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How do I organize a First Grade Classroom?

Moms View Message Board: Get Organized: How do I organize a First Grade Classroom?
By Teachinlynn on Wednesday, June 29, 2005 - 08:15 pm:

I am a clutter queen and I have taken several workshops on getting organized. None have helped me to any degree, as of yet. I was so disorganized this past school year that it caused me to have a breakdown. I have been out of school for 6 months now. I am planning on returning to my job in September. I have moved to a new school and I will be making a fresh start.
I am looking for organizational ideas to begin my move into my new First Grade Classroom in my new school. I need a fresh start! Anyone who can relate to the amount of materials a First Grade Teacher needs, please send me as many ideas as you can. I'm willing to invest a reasonable amount of money on tubs and bins,etc... Please send it all my way. I miss teaching and want to return to it without the stresses that the disorganization places on me. This includes my paperwork, my desk, the students' work areas, etc..
Thank you.

By Marcia on Wednesday, June 29, 2005 - 09:07 pm:

I used to have tubs for themes, so that I could just grab what I needed for each theme. I use wipe containers, even at home, to sort craft materials - markers, crayons, collage stuff, etc.
The dollar store always has wash basins that are great for storing things on shelves. If you label them, you might be more inclined to put the right thing in the right bucket, instead of just dumping in the closet one.
I know that some of our teachers have bins for math books, reading work, etc, so that they can just pull out that bucket when that subject is being taught. The kids know which one to hand their work in to, and where to go back to pick it up.
I am a big fan of using containers, because I am an absolute clutter freak, too, and they have saved me many times!! Good luck!

By Dawnk777 on Thursday, June 30, 2005 - 12:22 am:

The first-grade teachers at the school, where my kids went to elementary school, use little crates for holding a small number of books, for quiet reading times. They always looked pretty handy to me and easy enough for the kids to carry to a desk area.

By Feona on Thursday, June 30, 2005 - 07:46 am:

Can you ask for help with one of the moms? First grade the moms still love to help out.

By Feona on Thursday, June 30, 2005 - 07:47 am:

Is there a file system some where in the room?

By Kaye on Thursday, June 30, 2005 - 03:46 pm:

My son just finished first, his teacher was very organized. Here is how things went.

First we had a "moose" notebook/binder. In it was a behavior chart, each day the kids colored in the square on the calendar what they were (green was a good day) at the end of the week parents had to sign it, if you had all green days you went to the treasure chest. The second page was a calendar with any special info on it, like what day in our block rotation, library day, field trips etc. Both of these were in those pockets that the papers just slid in, so the beginning of each month those got replaced. Then there were two folders, each pocket was labeled, return to school, keep at home, homework and I don't remember the 4th pocket. The inside of the binder was labeled, notes for the teacher, oh and there was a zipper pouch for money being sent to school. At the bak was a big plastic puch (this was added after the first reporting period) in it is where the take home readers went and a place to sign what they read and if you were ready to return it.

Okay so in the class room, you walked in and there were lots of shelves, in the math area there were building tubs, legos, knex, etc, all these in rubbermaid tubs and labeled (i thinking labeling is a BIG key) you can hand write these is you wanted. On top of this shelf she had baskets of leveled books. She did her reading groups from these and sent them home as home readers. For reading groups each was colored and she had folders, There were lessons in these folders a copy of the books, etc. She had one of those wire file folders that she would keep a weeks worth of work copied for reading groups. Behind her desk area she had two shelves, one had language books, one had science/math books, since they were grouped she could get right to them. The kids had nothing on their desks, they each had a school box with materials in it. There books were on a shelf, they would get them when needed. She had a check in shelf, a place to put their binders (she would go through them while they were at centers.) On top of this shelf she had a basket where they turned in work, she would grade it from there and then sort in a file for each of them. She also always had a worksheet laid out to do, they would come in, put away their back pack, put the binder on the shelf and get a piece of work.

Do you have any specific questions? What type of stuff do you have. All of her stuff was stored in rubbermaid containers, labeled with what was in them. Mostly done by month, so January's would say, January, snowmen, play dough, confetti, etc. Whatever she used that month. She keep all these tubs in the built in cabinets that the kids also used for backpackets (think lockers).

By Paulas on Tuesday, July 5, 2005 - 02:45 am:

I have taught first grade for many years. Labelling is the key. I love TUBS! Also, go through your stuff and see what you need. I threw out tons of stuff last year...minutes from staff meetings years ago.

The bottom drawer of my desk had was a filling drawer. Here I kept files for each day of the week. On Friday I try to make sure that all the lesson materials are ready for the following week. If not, I also had a file for "photocopying" or "lamenating". Anything in the photocopy file had a post-it note---I also love those! that said what kind of paper (transparency, plain, colored,etc) and the number of copies needed. That way, if I was doing group work and my assistant was just watching, she could run and copy for me.

Don't wait until the last minute to do your lesson plans. Try to plan ahead. That way, if you are's good to go. I try to leave the next mornings lessons/materials on my desk before I leave in the afternoon.

Here's a link for the MOOSE books mentioned above..they are great. I hope to use them this year. Unfortunately, I've been doing temporary jobs the past two years so I haven't been able to contribute to the supply list. I wasn't able to this year either but the kids will have binders so I will just cover the rest.

Actually, here is some info on Moose books. I belong to some teacher mailrings and got this information from one of the discussions on Moose books:

Homework/Reading Log
- in this section I also have a page protector for their reading book.
They take home a "leveled book" from my class library every night.
* Lists: Sight Words; Math facts, etc
* Family/Teacher Communication
* Family/School Contract Log (families at our school sign a "contract" to
work with their child at home for at minimum of 75hrs during the school
year. Those who do earn tickets to a huge celebration the staff puts on at
the end of the year)
* Very Important Papers - this section includes the quarterly objectives for
core subjects - reading/writing; math

We use Tiger. Today I've Got Everything Ready

Click here: Lesson Exchange: MOOSE FOLDERS COMPILED (all, other)

I'm also considering making the BEAR books instead of MOOSE books. The acronym was more first grade friendly....Bring Everything (what did the 'a' stand for?) Ready. And the bear graphics would be cute, too.

If you make the binders red they can be "Return Every Day"

B.E.E. Books......Bring Everything Every Day!

B.E.A.R. = Bring Everything Always Ready
B.E.A.R. = Being Equipped and Responsible
BEARS = Becoming Efficient (or Effective) and
Responsible Students
BEAR = Being Excited About Reading

TIGERS =Teaching Independence Gets Everyone Ready (for) School

TIGER = Taking Initiative: Getting Everything Ready
I got these from the following website. They have over 120 acronyms for the MOOSE book. Scroll about half way down the page, and you will see them.

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