Category Archives: Organization

IKEA Trip

Each vacation we have from school, a few of my school friends and I trek to our closest IKEA and buy lots of things we don’t really need.ย  Here’s what I got from our Thanksgiving trip.

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I got this adorable cart I’ve had my eye on for 2 years now!ย  I got rid of the previous shelf that was here, got rid of lots of stuff and consolidated it down to this. ๐Ÿ™‚ย  My friend who went along suggested that I could use this card to help pass out materials to the kids more quickly.ย  I love that idea…just load up the materials on the cart and roll them to the kids or pick up materials from them.ย  I pushed it around my room and felt a little like a stewardess. ๐Ÿ™‚ย  IMG_1348

Here’s a look at what’s sitting on the top shelf.ย  These are the things I use on a regular basis.ย  The tall pink thing you see is my dollar store collapsible trash can.ย  I put things in it when I’m demo-ing how to do something. IMG_1349

The second shelf holds all my demo materials, pattern blocks, cubes, tiles, cards for our agenda, etc. IMG_1350This is another cart I got that I shared about a few weeks ago.ย  I went back to IKEA and got two more of these.ย  I’m using it to store the masters for my Math and Literacy Work Stations.ย  That way if I run out, I can quickly find the replacements. This is the same cart that I use for my small group materials.

Don’t forget that today is the first day of the Tpt Cyber Monday and Tuesday sale.

sale_300_300Use the code “CYBER” to get the discount. ๐Ÿ™‚

Kristen ๐Ÿ™‚

The Gingerbread Man is back (almost!)

The Gingerbread Man (GBM) is almost back!ย  We are on Thanksgiving Break, so where did I spend part of my vacation?ย  In my classroom of course!!ย  I needed to get the GBM crate out of the closet without the kids seeing it. ๐Ÿ™‚ย  Here’s what the underneathย  area of my loft looks like now:

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This is the crate where I organize all my GBM things.ย  Each country has a folder. ๐Ÿ™‚IMG_1322

This “Unit Pack” folder holds all my Gingerbread Man Unit materials.ย  It’s really easy to pull out what I need from this folder to prep all the envelopes that the GBM leaves us. IMG_1323

Next in the crate is the Tale of the Gingerbread Man play that we have our K kiddos present each year.ย  We are taking the year off from this play this year because we have such a short window between Thanksgiving and the end of the semester.ย  We just didn’t have enough time to get everything together, so maybe next year. ๐Ÿ™‚IMG_1324

I am usually in charge of running the sound board, reminding the kids of the movements, and turning the microphones on and off for speaking parts.ย  So you see all my markups in my master binder that I have with me during all of our practices and the actual presentation. IMG_1325

These are many of the GBM stories that I have collected. ๐Ÿ™‚ย  In my GBM unit, I have shared a list of most of my GBM books. ๐Ÿ™‚ You can also see the folders for each country.ย  I have all the materials I need for each packet in the folders.ย  You can get the letters in my GBM unit. IMG_1326

I also have a folder for all of the Literacy Work Station and Math Work Station materials we use during the GBM’s visit. IMG_1327

Behind all my folders, I have extra envelopes if I decide to add another country.ย  I like to add countries that my students have lived in so they can share some of their experiences.ย  IMG_1328
In the front of the crate, I have the more 3D objects that will be sent along with our letters.ย  I keep the menorah, dreidels, puzzles, etc., here.

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And then there is the pile on top of the crate.ย  It serves two purposes, one to hide the envelopes underneath it, and two, its everything that would not fit in the crate or things I need to copy or have copied for the unit. IMG_1330

This is what our first envelope looks like. ๐Ÿ™‚ย  It will be “delivered” on December 2nd. IMG_1331

We will be measuring with these candies soon and I’ll be posting this GBM Write the Room activity soon in my Tpt store. ๐Ÿ™‚IMG_1332Finally, here are my GBM puppets that we use to retell the story.ย  We sit in a big circle and we pass the wooden spoon puppets around in the order that the GBM is chased in the story.ย  I got the faces years ago from the December Mailbox book.ย  I’m not sure if you can still get it, but I will be working on creating some to share. ๐Ÿ™‚

Kristen ๐Ÿ™‚

Guided Reading Groups

It is a difficult thing for me to find a system that works for organizing my guided reading materials I am using each week.

