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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Classroom Organization 101

Oh, how I wish I was organized. Pre-kids I actually was. I have this weird way about me... if I cannot put something in its "spot" then it doesn't get put up. That's how things get lost or misplaced.

Being short on time most days, that means organization is mostly a theory at our casa. The classroom is a whole other story.

My classroom is very organized. I have labeled clear shoe boxes in the closets that store everything from cotton balls to game pieces. File cabinets contain all folders (xeroxed copies) of anything that is not theme related. The files are in alphabetical order for ease of use.

In my cubbies are all of the various games that have made it into my collections over the years. I have stored these in their original containers by skill. For example, I have all rhyming games in the same area.

As for themes and activities, this area has been the hardest to keep up with as I have just way too much stuff. I have cardboard magazine boxes for all tracers, folders with xerox copies, etc. The cardboard containers are labeled with the theme or skill. Next to the container are the books that go along with that particular theme or skill. All of my books are stored in 2 gallon baggies.

Planning is fairly easy as I grab a cardboard box and a baggie of books. From there, I can sit down with all my materials and decide what to use with the particular group of kiddos I am working with.

In my classroom, I have over 30 bins of books for the children to choose from during stations. Each bin is labeled with a sticker. All the books for that particular bin are labeled with the same sticker. This makes it extremely easy for the children to place the books back in the correct location after reading.

My books are sorted in two ways: by theme/character/genre/etc and by reading level. Books sorted by theme will have a picture of that theme on the outside of the box so that the children know the content before browsing. All leveled books will have A, B, C, etc. This will not pertain to an actual reading level, but will increase as the difficulty of the books increase.

Organizing the children is actually one of the easiest concepts for me. First, their tables have everything they should need to complete a task right at their finger tips. Each table has a bucket that contains 6 pairs of scissors (a different color for each table), crayons, pencils, map pencils, a hand held pencil sharpener, stapler, and glue.

Also at the table is a bucket for their learning journals and any unfinished work. This year I found some really cute mini trash cans that will be there as well. This should decrease the movement around the room and hopefully keep us tidy.

During station time, I use a job board to keep the children on task and spread out through out the room. Each table is assigned three jobs for the day. Each job has a picture card associated with it. I teach the children beginning the first day of school how to participate in each station, use the materials correctly and return them to the correct location, and what to do when they have completed each task. After one station is completed, children will look at the job board again to see where they should head off to next. Each station rotation last from 20-30 minutes depending on the time of year. If a child has not finished a station they are working on, the child remains at that station and rotates when ready.

I think this about sums up most of the organization in my classroom. I will be going up to school later this week. When I go back, I will take pictures to post. I'll let you know when this has been done. Here are the photos of my classroom.


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