Organization has been a process for me. It isn't a strength! Since I started teaching in 1997, I've improved dramatically. When I was a first year teacher, my mailbox in the office was STUFFED. I was so overwhelmed by all the memos and whatnot. I would look at them and promptly stick them back into my mailbox. That way I'd know where they were! Looking back at photos of my room a long time ago is good for a giggle. There were piles everywhere. Sometimes they got dusty from sitting so long. Here's a photo that's an oldy but a goody. This is my sister-in-law and my son years ago on the last day of school. See the piles? The heaping piles? Ugh! I try not to let piles like that happen anymore. I won't lie and say my classroom is pile-free. It isn't. But it's better!
The proverb "a place for everything and everything in its place" is my motto! My classroom gets messy when there isn't a home for something.
I've shared this before, but it is probably my greatest defense against piles! In this bin are five weeks of dated file folders. As I write lesson plans, I jot down notes on a notepad about what I'll need to prepare and copy. When I finish prepping materials, they immediately go into the correct file. Another file bin sits next to this one with copies of things I need frequently. Some examples are timed multiplication quizzes, word work copies, and recording sheets for math games.
I bought the blue pocket charts in the dollar aisle at Target.Students know to look at the pocket charts for their center assignments. There isn't anything fancy about my center assignments, but the system works. In our building, we have what we call FIT (Focused Intervention Time). We have Reading FIT and Math FIT. Some students receive Tier 2 and Tier 3 interventions during these times. The rest of the students are working on center activities or in a small group with me or a paraprofessional. Typically, I do rotating centers four times per week. On Friday afternoons, I prep the materials for the following week and put them into bins or removable drawers. That way, students can just take the bins and work on the floor or at a group of desks. I simply write the name of the center on an index card and place student names next to each card. Each day, I rotate the index cards. This works well, because students know where to look to find out what they need to do. They know where to get the materials they need as well. After a month or so, the students are able to quickly settle in and start working with little to no help from me.
I will NOT show you the inside of my filing cabinets. They are reasonably organized but could definitely use some attention. I have files by math standard. There are seasonal files with center activities and task cards. Common Core reading units are in binders which are stuck into a drawer in my filing cabinet.
Hop over to Blog Hoppin' to read about how other teachers organize their rooms. Maybe some of them have a great system for organizing filing cabinets!