Thursday, March 31, 2011

Organization Week Day 5: How and Where Should I Store Things?

Hey there sweet bloggy friends! I hope you have been enjoying this organization week.  A few of you commented that you wanted to know what to do with things when you weren't using them, thus... "How and Where Should I Store Things?" Well, I am not showing any full shots of my closet because it's a work in progress, but I will share what I have worked on so far.

I have a magenta colored bin for each subject area in my closet. Now, they don't hold everything, but it does hold some things together better and helps me to find and put things away easily. Here's what they look like:

You've seen it before, and again I am using clothespins for easy change out of labels. I am sure I will be using some different kind of bin at some point, but for now they hold things for different subject areas.

I also have supplies that I like to have readily available for replacement. Like when the students come up to me and need another glue stick. Anyone else think they pretty much eat them???

Here are a few shots of the shelves above their backpack hooks.

In this picture, you can see how I store some of the paper I use. Love those IKEA magazine files!

At our school we don't get to do very many crafts in first grade. So... we don't have much to store except for around Christmas time. So, a couple of people on my team use this technique for all of our holiday crafts, and I adopted it, too.

At the top of my cabinet I have this box from copy paper filled with our holiday crafts. It has the tracers, sample size papers and a teacher example all together in gallon size Ziploc bags. I really like have it all together and not in a filing cabinet.

Last thing I want to show you is something most teachers have... the filing cabinet. I was just talking with one of my teammates today about how filing cabinets really are more hassle than they are helpful, but we all feel like we need one. Well, here is one of my drawers.

It may look messy, but it's really not. I have a file for each topic in each subject area that we teach. The important thing I have learned is that you should not keep bulky games in the files. You also should only keep ONE copy of each worksheet or activity, as well. I didn't abide by this one copy rule last year, and ended up with 3 and 4 copies of papers here and there. It just added bulk to my files that I didn't need. Let's be honest... I'm not going to go to my file and look to see how many extras I had from last year when I make copies for this year. We just don't have that kind of time!

Alright, you know what to do! Share with us how you store things... and REALLY... please do! I still could improve in this area quite a bit!

So link up and grab my button or leave a comment!

 Mrs. Patton’s

And get excited... tomorrow's topic is all about organization of the Language Arts Block. This includes guided reading, writing, and all!

Also, please remember that I am keeping the linky party for each topic open until Saturday at Midnight. So... if you missed day one about organizing Daily Materials or maybe the day about math... IT'S NOT TOO LATE! Please go back to my posts and link up with us to share your best ideas!

I hope you had a great day!
-Mrs. Patton

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Organization Week Day 4: Home Communication

Happy Wednesday, everyone! Hope everyone had a great day! Today's topic for Organization Week is Home Communication. This covers anything from the binders or folders you send home, where you store the graded papers and notes to go home, and so on. If you have something to share, no matter how big or small you think it may be, please leave a comment or link up your blog post.

This is not my area of expertise, but here is what I have to share:

First of all, my students turn their papers in on top of the math organizer I showed you yesterday.

They put their papers in the box after they highlight their name. By the way, I had a few comments about where I purchased the rainbow drawers that is under this turn it in box. I got mine from Mardel when they were half off! Instead of 90 I paid 45 I think. To me, it was definitely worth the money.

After the students turn in their papers, I put it in a file right at my fingertips, in my awesome Apprentice from Staples. Remember this?

I posted about this a few times, and one of the files in it is labeled "To Be Graded". Funny how it gets so full before I give it any attention....

Anyway, once the papers are graded, I file them in this file box:

It is very easy to organize the papers and notes for Monday folders. As I grade papers throughout the week or get notes that need to go home the following Monday, I just file it in the folder with the students' names on them. I have extra files in the back for extra copies of notes or homework ready to go home a few weeks ahead of time.

At my school, we do not have a fancy binder or folder that goes home every day. We do have a Daily Folder that goes home. In it we have a calendar for the 9 weeks with dates on it and room in the boxes for us to write notes about behavior issues if necessary.

