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Above - "Teacher Project Bags" ready to go home!
In the past, when I've had work to bring home, I'd pile everything into a grocery-cart-type-wheely-thingy. It was similar to a teacher cart on wheels, but taller! Not the cutest looking thing, but it worked. Until the wheels broke. After fixing the wheels three times, I think the cart is officially "retired" so to speak. So lately, I've had the dilemma of wondering how to transport my projects between home and school.
Above- Assorted tables in my classroom "host" my teacher projects.
Enter the canvas bag solution! I love this method BETTER than the cart...! Let me tell you why... Have you ever brought home a cart or bag full of stuff to do? It probably consisted of several little projects that you need to get done. Happens to me all the time! Well, on Saturday, I was at school, and did as I typically did...I sorted my projects out and stored each one on a different table. (Remember...my firsties have tables, not desks...I love desks for many reasons, and my ability to utilize them as a workspace is just ONE of them!). As I worked for several hours, I soon realized that I wasn't going to finish every project. What to do, what to do?! Then it hit me...Canvas Bags! It just so happens that I have a "canvas bag drawer" - so I went around and put each project into it's own canvas bag.
When I got home and worked on the projects throughout the rest of the weekend, I found that it was so easy to complete each project--one at a time, no digging through a cart or a large bag trying to find all the necessary components needed to complete the task!
I have two "catch-all" file folder systems for student paperwork that needs to be kept. I bought these nifty "craft file organizers" at Hobby Lobby SEVERAL years ago when they were 50% off. They've held up really well. I added file tabs for student names. Each year I'd put the new student name labels OVER the old ones. One year I had to redo the tab inserts completely because they were too thick to insert into the slider-thingy. This year I decided to label them by student number. That way I won't have to redo them year after year after year. I'll only have to add a new "student number decoder-sheet-thingy" to help me remember what number belongs to each student.
One houses student assessment papers. The other houses parent notes, absence slip notes, Office Discipline Referrals, student notes to me...etc.
I had this plan in my head four years ago. I just got around to actually DOING it! Oh the happiness! =)
Above: End result.
Below: Pictures on the labels and master picture you see above.
Sanitize and Moisturize
This just makes me smile...
"Mrs. Meacham, I can't find the piece to the _____." or "Mrs. Meacham! I don't have the #7 math stair step! Who took my #7?" Ever hear this or something similar? I'm not surprised! Meet our "Missing Parts" basket:
Students add oddball items we find around the room throughout the day. Students visit it to look for missing parts during independent word work time or when we have inside recess or free time (games!). Or during math, or...well you get the gist.
Love 'em, and kinda hate 'em, but LOVE 'em more... Mostly just don't like setting a pile of papers down on a wet spot left by a water bottle that is demonstrating it's ability to participate in the process of condensation! You get the picture... We "round up" our water bottles in a bin. (You can't be too surprised by THAT now, can you! Bins are a teacher's best friend. Along with labels, sharpies, smelly markers, and.... I digress.). Anyway, slap a sign on it and you have yourself some organization! =)
We have Open House before school begins. It is a time for families to come in and meet the teacher, tour the school, and bring in school supplies. I don't do anything special during Open House, other than make myself available for questions, comments, suggestions, and concerns. There are a few pieces of paperwork that I have parents fill out. You can see them below. In addition to this paperwork, I have the room set up, with areas designated for supply "deposits." =] They put all notebooks, binders, tissues, wipes, sipper baggies, etc in the correct pile...ssigns help them know what goes where. All personal student supplies go in their storage box, which is labeled ahead of time. When finished in the classroom, they find the backpack hooks (outside of the classroom), their locker, tour the school, and visit with other specialist teachers.
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The following was written "Pre-SMARTBoard" days. I now do calendar on the SMARTBoard. I decided to ceek this section as many might still use the information.
The start of the month always seems to surprise me with its quick arrival, so I like to prepare and organize each month supplies before the start of the school year. That way, once the calendar wall is set up, all I need to do is "change out" a few things. The items that get changed out are stored in an expanding-file. All other day-to-day items are stored near the calendar wall.
Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow Number Cards & Today's Date Calendar Cards: I bought the magnetic wire, rectangular baskets from Wal-Mart at some point in time. The cards were printed on cardstock 4 years ago, and will be used for another year next year. Maybe then, I'll print a new set. I didn't laminate the cards. Behind the cards you see cupcake stickers. These are for our Birthday Graph.