I went from this:

Screen Shot 2013-11-14 at 9.43.53 PMI used to put all my materials into Ziploc baggies and line them up in this tub.ย  They got all mixed up, so that wasn’t working–it was taking too much time to find what I needed.

To this:

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My stacking drawers are similar to these except I have drawers that slide in and out.ย  Functional, yets, problematic, yes!!ย  I was very limited to the size and quantity of materials I could fit in these baskets.ย  I needed to find something new!!

To the new love of my life: IMG_1274

I got this beauty at IKEA last time I was there for $15.00!!!ย  The drawers are called LENNART drawers. I had to do some quick assembly, but this bad boy fits right under my horseshoe table with about an inch of clearance.ย  The drawers have waves in the back of the tracks to keep the drawers from falling out.ย  The drawers slide in and out very smoothly and they are about 3 1/2 to 4 inches deep, so I can store everything I need in them!ย  There is also a nice 4 inch space under the bottom basket where another basket could easily slide in.ย  IMG_1275I’m going back to IKEA in two weeks and you’d better believe that several more of these are on my wishlist!! I need one for the other side of my horseshoe table and this is the perfect height for me to put my laptop on (well at least for short people like me it works!!).ย  I have several more places picked out in my classroom that will be getting a set of these. ๐Ÿ™‚

I’ll share some more pictures later this week of my guided reading materials in them. ๐Ÿ™‚

Kristen ๐Ÿ™‚

Messy Mess!

How many of you have an area in your classroom that looks like this?

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This is the area under my Home Living area/Loft.ย  I just keep putting things here with the intent to put them away soon. ๐Ÿ™‚ย  This space is right behind my desk area and is always the collection area. ๐Ÿ™‚ย  Lucky me!! I have a student teacher, so I spent some time cleaning this space up and later this week, I’ll share the after pictures. ๐Ÿ™‚IMG_1286

How do you keep your cluttered areas clean?? ๐Ÿ™‚

Kristen ๐Ÿ™‚

Name Cards

I like to make name cards each year for a variety of uses in my classroom.

Screen Shot 2013-08-11 at 9.11.10 PMI print them out using the “contact sheet” option in iPhoto.

I use my 1 1/2 inch square punch and cut out pictures of each one of the kiddos 3-4 times.ย  I use one set on business cards.ย  I glue about 1/3 of the picture on to the right end of the business card.ย  I then write their name on the other part of the card and then laminate.ย ย  I then stick magnets on the back of them and we use them when the kiddos have to go to the restroom.ย  They move their card from the filing cabinet to the magnetic board so we know who is where. ๐Ÿ™‚

I also make a set without magnets and use them to call on students when we are doing something whole group.ย  I cycle through the cards and that ensures each child gets a chance at the activity.ย  I call them Morning Message cards.

I also make several copies (3 to be exact) for my Literacy and Math Work Stations.ย  We are going to be doing 2 Literacy Work Stations this year, so I will have two pictures of each student that I can rotate through their Literacy Work Stations.ย  I will also use one set for Math Work Stations.

Kristen ๐Ÿ™‚

Crayon Cups

This is how we ended up deciding to store our crayons!

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We switched them into the cups that were holding the glue, scissors, and pencil and put the glue and scissors into the plastic containers. Works much better and these cups (from IKEA–6 for $2.99!!) hold 24 crayons plus the “fat” Ticonderoga pencils!

IMG_0825Much better!! The cups kept getting knocked over and the lids weren’t staying on, so everything is great now! ๐Ÿ™‚

Kristen ๐Ÿ™‚

Magical Monday 4

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Pinterest can be a girl’s best friend or a girl’s worst enemy! ๐Ÿ™‚ย  I find so many great ideas on Pinterest, but who has time to make them all?? So I just pick what it most immediate to my needs and leave the rest for later! ๐Ÿ™‚

Last week, I shared the drawer organizer and I made one of my own:

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Here’s what it looks like finished! ๐Ÿ™‚ย ย  It took me about an hour of Hell’s Kitchen episodes to make it (I really think it slowed me down watching tv while working!! ๐Ÿ™‚photo

Do you think there is a 12 step program for washi tape addicts?ย  I got all of these tapes at Michael’s craft store (the three large rolls in the back came from Target).ย  They were $2.99 a roll–addiction will do that to you! ๐Ÿ™‚photo

