Organizing for Next Year: Part 4

Just 8 more days with my students! I'm still working each day on organization -- including that closet I wrote about. This organizing post features something I just found a few days ago at a Big Lots store. I hadn't seen these before, but I was sure I could come up with a way to use them.

These little boxes are intended to hold a block of cream cheese. They were $1 each, so I grabbed four, thinking they would organize a set of "something" that needed to go on my tables.

Once I got them to the classroom, my first thought was to hold dice and game pieces. I could put them out when we play partner games or for workstations.

I've had problems this year with the dice disappearing, so I'm thinking having a set amount in each box will help students make sure they all get put away correctly (I can hope!).

Last week we were working with 3-D shapes as part of our end of year "get ready for fourth" lessons. One of our activities was to build shapes using straws and chenille stem connectors. You can go back to my original post about this (with a freebie) by clicking here.


After doing this activity with my first group, I realized my little cream cheese boxes would also work great to organize these materials.

These are going into workstations this week, and I'll be using the boxes. I'm going to have to go back to Big Lots and get another set of them so I can do my dice boxes and then keep one set for things like this.

Have you found an interesting storage solution this year? I'd love to hear how you organize you materials that have to be distributed to students.

Celebrate With Me!

Today, May 27th, is my one year blogging anniversary. Along with that, I hit 300 followers last week. In thinking about how to celebrate, I decided not to do the traditional Rafflecopter giveaway, but instead to offer something to all my followers.

So (drum roll please), as my gift to you with thanks for following, you may pick any paid item from my TpT store for absolutely free. All you need to do is leave me a comment with your email and the item you want to receive.




You can go to my store to read the description of each product. This giveaway will begin at 12:01 AM (ET) on May 27th and will end at 11:59 PM (ET) on the same day. Each item is for use in your classroom only; feel free to send your friends to my blog to follow and pick their own item.


What's New?

I am working on the next "organizing" post, but in the meantime let me tell me about my last few days. Last week on Monday we had a field trip to see the ballet -- and our school bus broke down on the way back to school. An adventure, but we were fine. Friday we had our big 3rd grade field trip to Legoland (best field trip ever according to the kids). I gotta say, I was one tired teacher.

Did I mention that I was at Legoland on the previous Saturday? Twice in a week was a bit much!

After lots of relaxation over the weekend I chaperoned a first grade trip to the zoo today (Tuesday). Three wonderful munchkins, including my grandson. We had a great time, but it rained pretty much the whole time. We didn't let it dampen our fun; fortunately no hard rain and no lightning.


Do you have end - of - the - year field trips? 

On a totally unrelated note, I have just reached 300 followers AND next Monday is my one-year blog anniversary. I have an idea for how to celebrate (not a big giveaway this time) so stay tuned!


Organizing For Next Year: Part 3

I actually planned to post a few days ago, but field trips have gotten in the way. I have 2 this week! Our big one is Legoland Florida on Friday; should be fun although I was just there Saturday so I'm a little bit over Legoland right now. On Monday we had an Arts trip to see the Orlando Ballet dance "The Little Mermaid." My kids thought it was beautiful, and so did I. However, on the way back to school our (school) bus broke down! We got back and had lunch at about 2:15!! It was quite an adventure. And now for the intended post!

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?


Organizing for Next Year Part 2

This year it's not just my room I need to organize! The classroom next to me has a storage closet and we decided to purge the old materials, clean it all up, and let each of the four classrooms that share a common area have one of the big metal shelves to store things. I'm so excited to have a place to put some of my science materials! Here's what it looks like right now:

Of course, as team leader I'm going to end up doing most of the cleaning :) I'm trying to get to school early at least once a week with a goal of hauling out two or three trash bags. The goal is to have it ready the last week of school for the teachers to utilize as we pack away some of our things. We'll see how close we can come to the goal!

I made these cute little signs to go on each of the shelves. Right now, we don't know who will be in two of the classrooms so I just went with the room numbers.



Do you have shared spaces like this? How do you keep them organized?

Organizing for Next Year

Do you go into a frenzy of cleaning and organizing during the last few weeks of school? I most definitely do, and this year is no exception. All of sudden last week I realized the days were in the 20's and it began.

I opened up a couple of cupboards, and decided right away that I needed to get some new storage containers. I picked up four of these Sterilite Flip Tops (7 5/8 x 6 1/2 x 4 1/2). So far I have put my leftover crayons in one; still deciding what to do with the others. For only $0.96, a great storage solution.

We just found out that our school wide theme for next year is "Oh, the Places You'll Go!", so along with organizing I'm trying to decide what I want to do with classroom decor. I really like the "wild about learning" theme of this year, and don't want to do away with some of the great materials I purchased. I think some will stay, while I integrate some Dr. Seuss into the room.

Here are some other great storage containers I have found. These are from my favorite teacher store: the Dollar Tree!

They are labeled as Food Storage, and are perfect for a number of items in my cupboards.

I'm planning several posts about my journey to better organization. I'd also love to hear about your favorite solutions!


Teacher Appreciation Sale at TpT

Be sure to take advantage of the sale this week at TpT. My products will be 20% off on May 7th and 8th, with an additional 10% off by TpT (for 28% off in all). Click on the banner above to see the items in my store that are on sale.

A Birthday Bash

Wendy at First Grade Fireworks is throwing herself a birthday party, and you are invited to celebrate by winning some fabulous prizes. The bash begins on Sunday, May 5th. Be sure to stop by and enter.


May Currently

It's time for Currently -- the sure sign of a new month.

Listening: the hubby is not awake yet, just me at the computer. I thoroughly enjoy a bit of quiet in the morning!

Loving: I have reached the point of being absolutely ready to say goodbye to one of my groups of students :). Trying to make these last days filled with both fun and learning.

Thinking: With the change to CCSS math books next year, I need to fill in some gaps before we finish.

Wanting: It's like a nesting instinct! At this point in the year I always start working through the cupboards, figuring out new ways to organize.

Needing: I've got several ideas milling about in my brain and need to settle on just one and plan for it.

Summer Bucket List: 1. I absolutely must have more comfortable shoes next year. Time to expend some serious money. 2. I started quilting last year, and have a hard time finding time for it during the school year. I hope to finish at least 3 quilts during the summer. 3. CCSS - I'll be teaching it next year, while still integrating current standards for one more year of testing. I'm feeling pretty good about math, but have to work on ELA since I also teach science and social studies.

Happy May everyone!

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