Monday, March 19, 2012

Station Materials Organization

Confession #1:  I am NOT an organized person by nature.   You should see my closet at home... FRIGHTENING! I really have to work at it.   

Confession #2:  I am not very efficient.   I really envy those who can plan a whole week's activity during their plan time.  I seem to just manage a trip to the restroom and a walk down to our book room to swap out my guided reading books.   I do NOT know how they do it.

As you can tell from my blog, I really do most of my planning on the weekends. During the week I have a rough idea, but the down and dirty planning happens on the weekends.

So Sunday evening things look like this. I put all my stuff to copy in a purple folder.   All stations are prepared and placed in my "Monday bag".   Then my lesson plans and other hucka-mucka (camera, lunchbag...yada, yada, yada) go in my "Everyday bag".   


I get to school usually at 7am on Mondays.  This gives me an hour before kids start to get my act together.  My first stop is the copy room where I do all my copying, collating, stapling...  This usually takes 15 minutes.  This puts me in my room about 7:15ish.

All of my station bins are left empty on Friday (usually), so they are easy to fill.  I leave the lids off and under the bins on Friday.  I look at my station plans lists and quickly fill the bins.

 I store my teaching materials in two places.  The purple bins above my cabinets  (purple is all color in the kindergarten hall... it is not my favorite color, but I  can live with it) and a 4 drawer file cabinet. I attach my black line masters to my lesson plans.  I am hoping by doing this, I will be more efficient next year... HA!  Like THAT will ever happen.

I am not in love with how I store my books for my themes(in the purple bins). It never seems to fail.  I think I have a book waiting for me in that bin and when I haul it down, I can't find it.  I need a better system. I will need to think on this.

So... THAT is how I keep my station materials organized.  I would love to hear back from you.  How do you  keep it all together?   Please... no crickets... comment, comment, comment!

42 comments:

  1. I loved reading this post! I totally feel like there are teachers at my school, too, can get everything done in a half hour and walk out the door empty handed~needless to say, that is not me. I organize my stations in gallon size ziploc bags, which include the pieces/parts and recording sheets. These bags then get put into monthly file boxes that are labeled and stored in my basement. I also have large bins for each season that house cute containers, etc.
    As for my books, I store them on a bookcase with monthly dividers. The books that are more concept based are also divided up by Science/Social Studies, etc.
    Thanks for sharing your organization and how you plan...I'm glad I not the only "inefficient" one:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you!!! I am thinking about reorganizing my books (like you have) A-GAIN!!!! I think that will help me! Can you imagine what life will be like when it all comes together? Nirvana!

      Delete
    2. I think it may be like laundry and dishes...never done.

      Delete
  2. You have given me another reason to like you. Organization and efficiency are not my strong suit either, but somehow it all manages to get done.

    ReplyDelete
  3. My old teaching co-hort (now retired) and I would always say to each other on Friday..."See you on Sunday!" It never failed that we would be in on Sunday finishing up planning and set-up.
    I also do a major amount of planning on the weekends. I come in on Sunday to start the set-up. I have my language centers in boxes according to skill so they are easy to hunt down. My theme materials are in boxes by theme with all materials and books I need. My math materials are in boxes according to skill. I also have a file cabinet for my themes and binders that hold my language/math ideas. It is a lot all over, but it works for me. I always know where to find what I need. The problem is that I never like redoing everything, so I am constantly tweaking and changing things from last year.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sarah, I think I am like you. I think(despite how detailed I have been with my stations planning) my stations will be somewhat different next year.I suppose, if they are changed for the better, that is good. Or... perhaps I'm just a glutton for punishment?

      Delete
  4. I always laugh because they give the small rooms with no storage to the younger grade teachers who need the storage the most. I am so jealous of your cabinet. I store units in smaller tubes and label them, all letters/sounds are in one filing cabinet, all math skills are in another. I had to get smaller tubs when I was pregnant because I had a 10 lb weight limit.

    Mary
    Sharing Kindergarten

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! We got really lucky with space. Our building is only 5 years old. AND... the kindergarten rooms are the largest classrooms. Yippeee!

      I think I would do better with smaller bins... or maybe I need one of the folk-lift thingys from Home Depot!

      Delete
  5. I love this post! I am fortunate to have this huge closet full of 18 years of accumulated "treasures." I always love to see how other teachers organize and assemble for the week. I too have THE TUBS & the files. It never fails that other teachers want to borrow items from the tub on the bottom of the stack. :/ I do like your "monday" bag approach. May need something I need to attempt!
    Bobbie
    http://thedailycupcake-akindergartenblog.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, today my "Monday bag" is also my "Tuesday bag" because I had to haul all my student data home to finish report cards... LOL!