Today's Date Place Value Straws & Today's Day of School Straws: Soup cans hold our straws (days of the week and days of school). I add some rubber bands around the cans for when we need to make bundles of 10 straws. The cans just sit on the chalkboard ledge.
Today's Date Penny: A baby food jar houses our days of the month pennies.
Schedule Cards: In the upper left hand corner of the calendar wall picture, you can see our pocket chart schedule. This is attached to our chalkboard using those foam, adhesive squares. The "cards" are actually printed on business cards, laminated, and then attached to business card magnets. Not all the schedule cards are used every day, so unused cards are just stacked on one of the chalkboard ledges. I've made my schedule cards available for download. You can tweak them to fit your needs. I try to use "real" student pictures when possible.
Monthly-to-Month Change-Overs: The start of the month seems to roll around more quickly than the previous month did! It never ceases to amaze me that "it's that time again" - -and I need to change the calendar to the new month. To make the change over as painless as possible, I organize every month in an expanding file folder. Each month is in it's own section and contains the monthly tally chart, monthly die cuts for the monthly calendar, die cuts for the days of the school year number line, and title and year print outs of the monthly calendar. This makes the change over pretty easy. There is a section in the back of the expanding file folder for the extra month and year cards from our "Today Is' sentence strip on the calendar. The chalkboard ledge also houses black fine-point markers for when students need to write the date on the monthly calendar cut outs, days of school die cuts, and make tallies on the monthly tally mark sheet.
Other....We also keep a glue stick on the ledge for attaching the die cuts to the monthly calendar, and a glue stick for attaching the 100s Day puzzle piece to the puzzle.
Student Books, Binders, and Workbooks
Because I choose to have tables instead of student desks, we need to find a place to store our math workbooks; BEE books; poetry binders; and writing, word work, reading, science, and social studies journals. I need to update the pictures below, but they will give you an idea of how these items are storied. We store them in bins. The bins each have a matching label so students can easily identify where a notebook belongs.
We have over 2,000 books in our classroom. On top of those, we always have additional books from the school library and Door County Public libraries. We love books! We store the books in tubs (of course!). The tubs are labeled. If the books belong to the classroom, they each get a name stamp, color-dot level sticker, genre/theme label, and a number sticker. Each tub is labeled with a number sticker and genre/theme tag. This system seems pretty intense, and it is at times, but it helps us organize the books and easily find books when we need them.
We have different types of book bins:
September/October Bins - open Sep/Oct...we only select books from these six bins in Sep, until the others open in Oct
Chapter Book Read Alouds
Leveled Take-Home Readers - students self-select a book or two each day from these leveled readers (white baskets)
Classroom Book Bins - black and gray bins that are organized by topic/theme or genre
On Mondays, students self-select books (beginning in October). They store their self-selected books in their browsing box. These books are then used during independent reading time. The books are then returned to their book bin on Fridays. The books aren't always put back correctly or appropriately (even after a lot of training!), so we have book box managers that fix book bins. Everyone in the class is a book box manager. If we notice a problem with a book box, the book box manager fixes it. If we find a "wandering book" in the classroom, the book box manager takes care of it (bin 10 manager manages bin 10 books and so forth). It's a nifty system!
I've tried storing these types or resources (curriculum resources) in a few different ways. I love the bin system the best! They line up across two "teaching carts" and are organize (for me)!d by content area. I also have committee work, student data, and other teaching resources stored in these bins. Every bin is labeled (are you surprised?!). It's easy to take a committee bin and head on over to the meeting now, without having to figure out where I last left those materials, and what to do with all those lose papers. The bins are a life saver!
Here are a few close ups of my "Day to Day" bin. It houses my student contacts folder, book bin labels, student name labels, and daily reading logs. For the student name labels, I have three sizes of labels: return address, address, and shipping. I pre-print these the first week of September in multiple quantities so I have enough for the entire year. They come in handy for Guest Teacher days and special activities/projects. For the book labels, I print mass quantities of each type of book label. That way, when a Scholastic order comes in, oar a book is donated, or purchased, we have easy access to the labels so the book can be processed (name stamp, leveled color dot sticker, number sticker, theme/topic/genre label) and added to the correct book bin quickly. For the daily reading lobs, I have an envelop folder and regular folder that houses the blank ready-to-hand out book log copies and already-filled-in returned book logs. I keep the logs all year and we return them at the end of the year. The kids love counting how many they completely filled out for the year. The orange folder is where i shove our milk count sheet, my comp time sheet, the bus driver list, and other odd sheets that I need on a day-to-day basis. Finally, for the student contacts folder, I use the same one over year after year. The inside has page protectors that house each student's contact information sheet. I create my own, separate from the office).
