Teachers like you have two types of resources: district-issued curriculum and books and materials that have been self-purchased. While you have more flexibility in how you organize and handle the latter, there are ways to make both functional and easy to access. Read below to learn how to purge unnecessary resource materials and develop an organized way to store the curriculum materials and teacher resources you are going to keep.
This blog post will…
- Offer suggestions about how to organize teacher resources in your classroom
How to Organize Teacher Resources Issued by Your School District
- The resources that your district provides typically need to be preserved in their original condition in the event that you change grade levels or switch schools.
- Create a safe and separate space for storing the books that were issued to you, but that you do not use. You may have a reading curriculum that comes with ESL components and you have no ESL students. Perhaps your math guides don’t all align with the Common Core and you are using supplemental materials, but the school has not said to recycle the old ones. We all have stuff that we are housing simply because we need to. Don’t let it be clutter, but instead package it up neatly and out of sight. That way if you leave your position and need to leave the resources behind they will be gathered already. I find a great way to do this is to place them in a copy paper box and attach an inventory of what is inside onto the box. That way you can leave the entire box behind or turn it in if that is what you need to do. In my situation, I have a deep shelf and simply store them in the back with items I use regularly placed in front of the box.
- I prefer to house my teacher guides, manuals, resource books, etc out of student view. I try to eliminate as much visual clutter as I can and since the books are not something the students need to access, I keep them out of sight. I use the small group table as my teacher workspace. There is open shelving behind it so I keep my books in decorative boxes without tops grouped by subject area. These function almost as drawers. The students can’t see what is inside and I can access them easily when I am sitting there planning. (On a side note I had intended to snap a photo on Friday, but I was so excited to kick off February vacation that I rushed home sans picture. I’ll add one in when I get back next week).
- If you use a teacher desk, you may want to store them in the drawers. You could also use the drawers of a filing cabinet. Regardless of if you use a drawer of a shelf, it is important to keep subject areas together. Dishpans can be purchased at the Dollar Store and work great on shelves to cluster books together. If you use a drawer, create tabbed sections using file folders.
- Add in related items like pacing guides, curriculum maps, a binder or CD of printables to the related section or bin.
- Many teacher guides are available online. Ask you curriculum coordinator if this is an option. Even if you’ve had the books for several years you may be able to use their online manuals by obtaining the code.
- Take a tour of your building. Most schools have classrooms with similar furniture, built-ins, closets and shelving. See how other teachers are housing their books. Ask if they are happy with their systems. Use their methods as inspiration.
How to Organize Teacher Resources You Purchase
- Go through your personal resource collection with a critical eye.Tear out pages you want to keep and put them in a binder…or better yet scan them and go paperless. Pass the book on to a colleague or recycle it.
- If you use a traditional bookshelf, be sure to add dividers that make it easy to see where things are. You might also want to label the front of the shelf as well.
FROM THE POST: HOW TO KEEP TRACK OF BORROWED and LENT ITEMS
When creating a Clutter-Free learning environment, we need to purge, sell and donate anything and everything that is not essential to teaching our students. Borrowing from others is a great way to minimize clutter, to save money, and to provide students with a variety of resources. However, in order to establish a good reputation as a borrower and to be sure that you don’t lose track of your own valuable items that you lend to others, it’s important to develop an organized system for managing borrowed/lent materials. Read below to learn how!
Lending and Borrowing Tips
- Create one specific place to list and track borrowed items. I recommend designated pages in an all-purpose teacher binder.
- Whenever you borrow or lend something be sure to immediately record it.
- Log in items when they are returned.
- Keep a running list of book titles that you borrow from the library. I like to keep two different lists. One of my school library and one for the public library. As an alternative, you could put a sheet protector into your binder and use it to slide in printed out lists from the library’s system.
FROM THE POST: HOW TO ORGANIZE TEACHING RESOURCES and WORKSHEETS
There are SO many teaching resources we need at our fingertips as classroom teachers. Do you have one place where all of your teaching resources and worksheets are organized? Can you easily bring it home and to planning meetings when you need to? If not, you must check out this management tool that allows you to do that and more!
How Binders Can Organize Teaching Resources
A great, but simple tool for classroom organization and management is a 3-ring binder. They are perfect for organizing your teaching units and lesson plans as well as for creating student portfolios, collecting documents for your Teacher Evidence Binder, housing meeting notes, and about a million other things.
Check out my Editable Binder Covers. I designed them to include just about any type of image you would need a binder for, but made them editable so that you may title them as needed. For example, a reading-themed binder could be labeled as Book Buddies, RTI Reading, Reader’s Workshop, Reading Conference Notes, etc.
Problem with Binders
Teachers like you always keep lots of binders on hand and repurpose them as needed each year. One thing that drives us all crazy is removing the binder inserts (especially after the binders sit in a hot classroom all summer and the plastic starts to adhere) because often times they rip and part of the spine insert would forever live in the bottom of that pouch. I don’t know why it took me so long to think of this… Read below to learn my solution!
TWEEZERS! Over the years I have blogged about some tools that I find to be essential for the classroom. I will now add tweezers to that list. The next time you are out shopping I suggest you snag a pair to leave in your desk drawer. I’m sure you’ll find them to be handy.
I have six different editable sets available:
- POLKA DOTS: Bright Colors
- POLKA DOTS: Traditional Colors
- CHEVRON: Bright Colors
- CHEVRON: Traditional Colors
- QUATREFOIL: Bright Colors
- QUATREFOIL: Traditional Colors
Click on any of the covers below to go directly to the specific product: