I am probably one of the most organized people around and I was very excited to see that there is a linky party about one of my FAVORITE topics!
I am linking up with Hope at Second Grade Shenanigans, and sharing some of the techniques I use to keep my classroom and students organized.
I am addicted to Ziploc baggies. I keep everything and I mean everything in labeled baggies. Here's how I organize patterns for crafts:
I put them all in a separate baggie, along with the paper the children need to use for that pattern. I also label each pattern with what it is and the color it needs to be. I've taught the children to put the pattern back into the baggie once they are done using it.
Also, I love using mailbox systems to hold activities for the children. They know to go to the labeled mailbox and choose an activity to complete while they are waiting for everyone else to finish.
In the mailbox above, there is an activity in each of the numbered mailbox slots. The children look through the binder below to find the activity they want to complete.
Each activity in the binder has a number. If they want the activity above, they will find it in the mailbox slot labeled #16. This way, they are not searching through the mailbox, trying to find what they want and pulling everything out and putting it back all messy. My students learn very early on that messy papers drive me crazy! And, I can honestly say that I rub off on them in a positive way. They'll call out anyone whose papers are dog-eared!
I also go one step further to help keep my students organized. They each have a folder with a menu inside that has a little image of each of the activities they can complete when they are done with their station work. It looks like this:
When they have finished an activity, they lightly shade in the image and cannot complete that same activity until they have completed them all. This helps them remember what they have done so they don't keep repeating activities.
The above activities come from my Writing Station Activities for Young Learners pack, but, you can do this system with any of your activities. However, if you already own this product, just email me and I will give you the menu I made. Oh, and today, I added one more activity to the pack. It's another survey:
Just download the product again to get it.
The last tip I have for you, to help keep your classroom always looking perfect, is to enlist the help of your students. Don't think you always have to do it yourself. Everyone who comes into my classroom always asks me how I manage to keep it so neat, clean, and organized at all times of the day. It's really simple! Everything has a place, the children learn where that place is, and it is easy for them to put it away. It takes some time at the beginning of each school year to teach the children where everything goes, but, they catch on and, when they do, it's smooth sailing for the rest of the year!
I hope I have inspired you in some way, shape, or form, to start 2013 with a positive feeling about keeping your classroom and students organized.
The last thing I want to say is, one of my best blogging buddies, Alessia, from Mrs. Albanese's Class, is having an amazing New Year's Eve giveaway! What better way to start a new year, than by winning tons and tons of goodies for your classroom. You can enter this giveaway by clicking on the image below. Good luck to you!