Below you will find a close up of my Lesson Planning bin. This bin still needs a little bit of work, but for the most part it's finished (binders). It houses five binders: (1) lesson plans, (2) scope and sequence planning guides, (3) standards and benchmarks for grade one, (4) specialist schedule, and (5) pull out/push in schedule. I don't have a picture of the push in or pull out schedule. I'll work on getting that this year (2010-2011). The specialists schedule needs a label on the binder, but it's proved to be a help! We have specialists every day. Last year (2009-2010) we had a Friday music/gym rotation that followed an A/B rotation. I always got mixed up because during the week we went to gym on Mondays ant Wednesdays (gym first, followed by music right after gym). But on Fridays A was music and B was music, which confused me for several months! On top of that we also had an A/B schedule for health and guidance. But it was week A or week B, instead of Friday A/B, which I guess is the same thing, but on rare occasion, we'd have a week A for guidance/health and a week B for gum/music. Aaahhhh! So, needless to say, the specialists schedule was my guide for the year. I don't have a print out of our standards and benchmarks. They are printed from BYOC (Build Your Own Curriculum), which is a software program Door County schools use (among other districts/states).
Mentor texts for our science, social studies, reading, math, and writing mini lessons are stored in a mentor texts bin (on the "teaching chart"). Mentor texts come from our classroom, school, and county libraries.
I have a total of eight storage carts. Six of the storage carts make of one of our classroom walls.
PS... Ignore the mess on top of the carts....it was the end of the school year and the carts were stacked with items as well as left uncovered for the picture (normally I have curtains on the carts).
At our school, we have a semi-open concept. it used to be total open, with the walls made of dividers and carts, but over the years, most classrooms have had walls put up between them. My room has the outside wall, and two walls dividing my classroom from our two neighbors. The fourth wall is made of six storage carts (on wheels). We have three pods in our elementary building. I'm in the K/1 pod. We surround the K/1 IMC (library). Eight carts store:
extra markers, color dot labels, white sticker (square rectangle, etc) labels, post it notes of varying sizes, post it note tabs, note pads, notebooks, special glue/tape, Vista Print creations, 3-hole punch, assorted art supplies, small/large paper clips, staples, extra envelopes, push pins, thumb tacks, loose leaf rings, hole punchers, staple removers, light bulbs, binder clips, rubber bands, index cards of varying sizes, and fine motor activities. THIS cart is actually two-sided. On the reverse side, facing the library, we store our foil, wax paper, saran wrap, tissues, paper towels, wet wipes for people, wet wipes for tables, straws, spoons/knives/forks (plastic), napkins, garbage bags, extra student notebooks, paper bags, bowls, plates, tooth picks, cups, zipper bags of varying sizes, and other cleaning supplies
magnifying glasses, test tubes (baby soda bottles), electric kettle, balloons, streamers, salt, food coloring, assorted jars, magnet unit supplies, mirrors, telescope, Guided Reading Lesson Plan index box (weird...I know...), funnels, strainer, hot pad, bug collector stuff, assorted eye droppers & tweezers, measuring cups & spoons, coffee filters, black light, spay bottles, trays, flashlights, dirt, sand, face masks, goggles, rock & minerals unit supplies, and other science-related stuff
craft punches, letter/number stamps, keys (!?), ink pads, foam, google eyes, beads/bead kit materials, letter beads, craft stamps, paint, bingo dot markers, sand paper, blank puzzles, date stamp, name stamps, six traits stamp, feathers, craft sticks, buttons, cotton balls, buttons, q-tips, wood shapes, foam letters of various sizes, string/ribbon, yarn, stickers, fur, felt, flowers, pipe cleaners, beads, pom poms, glitter, glitter glue, sharpies, tissue paper, foamies, paint shirts, among other art/craft supplies
additional teaching resource books for content areas and "inclement weather" games
leveled readers, felt board stories/songs/kits, listen to reading materials (playlist menus, extra headphones, 2-way splitters, ...), and Leap Pad books/cartridges
receipt roll paper, money, pattern blocks, base 10 blocks, 4-color chips, frogs on a log & logs, timer, rulers, connecting cubes, dice, 2-sided chips, stack of cubs (students use them when they need manips for a math sheet), flash cards, puzzles/games for math, dominoes, tan grams, Judy Clock, student clocks, spinners, and other math-related materials for math lessons and math tubs
The seventh and eight carts are my "teaching carts" which have the teaching bins on top. Below (inside) we have:
independent word work bin activity materials (under the cart: paper cutter & treasure box prizes)
accent cut outs of various sizes and designs, laminator, laminating pouches/film, masking tape, storage/packaging tape, scotch tape, magnet tape, business card magnets, Velcro, manila file folders, file folder holders, personal supplies in a white basket (static guard, deodorant, powder, cough drops, Advil, Advil migraine, lotion, lip gunk (not lipstick...I'm not a lipstick kind-a-girl), salt & pepper (for lunch!), saline solution, extra contacts, TUMS, hair spray, face gunk to freshen me up on long, ardous days (!), safety pins, barrettes, hair bands, feminine supplies, breath mints, gum, ....etc....), and under the cart are not-in-use pocket charts
The "Drive-Me-Crazy" Dailies
Ugh! WHY, oh why haven't I thought of this system earlier?! Year (2009-2010) fourteen (14!) of teaching and I finally "get it"...a great idea for the "drive-me-crazy" dailies! I don't have pictures of all of them, but I'll explain them and add pictures as soon as I can get into my room this year (2010-2011).
