Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Blog Hoppin' Organization for Instruction

I am linking up again with Blog Hoppin' to talk a little bit about organization. If this looks familiar to you it is because it is a throw back from last month with just a couple of things added to it.

Having everything organized and labeled is key when starting a new year. If you are scrambling for supplies or trying to find something you swore you knew where it was, your lesson instantly goes downhill. My top 4 tips for getting organized are:
  1. Take it all out! Take out everything that is in the cabinet or closet you are trying to organize. Empty everything from bins or baskets and separate storage containers from supplies.
  2. Sort supplies and group like items together. I like to sort by topic.
  3. After you have sorted, find storage containers that best fit and label as you add supplies to that container.
  4. Get rid of what you do not need. This is hard for me. I am a bit of a pack rat. What I like to do is invite my coteachers in to look at my give away pile. That way if I end up needing something, I can go borrow it. Sneaky...I know! Keep in mind though, if they don't pick it.....throw it away or donate it!
Here are some pics of some ways I have kept my storage spaces organized.

This is a view of one of my reading cabinets. For small items, I group topics together and use an index card to label what is in it. I attach the index card with either a clothespin or a piece of scotch tape. The index cards make it easy to add or delete what is in the basket. Don't get me wrong, I love pretty labels but to go back and forth printing labels doesn't make sense to me. Plus printing labels tends to go on the backburner of things I need to do, and by the time I get around to it, my cabinets are messy again. Using index cards has made organization quick, and I can glance and find what I am looking for.
Here is one of my math cabinets. Anytime I organize, I try to keep topics together. I am so much more likely to use an item if it right next to what I need. I also use small containers to keep games together. If you notice the little blue containers in the front you will see that they have coins and dice in them. These are for all of the money games in Every Day Math. Now every time those games come up, I grab and go.
I use book bins to keep books organized when they are not in use in the library. I used to use baskets but I found that they took up too much space. In this cabinet there are actually 2 rows of books on each shelf. The green baskets on the bottom are just easy readers. When I want a topic in my library, I pull the bin and put the books in my cute library baskets with a cute label.
This is my craft closet and I love it! I tried to only keep what I knew I would use and again I grouped all like items together. The top shelf is stickers and monthly craft materials. The second shelf is bags of all sorts, pencils, and scissors. The third shelf is pens, markers, cards, glue, and paint supplies. The fourth shelf is paper central. The fifth shelf is all other craft supplies like pom poms, pipe cleaners, and of course, glitter. The bottom shelf is just left over markers and crayons that I will be putting out to start the year. Then, I will fill that space with this year's supplies. Here are couple of close ups.
Use dollar store bins to organize supplies you have an abundance of like popsicle sticks, cotton balls, pipe cleaners. Make sure that whatever label you put on the container is visible. Always think grab and go. I eat a lot of soup during the school year and I save the cans to use as pencil, pen, and marker storage. I got the pencil die-cuts from the dollar store to use as labels. 

I had an upright paper filer that I thought would work just right for my construction paper and by gosh by golly, it does. I also organize my paper by color so it is quick and easy to find and get out.
Here are some tools that I use to help me organize and plan out units and themes for the whole year. I use the calendars for year long curriculum and standard planning and use the theme and unit templates for specific activities. You can click here to see the original post or you can click here to go to my Teachers Pay Teachers Page for a preview.
Be sure to stop by Blog Hoppin' to find out how other fabulous educators have started organizing their spaces.


  1. I love the idea of writing everything on a note card! Great tips!
    A Tall Drink of Water

  2. Hi Priscilla,
    AH- Doesn't it feel SO GOOD to take everything out and know what you have an put it back and feel organized? Even for a while! I just found your blog and love it. I'm your newest follower. Love the clip and notecard idea. I'd love you to stop over to my blog if you get a chance!
    Kindergarten: Holding Hands and Sticking Together