What organization tip/idea you found worked?

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by Teachling, Jun 8, 2010.

  1. Teachling

    Teachling Groupie

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    Jun 8, 2010

    So I'm wondering what organization ideas/tips you found worked for you effectively this year in your classroom. I am constantly trying different things like drawer organizers, folders, accordion file folders & such. I'm still not sure how to make it work so that I am not constantly trying to reinvent.

    One thing I like using this year was a file roller cart for student files. Please share what you found worked for you.
     
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  3. noreenk

    noreenk Cohort

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    A couple things that help me year after year that I couldn't live without:
    - Color-coding notebooks and folders by subject area. It's a huge help for my disorganized and ADHD students... and very easy for me to check if students have the wrong notebook or folder!
    - Keeping subject-color-coded magazine files for extra copies at the front of the room. It's especially helpful when students are absent and need to get caught up on homework or their interactive notebooks.

    Something new I did this year was print out our most-visited websites on little strips/cards for use in the computer lab. Everyone has their own copy of the URLs so they can type them verbatim which saves me tons of time fixing mistyped URLs, and my students were really good about making sure they passed them out at the beginning of class and picked them up before we left. I stored them in little labeled library pockets at the front of the lab, and if students finished an activity early it was easy for them to find the URL for another website and get busy on their own.
     
  4. Teachling

    Teachling Groupie

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    I love the color code idea. I did use this system this year & it helped me greatly. The strip card idea for URLS is also great. Saves on time & frustration.

    Noreenk, I would like to PM you. Have some questions on a related note.
     
  5. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    I like the idea of the URL strips in the computer lab.
     
  6. teacherheath

    teacherheath Companion

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    Jun 11, 2010

    I use those plastic drawer organization things (why can't I describe it better?) and love them. There are 2 sets of 3 drawers. I labeled one for M-F and then an extra. When I'm planning, I put all of the paper sized materials/handouts in the corresponding day. It has really helped my organization!
     
  7. CFClassroom

    CFClassroom Connoisseur

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    Jun 12, 2010

    I have tons of pictures and ideas on my site and blog. The blog link is listed below and the website is: www.clutterfreeclassroom.com

    Hope you find some ideas to help.
     
  8. Teachling

    Teachling Groupie

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    iheart, thank you so much for sharing ur site. Lots of good things there.
     
  9. Love to Teach

    Love to Teach Cohort

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    Two things that I discovered this year that really helped me are actually websites.

    1. http://www.quizlet.com is an amazing free site where you can make sets of flashcards. The site then incorporates them into several games and even a test that the students do online. You can also print off the flashcards. It takes about 10 minutes to make a set and you can even import pictures to go with the terms. Best of all, the kids can access it from home. My students loved it, and it saved me so much time! I set up an an account for me where I created the cards, and then a second account for the students to access and practice the sets. It worked really well! :)

    2. The second one which really helped me was also a free site....http://fur.ly/. You just type in the URL's of the sites your kids will be working with, be sure to save the resulting Fur.ly link, so you can access it later, and then, the students just type in the link to use it. It saves so much time because the students do not have to type in sometimes long URL's. I don't know about your students, but often times, they will forget a letter or symbol and will not be able to access the site I want them to be at...I do it, too!! :) With Fur.ly, they only have to type in one very short URL, and then they can access all their links by just clicking back and forth on the arrows....no more lost time getting into a site and no more "me" trying to get around to help all those having trouble. It has been a lifesaver!! :D
     
  10. Teachling

    Teachling Groupie

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    Love to Teach! I set up an account with quizlet.com & found flash cards on terms for a test I will be taking soon. I didn't even have to set it up, though I will for some other sections of the test I need to study for. Love it!!! I will definitely use it for my students next year.
     
  11. Teacher Chele

    Teacher Chele Habitué

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    I can't wait to try quizlet.com!!!

    I use portaportal.com all the time - You can put any links that you want the kids to go to under categories or subjects and all they have to do is click. They don't have to enter anything. It's super easy to use and is free unless you just want to pay for an ad-free subscription.
     
  12. Love to Teach

    Love to Teach Cohort

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    I am glad that you think Quizlet will be helpful! :) I am going to check out Portaportal right now...thanks! :)
     
  13. Teachling

    Teachling Groupie

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    Wow! Wow! Another great link/resource! I signed up & started setting up my portal quick & easy. What a great concept. It's going to save me time & frustration. So often I would have problems in getting all my students logged in or getting into the right website for one reason or another. This will definitely be a perfect solution. Thank you for sharing the Portaportal link.
     