Last year I used this to organize papers to go home:

It really didn't work like I had planned last year. Now, I use it for organizing different kinds of paper. This is not a part of my room that I am very proud of. Any ideas for what else I could use it for? I would appreciate any and all input!

Okay, now I'm ready for you to link up or leave your comments! Don't forget to grab my button below if you link up!

 Mrs. Patton’s

Tomorrow's topic is called "How and Where Should I Store Things?". Seems that a lot of us have games and crafts and things that we pull out a few weeks a year and then wonder, "Hmm... what to do with this now?" when we are finished with it. Get your posts ready!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Organization Week Day 3: Math

I am so excited about this post! I have just updated my math organization system and have been waiting for an opportunity to share this!

If you are just jumping in my blog for the first time this week, you have come at a great time! It is Organization Week! Each day has a new topic that some of my followers helped me come up with. Today is simply math.

Funny, I say "simply math", yet math is the subject for me that comes with the most things to organize and have readily available. Here is my system:

I keep all of my math manipulatives ready to go in this organizer:
I have labels on the boxes and underneath them on the shelf so the kids can easily put them back.

If you would like a copy of these labels, click here!

I also LOVE teaching with math games and download so many of them from you fabulous bloggers out there! For a while this was unfortunate, though, because I didn't know how to store them. Here is what I decided to use:

I ended up writing most of these labels, but I made a drawer for each major topic we cover in math. I don't keep loose papers or originals of worksheets or originals of games in here. Those things go in my file cabinet since they can lay flat. In here, I keep games that I made with cards and boards and such that are too bulky for file cabinets. I love having it so easily accessible, because even in the past few weeks I have had a couple of times where I came over to this cart to pull out a different game I realized would help my students better than what I had planned. We started using the curriculum called Investigations last year, and many of the games I made for that are in here as well.

For the games and manipulatives that we use VERY often, I have a different system. Here is what it looks like on my back counter:

I have math binders with mostly addition and subtraction games that I wanted my students to do again and again throughout the year. I only have 10 binders because they do all the games in partners. Here are some pictures of inside:

These are some of the investigations games. The great thing about this is that they are in sheet protectors. That means that they can do them over and over again using a dry erase marker and no wasting paper! I love it!

Next to the binders is the place where I keep the socks for erasing, counters for the games, and two different kinds of dice-- number and dot. I bought the containers from Hobby Lobby at 50% off, then decorated them with ribbon. Again, I used a clothespin for the label so that I can easily change it out when I need to.

Here are the containers before:

...and here they are after:

I'm sorry it my post got so long with the pictures, but I really wanted to share them all.

Now it's your turn! Link up a blog post or leave a comment with your math organization tips. If you link up, don't forget to grab my button from below!

 Mrs. Patton’s

Monday, March 28, 2011

Organization Week Day 2: Literacy Centers

 Day 2 is here and the topic is "Literacy Centers". This was a request by multiple people, but I have to tell you right now... this is not my strong suit. I do Daily 5 in my classroom, so what would equate to Literacy Centers is my Word Work station. In Word Work, I give my students a list of words that follows our spelling rule. They do different things to practice spelling words. These things include anything from lego letters I purchased at Lakeshore, to rainbow words, ABC beads and magnetic letters. I try to change out their options every 6-9 weeks. This is what I keep my word work centers in:
As you can see, this is not a picture from my room, but you get the point! It is originally for scrapbooking, but I find the size is great to put materials in for word work centers. I always have 6 choices available at a time.

I also have word searches for each spelling rule. I put them in binders on top of this cart.

Here are some pictures of the inside of my spelling binder where I store things for each spelling rule:

In a sheet protector I keep spelling lists for easy access to copy.

Next, I keep a list of our district's K-1 High Frequency Words.

Then, I have a copy of our spelling timeline for 1st grade.

Then I have pocket folders for each spelling rule. Here is short i. In the front I keep the spelling list and word work sheets.

