Top 5 Essentials for Classroom Organization

Hello, teacher friends! It’s getting to be that time of summer when we’re starting to get anxious to work in our classrooms, and since I’ll be on maternity leave for the first 12 weeks of the school year with our sweet baby Beau, I definitely have to be on the ball this summer more than usual! In fact, our classrooms will be off limits due to floor waxing next week, so I had to get my room set up in its entirety this week! July 18 is a record for me for sure! (Post and pics coming soon.)

Here are my Top 5 FAVORITE organizational tools for my classroom that I can’t survive without!

5) Travel soap containers – Perfect for decks of cards or small flash cards.  If you utilize the Everyday Mathematics curriculum, you are well aware of the necessity of good storage for the game cards that the students use nearly every day. Several teachers in my school also use hole punches with small shapes to punch the corner of each card, then label the box with that shape so that decks will match according to shape AND stray cards always find their way to the correct box. Brilliant!
***You can purchase plastic soap containers at Walmart, Target, and many different dollar stores, although I’d recommend bringing a card along in your purse to make sure it fits in the box.

4) Library baskets – Target and Walmart both carry a specific type of basket that I’m attached to.  They’re sturdy, come in a variety of colors, and fit classroom supplies beautifully.  The medium size is perfect for picture books, spiral or comp notebooks, or pocket folders, and the small size is ideal for chapter books.  Here, I’m using them to organize folders for the variety of student groups that I’ll be serving as the early childhood Gifted Resource Coordinator.

3) Table (shower) caddies – DO NOT (I repeat) DO NOT buy these at teacher stores! I have no idea why the ones in teacher stores are so cheaply made and even more expensive, but the Sterilite shower caddies at Walmart are less than $4.00 apiece and are THE best for organizing student materials on tables. There’s larger spaces, more slots for a variety of items, and they last for at least 2-3 years.  I was super excited to find that Walmart carried them in pink and turquoise this year! (Look for them in the college/dorm supplies or seasonal section).  Other ideas for supplies to include in these caddies are: sharpened pencils (I’ll add these later), large erasers, small pencil sharpeners, laminated number grids, or laminated handwriting strips.  If you’d like to designate a specific caddy for each table, I’d recommend tying a different color of ribbon on the top of each handle.

 

2) All purpose teacher organizer – I splurged on this little beauty my first year of teaching and haven’t been able to survive without it since.  Up until this year, each bucket was labeled Monday through Friday, and the files inside were labeled according to subject.  At the end of each week, as I copied or gathered all needed materials (worksheets, read aloud books, diecuts, manipulatives, etc.) for the following week, into the boxes they went, ready to go for the following week! Talk about something to make you feel relaxed enough to leave your classroom on Friday afternoon to enjoy the weekend! This year, since I am teaching five different pull out enrichment groups, I am using the bins to organize my needed weekly materials for each group. You can purchase this item at Lakeshore Learning Store at the following link, although I’d recommend using one of their back to school coupons to save a bit of cash.

 

 

 1) Printable labels – Truly and honestly, how DID teachers survive before printable sticky labels were invented?! I cannot imagine writing my students’ names over and over or hand writing on every single supply and folder each year. And with my new job assignment, I’ll be serving a lot more kids than 20!  The awesome part about printable labels is that they come in a variety of sizes, you can add fun color, graphics, and fonts, and they take ONE SECOND to stick on the corner of a folder.  With my regular education classes in the past, I always print about 20 copies of address labels that have one of each child’s name in the class, and also some with their classroom number. I love how they are always clean-looking and easy to read.

 

 

Here’s one more NEW organizational tool that I’m excited to try out this year…The “Filetastic” from Mardel. Oh, the possibilities!  I’m planning to use it to organize choice grids/activities/centers for each of the 8 Multiple Intelligences!

 

 

Happy Organizing! What are some of YOUR favorite organizational supplies? Comment below!