Here are the drawers before I added anything to them. ๐Ÿ™‚photo

These are the labels I created to put in the large drawers and I’m getting ready to cut them with my paper trimmer. ๐Ÿ™‚photo

This is a close up of some of the drawers after they were done.ย  I used clear tape in my P-Touch label maker so the labels wouldn’tย  cover up the pretty washi tape. photo

Here is is again all finished.ย  I might need to add labels to the bottom drawers because it’s hard to see what those drawers are labeled with unless you are looking right at them.ย  I can see them sitting at my desk, so I’m still trying to decide. You can see that I have 12 drawers with no labels on them.ย  I left them for expansion–mostly I couldn’t visualize what else was in my desk drawer and make a label for it!ย  Can you think of any other labels I could add?

I realize this organizer is pretty big (44 drawers total) and I’ll admit that I stood in the aisle for 15 minutes trying to decide which organizer to get (22 or 44 drawers) until my hubby asked which one I was leaning towards.ย  I told him I liked the amount of larger drawers on this one, so he put it in the cart and said “keep moving or we will be here all day!! :)”ย  So I ended up with 44 drawers!ย  I’m sure I’ll figure out what to put in them! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Kristen ๐Ÿ™‚

Wishful Wednesday 3

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I saw this idea on Pinterest and I am wishing for one…I’ll get it done, just as soon as I finish my to-do list for the summer (wishing that was done too!).

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Once I get this made (going to decorate it with some new washi tape I just got), I’ll either put it on my desk or I will keep it on my small group table to keep everything right where I need it.ย  I need to find the right combination of drawers that will work best for me! ๐Ÿ™‚ย  I also have to tell myself that I don’t need to load this organizer up with all sorts of things–just keep it simple with office supplies!

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I’m also wishing for a new lesson plan book.ย  I’m trying to create my own (here’s the font cover I’ve created, minus the gray border), but I’m having trouble wrapping my head around the lesson plan layout that will happen inside.

Here’s what I used last year:

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I like it…just want something else. ๐Ÿ™‚ย  (And I need to change a few things).

I did find this one from Ladybug Teacher files that I like.

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I like how the day of the week is designated already and how all her plans fit on one page (mine is a front to back setup).ย  It seems so smart to go ahead and list the permanent things in the schedule to the side because they won’t change. ๐Ÿ™‚

I’m going to bind it with my Bind-It-All Machine when I finally figure it all out! ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ll also laminate the front and back cover with my thick laminating pouches so that it will last all year. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Kristen ๐Ÿ™‚

Poster Markers

I’ve been using the Mr. Sketch scented markers for a few years now to write on my chart paper.ย  They were fine for awhile, but they dried out quickly from too much use on the paper.ย  I found these Crayola Poster markers at Jo-Ann’s a few weeks ago and I’ve been using them ever since!

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They have a wide tip, but if you turn it around, you also have a small tip you can use.ย  The colors are really bright and the kids can see them all; even the yellow.ย  They are more of the “Brights” colors than the primary colors, but I really like using them so far and they haven’t started to wear out yet–and I use them a lot! ๐Ÿ™‚

Kristen ๐Ÿ™‚

Pinterest Idea

I found this great organizer on Pinterest:

School Supply Caddy

I wanted to make one, so I sent my husband off to Goodwill to find a used stand like this one or some buckets we could repaint to make cute.ย  No luck, so off to Target he went and he came back with this exact stand!ย  He also picked up some buckets from the Dollar Spot there and after some spray paint, the whole thing looks like this:

It was really difficult to keep my son’s supplies for homework from vanishing.ย  This way, he can take the bucket he needs (my husband took the handles off the blue and pink buckets so they would take up less room) and bring it back when he’s done.ย  This sits on the counter in our dining room and now his supplies are ready when he is!

I think they used soup cans that had been spray painted in the original and if I had eaten enough soup, I would have used those!

I think it took me probably 10 minutes to put this together, but about 1 hour while waiting for the spray paint to dry.

The stand was $19 and the buckets were $1 each, so the entire project was under $30.ย  We had the spray paint from another project, so that didn’t cost anything. ๐Ÿ™‚

Kristen ๐Ÿ™‚

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