Diggin' Into Next Year: Classroom Organization - Saddle up for Second Grade

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!


  1. It is so great to find another Texas teacher and blogger! There are so many great ideas in this post! Thank you so much Marcy.

  2. Great tips Marcy! I, too, have a huge project ahead of me this summer...2 file cabinets to go through...EEEK! I don't even want to think about it until at east the end of July! BTW, I am jealous of your rummage sale score!
    Mrs. Olson’s Lucky Little Learners

  3. Hello! My name is Rachel, and I am brand new to the teacher blogging world! I just graduated from college, and am starting my first full time teaching position in a few days. If you have any tips or advice for a new blogger, please let me know. Also, feel free to check out my blog and let me know what you think! Thanks everyone!!!! :)

    Teaching, Coffee, and Aloha

  4. Ooh! like the individual math containers - great idea! And I use journeys, too - thanks for the resources for that. Sara

  5. Not to be a "begger" but do you have Units 5 and 6 labels for the Journeys Program? What I downloaded was just Units 1-4. Did I do something wrong?

    1. I only offered units 1-4 because that is as far as we got. I provided an editable version of the document so you could make your own for that reason. It is linked to the original post. Just search reading organization.

  6. Great ideas!! Thanks for sharing!

  7. I love many of your ideas! I am wondering the same as Dina...whether you have editable versions of the labels for Journeys Units 5 and 6.
    Thanks so much,

    1. I only offered units 1-4 because that is as far as we got. I provided an editable version of the document so you could make your own for that reason. It is linked to the original post. Just search reading organization.

  8. Marcy, I love the idea of having a math manipulative box for each student that has the items labeled! This seems like it would make keeping track of things so much easier! I need to give something like that a try this year! Thanks for sharing!

    Theresa @ True Life I'm a Teacher!


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