      Delete
  6. Well..let me just say I thought this was how teaching was supposed to be LOL! I am probably the most unorganized ORGANIZED person I know! I am at school each day till 5-5:30 (kids dismiss at 3:30 but my daughter gets out at 4:00) and then I am back in my classroom on Saturdays somewhere between softball for my daughter for 2-3 hours and I am back on Sunday after church for finishing up copies and such...but believe it or not...I AM STILL NEVER FULLY READY come Monday morning! I think my problem is I get caught up in too many projects and never seem to fully finish any...LOL! But my kinders seem to come out on top each year so I must be dong something right...I too can't imagine what they would be capable of if I was on top of things LOL! They might be the next Einsteins! LOL!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So funny! Too many projects..? Sometimes I feel like I am spinning in circles in my classroom with ADHD. And if a Lakeshore catalog comes in? Forget about it!

      Delete
    2. Lakeshore? Scholastic for me! LOL!

      Delete
  7. I have been following your blog for some time. I teach PRE-K in Oklahoma. Like your organizational ideas. I too am organized to a point but I am always coming up on the weekend to plan for the week. You would think after 10 plus years of teaching a person would have their act together. LOL. I was wondering the Monday bag is it a thirty one bag? Debra prekiddo63@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, my Monday bag is not a thirty one bag. I just checked and it" and it just has a super fancy "M" on it. It was a gift from one of my parents this year. I think it is the size of the large thirty-one bag though.

      One of our kindergarten teachers also sells thirty one so I my everyday bag and lunch bag are from there. Love their stuff...Oh, I also have their note cards.

      Delete
    2. If you or anyone else needs a Thirty One consultant, let me know or visit my website for all your organizing needs.
      www.mythirtyone.com/lilyprado

      Thanks and I love your ideas!!

      Delete
  8. I have started storing my books in the order that I use them on a bookshelf behind my desk. I use a ruler that I slide in to divide what I have already read from the upcoming books. After I read a book, I just slide it on the shelf between the last book I used and my ruler. It has been a simple and easy way to keep them in the order I like to use year after year.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I like the idea of storing them in the order I teach. I also... somehow ... think I need to create a database of some sort, because I have a gazillion books (not to mention my classroom library). I think I need a 12-step program!

      Delete
    2. Love following you DeeDee Thanks for all the time you give me, yes I think of you as a personal mentor ;-) but no worries I'm not a stalker ` don't have time! lol

      Have you seen the app Book Retriever? It has a bar code scanner that may speed your library data entry. I realize this is an old post so by now you may have it.

      Keep up the great posts, TPT products and freebies!
      LilaRose

      Delete
  9. I love this post! For a self-proclaimed, unorganized reason, DeeDee, you sound pretty darn organized! I love your center tubs shelf. I think most k teachers have the tub system of some sort. I bought another file cabinet this year for all of the wonderful blog units and ideas and since I am so busy making them and teaching, I have a big bucket/pile of things to file. My desk has piles too. I go in every Sunday or every weekend for an average of 4 hours and I rarely leave school before 6:00pm. I don't feel that I am completely unorganized , but surely inefficient. I do most of the planning and prepping for my class on my own. Very little team planning is happening right now. My books are by theme in two large lateral file cabinets and a bookshelf and my seat bins. They are everywhere! My bins are overflowing and in need of cleaning out. I typically plan for the week by Tuesday and send things to be copied off all week long. I choose homework on Tuesday or Wednesday.
    My room looks fairly neat and I usually can find things, but since I share a classroom, there isn't enough space to store everything. I hope to spend a little of my spring break filing. I really like the idea of putting my lesson plans on a spreadsheet and then keeping having it in binders with black lines. That is a goal for next year!

    I love teaching kindergarten though because even in my slightly unorganized room, I am able to be prepared for my students. That's why I spend so much time at school, I have to be prepared for each day's lessons or forget about it! The kids will be wild if they sense I am not ready for them!


    Thanks again for these great ideas! Oh yeah and my closets at home- CRAZY! I have no energy to do that after I work so long at school! I'd much rather be blogging and checking out great blogs like yours!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you darlin' I know what you mean... kindergartners can smell blood in the water. The moment you are lesson than perfectly planned..insanity breaks out.

      Thank you for letting me know I am not alone!

      Delete
  10. This is really smart, you are so organized! one day....


    Michelle

    Apples and ABC's

    ReplyDelete
  11. I can ditto most of what everyone is saying here...everyone comments on my organization, but I FEEL completely lost and unorganized this year. I had been at my previous school for 8 years and was super organized there and then had to pack and move to my new district in 3 days and unpacking was a total nightmare. I can't find anything and I am just sure somewhere in a ditch between here and there I have 3 or 4 boxes that have everything I can't find and "need". I am hoping I can get it together soon...it's making me nuts!! Our kids leave at 2:45, I have bus duty 'til 3, then I usually spend at least an hour doing who knows what. It's Spring Break and I will be at school at least 2 full days just trying to catch up and get ahead a little.