Then, on the back of each pocket I keep the word searches ready to be put in the plastic pockets of my binders for word work.
For next year, my goal is to have more centers available in word work that address things like word families and so on. I can see how storing all of those games could be a nightmare! (Especially if you don't have much space to store it!) I would really like to get a toy box or storage bench like the one below for a reading area in my room. If I do, this is the place I would plan to store all of my literacy centers.

Lipper Beechwood Toy Chest Free Shipping
Click to enlarge

Now, it's your turn! Leave a comment or link up a blog post to tell us how YOU organize literacy centers. Don't forget to grab my button if you link up!

 Mrs. Patton’s

Tomorrow's topic is math. I am excited to share my new ways of organizing for math!
-Mrs. Patton

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Organization Week Day 1: Daily Materials

 Hey bloggy friends! Get EXCITED! Organization week starts right NOW! I cannot wait to see all of the ideas y'all have! (Maybe too many exclamation points for one line? Oh well...) :-)

Today's topic is about organizing daily materials. Some people were even asking about how to organize things when you get ahead more than a week... good question.

Here is my system:

I think that every teacher needs to have materials sorted somehow by day of the week. That way, everything you need for the day can be in one spot, and it's easy to find things when you get there in the morning to prepare. I have a tower of crates. If you are interested in the crates, they are like the ones at Click here to view it. You can see it below:

If I have materials for a specific math game or science activity that are too large for the crates, I put them behind my big book cart in black baskets I found at the dollar spot at Target. You can see it below:

And for materials I print ahead of time, I file them at my fingertips in my handy dandy Apprentice from Staples. I L.O.V.E. this! You can find it here if interested. I have a file in this called "Next Week". Really it's where I put any copies made ahead of time. The best part is that it is right in front of me, so I won't lose track of it! You can see mine below: .

Now it's your turn! Share your best organizational tip for daily materials. Link up a post or add a comment.

If you link back, don't forget to grab my button!

 Mrs. Patton’s

By the way, I heard some of you didn't get the chance to get your photos yet. If this is you, don't worry! I'll keep the linkys open for each day of the week until Saturday night at 11:59 PM. So keep adding if you have some ideas or photos! That also means that you should check back every so often and see what else has been added!

Tomorrow's topic is Literacy Centers. Get ready!!!

-Mrs. Patton

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Tomorrow starts Organization Week!

Don't forget... tomorrow is the first day of Organization Week! The topic for Sunday is Daily Materials. Make sure you have your posts and comments ready to go! I'll schedule a post for 7:00 AM Central Time to get us started early. It will have a place for you to link up! Wahoo... can't wait!

-Mrs. Patton

Friday, March 25, 2011

Yummy Probability!!!

Today, was such a great day with my students! I love it when Fridays go so smoothly so we can end on a great note!

One of the highlights today was my introductory lesson to probability.

I introduced probability with 5 dice in 2 different colors. I showed them probability posters that I made (you'll see these later in the post) to help them with the vocabulary.

Then, I used these to talk about probability with spinners. We talked about it and they tried spinning with different color combinations. I cannot tell you how much they loved the spinner on the board. I think they were mesmerized! :)

 Then, we completed an activity with skittles. They worked with a partner and recorded the color of picks out of the bag on a worksheet and answered some questions to finish. If you are interested in purchasing the activity, it is in my TpT store.

Here is a small picture of one of the posters:

If you are interested in the posters, they are available with my Skittles activity on TpT. Click here to check it out and snatch a copy for yourself!

On another note, I want to make sure you know that I am declaring next week "Organization Week". You can read more about it here.

Also, if you haven't heard of the giveaway on I {Heart} Teaching, check it out! You could win a canopy to hang from your ceiling. Or don't... I really want to win it for my room! This giveaway ends tonight, so hurry on over!

And a little surprise for my faithful readers who made it to the end of this post... The first 5 to leave me a comment with your email will get my Skittles Probability Activity and Posters for FREE!!! One condition... let me know what you think after you use it! :-)

Hope to see you back next week for Organization Week! I can't wait!

-Mrs. Patton