I bought a set of these plastic drawers from Staples or a similar office supply store (although mine had 6 same sized drawers instead of a big one at the bottom) for only about 30 dollars (maybe even less). I made colored labels with the days of the week printed on them (in a cute font of course) and stuck them to the front of the drawers. When I did my weekly lesson planning, I would put all the materials I needed for the following week in the appropriate drawers and I was all set. When I was extra organized, I would even set aside my read aloud books and include them in the drawers as well. I found that this system kept me very organized and was also great for any time I need to call in a sub. It is so easy to say, just look in the drawer with the yellow "Tuesday" label.
I really like the idea of using colors in the classroom to color code for days of the week or even subjects. Heck, I even color coded my kids' groups when we went on field trips. Color coding just works for me! Anyone else?!
For example, I would designate green for science and keep all the kids' science work in that bin so that whenever it was time for science, I could set my bin down in front of me and have easy access to their unfinished work and activities for that day etc. I used the drawers for weekly planning, then I would sort by subject each day, so that materials could be found in their own bins throughout the day. The nice thing about these is that they stack, even when there are papers inside. When I was done with science, to the bottom of the stack the green bin went.... fantastic! These are also great to use for turning in homework. If you give homework in multiple subject areas and like to keep the different assignments separate, color coding by subject can be helpful to the kids.
Basically, color coding rocks. You should try it!
I also really loved using this beauty when I had lots of books/work to bring to and from school. This crate folds down into a small briefcase size and opens up to a wheely cart perfect for toting all of one's teacher belongings because the wheels make it oh so much easier than having a gazillion things in your hands and trying to juggle your coffee and scan the door with your badge all at the same time....
This is also perfect for trips to the library when you are borrowing lots of books. It's just like having your very own multipurpose teaching shopping cart (because it seems like teachers are just those kind of people that go everywhere with lots of "accessories.") Am I the only one who brings a huge purse/bag with me to PD days or workshops because of the necessity to bring sticky notes, pens, highlighters, paper, notepads, a book to read in case there is downtime, and definitely lots of snacks!?
I guess that is my pre-parental version of a diaper bag...teacher style.
Feeling organized is wonderful and I am always on the lookout for new ideas and ways to stay/get more organized.
What do you do to stay organized in the classroom?