Thursday, January 27, 2011

Teacher Talk Thursday


Well today is my first attempt at a blog link up and I am pretty excited about it. I love a good peek in other classrooms and I LOVE getting new ideas from other teachers so I hope that Teacher Talk Thursday will do just that! So today I am sharing a few organizational tips. These are just a few things I do to keep my classroom somewhat organized. There are sooooo many areas of my day and my classroom routine that need organizational improvement and I am hoping to get some tips from many of you.

One of my favorite parts of my classroom is my classroom library. I have been building this library since before I started teaching. I pick up books all the time to add to the collection. I get many of my books from yard sales, consignment sales, free from Scholastic with bonus points, Scholastic book warehouse sales and clearance sales. I rarely pay full price for a book. Because of all my luck finding a good deal, I have quite the collection. I do work very hard to keep them organized and teach (and remind) my kids how to take care of them so that I can keep them nice. I have tried MANY different systems for organizing them and may change my mind again, but I am really liking how they are organized right now.

Shelf One.

Shelf Two.

As you can see I have the books in colored baskets. They are in baskets by genre, (ps- GENRE is one of my favorite words) or by author if I have enough of that author to have a full basket. The baskets are from the dollar store and the labels are from Really Good Stuff.  I have used yard sale stickers to label the books.
I used a sticker that matches the color of the basket and is labeled to match the label on the basket. For example: If your book has a blue NF sticker on it, it goes in the blue Non-Fiction basket. The color coordinating stickers have helped my kids tremendously when they are returning books to the correct basket. I did put a piece of clear tape over each sticker to help it stay.

Yellow Realistic Fiction Basket = Yellow RF sticker.

Red Animal Fantasy Basket = Red AF sticker.

Red Jan Brett Basket = Red JB sticker.
I understand that this is not rocket science and you may have a wonderful system too, but I just had to share what was working for me!  I had all of the books separated into the baskets I wanted them in and then had a WONDERFUL parent volunteer and student teacher that helped me put the stickers on to label each book. Now when I get a new book I just have to add the sticker. I also have librarian as one of my classroom jobs. This student checks at the end of the day to make sure the stickers match the baskets. This does not take a lot of time at the end of the day and helps keep everything in it's place.

You may have also noticed that I have a January book basket on one of my shelves. This basket changes each month. I fill it with books that go with the holiday(s) of the month (if there is one) or with books that go with something we are focusing on that month. For example: The January book basket is filled with Martin Luther King Jr. books and snow themed books (VERY fitting since we have had 12 snow days so far!). I have another basket of all the seasonal books behind my desk that is filled with books for each month. I keep them all in one place so that when a new month comes and I am changing the month basket I can easily find them all.

Three more quick things I do to keep up with it all are:
1. I have a divided shelf behind my desk where I put all of my copies and materials for the week. I have a slot for each day of the week, one for RTI materials, one for morning work, one for new student materials (in case I get a new student in the middle of the year- happens quite often), and a few more. All of the slots are labeled and make it so much easier for me to find everything.  In the baskets on top I keep my teacher's manuals and other books I use everyday.

2. I also use mailboxes in my classroom. The mailboxes are labeled with a number so that I do not have to re-label each year. The kids have a classroom number that they write after their name on every assignment they turn in. We put all of our work from the week in the mailbox and then it all goes home on Friday. This cuts down on things they have to take home everyday too. I have a bucket on top of the mailboxes where I put all checked or graded work. On the bucket I have a student list with their number in case the forgot to put the number on the paper. This bucket is there if I ever have a parent or student helper to help me file. If I have not help, I at least have until Friday to get it all filed.

3. I have a drawered divider in the back of my room that I picked up at WalMart. In this I keep extra materials on hand that the kids might need throughout the day. They drawers are labeled and allow for easy access to what they need. I keep things in there that they may run out of. It just helps keep me sane and not searching for a brown crayon when Suzy can't find one to finish her bar graph! ha!

So there you have it. Some simple things I do in my classroom.
Thanks for stopping by. I can't wait to see what you have to share!

I hope you play along- if not, JOIN US NEXT WEEK.
Next Week's topic: Show & Tell. Just share something. ANYTHING that you would like. A great lesson, funny story, cool project, ANYTHING you think is worth sharing.


  1. I love all the baskets and drawers! When I went back and visited my classroom during maternity it was so hard not to clean things up. The sub was a friend of mine, but not nearly as organized as me and I about had a heart attack when I went in there!

  2. I love your organization ideas! Organization has never been my strong suit. Plus, since I had to move from one school to another this past summer and then had to move my classroom down the hall mid-year, I feel like I've barely kept my head above water all year. I can't wait to get a fresh start this summer and get organized for next year. Thanks for the inspiration! :)

  3. I'm definitely linking up next week! I have the book bins and the same drawers behind my desk. The drawers behind my desk are labeled Monday -Friday and all of the materials for my lessons go in them for the week. What a great idea & I'm a new follower too!

  4. I so need to do your book baskets. Maybe this summer I'll get around to organizing it!

    Sorry I didn't link up this week - I was busy yesterday!!! Next week, I hope to play :)

  5. Thanks for starting this link up! As a pre-service teacher, I could use all the "teacher talk" I can get!

  6. I wish I was a teacher already so I could join in! Im a junior in college in the education program :)

  7. Awesome and always!!!!

  8. New Follower - I just started student teaching this month (first grade) and I am loving all of your tips and tricks!!

  9. OK...I've posted my blog...a day late. Hope you enjoy and I look forward to next week!

  10. You are so organized! I love all your book bins- that must have taken a lot of work!


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