Since much of my day is spent teaching math, I am determined to better organize my math materials. You know what happens -- math class arrives, and you realize you need certain manipulatives for the lesson. They are hopefully all together in some kind of container, but you need them divided up among your students in some way. Now you have lost some of that valuable instructional time just getting out materials.
OK, so maybe that never happens to you! Confession time -- it does happen to me. I had to chuckle when I met with my principal to go over my formal eval this year. She commented about how well organized my supplies were -- all ready to place on the tables for my groups to use. OF COURSE! 'Cause I knew she was coming!
My goal is to be that organized day in and day out. I've decided that means storing materials in sets so they can easily be put on tables (I like organizing my students into 4 groups). To do this, I'm having to find just the right containers. I have been spending a lot of time at my favorite teacher store -- the Dollar Tree. I've found some great containers, so I keep going back. Once they're gone that's it -- you can never count on Dollar Tree having something again!
Many of the ones I've been using are labeled as food storage containers and I'm really liking them for the classroom. Here are some examples:
These turned out to be just right for my colored pencils. For next year, I want kids to be able to take a box to their table to share. My students have been using the hand sharpeners to sharpen all the pencils and sorting them by color. All I had to do was portion them out between the boxes. I usually like to have four tables with two of them seating 5 students (we have a class size of 18 for third grade).
All these need is labels, which is on my to - do list!
I purchased two sets of cuisenaire rods this year, so I have them in these boxes. This was the first year I used them and I love them. I'm seriously considering buying two more sets so I can have a set for each table.
Two-color counters are used so much, so I definitely wanted them in the individual containers. These little 3 x 5 Sterilite boxes are perfect. I've had these boxes for awhile, and when I checked my local Walmart they did not have them. I'll be looking for them elsewhere this summer, because I have some other materials I'd love to put in them.
Do you have a favorite brand of storage containers? We just had the Container Store open in Orlando. I've never been there -- is it worth a trip?