Diggin' Into Next Year: Classroom Organization

I know school just ended and some of you are still going strong. I've teamed up with some of my favorite bloggers to provide you with a SUMMER LONG linky with tips and tricks on how we run our classrooms and who we are going to prep for next year. 

I've teamed up with some of my favorite bloggers to provide you with a SUMMER LONG linky with tips and tricks on how we run our classrooms! Each week we will be discussing different topics from organization to guided reading. Here is a closer look at our calendar. 

This week I'll be sharing how I organize my classroom. Now, I'm not the best at giving organizational advice but I try hard. It's my goal each year to be better at keeping things in order. I've made a lot of progress since my first year. As I was taking down my classroom yesterday (they are painting my walls this summer so everything had to come down) I was brainstorming ideas on what I wanted to keep the same and how I wanted to change things up. (Since I had to take everything down, I've pulled a lot of pictures from previous blog posts because I procrastinate and forgot to take some pictures before hand.) If I could give any organizational advice, it would be to label EVERYTHING! This will not only help you but the kids and comes in hand when you have to have a sub. 

My favorite organizational tool is my weekly drawers. In previous years, I used different colored folders. I bought this cart at Sam's last summer. I have a drawer for each day of the week. All of my copies for the day go in here. Then I have a drawer for copies next week, file, copy, grade and extra. If you'd like my zebra and glitter labels you can get them here for FREE!

I also have my teacher toolbox that I LOVE!!! (That's a pic of my niece and nephew in the corner! whoops!) I bought the container at Lowes last summer. I covered the drawers with zebra duct tape then made the labels. You can find free labels if you search on TPT.

This has become another favorite of mine! My crayon drawers! I hated my crayon box. A kid would get up to go find a "green" crayon and it would take him/her forever to dig through the box. I used the old storage drawers I had and also covered them with zebra duct tape. Each drawer has two colors in it. When a child needs one, they simply go to that drawer and pick their crayon. Its amazing! If you'd like my labels you can also get them here for free!

I just got all of my math mainpulatives labeled this year and loved it. My kids could easily find something if they needed it and my shelves were NEVER MESSY! Hello! Big plus!  I bought these awesome storage boxes at Family Dollar for a $1! They are really sturdy. These labels come from my friend Frogs and Cupcakes! You can get them here! I like how the containers are clear so the kids can see what's inside them. 

Speaking of math manipulatives, I use math tubs. These are a time saver all year long. Each tub includes all of the same materials, this way no one is arguing over boxes. Here is what they look like. 

Inside each box, each student has their own individual set of base ten blocks, money, 2 color counters, linking cubes, color tiles and a Judy clock. I often add more or sometimes take some out. I have the amount of each manipulative written on each bag. If something is missing or a student doesn't have enough, they know what they need to get from our shared supplies. I actually had my students label the bags. Saved me a lot of time.

When we're doing a lesson that involves a manipulative I just call out a number and they go get THEIR box. They are in charge of keeping up with their items. There is no "waiting forever" to count out manipulatives or no staying late after school to prep. We set them up the first week of school and during the last few weeks I have the students check their boxes and restock for next year! I love them!

For reading we use Journey's which was brand new to me. I use resources found on TPT to help supplement. If you use Journey's, you can check out The Bubble Blonde Teacher and Twirlybird Teaching. Their resources are fabulous and have been a total life saver for me this year. For each unit we cover, there are task cards and centers for each story to cover the skills we are learning. At first, I was just keeping everything in a manila folder and storing it all in one of my filing cabinets but then it got a little overwhelming. I thought to myself, I'm spending so much time getting all of this together. I want to make sure I don't "lose" any of it for next year. I wanted a way to organize all of my materials so that everything is ready to go for next year. Here is my solution. 

I bought these storage containers at Wal-Mart for about $7 a piece. Each container holds all of my materials for one unit. Inside you'll find a file folder with lesson printables and centers to go with each skill being taught. This way I know where everything is and I can easily pull something to review skills as needed. 

