Sunday, April 29, 2012

Organizing Math & Literacy Centers

If you are like me, you probably have accumulated a ton of math and literacy printables to be used in your centers. Storing them in ziplock bags just won't do. For one, they are too big for the bags and all those little pieces fall out. I found these gems at the Dollar Tree and was ecstatic. They are polyvinyl envelopes with snap closures. I know you can find them at Target too, but they are a little more expensive. At the Dollar Tree they came in packs of 3 in red and blue. I'm using red for Language Arts, blue for Math. They have a snap closure and hold my centers perfectly.  I used the label maker to create my labels and store them upright in a plastic container. At some point I will probably adhere a label to the front listing all the centers inside each envelope. For now, I just clip each center together. For the small cards that some centers have, I use small ziplock baggies and binderclip them to the larger sheets.

TIP: print out the directions for the center with the name of  the website/blog you obtained it from.  This helps if you lose any pieces, can't remember how to play, or want to make another set in the future.  

I keep the envelopes in a plastic container on my teacher work shelf.  

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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Student Study Team...On the Go..

Thank you for all the comments and emails about my teacher/work away from home.   Today while carting all my stuff to my Student Study Team Meetings (I'm the school coordinator)  It occurred to me that I need to use a tote for these meetings.  I'm always jumbling files, CUM's, binders, forms, you know, paper work stuff.  I came home, grabbed an extra tote, because I have several of these and created my SST Tote.  I think my administrator will be thrilled that I'll have all my things so handy at our next SST meeting which is tomorrow.  I used a sterilite shoebox to make the bottom sturdy.

Also I wanted to let everyone know that I am a team captain for our local Relay for Life.  Our team Heart & Sole is using Thirty-One as a fundraiser.  All commissions from sales until April 29th will go towards our team goal.  So, if you are thinking you want a bag and you want to support the American Cnacer Society, now's your chance.

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Saturday, April 21, 2012

Teacher Work Bags

As a teacher, I have a lot of bags, bags of bags if you will. However, most aren't functional.  Most don't have a shape and everything ends up at the bottom.  I use different bags for different days; it just depends on what I need to cart to and from school.  There is one bag however that is my favorite bag.  I call it  my planning bag.  It is from Thirty-One.  It is their Organizing Utility Tote..  I love it because it holds a lot of stuff including my file crate, glasses, stapler, binder clips, and post-its.  I also keep advil, hand-sanitizer and lotion in one of the pockets.  The side pocket carries my pencil case with all my pens/sharpies.  This bag has 7 pockets- amazing and roomy. If you are interested in one of these bags just click a picture. to take you to my Thirty-One website.  I became a consultant because I LOVE these bags.  They make great student teacher gifts and they can be personalized.

Thirty-One GiftsThirty-One GiftsThirty-One Gifts
Thirty-One GiftsThirty-One Gifts

I'd love to know what my readers use for their teacher work bag.

I'm adding a few links to desktop file organizers that would work in these bags.  Mine is the Oxford Decoflex. Amason, Office Depot, Kmart and Walmart all carry them.
Office Depot
Office Max

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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Tackling the Supply Drawers

If your classroom is like mine it is probably short on drawer space.  I sometimes feel like Goldilocks when it comes to my classroom and its drawers.  I used to be in another room that had 3 drawers  1 small, 1 medium and 1 large.  I loved how deep they were, but really they were too deep.  Two years ago I moved rooms and thought WOW instead of 3 drawers I have 5.  The first were to deep and these are too shallow.  I was forever getting things caught when trying to open or close.  A few weeks ago I had had it and decided it was time to reorganize and contain the chaos with containers.  I have an obsession with plastic containers.  I'll post about that at some later date.
I'm only showing you a small amount of what I really have.  Many are in my drawers.

I began by taking everything out of the drawers and sorting it into my plastic baskets..  I had multiples of the same item in several drawers.

As I sorted it became clear to me that I did not need the 20 something boxes of #2 pencils.  I teach kindergarten and we use the big pencils.  I also didn't need the overhead projector bulbs I had been hoarding- I now have an Elmo.  Quickly the baskets were filling up with like items.  I also had a larger basket for items I no longer needed like the projector bulbs.  Once everything was sorted into the baskets, I started arranging them in the drawers.  The items I would need most often like glue sticks were placed near the front of the drawers  I made it so the baskets didn't have much room to shift about.  I think once I'm happy with this I will use velcro to hold them in place.