(1) Card Collector Cassie & (2) Max's Missing Manipulatives
These two friendly containers solve two problems:
1. lost leveled reader book cards
2. lost word work bin & math tub manipulatives
We just add lost cards and manipulatives to these cuties and I take care of them when I have time! It takes care of the "Mrs. Meacham, I found a book card, what should I do with it?" and "I don't know which word work bin this card goes in!"
(3) Fix-It Fred
Fix-It Fred is a true friend when you need him! Seriously, you need to get one for yourself! Get a basket (big enough to put a piece of paper in works best!) and label it Fix-It Fred. Anything that needs "fixing" get's tossed in Fred. When "Fred" has time, he fixes the stuff and returns it to it's proper location. Sometimes "Fred" is so busy the basket overflows. He even sometimes has to "hire" extra help (parents, students) from time to time. :) I love Fred!
(4) Turn-It-In Tina
I can't decide If I like Tina or Fred better. I think they are both terrific! Tina is another basket (similar to Fred). She loves anything that has to be turned in to Mrs. Meacham. Things like book orders, teacher notes, bus notes, lunch money, permission slips, reading logs sheets, homework, YOU NAME IT! Aaaahhhhhhh....why did I wait so long to "friend" you Tina?! I love Tina!
(5) Mrs. Meacham's Mess
This one is kind of self-explanatory. It's the collect-all place for things I need to take care of. Forms, slips, papers galore! (sigh) I think I need to hire a personal secretary!
(6) Lost and Found Franny
Franny is the drawer we put any and all lost student supplies. If we find a marker, pen, or glue stick on the floor, we simply put it in Franny! She's also the place students go to to search for supplies they've realized are missing!
(7) Bernie Book Worm Bin
After students bring their Guided Reading Books back to school, I need to re-shelve them in our Guided Reading book room. I don't do this daily. I do it once a week (or so). Students know to add their Guided Reading books to Bernie. Guest Teachers in other areas of the school, looking for extra work to d (for whatever reason) know to find book bins (like Bernier) in each classroom and lend an extra hand in re-shelving books in the Guided Reading book room.
Classroom Room Arrangement
Scholastic Book Clubs
I keep a dish/tub/bin full of my Scholastic Book Club resources. Whenever I get something that is related to book clubs, it gets tossed into the dish/tub/bin. At the end of August, before school begins, I create the monthly "due back by" labels. I keep these sheets in the plastic Ziploc baggie, along with the current and past months order forms, teacher inserts, coupons, student order form envelopes, bills, etc. A stapler, stapler remover, and extra staples are stored in the tub as well. That way, if I need to work on the book club orders at home, I can easily just take the whole thing with me after school without thinking about what tools/supplies I will need to create student packets or to order online.
My classroom has tables, and I don't like to store things on the tables, so we have storage boxes that I supply for students.
I bought these 3-drawer units from Wal-Mart. I think Target has them too. They were approximately $6 per unit. I bought 6 units, enough for 18 students. They fit nicely on the white shelving that you can buy and assemble yourself. Target's name brand is "Organize It" 30" White Vertical Shelving Unit, and cost ~$12. Each student's box is labeled with their name. I bought the pencil cut out icons from Dollar Tree during the summer of 2006 for $1. I then printed the name labels on clear labels, size #8160.