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... :-)