    I am jealous of your hour you get before school. I usually come flying in right on time with kids coming in on top of my, so I literally hit the ground running every day.

    My books are stored on my shelves by theme in the order I use them. Half of my shelves hold baskets that I rotate books in and out of and the rest are behind curtains and the students know they can't get into those. My theme materials are in my file cabinet in folders in order of how I teach them and my center materials....well...that's a mess in and of itself. It started out in order with materials and recording sheets in baggies but the last few months they have just been shoved in the tub to "deal with later". Sigh! It will get organized...someday! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh... moving schools is tough! Speed packing does not help.

      True story: When I taught in San Diego I taught in a year round school so we were not done until the end of July. Well, our house sold in June... My husband and syon packed our house and headed across country, while I stayed behind and finished my school year.

      When school was out in July, I packed up my classroom and shipped it to Missouri... CRA-ZY!!!

      Thank you for your comments!!! I really appreciate your voice on this subject. There never seems to be enough time... that is for certain!

      Delete
  12. Wow thanks for the help. We are moving to a new building next year do it is purge and organize time. I store my theme binders and read aloud books in a 5 drawer file cabinet according to the order I use them. This has helped so much. The rest of my materials are stored on shelves. One section each for English language arts, math and science. I am in the process of changing my math station materials to match common cores. I even put labels on the items to match the common core. Also, I have a math binder labeled with the common cores. This makes it easier when I need an activity for a skill. I just wish I could get the language arts supplies organized. Something else I did was label my big books with a monthly sticker. I do love labels. I should really invest in Avery stock.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Avery, laminating film, card stock, and printer cartridges! I would be rich by now!

      Thank you for leaving your comments!

      Delete
  13. Thank you so much for your post! I feel like I am always organizing and re-organizing to make it work. I have my library organized by themes. Each theme has a basket full of books. It's easy to access them when I need them! I have also found that organizing my TPT units and monthly activities (skill sheets-art project ideas) in binders (labeled by the month) is a HUGE timesaver. I used to use a file cabinet, but it was always a mess and things were overlooked. Putting my units in binders makes things so much easier! You can flip to what you need fairly easy. I make a label for the outside of the binder which shows all the themes that are in the particular binder.
    I am struggling with finding an efficient way to store my literacy/math station activities. I too use gallon ziplocks and then store them in a box (by month). It drives me crazy! I would LOVE better storage ideas if anyone hs them!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Well, I have done my centers/work stations differently this year than any other year because I am at a school that is blessed to have four interventionists for one hour per grade level. That means that during centers and guided reading, there are four other teachers that are pulling 15 minute groups! So...after many changes, I have 10 activities in each of five center tubs. They color in a spring bunny that has the coordinating number to the activity when then finish. It takes them 2-3 days to get through a tub so then we rotate tubs. They do centers individually right now which I have never done before, but with so many coming and going centers were being left 1/2 done and not put away correctly. Oh, AND our centers are the last hour of the day which is not ideal!!! By doing it this way, I only change out centers once a month. Now mind you that means that once a month I need to put together 50 activities in the tubs, but it is worth it since I can work on them slowly throughout the month.

    As for books, I have them on book shelves in a cupboard and they are labeled by theme (farm, insects, etc.) and then alphabetized. My daughter did this organization for me again this year and it is fabulous!

    I still go in every weekend and I work on things every night and still, I haven't learned to use my plan time for planning. I agree with all of you, I go to the bathroom, take a breath, problem solve with students, etc. I don't know how people get it done during the confines of the day - I truly don't.

    I do also have two four-drawer cabinets: one for files, etc. and one for work stations. They are both organized as one drawer per quarter - it works.

    I love reading all of these good ideas - I seem to change how I do it all of the time!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Alesia, Thank you for all your information! I have my students paired for stations, but lately I have mixed my pairing so they are heterogeneously matched. Then when I pull my groups... it leaves a student without a partner... AHHH! So, I told them to pretend that Dexter (my dog that I write about all the time) is their partner. They totally giggle over this. I also have some students who have worn out their welcome with the rest of my group, so they do not have a partner right now.

      I like the idea of a check off list (your bunny coloring). I have been thinking about this option for a while. I know some teachers have a "Must do" list and a "Can do" list. My head is spinning!

      Delete
  15. I totally feel you about being inefficient. Some of the teachers in my building get to school 30 minutes early and leave the MINUTE school ends and they never bring anything home. I have NO IDEA what they are doing during the day! Well, I mean, I do have an idea... I guess I should say I have no idea what I am doing during the day, haha!

    Marvelous Multiagers!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know... right? I even stay after school 1 or 2 hours each day... and I still spend my weekends planning. Maybe I need to be less social? LOL!