Hopefully this will help me keep track of everything. If you use Journey's and would like these labels, you can get them by clicking below. I only made labels through unit 4 because I'm not sure if we will get past it or not. Only 10 more weeks of school! I'm providing a PDF file of the labels that were shown above and an editable file you can use if you use a different curriculum or want to add more past unit 4. *Note the font might appear differently in the editable version if you don't have the font I used installed on your computer. 

I also have all of my shared supplies labeled. I normally have these sitting out for the kids to get to easily. I just don't have the room for that this year. They are displayed on a shelf and are easily accessible if something is needed. You can get my zebra and glitter labels here.

I store all of my vocabulary cards in these file folders. I have one for math and my word wall. I have them sorted by subject/letter so that I can easily find the card(s) that I need. These are also something you can find at the dollar store.

I just wrapped up my fourth year of teaching. Within those four years, I've been in three different classroom. I've had to completely redo my room each of those years. Including this upcoming year since they are painting my walls, everything had to come down. I love the way I organize all of my anchor charts. It was a hassle to dig around in my files trying to find the ones I needed so I created the chart binder to store everything in. It has been a life saver. I placed all of my posters in the corresponding sleeves. Now ALL of my posters are located in one binder. Its so easy to find what I need.

I created a similar version to my binder and you can find it on TPT. I do not have this exact version anymore. I made it a few years ago and for some reason I cannot find the file. You can find my chevron edition of this binder here. Its EDITABLE! You can customize it to fit your poster needs! Click here to get my Poster Chart Binder.

One thing I changed this year was how I stored my centers. I bought these plastic containers at
Wal-Mart and they hold all of my monthly themed centers.

This make them so easy to change out each month.

Something I'm going to change. This will be a big project for me this summer. All of my subject centers  are stored in a filing cabinet and sorted by subject/topic. Look at this big mess!

You know that colored cart you saw earlier in the post…the one I use to store my weekly papers. I found two more of those at a garage sale a few weeks ago for $1 a piece. SCORE!!! I'm going to use one for math and one for reading/ela. Each draw will hold different topics such as addition and subtraction, nouns and verbs, prefixes and suffixes. I have three filing cabinets in my room. Two are big and one is small. I'm hoping to move my smaller filing cabinet to my home office so this will help clean up some space. I'll keep you posted on how that goes.

That's all of my tips for now. I'm have plans to rework something but don't want to give it away yet incase they don't get done. Click on the image below to check out some other great tips from great bloggers!


EOY Gifts and Summer Learning with Educents

The end of the year is here my friends! I have only 3 more days with my sweet second graders and I must say it's a bittersweet feeling. I am worn out but I sure am going to miss this group. It is times like this that I'm happy to live in such a small town so I know that I'll see them throughout the summer and into next year. 

I've been prepping their EOY gifts. This year I decided to do kites. I found these cute ones at the dollar store. I know that probably won't last long but I like to think that they will! The boys got Madagascar and the girls got rainbow stars. This isn't all I do for them but I wanted to share. You can get the kite tag here. I've included grades 1-4.

Over the last few weeks, we have been winding down. I have been so grateful for my Surfin into Summer Literacy Centers.  Last week I put my students into groups and they rotated through different ones each day. 

Here they are reviewing pronouns. They had to replace the noun(s) in the sentence with the correct pronoun strip. 

Sorting sentences based on punctuation. We review this skill everyday and some still struggle with it. 

Working hard on homophones. 

Playing dominoes antonym style! 

Want to get these centers and some other great 1-2 summer products?
 I have also teamed up with Educents with some instant downloads for you! It includes printables, centers, games, and much more for your finishing first and second graders!  It makes learning fun with bubble gum, oceans, QR codes, flip flap books, and more!  It's a mixture of reading, math, and science to keep the kids working hard through the summer and to get them ready for second and third grade!

