March 27, 2011

Daily Materials Organization

As you may have noticed, I have had organization on the brain these days!!!  So, you can imagine my delight when I saw that Mrs. Patton over at Patton's Patch was having a week-long linky party all about organization!
*silent cheer*  
(Side note: When I was nearing the end of my long and painful drive yesterday, I literally let go of the wheel and gave a silent cheer when I made it to the McDonalds that marked 1 hr left and my Shamrock Shake treat.  In that moment I realized that I am THAT TEACHER who never turns off the classroom habits. I was glad that no one was in the car to witness and ridicule.)

Today's theme is Daily Materials Organization, aka how I manage to teach without spending 15 minutes at the start of every lesson hunting down transparencies and handouts... (Actually, let's be real.  Even with an organization system, I still have to do that sometimes...)

Here's how I keep my materials organized:
Thursdays are my big copy extravaganza day...I try to get the bulk of my copies done for the entire next week, although of course things still come up at the last minute, resulting in me scrambling to the copier throughout the week anyways!  But getting at least most of my things copied Thursday afternoons keeps me at least mostly sane and organized!  Then, I paper clip everything together (along with the transparency if that particular handout has one) and slide the piles into the slot for that day.  I also have the "Next Week" slot at the bottom, which is crucial.  If I don't get to something on a particular day, it gets refiled in a different slot.

Since I teach 5th grade, the smallish slots in this shelvy thing work fine--far less materials each day; mostly handouts, transparencies, and occassionally picture books.  If I am doing a science lab or something that requires more materials, I will gather them all in a bin and slide it under my desk until we are ready for it.  Counter space is rare in my classroom!!

Another tool I use to keep the Pile Monster away from my desk is this little 3 slot magazine file that I was lucky enough to stumble across...
 Before I got this little guy, I typically had huge disorganized piles all over.  I'll admit that I am a lazy filer, but at least this way everything stays neat and tidy until I actually file it where it belongs!  After I make my Thursday Copies, I stick an original of everything in the "File" bin.

Sometimes I make copies WAY in advance, like with EDM Study Links or my ISAT practice tests.  I'm still looking for a system for these babies, since I don't want to lose a whole file drawer keeping them there.  Right now, I stick them in baskets in one of my storage closets, but I'm not a big fan of this system...Suggestions?  Ideas?


  1. Thanks for joining the party! I, too, used to be a lazy filer. I learned my lesson a few months ago when it took me about 2 hours to do what I had put off for months... oops!

    Colleen Patton
    Mrs. Patton’s Patch

  2. I used to do the same Monday-Friday bins (actually have some super colorful and cute ones I got from Lakeshore Learning) but after awhile, it just was NOT working for me.

    Now I have an 8-slot literature sorter behind my desk and I stack copies in it based on subject area (ie. I copy 8-10 study links ahead of time and they go, in order, onto that particular shelf). It has worked well for me this year and allowed me to stay organized with a minimal of space around my desk.

  3. I made a similar tool to organize my papers on my desk too! Table Top Organizer Maybe you can file the tests in binders? Or get those 5 drawer plastic containers and store them in there? I dunno, that's a hard one!

  4. You've got a great system!! I'm usually very organized - especially at the beginning of the year. Sometimes things fall apart after January :) Oh and I love that three slot file bin!!

  5. Wow! I like the "grade, copy, file" box! I may have to try that! Sometimes it looks like a bomb has gone off on top of my desk from all the papers.

  6. LOVE your site! We really need to keep in touch! Come visit me!

    5th Grade Tomfoolery


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