Sunday, November 17, 2013

Time Savers and Helpful Tips

So I had such GREAT intentions last week!  I was going to link up with Blog Hoppin's linky party and have some great ideas to share with you.  However, as you know, life tends to get in the way, and 3 nights last week, I fell asleep with my laptop on my lap and didn't finish a single blog post!  (I blame my computer- it was being slow!)

I decided that I was going to go ahead and post my ideas anyway!  I know I always like to read other teacher's ideas, especially about classroom organization, so I am sharing some of mine with you today.  Five, to be exact.

Tip #1:  Keep everything handy!
My favorite time saver tip is to keep everything handy.  I keep all of my supplies in labeled bins in the classroom.  I also have a ton of small dollar store baskets, yogurt/dog food containers, etc... hanging out around the classroom.  Whenever I am preparing for a new activity, I stick the supplies the students will need in those containers, so I can grab them and pass them out to partners, groups, etc...  It cuts down the time that I spend passing out materials, which cuts down on transition time and gives students more time to work!
These students were playing a math game.  The cards and the color tiles were placed in a basket, and then I just handed the basket to each student.  Super easy!

Tip #2:  Organize your learning targets.
Something else that has saved me a ton of time is creating these  "I Can" statements for each of the standards.  I keep them organized in a file folder box, with each strand in its own folder.  If I need a standard that is a Language standard, I look in that folder.  If I need a place value standard, I look in the NBT folder.  Etc... And then I hang them up.  Since they are already written out, when I go to put the standard in my plans, they are ready for me to just copy and paste into my plans!  Even if you don't have cute posters like mine, having a page with your targets typed up and kept on your computer or in your plan book would be very helpful!  


Tip #3:  Curb the paper monster.
As for organizing materials, I can tell you all honestly that I HATE paper.  The stuff ends up everywhere, and I can never seem to keep up with it all.  If it has a home, such as a binder or folder, great, but otherwise, I am tempted to throw all of it away!  But I like to have stuff prepared ahead of time if possible.  So last year I went to Hobby Lobby and bought these 12x12 inch scrapbooking drawers.  I actually made 2 trips so I could use 2 coupons!  I stacked them on top of each other, and made a label for each subject.  Then I can place copies that I have made in the drawer for the appropriate subject.  


In the past, I have tried color coordinated folders (yes, each of my subjects is color coordinated!), but those didn't work as well for me.  These drawers do!  I love that I know where my copies are when I need them, and that my copies are prepared ahead of time!  Such a lifesaver for me! 

Tip #4:  Find creative ways to store all those extra supplies!
I have a ton of school supplies that I purchase myself during the back to school sales, but I don't have a ton of storage space in my classroom.  I am so jealous of you teachers who have cabinets and closets!  I have 2 cabinets, but frankly, they don't hold as much as I would like them to.  So I made some milk crate seats for my classroom 2 years ago, and this past year, I made 5 gallon bucket seats for my reading table.  (I don't have a picture of my crate seats.  Can you believe it?!)  I love them, because they give the students a place to sit, and also allow me to store supplies such as glue sticks, composition notebooks, markers, and plastic baggies.  I don't know what I ever did without them! 

Tip #5:  Use rings to organize materials.
My other favorite thing is RINGS.  I have a special drawer just for rings in my little organizer.  I am always putting something on a ring!  I put flash cards and task cards on a ring to use at my Guided Reading table.  I made smaller copies of my "I Can" statements and use a ring to hang them on my Writing/Word Work containers.  I have the parents fill out a student information card on cardstock, then I stick those on a ring! I hang it by the phone.  Whenever we go on field trips, I grab the entire thing and put it in my backpack, in case of an emergency!  I am a little ring crazy, I guess, but I like things to be organized! 

I certainly hope this post helped out somebody!  I have a few more ideas, so look for a Time Savers and Helpful Hints (part 2) post coming up someday.  Maybe I should get more organized about my blogging... :-) 

2 comments:

  1. I love the bucket storage! I too LOVE rings. I use them all the time! I recently started putting cup hooks everywhere possible and am hanging as many things as I can so they are "in-sight". I will remember to use things if they are right in front of my face!
    Karen Rowland
    Adventures With Firsties

    karenrowland112677@yahoo.com

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