Thursday, January 30, 2014

Organizing Digital Teaching Materials

My name is Jessica and I blog over at What I Have Learned.  A little about me . . . I currently teach second grade, but have taught all grades, K-5 over the past 14 years.  Four of those were out of the classroom as a curriculum coach.  It was a great experience, but I love being in the classroom and seeing the light bulbs going off in students' brains as they experience ah-ha moments.  I also have two young boys at home that keep me on my toes!  You can read more about me on my blog, What I Have Learned.
I don't know about you, but, have I learned a lot from all the blogs I follow and the great TpT sellers whose resources I download.  There are some talented teachers out there!  It seems like I'm downloading a new resource almost every day or even several a day when I have a bit extra time.  My downloads folder keeps getting more and more full!

Are you finding yourself overwhelmed with all the great resources you're finding?  There are so many wonderful ideas and products that I'm having trouble remembering everything I have!  Well, I've got a solution for you!

First some backstory: Recently I decided to redesign our math work stations.  I pulled resources from all over the place to create our first set of 10 work stations.  As students worked through them, they had varying levels of success and challenges.  I decided that I didn't like certain stations as well as I thought I would.  Three days into our new stations, I wanted to add a few options to several of the boxes and totally switch out one of them.

I had so many great resources that I had downloaded over the past few weeks, but after downloading them and sometimes "filing" them away on my computer, I couldn't for the life of me remember what I had, where I had put it, nor the standards on which it focused.  I'd printed a few things, but even that didn't help me "remember" what I had.

My solution?  I created a document to help me keep track of all the wonderful resources I'm using in my Math Work Stations and just general math instruction.

This is totally a work in process and I have yet to go through the files that are already on my computer. What you see here are those that I’m currently using in my work stations. I figured I had to start somewhere!

Since this is for math, I’ve organized it by math strand. As I list more resources, I’ll probably add more categories and organize it by clusters. The beauty of working with tables is that I can split them or copy and paste rows into different places.  I've already referred back to the document several times and added even more resources.

The columns on the document include:

  • Used this year, where I include the month that I’ve used it 
  • Resource, where I list the actual game or resource, not the title of the whole product.  Sometimes products have more than one resource that go with different standards.  I want each one to be in a separate place.
  • Picture - This is a picture of the front cover. I’m a visual person and this helps me “remember” what it is. 
  • Document Title / URL -  This tells the exact document title on my computer, so I can search for it. If I moving the file someplace else, a quick search of the title will locate it for me on my computer. Some titles are a bit obscure and I’ve had to spend several minutes or longer trying to find something. That’s soooo frustrating! I’ve also listed where the resource came from so that I can credit the right person when I mention it in a blog post. 
  • Standard is self explanatory.
  • Skill tells more specifically the skill that students are practicing, which may be a part of a standard or a prerequisite to a standard.

A document like this will also help keep track of ELA resources for Daily 5 Word Work and Work on Writing or Literacy Centers. (A task for a later time for me!). It’s basically a way to centralize a list of digital teaching resources that you find helpful in your classroom.

What do I have for you? Two things.

One is a copy of my current Math Work Stations Document (click the picture above or the link to the left).  This version has links to the resources that I’ve used for my stations in January so you can go find them for yourself.  Many are free, some are my own creation.  We’re currently working on Place Value and Addition / Subtraction of multi-digit numbers, so there’s a lot of resources for those standards.

Two is a blank Word template that you can use to keep track of your own math resources (click the picture above or the link). You may not have the fonts on your computer, so those will need to be adjusted or downloaded, but it will give you a start on organizing your digital teaching resources! This template allows you to start keeping track of your own digital resources.

Enjoy!  I hope these keep you more organized with all the digital resources we have available to us.  If you have any other digital organizational tips, leave a comment below to share.


  1. I enjoyed this post. This is just what I needed. I've been trying to think of a way to remember all of the internet resources I've downloaded and a grid like this is quick and easy. Thanks!

  2. What a great idea ~ I have so many items I've purchased or made & have yet to figure out a way to keep everything organized. I've tried several things, but never felt that they were as organized as they could be. I'll give your method a try. Thank you!

  3. Awesome idea for organizing math station ideas! Thank you for sharing!