Classroom organization can be a challenge, especially in the primary grades. As a primary teacher, I tend to accumulate a lot of stuff. I have always been challenged with creating organization that works for both the students and myself. This year, I was able to create a system that did both.
How to Use Must-Do Drawers
To begin, I sorted my word work, phonics, and small group materials. I categorized the materials for sight words, CVC words, CVCE words, contractions, etc. Then I narrowed my sorting to the materials that are consistently used within my classroom and are needed at a moments notice. Using two 10-drawer carts, I labeled the top drawers for “must-do” activities on both. The remaining drawers are used for storing the materials. I repeated the same process for my math station materials.
When I prepare the new week, I now just pull out the materials from one drawer and move them to the “must-do” drawers. The “must-do” drawers allow me the flexibility to have four different activities for the students to complete during the week.
In each tray, I labeled and laminated file folders for each day of the week. This additional step keeps me on track with the skills for each group. If for some reason the activity is not completed that day, I simply move it to the next day’s folder. Papers and materials are no longer stacked in endless piles, which get moved around all day as I work with students. I am more efficient and prepared for my students at small group time.
I found the students and myself to be more organized. I gained more instructional time for my students, as everything was exactly where we all needed it. Organizing takes time and patience, but the payoff was well worth it.
About the Author
Ms. Samantha Beattie is a ninth year teacher. She graduated Nova Southeastern University in Davie, Florida, with a Master’s degree in Brain-based Teaching Reading & Literacy and a Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education. She is endorsed in Gifted, ELL, and Reading. She has taught first grade for eights years, and is currently teaching a multi-age classroom of first and second graders. You can find her on her blog at Ms. Smarty Pants Blog, on Facebook at Ms. Smarty Pants Facebook, and on Pinterest at Ms. Smarty Pants Pinterest.