Sunday, May 26, 2013

Optimum Organization Linky Party!

Yes, yes, YES!  When I saw that the amazing Kristen and awesome Elizabeth were hosting a Linky Party called "Optimum Organization," I just knew I had to join the fun!  Anyone who knows me knows well that I live for is what keeps me sane.  Without to-do lists, Post-It Notes, and my computer, I would go absolutely bananas!!  And really I cannot hide it, I LOVE organization!  (Does that make me a nerd?  I think so.  But I'm alright with that.)

My plan is to share with you several organizational "systems" that I use frequently.  None of them are unique or particularly amazing, but they work for me and my hope is that you might pick up a organization strategy or two.

(Update:  Yeah, so I started this blog post on Monday and here I am, almost a week later, finally finishing it up.  Such is life!)
1 - Post-It Notes:  No joke, I do not go anywhere without them.  You just never know when you are going to need to write something down.  For example, if I run into my principal in the hallway and he asks me to do something, but I am on my way to teach a class, I can simply write myself a reminder and then I do not have to worry about remembering the task.  I like that you can stick the notes where they are needed and you can rip them up when the task is done - man, do I LOVE that feeling of accomplishment when I rip that little paper in half!

2 - Photos Embedded Into Lesson Plans:  I am mostly definitely a visual learner and I know I do not stand alone in this.  This year, my first year as an ESL teacher, I have been handwriting my lesson plans.  Long story short, what I can do with students in a 30 minute (or less) period of time is minimal and, therefore, I do not need to write much.  Furthermore, my lessons depend greatly on the needs of my English Language Learners.
However, prior to ESL, I typed my Kindergarten lesson plans.  Anytime my students would create something or if I got a great idea from Pinterest, I would actually copy and paste a photo of it directly into my lesson plans.  This helped me SO much, especially when I would pull up my lesson from the previous year and try to remember what we did.
(See the picture of the raccoon paper bag puppet?  We made those after reading "The Kissing Hand.")
3 - Days of the Week Bins:  I have been using these bins for a couple of years now.  I used to put photocopies AND books in them, but my copies were getting crushed and the bins were overflowing, so now I only put papers in them.  (I put my books that I am using for the week in seperate bins.)
I bought the bins in the dollar bins at Target (though I think they were a bit more than a dollar) and I used foam stickers to write the days of the week on the front.
4 - Book Organization:  If you did not catch my post about the app called "Booksapp," be sure to read about it HERE!  This app will change your life!!  Okay...well, maybe that is slightly extremely dramatic, but no joke - it is amazing for organizing your books.
Another tip:  Organize the books you use for teaching purposes by topic by sticking rulers (or other stick-like objects you have laying around) between each topic.  As you can see by the date at the bottom, this picture is super old - but you get what I mean.
5 - Keep Your Cabinets Clean:  Yes, this is something I am striving to do myself.  It has been an ongoing project for me this year.  Here is something I just did this week...
This was a Pinterest idea - shocking, I know!  I poured my tubes of glitter (which the kids were dumping all over their projects) into small salt and pepper shakers.  I found them at a local odds and ends store called "Nelsons" for $2.19...each - which was more than I wanted to pay, BUT I am glad to have my glitter more organized and easier for the kiddos to use.
Side note:  I love to reuse.  Do you have any creative ideas for how I can reuse these leftover plastic glitter tubes??
I am totally bummed as I had taken a bunch of pictures this week and left my school camera in my classroom!  Oh well.  I guess I will have to write another blog post again soon.  :)  As always, thank you for stopping by!


  1. Hi Amber!! I loved all of this...especially the idea of the photo in the lesson plan! I need to do this more, the visual will be so helpful. Thanks so much for linking up with us!

  2. Hmm, empty glitter tubes... googly eyes, beads, spare change (too small?), secret messages, lost teeth, seedlings (to see the roots?)

    I know what you mean, though. I love reusing!

    Fifth in the Middle

    1. Wow, Diane! You have several awesome ideas for the plastic tubes. Thank you for sharing!! The secret message idea is super cute.

  3. Hi~Love the ruler to sort the books. Great tip. I also love the salt shaker glitter containers. Brilliant! :) I'm your newest follower.
    Brandee @ Creating Lifelong Learners

    1. Hi Brandee! Thanks for following! I am excited you found my little blog. :)

    2. Love your blog - great idea with the glass salt/pepper shakers - I will definitely use that idea - my husband is a chef! The empty glitter containers I would use for bingo chips. Right now I have a drawer filled with old camera film containers with the snap on lids and mini M & M containers to hold the bingo chips and it's so easy for them to use during fraction lessons, too - like sort the chips (or macaroni) in groups of 3 - now count out 15 and find how much 2/3 is - etc. Thanks!

    3. Hi there and thank you for the ideas for the empty glitter containers! It amazes me how clever teachers can be. :)


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