  14. Love to Teach

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    Just set up my page in Portaportal....thanks TeacherChele SOOO much!! Wow! I am very impressed AND excited about it....just shared it with our whole teaching staff. :thumb:

    I do have a question for you, though. :) How open to the public is it? Without a username, no one should be able to access it, right? It would be nice to list my webpage and Wikis there and not have to give out all the links, but do you think that would be rather unsafe. I do post pictures on both, and do not want to put anyone at risk. The Wiki's can be made private, but my class webpage cannot. Just was wondering what you thought. Thanks! :)

    Oops! One more question....where does it show the number of users on the page? I have read the information several times, but don't seem to be able to find it on my page. Thanks, again!! :)
     
  15. Teaching Grace

    Teaching Grace Connoisseur

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    I also separate out my paper copies for the week but I use the black plastic trays. I also do Friday Folders but instead of using the trays or mail boxes that take up a bunch of room, I use a large file box. Each child has a numbered folder that way I can use it from year to year. All of our books have to be checked out to the students, so that they don't get mixed up, I have the students keep them in magazine holders on a bookshelf. These 3 things alone help keep me oh so very organized!
     
  16. monsieurteacher

    monsieurteacher Aficionado

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    Ok, my number one organization tip? Have an amazing TA. I don't even have to spend a second worrying about organizing stuff!

    Other than that, think about where you want things to be placed at the beginning of the year. Will you have a hand in bin for everything? Or separate bins for separate subjects?

    I like having a filing cabinet. Top drawer is student files. Every student has a folder, and in that folder goes any assessments, report cards, student data information/contact information and anything else I can think of.

    The second drawer has all my files for staff meetings, class lists, Professional Development, important memos and the like. Things I may need to have regular access to.

    The third drawer has any ideas that I want to keep for seasonal activities or for Math/Literacy activities.

    The fourth drawer is my junk drawer. It has odds and ends of all sorts of stuff.
     
  17. Lynnnn725

    Lynnnn725 Connoisseur

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    I used to keep important assessment stuff in the filing cabinet, but have since switched to an assessment binder. I love the binder because it has everything I need all in one place. If I have a kid I'm worried about, I take the binder with me to our meeting with the specialists on campus and I have available assessments, copies of report cards/progress reports, etc.
    I get a huge notebook and enough dividers for every kid. I also place a clear folder that opens at the top so I can place sample work that may be needed at a meeting or conference.
     
  18. Teacher Chele

    Teacher Chele Habitué

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    Jun 14, 2010

    People have to have your guest name to get into your portal, so you are safe to put whatever you'd like on there. I'm not sure about the number of users...sorry!!!
     
  19. Love to Teach

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    Thanks, again...I am so excited about this! :) I have already started using it with my summer school kids.

    I did find the number of users. :) Way at the bottom of your page, under the ads.

    I am serioiusly thinking about paying the $15 to upgrade. It would be even more awesome to be able to upload PowerPoints, pdf's, and such! Thanks! :)
     
  20. Teachling

    Teachling Groupie

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    What would you get if you upgrade? I haven't look into the number of users yet, would this impact the # of users?
     
  21. Teachling

    Teachling Groupie

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    OK, I think I figured it out. Upgrade would allow more file uploads. Might be worth considering.
     
  22. teaching4God

    teaching4God Cohort

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    NoreenK and others who use color coded folders for each subject, how do you ask for these on supply lists?
     
  23. Love to Teach

    Love to Teach Cohort

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    Right! :) And it would take away the ads from your page. As far as the number of users, I just always am interested in the "traffic" any of my Wikis or my webpage get. :) On Portaportal, it would be a good way to check if it is being used by the students, especially if it was to be part of an assignment. :) It comes with the free version.
     
  24. cruiserteacher

    cruiserteacher Comrade

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    I also use color-coded notebooks. Since so few students come to school with supplies, we just decided as a grade level this year to take notebooks off the supply list and we just purchase the one cent notebooks at Staples/Walmart/etc. during the back to school sale.
     
  25. TeacherSandra

    TeacherSandra Enthusiast

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    I keep all my daily work for the week in those plastic accordian files. Everything is kept tidy and in one spot.
     
  26. noreenk

    noreenk Cohort

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    Our supply lists actually say the colors of the notebooks and folders that we want... but since some kids inevitably bring graphic folders or all yellow notebooks, I tend to buy the color variety packs of spirals at Target at the beginning of the year and then get extras once they go on clearance.
     
