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Organize Your Classroom Using Bins and Containers

The key to a smooth-running classroom is organization. When everything has a home you maximize your time because you know exactly where your materials are.  Students can feel ownership over the classroom and respect the space when they know where to put things.  I'm sharing 5 different ways you can use bins and containers to organize your classroom.

If you're not naturally organized, or just looking for some new ideas for how to put your classroom in order, this blog post is for you!

Class Library

I've chosen to organize my class library into bins for a few reasons.  I find that when students can see the front covers of books, they are more likely to read something unfamiliar to them.  It's easy this way for students to pull out a bin and browse through.  Most bins are organized by genre, although some are organized by author or series if I have a lot to fit the category.

Each bin is labelled with words and an image.  Then, each book is labelled with my name (because you never know where books will end up and I want them to come back!) and an image that matches the bin.  By putting a corresponding image on the books, I have virtually ZERO books put back incorrectly.

Manipulatives and General Resources

These Sterilite bins were an amazing investment!  They're called "6 Quart Storage Bin Shoe Box" if you're looking for them online.  You can buy these bins with seasonal coloured lids for a cheaper price, but the likelihood of getting that same colour in the future is slim to none.

I love that these bins stack - huge space saver!  Again, it's really easy to grab out the needed bin for the task.  I keep everything from math manipulatives to crafting supplies to science lab items in these bins.

I also keep some student supplies in these bins from Really Good Stuff.  The Sterilite bins would have worked as well, but I had extras of these.  These bins hold scissors, glue sticks, pens, rulers, etc. so they are more frequently used.  It's nice not having to deal with a lid when we are in these bins on a daily basis.

Student Supplies/Items

Being that my classroom is fully flexible seating, students don't have access to a "desk hole".  I tackled this issue with two bins.  Those in the picture below are from the dollar store.  Students can keep their agendas, lunch kits, wet mitts from outside etc in this bin.  I also have another set of the Really Good Stuff bins from above labelled with student names.  This is where they keep their pencil case, notebooks, etc.  It's important to keep work and lunches separate (I speak from experience!)

Duotangs/Three Prong Folders

In Canada, we call these duotangs, but I believe in the U.S. you refer to them as three prong folders.  Again, because I don't have assigned student seating, duotangs can't go into a desk.  I solved this issue with washbins.  You can purchase these at a dollar store, but I find those ones to be a bit flimsy.  Mine are Sterilite.  I labelled these using vinyl and my Cricut machine.

Honestly, even if I did have assigned seating, I would use this system.  I hate when duotangs get all crumpled and crams in desks.  This totally eliminates that issue.

Task Cards

My most recent investment was this container from Michaels.  It's called "Color Photo & Craft Keeper" by Recollections.  It's meant to store 4x6 photos, but works AMAZINGLY for task cards.  I've now got 16 sets of task cards neatly stored away.  Again, when I need a set, I pull just the container needed.

I'd love to hear from you!  What tips do you have for keeping organization manageable?

Want to get your classroom library organized?  I'm sharing a set of classroom library labels to get you up and running!  Follow the button below to get your copy.

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