Happy New Year!! Feliz Ano Nuevo!!
With the start of the new year, it's a great time to begin to think about re-organizing your classroom, and even re-arranging your room!! Here are a few tips from the Pine Village schools, and from other bloggers on how to get yourself organized!!! I look forward to coming back into the schools this month to see how everyone is progressing with portfolios, prepping for the Multicultural Feast and also building their Curriculum Boxes!! Hasta pronto!!
Step 1: PURGE ANYTHING YOU DON'T NEED!! As teachers, we tend to hoard items that we think we will use some day. Now is the time to decide what items are important enough to keep and which ones need to find a new home. Ask yourself, do I REALLY NEED this? Have I used it in the last year? If you're like me, you cringe at the thought of throwing something out that may be useful for someone else. Create a FREE box and let your families go through it. Or post your items on a website like FREECYCLE.ORG (I"m a big fan). Or see if your director can bring items to the office that another Pine Village school may be able to use!!!
Step 2: REFLECT, REFLECT, REFLECT!! ARE YOUR SYSTEMS WORKING? Do you find yourself always scrambling at the last minute to prepare the materials for your curriculum throughout the week? Are the kids stuck "waiting" while you run and grab paint from another classroom, or get the smocks from the main closet? Think about what is working and what needs improvement. If it's not working, then now is a great time to reflect on that and come up with a new system.
Step 3: ACTION!! Make the time to put your systems into action!!! Then you will see the results in no time at all and it will be so worth it!!
Organizing Your Weekly Materials
This is a really wonderful system for organizing your materials for the week!! It's $49.99 at Lakeshore (see link above) but you could make your own similar system!! Everything you need is placed in the bin for that day. You could put the papers you need, the books you will be reading and the CD's you'll be listening to. You could even put your portfolio packets in there so you know which day of the week you'll be working on them!! Imagine if you are out sick how happy your substitute teacher would be!!
Or another way to do it is...Fiorella in JP Revere just has a bin that says "Proyectos de la Semana" for her to place everything she needs for the week!! It's a great system so everything is prepared for the week!
Organizing Your Classroom:
I have shared various systems for classroom management systems like Job Charts and Dividing out the Centers over the past year, but here are a few other systems that I have seen in the schools that can help you get organized!!
Hospital para Libros
Alicia in Brighton has a "Hospital para libros" container so whenever the books need to be fixed with tape, then the children put it right in the bin to be fixed at another time.
Bleach and Water Disinfectant System
The Newton teachers prefer to prepare their Bleach and Water solution daily as opposed to using the EPA certified disinfectant sprays. So Kelly prepared this basket to hold all of the items that they need in order to make their daily Bleach and Water Disinfectant!!
The teachers in Newton change out the nametags for the children's hooks with each changing theme or season. To make it easier on them, they just print out new clip art to place in the plastic envelope and they don't even need to change the name!! It's just so easy!!
In order to have easy clean up after a messy art project, it just takes some simple planning in advance to prepare the table with newsprint or a reusable plastic table cloth from the Dollar Tree like Britni and Katie do in their Pre-K class in Newton!!
Britni and Katie have all of their anecdotdal sheets on a clipboard which they hang on the refrigerator in their classroom! It's a great way to organize themselves for the portfolios!!
Infant Toddler Labels for Portfolios:
Patricia in Brighton made it easy to find what she needed for her labels for the portfolio samples by labeling the Infant Toddler Guidelines Book with post it notes!!
Denise in Brighton created this Daily Tasks sheet to be filled out at the end of the day to help with the End of the Day Closing Procedures, and also the weekly tasks that need to be accomplished!! Having a checklist keeps everyone organized!!
Bulletin Board Borders Storage
I thought this was a really creative way to hang and store all of the borders for the bulletin boards in Brighton!! They have a storage room, but this could easily be done on the back of a door or in a closet too!!
Teacher Storage and Organization Ideas from PreKpages.com Blog.
Do you have a lot of stuff? That was a trick question; all teachers of young children have a lot of stuff! There’s a big difference between having a lot of stuff and finding the room to store it all as well as keeping it organized so you can find what you need when you need it.
In the picture above you can see how I store all of my dramatic play props and the materials for my professional development sessions. I purchased the PVC storage shelf from Amazon.
I used to store my dramatic play props and kits in two big plastic tubs but it was difficult to find what I needed and I was wasting too much time digging around in the boxes searching for things. Then I switched to storing the items for each dramatic play theme separately in file boxes and it has really helped. Each box is clearly labeled on the end with the name of the dramatic play scenario or workshop. I printed the labels out on Avery Sticker Paper and attached them to the end of each box so I can quickly locate what I need.
I also had difficulty packing for my workshops. It was taking me a day or more to locate all the props and materials I needed for each event, not cool! I now have a box for each topic and the items for each session are inside the box in a giant zip top plastic bag. All I have to do is open the box and take out the bag, then throw it in my suitcase and I’m good to go!
Theme Storage Tubs
So you’ve seen how I store my dramatic play and workshop materials, here is how I store my thematic materials. This is my garage by the way, and these are only a FEW of the 20 or more thematic tubs I have. Each tub holds everything from thematic puzzles and manipulatives to story props and thematic books for the classroom library. The tubs I use are the Sterlite brand from Target.
Organizing and Storing Books for Read Alouds
Books for read alouds are stored in these inexpensive ice cube containers pictured above. You can read more about them here and download the free printable book box labels.