I had some leftover items from the drawers that I was able to place in the cupboard above.  It has been three weeks and so far so good.
Now it is your turn.
  1. Look around for classroom for those unused plastic baskets.
  2. Pick one set of drawers to reorganize.
  3. Make a box for things to put back in the supply room and another box for things to give away
  4. Pull the trash can over
  5. Pull everything out and start sorting.
  6. Once it is all sorted go through it and ask yourself, "do I really need 12 boxes of staples or 5 boxes of binder rings"
  7. Don't forget to check the ink in those pens- no use keeping them if they don't work.
  8. Now put the basket in the drawers and arrange them.  You may need to do it a few times to make everything just so.
  9. Get rid of the stuff from steps 3.
  10. Post a picture to show us your hard work.
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Sunday, April 15, 2012

Student Library & Book Boxes

Organizing the books we make each week in class can be a challenge.  I wanted something that would be easy, inexpensive and reusable.  A box of ziplock bags, some labels, and a trip to Ikea was all it took. My room is shaped like a parallelogram, so the shelf under the whiteboard serves as the perfect spot to hold the book boxes.    I would prefer them to be out of sight, but having them out in the open makes it easy for the kids to get to.  Using the number system makes them reusable.  The best part is they are 5/$1.99.

At the end of the school year, I give the kids their bag with all their books for summer reading.

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Saturday, April 7, 2012

Math & Literacy Workstation Rotation

Do you need to spice up your pocket charts when it comes to math and literacy rotations?  I know I do.  I was tired of my boring cards and thought I'd add a little color.
You can get yours here in my Teacher's Notebook Store for free.
Math & Literacy Work Stations
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Friday, April 6, 2012

Lost and Found

My class rotates through several learning centers on a daily basis. Each center has several small pieces, coins, cards, blocks, counters, you get the idea. No matter how many times I say, "be sure you get everything put back into the box", there always seems to be a piece or two to be found later. This is how the Lost and Found was created. It is just a small container that sits on top of my shelf. While students are working at their centers, I walk around and pass out the "Found" items. This takes no time at all and it illuminates the kids trying to put the missing pieces back into the boxes during instructional time.
I also have "Lost & Found" containers for crayons and scissors too

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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Teacher Plan Book

Long ago I ditched the generic teacher plan book and began designing my own.  With a few tables placed into a word document I had exactly the type of plan book I needed.  No more having to write in daily or weekly activities and times such as recess, lunch or library.  At the beginning of the year my plans are very basic.  We have a lot of social skills time and time for learning procedures.  As the weeks progress, we move into centers, which means my plan book must change.  As the year goes on specials such as library, ELD and reading interventions are added.  So, once again the plan book must change.  My template goes through 3 or 4 changes a year.  Having a variety of pre-made templates makes planning so much easier.   This is what my plans look like after about the 6th week of school.  As you can see, some areas are blank.  I tend to write some of my plans on the computer and then handwrite the rest.
Here is what my plan book looks like.  It is a 2 inch 3ring binder.

Please ignore my messing scrawl.  I was in such a hurry the day I wrote these.

My page dividers for Calendars, PLC's, Class Rosters, Standards, Procedures, Staff Meetings 

that you can edit to fit your schedule

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Sunday, April 1, 2012

Time 4 Organization- New Blog on the Block

Welcome to Time 4 Organization.  You probably found my blog through my teaching blog Time 4 Kindergarten.  When you are a teacher you need to be organized.  I have a desperate desire for everything  to be contained, labeled, color coded, matching, formatted precicely and neatly stacked.  I started this blog as a way for me to share how I organize my classroom and contain my chaos is the process.  Each week I'll share tips or techniques on how to help keep you and your classroom organized. So, to get this party I mean blog started I'll share my all time new favorite tool. It is the portable battery operated stapler.  Perfect for all those stapling needs about the classroom. Wether you are making headbands or stapling books together. Dong it multiple times can be tiring on the poor hand. There are many different brands out there; this is one that I like.
Electric Portable Stapeler
I hope you will sign up to follow my sight in all the ways possible.  Thanks for stopping by.

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