warning, then lose half of recess, lose all recess, paddle, principal. I also am going to use my hotglue gun and glue clothes pins on the wall outside my door and use these to hang student work.
     
  41. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Jun 11, 2007

    I'm not an elementary teacher, but I love all these great organization tips!

    What works for me are those shoebox-sized or slightly smaller plastic totes with the lids. They come in all styles and levels of quality, and are readily available at the dollar stores and Wal-Mart. I love them because they stack neatly in my cabinet or on my shelves and I can see at a glance what's in them. I use them to store class sets of scissors, glue, glitter, mosaic tile pieces, pencils, whatever.

    I have been wanting to try the popsicle stick thing for a while now, but like a previous poster I also have a strong aversion to the wooden sticks. For me it's a huge texture issue--I'm getting chills just thinking about them. Yuck. Another concern I have is that even if I used plastic utensils or something, I don't like storing them in a cup. For one thing, I think they'll get dirty or dusty without a lid. Also, I'm pretty accident-prone, and I'm reasonably certain that I'd knock those suckers over on my desk at least once per day. What are your other ideas for something similar?
     
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