  27. Teachling

    Teachling Groupie

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    I do love the color coded idea. It makes it easy to keep folders & notebooks & file system accordingly. I have a box of spirals that was donated to us this winter & I hope when I go through it that I'll have enough of at least a few colors to make a class set.

    I also love the idea of filing papers or keeping them in a binder per subject. I think this would be a better way for me to keep up with storing lessons, worksheets, projects,etc & stay organize. I'll have to think of how I want to set it up.

    Thank you so much for the great ideas! Keep them coming!

    Oh, I have one that I used this year that was great for the kids. On a trip to Goodwill, I found a jewelry organizer with pockets that were see-through. It's one of those typical ones that have a hanger on top, has about 40 pockets--- 20 on each side. Any way, I use one side to hold the kid's library cards & the other as their mailbox for them to write affirmations to each other. I have them take a card & decorate it with their names & place it in the pocket. It looks so great when all the kids have place their cards in the pockets. The pockets are big enough to hold business side cards so I order free blank cards from Vista P---& have them use it for their affirmation notes. I then place a hook on the side of a book shelf & hang it up. So much better than having the paper lunch bags on a shelf like I did the first year for this. No need to laminate pocket envelopes or whatever for the library cards. Best of all a 2 function use for the price of $4. BTW, this same organizer sells for $20 at the Container Store.
     
  28. shasha379

    shasha379 Devotee

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    I wait until the back to school sales and I just purchase them with my own money. My OCD kicks in if a student has the wrong color red folder. In the past I have purchased the 10 cent notebooks at Wal-Mart, but this year I think I'm going to purchase the plastic folders with prongs.
     
  29. Miss84

    Miss84 Comrade

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    I used the plastic folders with the prongs, and I organized each folder like the B.E.E. folders (Bring Everything Everyday), each pocket had a label and I added plastic report covers for a homework pocket and a behavior calendar pocket. All of the items lasted the whole school year so it was worth the extra cents to go with the plastic folders.
    I also bought a small three drawer container for the kids to put "community items" in, such as glue/glue sticks, scissors (I did not allow scissors inside pencil boxes or their desks), colored pencils, and rulers. Next year I may do the same thing-but add caddies to group tables so they can put their pencils and crayons in, most arguments arose from so-and-so not having a pencil in their desk.
    I had desks this year, but next year I am using tables! I despise desks for lower elementary, they can't keep them still and at the end of the day my room looks a hot mess. Then my janitor things it's a good idea to rearrange my desks every night...grr. So I will be using tables and chair pockets next year for the sake of my sanity lol.
     
  30. Lynnnn725

    Lynnnn725 Connoisseur

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    Oh the things we've found in chair pockets! Food...feces...trash...
     
  31. Miss84

    Miss84 Comrade

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    Really!? Ugh that's scary...I don't know why I didn't think of the worse. But my students this year were pretty good about keeping their desks clean, no food or trash...maybe I was lucky!
     
  32. Teachling

    Teachling Groupie

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    For 'community' items, I set it up by table group. My table groups are usually 4 to 5 desk arranged together. This past year, I purchased a 10-drawer caddy for the purpose of community supplies. I assigned a drawer per group table. The table captain or teacher helper will take the supplies to the group table when needed. My first year I purchased these cute flatware caddies that were made of bamboo. I hot glue foam stickers to them that had a tropical theme (went with my rainforest theme). The problem I ran into was that they would end up on the floor along with the supplies because there wasn't enough room on their desk to keep it there while working.

    I use zip lock bags to sort the supplies in the drawers. One thing I plan to do different this year is that I want to use something heavier to hold the supplies. A possibility I am considering is using those heavy plastic bags that are used for packaging cosmetics or perfume. I had a nice see-through one from a perfume gift set that I ended up putting in our treasure box. After it was gone, I realized that I could have used it for that purpose. I'm hoping that as I clean & organize my house, I'll come across some more. :)
     
  33. Teachling

    Teachling Groupie

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    Call me crazy but while sorting through laundry I found what I am going to use as a supply baggie for each table group. I found the packagings of shower & regular curtains that are perfect for this. The plastic is heavier than a ziplock & has an actual zipper! It's big enough to hold crayons, markers, glue, sticky notes, etc. yet not too big that it won't fit in the drawers. This will definitely be more durable than the cheap see-thru pencil holder I purchased this past year. The ziplock on these stop working after one use! I have enough for 3 or 4 table groups. Best of all, with the exception of the curtains they came in them, I didn't spent a nickel! :lol::lol:

    Amazing what you can find when you're cleaning/organizing. :D
     

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