Well, lately I have been thinking that it’s beginning to look a lot like – a big mess around here! Or around my classroom, rather. For some reason, I came back from Thanksgiving break ready to straighten and organize all things around me, and my classroom is just full of things to be organized.
One of the recurring, underlying themes to my organization efforts is finding ways to make things easier. I mean, pretty is nice and all, but more efficient is gold, especially during these busy times. So, between planning and executing holiday lesson plans these few weeks, I have been organizing.
It is in times such as these that my IRIS products really come in handy. I received my second set of these after Thanksgiving break, and working to figure out how best to use them has caused me to think through how I use several areas in my room – and how I can use them better.
For example, this month I receive four stacking drawers – two letter sized and two small ones. These are made to stack together, and the variety in sizes allows you to customize your stacked unit. While I could have put them all together, I was instead interested in using them singly – by thinking of places where I could use just a single drawer.
For example, this is the basket where I keep my Day to Day Calendar Binder, as well as books and song visuals. I like to have these items right at hand when I am on the carpet for large group time, and the basket works best for this. However, there are always smaller items that I also like to keep close, and they easily get lost in that basket. (Such as tape for adding things to the calendar, a sharpie, extra white board markers, etc.) By placing a single, letter-sized drawer under the basket, I suddenly have a convenient place to keep these things, where they don’t clutter up the shelf top.
Here is another place that I considered using the single drawers – underneath the containers that hold our handwriting books, as well as folders with name-writing papers. Adding these drawers provide a convenient place for loose items that I might use with these materials – such as the special crayons we use for writing.
However, I actually used my second letter-sized drawer and one of the smaller drawers here – under my “Table Teams” baskets.
This arrangement made the most sense to me, since we have small items that we need to quickly grab when distributing materials for these small groups. For example, each teacher who leads a small group needs a supply of tokens and crayons in their basket, and these drawers make the perfect place to collect them. It kinds of creates a “packing” station for the person preparing these small group baskets, as everything is available – and as a bonus, stored neatly.
By using these drawers, I have been able to neatly store small, individual items where they are needed most – which definitely makes things easier – and the classroom a little more organized!