      Delete
  16. I love the idea of the station bins... I'm going to have to find a way to do that in my classroom!

    I usually keep my seasonal things in 2" deep file jackets... which is like a file folder with sides. Each individual game/activity is in a ziploc bag inside that file folder.

    Like you, the books I keep separately, but I keep mine in totes in my basement. I bought 12"x12" ziploc bags online and I keep all of my books for each topic together in a bag. When I'm about to start a new unit (whether it's math, science, ELA, or a holiday, all I need to grab is my file jacket and my bag(s) of books and I'm good to go!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have the file jackets that I use for our language arts and math themes, but I LOVE the idea of putting the books in the bags. I can see even doing it so that I remember which ones I like to use for sure and which ones are just lovely to have on hand. So fun to hear all of these ideas!

      Delete
    2. I bought big bags too last year. But they were massive...you could fit a small child in there... which gives me an idea... Just kidding!

      It really seems like I need to get in and organized some books. That is my biggest need this summer.

      Delete
  17. yikes! After reading all these ideas, I feel a little anxious! I am constantly changing my room around to "make it work!" I am an early riser, so I go in at 7:00 (kids come at 9:00) and do all my work! I do leave at 4 or as close to 4 as I can; mostly because I am EXHAUSTED! lol! (Hope people aren't talking about me leaving! lol) Anyway, I bought 2 tall shelves from Home Depot($25 each) they are gray plastic and I take them down (like a PVC pipe; they fil in the really big zip loc bags)for the summer. We call it our "Station Station" and I have a pic of a Train on it. One is for current stations of the week and the other is stations not in use. I try to keep the one the kids use pretty organized, but with 24 kindergarten kids and no assistants (miss my assistant like I would miss my left arm! we lost them 3 years ago to budget cuts!) On Fridays, I clean out the "works" left over, and put in the new or switch out the tubs (Dollar Tree!) for the following week. After the first month or so of stations, the kids start taking them on their own..pretty cool when that happens. Love all the ideas and now have so many more questions stirring in my head! Like how does the person with 10 things in one bucket keep track of if the kids have done them all? What types of things are in the buckets? Yikes..someone turn off my brain!! lol! Love your blog!! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They keep track of what they have done by coloring in a number on their personal chart for accountability. It is not my favorite, but I happen to have a class this year that is so destructive, I have lost many of my favorites to some temper tantrums.:( So...having some choice as to when they do each task has helped them have a bit more control during this time. Again, not my favorite, but they are really liking it better so for this group I will work with it. I much prefer my schedule in a pocket chart that they follow and have less options at once, etc.

      Delete
    2. thanks!! I like the idea of the kids having more choice.. thanks for the ideas!

      Delete
  18. I love your blog! It's addicting! I LOVE to organize, but it seems as if I am constantly re-doing things. As far as organizing my books I keep my books and files in tubs by themes with labels on the front. A few years ago I found some plastic tubs (similar to the cardboard curriculum boxes). I have one for each theme (some are combined) and I keep my books and my files all together. I also keep a list of any work station game/activity that will not fit in the tub that goes with the theme. I am lucky enough to have a long 12 inch shelf that runs almost the length of my room and the tubs fit perfectly there behind curtains (I like to hide my mess). This makes it easy to just grab a tub to take to team planning or lug home and then I have everything I need: books, worksheets, examples, games. I keep the tub under my table during the week and can just pull from it when I need to.

    ReplyDelete
  19. This is my first comment to a blog! As I read your post about organization and how you manage your materials for lesson planning ... I kept thinking, "So I'm not the only one!" My colleagues think I am crazy for lesson planning on the weekends, but I can't begin to think about next week until this week is finished.
    After about 18 years of teaching, I think I finally have a system that works for me.
    I keep most of my planning materials and books at home. I keep the "hands on" materials, games, "luggables",and consumables at school. I plan by theme/project/unit, as well as standards and developmental skills. When I start a new project/theme/unit of study, I consider the students needs and how the topic of interest will promote development. After sorting through 18 years of ideas collected, and surfing the internet (also checking fb, playing words with friends, and checking pinterest) I make a plan for the theme. Some themes only last a week or two. Others, like my ramps and balls unit may last up to 6 weeks! I can usually fit the materials into a "mini"-file box. Things to be copied/cut/laminated go in a folder that goes from my "everyday bag" into my assistant's "inbox" in my classroom. Materials for the first 2-3 days go in my every day bag. My assistant knows that everything we will need will be in the box, in her inbox, or in my "everyday bag."
    This has also been a good system for new teachers I've mentored and student teachers I've worked with, makes my materials accessible to them!
    MJK

    ReplyDelete
  20. Fran, I saw where you switch your workshop bins out every Monday. When do you introduce the activities each week? I normally use an activity in small groups before putting it into the workstation boxes. I would love to hear your input. Thank you so much!

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...