Saturday, May 25, 2013

Classroom Organization and Sparking Student Motivation

Hey there!

I just wanted to stop in and share a few organizational tips for Kristen's and Elizabeth's linky party!

I know I am beyond fashionably late to this party, but I still wanted to join!

My room isn't as organized as I'd like, it's a work in progress, but here is what I have done so far!

On the left is all of the books that I've flagged to be used in lessons (not for the classroom library) and I have them sorted by skill or subject.  I got these magazine holders from IKEA and they are super cheap.  I have had them for about 7 years.  They've moved several times with me and have really helped me stay organized!  For the plain white ones, they are $1.99 for 5!!!  I have used the plain white ones for book boxes for my students in the past, but they do get worn out!  You can see I have a white one mixed in, which really annoys me, but since I am a bookaholic, I've had to keep adding boxes to fit all of my books!  

I do have them organized by subject.  On the top shelf, the burgundy are for writing lessons (separated by genre) and grammar in the silver.  The second shelf is all books for reading comprehension skills, and they are separated by skill.  The bottom row and then over to the shelf on the right is math, science, and social studies!  Because I'm OCD, I have labeled them with the small sized post it notes so that I can change them and move them around as needed...I don't want to write on the boxes but I might should consider making typed labels and use velcro.  :O)

Next to the social studies texts on the middle shelf are teacher resource books that I've bought or have been given to me by my school or county.  

I love using the plastic drawers for the papers that cover my desk.  I'm still working on organizing all of THAT because the paperwork we have to do can be so random!  I have some of the drawers already labeled and it has really helped me keep track of paperwork.  I also label all of my binders, but I know they are not all cohesive like so many bloggers have made their binders.  But it's ok!  It's a work in progress!  (Stacia gave me that cute owl basket!  I love it!  It adds character to my shelf!)

Now, the top of the shelves is a whole other dilemma.  But, I already know what I am going to do, and now that it's summer, I'll be working on it.  I'm going to make a teacher toolbox!!  Yay!  I'm very excited about it!  I have seen it all over bloggy land so I can't wait to make mine!!

Here is how I have organized the shelves over my sink.  We get tons of notebook paper for the supply list, but I mostly use journals so we don't use a lot of the paper.  I've given away a ton, and this is how much I still have left after this year.  I'm not sure where I'll put the new paper that comes in at the beginning of next year.  Sigh.

Here's a picture that shows the inside of my metal cabinets and how I store random things:

I love plastic storage containers!  I like the clear ones (inside cabinets) so I can see what's in there, but I also like to label them so I'm not constantly having to pull them out.  This cabinet can still use some work, though. I need to declutter.

And finally, the bane of my existence right now:

My classroom library.  I bought these containers 3 years ago at Target.  Now, of course, they have nothing like them, so I am going to be forced to buy all new storage.  Ugh.  I LOVE the little green totes because they are super sturdy, but I can't find them anywhere.  The pink and blue ones are fabric and they are not as durable, although I love the way they look and that there can be two rows of books in them.  So, my project for the summer is to figure out how I am going to reorganize this.  I love books so much and now I have too many for these containers.  It's a problem.  ;O)

Once I get new containers, I'm going to use Kristen's labels for my library and use velcro!  (Which are free at Teacher's Notebook, by the way!)

So, I'm not sure if this is helpful at all, but this is how it works for me right now!

Also, I'm going to link up with Joanne at Head Over Heels for Teaching to share a quick picture of items I bought at the Dollar Tree that I can't wait to use next year as rewards for good work and good behavior!

I love the little cones that I can put on their desk when I catch them doing something good and the pencil flags are so cute!  They can put them on their pencil when they earn them!  I think these are so cute!!

Make sure to head over to these super ladies' blogs and see some of the other ideas linked up!


  1. The cones are great. I wonder if they still have them. And I'm with you. I need my containers to match. I try to always buy extras so that I won't run into the problem of not being able to find anymore, then I run into the problem of no where to put them! :)
    Brandee @ Creating Lifelong Learners

  2. Last time I was at Dollar Tree, they had really cute storage containers that would be great for a classroom library. They were really cute colors too: lime green, hot pink, light blue. I didn't buy any at the time but I plan to go back soon to get some for my future classroom library! :)

    Recess and Beyond

    1. Thanks Natalie!

      I do have the buckets that are pink, green, and blue, but I'm looking for something rectangular and really sturdy! I will have to check those out if they aren't the buckets!


  3. I love reading these organization posts! I hate labeling something just to find out I want to change it later. I have found that using a binder clip to hold a label in place makes it look organized, but you can still change it out from time to time.
    Stories by Storie

  4. I am so jealous of all of your shelves. I have one bookshelf and 2 cabinets. All of which are bursting at the seams. I would love to have that much storage.

    I think I may have to make a trek down to IKEA this summer.


  5. Love the idea to use magazine file boxes that way to organize by skill/strategy. Looks like they are easy to grab from when you need something!

    :) Tamra and Sarah
    First Grade Buddies

  6. I have the Ikea boxes for organizing, too. I love them! I really need more. Looks like it's time for an Ikea run :) Thanks for linking up!!
    Fun in Room 4B

  7. I cannot believe the amount of paper you have!

    We have a supply list by teacher, so when I moved to gr 2 I copied the other teacher's...I finally got to the point where I took zip bags off my list. Not sure what she uses them for, but I am set for the next millennium!

    Your organization is great! Ditto the binder clip idea for holding on labels but being able to change them out quickly.

  8. Holy notebook paper! :O) I used those cones and pencil flags this year and they loved them! Your students will be excited too! Thanks for linking up BBB!
    Head Over Heels For Teaching

  9. I have an idea for your notebook paper. Last year my daughter's first grade teacher sent home supplies they didn't use in a gallon zip lock bag. I am doing the same with my kinders so they can use them next year. Maybe send home a couple of packs per student so they can use them for next year's supply list. Those green baskets look like something you could get at Dollar Tree. The problem there is that you find what you love and then they don't carry it anymore. I have even called corporate asking them for a certain basket we use for book baskets in desks and they couldn't do it.

  10. I love seeing how other teachers organize. I need to organize my books. I like your book boxes. I have things stacked on top of my cupboards and saw someone had curtains over their mess. Now to find out how to hang curtains from the ceiling:) Have a great summer. I really like those cones, too.

  11. I love my Ikea magazine boxes, too! I made a teacher toolbox last year and it was seriously one of the best things I've ever done. Loved it daily!!

    I Teach. What's Your Super Power?

  12. Where do you find the toolbox? I have looked adew places and was not able to find one. Any suggestions?

  13. Love the cones and the pencil flags!! Awesome idea! We just got a Dollar Tree here in Ontario, but I haven't been in yet. I wonder if they have similar products...?!

    Mrs. Beattie's Classroom

  14. Well if you are fashionably late in joining (which you aren't late, don't worry!) I am too in responding, I'm sorry! I loved seeing all of your ideas and how things have evolved for you. Your paper is so organize...I shudder when I think of mine right now :/

    Thanks for linking up with us! :) :)

  15. Wow!! Your paper stash is huge! I love patterned computer paper too but don't have nearly as much! I am on the hunt this summer for some baskets for my classroom library. I really would like to get some storage from Lakeshore because I am afraid if I buy something on clearance, I won't be able to get more like them if needed. I love your IKEA boxes too!!
    Fourth Grade Flipper

  16. Great pics! I use plastic shoe boxes from the Container Store. They're less than $2 each and come with lids.

    What I Have Learned

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