Thinking Outside the Box(es)

I usually save these kinds of posts for New Year's, when I'm turning over a new leaf and my need for organization is at an all-time high, but I've come to realize there is no bad time to talk about being organized.

I follow a lot of home organization blogs, which my husband would argue seems kind of oxy-moronic since our house could use a tad bit more, ahem, order, BUT---the crazy thing is, these blogs are actually helping! Over the past year, I've taken quite a liking to organizing and dare I say, enjoy it, usually. 

So this here today is my attempt at an organization blog entry. First though, I feel the need to warn you, my version is going to be a little less this:

And a little more this:

Fancy, huh?

Today, it's all about the copy paper boxes in the classroom. Now, let me start off by saying that I feel like I have tried every organizational system in the BOOK. Filing cabinets, cute baskets sorted by subject, you get the idea. But nothing has worked. Until copy paper boxes.

Friends, it is as simple as it looks: Every month has a box and every box has a pile of materials inside. At the beginning of every month, I dump that sucker out and begin piecing together my month. Honestly, it's that simple. 

Once I get those piles together (usually by week, so 4 piles to be exact), I sort them into these top of the line organizational drawers:
If I'm feeling extra organized, I'll even have file folders labeled Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, and Week 4---just depends on the month. Down below, I'll file things for the next 2 months that I don't want to forget about once it comes time to implement.

This has been a super system for me, yet it's so easy, a caveman could do it.

**Sidenote---this obviously applies to all hard copies of materials I have. An increasing number of my materials are stored digitally since I have made them or bought them from Teachers Pay Teachers, so these are organized on my computer. HOWEVER, in each monthly box of hard materials, I also include a growing list of digital materials I own that I don't want to forget to use with each month! 

How do you organize materials in your classroom? Please share!


Our Furry Reading Friends

How do you encourage your students to practice reading aloud without feeling silly, getting off-task, or feeling shy?
Perhaps one of my favorite additions ever to the classroom, is the solution to this everlasting problem. Beanie Babies. Yes, those ridiculously overpriced, lovable plush animals have brought such a ray of light to our literacy time in the classroom.

A few months ago, my mom was moving out of our childhood home, and I was tasked with going through and sorting all of the remnants of my childhood bedroom. This resulted in HOURS of reminiscing, took entirely way too long, but was well worth it--for many reasons, but really because of this glorious find----

Immediately, I knew these had to come to school with me. For what? Not sure. Why? I'd figure that out later.

And thus, reading buddies were formed. During stations, I leave a basket of these suckers out and my only rules are these:
1. 1 buddy per student
2. If you have a buddy, its only job is to listen to reading. This is crucial--no somersaults across the carpet, no puppet shows with other buddies (although this will come later for reader's theater--shhh, don't tell them!) get the idea.
3. Treat the buddy kindly. I'm not a hoarder anymore, but I do want these little guys to last!

These are most often used in conjunction with our author station, but can also be used for free reading. The opportunities are endless!

What simple addition has been a pleasant surprise in your classroom?


Poem in Your Pocket FREEBIE & An Exciting Announcement!

Hi Friends! Long time no blog, but luckily for you, this news is worth waiting for! I am excited to announce the launch of Educents marketplaces! A site that has previously offered seriously discounted deals for teachers will now feature individual storefronts where you can visit your favorite edu-preneurers!

I have been featuring deals and products on Educents for the past few months, and am so excited about the teachers who have come together to offer their products on this wonderful site.

To get started, please visit my storefront HERE where you can find a variety of items that are discounted to celebrate this grand opening!

You can also click the picture below or this link to download my Poem in Your Pocket FREEBIE to celebrate April's Poetry Month and Poem in Your Pocket Day (April 30th).

With this pack, students will create a wearable pocket, write poetry using templates, share original poems, and conduct poetry interviews! Check it out!

One more thing you won't want to miss---until April 12, visit this link for a chance to win $50 in Edubucks! This will buy you a TON, so I urge you to check it out :) Happy exploring!

Educents Marketplace $50 in Edubucks Giveaway #10 - Kinder & First Grade Stores
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