I have two products featured in the bundle and I'm sure you'll kids will love them! First up, is my Surfin into Summer centers! You saw a sneak peak of them above. These summer, beach themed literacy centers are perfect for end of the year review. These were made for a 2nd grade classroom but could be adapted for 1st or 3rd grades as well. It includes 8 centers that can be used for small group, whole group instruction (print some of the pages 2/4 to a page and use in a journal), as centers. Here is what you can find inside this unit:

Surfs Up: a noun and verb review game

Luau Fun: a synonym match activity

Fishing for Antonyms: an antonym review domino game

Flip Flopping Homophones: a homophone match activity

Searching for Seashells: a roll and cover adjective and adverb game

Starfish Sentences: a pronoun review activity

Ocean Commotion: a verb tense activity 

Octopus Shuffle: a punctuation practice activity

I also have my Double Digit Addition and Subtraction Without Regrouping Unit featured in this bundle. This is the second best selling product in my TPT store! This unit contains 2 anchor charts, 5 addition activities and 4 subtraction activities all without regrouping. It also contains 7 activity/worksheets. It is printer friendly! All activities are in black and white and can be copied onto colored paper. 

Addition Activities:
iSpy Addition (NEW)
Spin & Add
Tick, Tack Addition
Find Someone Who: A partner scavenger hunt. 
Place Value Addition: Includes printable base ten blocks

Subtraction Activities:
Subtraction Scoot (NEW)
Subtraction Flip Book
Subtraction Bingo
Subtraction Puzzles

Activity Sheets:
Even &Odd Sort
Add 'Em Up-2 sheets
Subtract and Color
I Can Subtract
Read and Solve: 2 sheets (word problems)


For a limited time it is $14.99 from Educents which is about 75% off!  
14 instant downloads with over 540 pages of materials perfect for your finishing first and second graders!

You can also take peek at some of the other products included in the bundle at any of the links below!


Blogs We Admire: Guess Who I Secretly Admire (May)

We all have blogs that we secretly stalk admire. Can you guess who I creep on? LOL Here's a few clues.

Any guesses yet??

How about now? 


Arisbeth Rossi from Sailing into Second!  You can click on her button below to check our her fabulous blog! 


I chose Arisbeth because we started our blogging journey about the same time and she has become one of my favorite buddies! She is super sweet and I cannot wait to meet her in Vegas at the TPT conference this summer! 

Arisbeth was sweet enough to donate her Reaching for the Stars  space unit. If you are looking for a great space unit, this is it ya'll! It is jam packed with FABULOUSNESS! 

Reaching for the Stars is a full space unit that includes vocabulary, comprehension passages (these are GREAT!!!), graphic organizers, observation journals, writing prompt cards, crafts and so much more.  In Texas, 2nd grade only studies the phases of the moon. They do not do a full space unit until 3rd grade but I plan to fully implement all of these activities next year. 

We started our moon journey by using this graphic organizer. We brainstormed facts we had learned after reading book I got from our library. 

This unit includes a great moon phases comprehension passage that fit perfectly into our reading block. We were able to get in a quick main idea and detail lesson and practice our text evidence skills. You can take a closer look in the pictures below. 

Normally, when discussing the phases of the moon, we do the oreo cookie activity. I did have everything printed and ready to go. The cookies were bought. Then that day came around and it was just one of those days. When science rolled around, I didn't dare take those cookies out from under my desk! I'm sure you all have had a days like this. So the oreos got "x'd" out and we used crayons to show the phases instead. 

We used this super cute foldable to write the definition of each phase. They used them as a reference throughout our study. 

These really came in handy when we wrote our informational paragraphs. Rather than having them write a paragraph, I decided to let them type it. I completely turned them lose in the computer lab which  is something I don't do very often. They had to tell me one fact they learned about the moon, the 8 phase, and what one of the phases was. They didn't make a rough draft, I didn't edit anything. The only thing I helped them with was how to use Word. I take that back. I did tell them the first sentence had to start with "Did you know…" Is the spelling perfect? No! Are they kids friendly? Yes! And that is what I love about them. They worked their little hearts off typing these. We used Arisbeths super cute astronaut craft to help display them.

They did good huh?

Aren't her moon activities fabulous?!? They are only a small part of this great unit. You have got to check it out! Would you like a FREEBIE from this unit? I just happen to have one. Click on the picture  below or here to grab it. 

Don't forget to stop by Sailing into Second's blog and send her some love! 

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