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Why it Works: Classroom Organization

Welcome to day 3 of the Blog Hoppin' Back to School 2014 Linky.  Today we are sharing about one of my most favourite classroom elements - organization.

You can read my first two posts by clicking the links below:
Day 1: Who
Day 2: Where


If you know me personally, you know I am excessively organized.  It's a strength and a weakness wrapped into one.  I try to have every aspect of my classroom organized.  Why? So that not only can I work with my supplies easily, but so can the students and any other teacher who may be in my room while I'm away.  I feel that an organized classroom is more calming and visually appealing for students.  An organized classroom is also more welcoming to me.

Because I am a relatively new teacher, I decided on a colour scheme and stuck with it for all my purchases.  My classroom is sky blue with accents of lime green and black.  It's going to be an expensive day if I ever get bored of my colours.

My students coat hooks are always labeled from the first day.  It helps gives them a bit of ownership to the room, a space to call their own.  I don't know about you, but I always seem to never have enough coat hook room.  Especially in the winter when they have large coats, snow pants, mitts, toques.... I constantly hear the "her stuff is on top of mine" complaint.  Staggering the hooks and spacing them out as best I can helps some.

You'll notice my students have bins above.  They are labeled with the exact same owl as their coat hook.  These bins originally came into play when I had a lice epidemic (it was bad news) in my classroom.  They were a method of separating toques and mitts.  Bundling things into plastic bags wasn't working - they weren't doing it, the bags were ripping.... It was a good try anyhow.  With the bins, kids stuff is separate.  I'm finding it cuts down on the "who does this glove belong to" business.  Some kids like to pull their lunch kit out in the morning and keep it in their bin.  Others store their agenda there.  At the end of the day, their inside shoes go in the bin.  The custodians LOVE it.  So much easier for them to clean.

This is a picture of my class library last year.  I have a lot of books.  I'm thinking I will put out less this year and rotate the bins.  I will have more cupboard storage in my new classroom.  Again, the bins are all the same colour.  When I took this photo, I hadn't yet labeled a few of them.  They are all labeled by genre or author or series if I had a lot of them.  The white bin on top is full of picture books that don't fit down below.  The ones on display are from the school library.  I tend to take out books that match what we are learning at the time.  

Labeling the library helps kids know where they got the books from.  I rarely find a book out of place.  If I do, it's not hard to fix.  You do fit less books on the shelf using the bins, but I think it's less overwhelming for a child to pull a bin out, sit on the floor and rifle through.  An entire shelf of books is difficult to focus on.

Lastly, here is a shot of some digital organizing.  I have so many math centres, it was tricky to remember what I had, what level it was etc... I ended up making a huge table to organize it all.  It has the strand, learning outcomes, ability level (low, on, high) and anything additional it requires.  This keeps me on track to make sure I use them all, that I'm differentiating, and that I don't forget to set anything out!

The actual stations are all stored in matching plastic folders.  Each folder is labeled with the same information.  The folders are stored in holders that are labeled by strand.  I do have a separate holder for Roll and Cover games.  I have so many of them because I have all the lovely seasonal ones from Fourth and Ten.

That's just 3 ways I organize my classroom.  I hope it was helpful!  Feel free to leave me any questions you might have in the comments.  Come back tomorrow to read about when I plan and prep.


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