It's the New Year and almost time to head back to the classroom! It's also a great time to get organized in the classroom. I am typically an organized person...I like things to have a place and to be in their place. I find it helps me to have everything organized in my classroom from materials all the way to my planning materials. It just makes me more efficient and able to be more purposeful in my teaching. But it can be a challenge to keep it all straight in our classrooms!
Here are 3 tips that will hopefully help you stay organized and efficient this year!
1. Keep Anecdotal Records for Purposeful Planning
Keeping anecdotal records is a MUST for guided reading! This notebook is my FAVORITE way of keeping track of all that information. Information can sometimes just be overwhelming. But by keeping track of each student and what they can do, I can do a better job of moving them forward in their skills. It is also great for when parents want to see exactly what students can do.
I get a LOT of good information from doing running records on my students. I love using this sheet to keep track of all that good stuff. Then I can use the notes to help me plan the next lesson. Saves time and I am not being haphazard when I plan. I know exactly what the student needs to go forward.
I can keep track of phonemic awareness skills, phonics, sight words, letter sounds, etc... I sit at my table when my students are in my group. I just keep the notebook with me and jot notes or tallies as I listen. If I keep the notebook right there, it is super easy to do!!
We all know we should be doing it. The biggest part is getting your notebook ready and then just making sure you use it! All. The. Time.
2. Keep Small Group Materials in One Place- Grab & Go
I like to keep all of the materials that students will be using in small baskets. They each get their own basket. This eliminates wasting time by passing out materials or students fussing over picking the pencil or marker they want.
Inside the baskets, I keep pencils, erasers, reading strategy bookmarks, markers, etc... I also like to keep laminated paint strips for the students to use as sound boxes. No digging around looking for those and passing them out. Grab it and go!
I also LOVE these little boxes from the Dollar Store for keeping letters in them. This eliminates digging around for letters. They can fit right in the baskets. Grab the box and let's make words!
3. Keep Everything in a Drawer
So many of us have these drawers! I don't know what I did without them. I keep everything I can for guided reading in each group's drawer. Then all I have to do is pull the drawer to take with me to the table as the group comes to guided reading. Student books, sight word pockets, pages to pass out, Post It notes, etc... Everything handy and no time wasted.
I mentioned sight word pockets. These little handy folders are a great way to organize so many things. I use them for sight words the students have learned and will be learning. All the words are right there for when I want to add to what the student needs to learn. The student doesn't have to wait for me to make copies and get things ready. I just move the words from the baggy on the right to the one on the left and the student just keeps learning!
I hope your time off has been a time of relaxing and recharging and that you are now ready to head back to your classroom! Hopefully these 3 quick organizational tips will make your room even more efficient and purposeful too!
Come visit me at Conversations in Literacy!