Monday, January 12, 2015

1 Unit Bucket at a Time

Hey friends!  I'm Meghan from Keeping Up with Mrs. Harris and I'm going to share with you all how I organize all of my center games, activities, and unit materials.  So for my first 4 years teaching, I thought I had the perfect system.  I would start a unit and then as the unit went along, I put an extra copy of everything in a file folder labeled with that unit.  Then at the end of the unit I put all the items  in the same folder and pushed it into the filing cabinet.

This is an exaggeration of the reality, but you get the idea.  After years of pulling through the same files and crumbling up dice and other center necessities, I decided that there had to be a better way!!!

Who loves Target?  (My hand is raised!!!  Ok, both hands are raised!!!)  I do my best thinking at Target.  While walking the aisles of the organization section, it hit me!  The perfect protection for all of those odd shaped center activities would be a Tupperware box.  No cramming, wrinkling, or shoving!  So I started with the three units that I was teaching that week:  Nouns, Short Vowel Words, and Measurement.  I purchased three buckets ($4.50) and as the week went along, I gently placed all the WS copies in a folder at the bottom of the bucket and when the unit was complete, I put all of my center games in as well.  It worked perfectly!!!  I was so excited.  So I then purchased tubs for my next few units and so forth.  It literally took me a year to get everything in their boxes, but it was so worth it!!! Here's what my unit buckets look like today (3 years later)!

I used the cheap shelf rack things and zip tied them together in a way that worked for me below my guided reader buckets.  I threw in seasonal buckets as well for those activities that really save a teacher's life!

Here's a closer look!  I have all my reading bins together, ELA, and Math.  I decided to keep my Science and Social Studies units in the filing cabinet, because they don't have as many centers and crushable pieces as the other three subject areas do.  As you can see some bins are full and others are not near as full.  I think if I return to the traditional classroom in the future, I will probably divide out some of the buckets.  For example addition will be split addition with single digits, double digits, etc.

Now that I am out of the classroom, I still have my bins set up for checkout by other teachers.  I can't tell you how many times this year my bins have already been used by fellow teachers who need a little extra supplemental materials.  

Who knew $1.50 at a time could literally change my school life!  That's all the boxes cost at any given store.  Don't get the shoe size, they are a little too small and will bend the WS!  If you are interested, the labels for the top and front of the boxes are in my TPT store that you can check out here.  Thanks for reading and I'm so glad to "meet" you!  Comment below so I can get to know you!

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