Sunday, March 16, 2014

Spring Cleaning & Organizing Kindergarten Style


Hello Everyone! This is Crystal McGinnis from Mrs. McGinnis' Little Zizzers. Spring is just a few days away and I am so excited! Usually about this time of year my classroom looks like it has been turned upside down. I am exhausted, beginning to get a little bit disorganized, and I have stuffed and poked things just about anywhere and everywhere throughout my room.
 I usually spend one day of my Spring break doing a little classroom Spring cleaning and organizing. This helps me keep my sanity through the end of the school year. Here are a few organizational tips that I would like to share from my Kindergarten classroom. 
Center Organization 
For the last few years I have used these center tubs to help organize my center materials
and rotate my kids through centers. I keep everything that my kids will need at each center in the
center tub that is labeled with the center number on it. Students simply grab the tub
and move it to an area in the classroom. This has worked so well for me. These tubs
were purchased from Wal-Mart 9 years ago during my first year of teaching. They have
withstood many groups of kids.
These are examples of activities that you might find in one of my center tubs. This tub is my sight word tub. I change the sight word activities weekly. This week my kids will stamp their sight words and then rainbow write their sight words. Rainbow writing is basically writing each letter of their sight words in a different color. Students will also make their sight words "fancy" by using glue to write the word and the sprinkling the word with glitter. I wanted several printables to choose from so that I can switch these activities often. I created a set of printables that can be used to practice any sight words. You can get that set here.
This is my dot marker center. My kids LOVE dot markers (bingo markers). At this center, students will find the missing letter in each cvc word on the word card and then dot the missing letter on the provided recording sheet. Dot markers get a little messy, so I keep a table cloth in my dot marker center box. I created a whole set of dot marker centers so that I can just quickly change the activity to another dot marker activity when all kids have rotated through that center. You can get my whole set of dot marker centers here.
 This is my center rotation chart. This works perfect for Kindergarten because students do not have to be able to read yet to use it. I simply rotate number cards (which match my center tubs) down the chart each day. The student's pictures are on the other side. Students simply look for their picture and match it with the number card each day. This has worked very well for me. If I have students that I notice don't work well together, I can easily change their picture to a different number and I am done.
These are the baskets that I use for my students to turn in their center work. The baskets are numbered with table numbers. Each table places his or her work in the center basket with the correct number on it. I can easily glance through and make sure that each child has turned in something each day. I purchased the baskets (along with many more) at the Dollar Tree.
Monthly Boxes 
 I used to always wonder "What did I do last year?" until I started using these. These are my monthly boxes that I keep printables, crafts, and lesson plans in. I keep the monthly tub sitting beside my desk. As I am done with a certain worksheet, craft, etc. I toss it into this monthly box. This is a quick way for me to organize my materials so that next year I can easily look through the box to see what I did this year. It is amazing what you can forget in a year. I usually take the tub home at the beginning of each month as I am starting to create lesson plans. These boxes have made planning so much easier. I tried to use a filing cabinet in the past but I found that I could not fit the "bulky" items in each file.
Table Captains 
Each day I select a "table captain" from each table. It is the table captain's job to make sure that papers are passed out, supplies are handed out, chairs are pushed in, and tables are tidied up between each lesson. This has been a life saver. I still have a helper of the day, but it really takes kindergarten students a long time to pass out papers etc. Using table captains has helped divide up the responsibilities so that everything gets done quickly. To choose table captains,  I place popsicle sticks in a little container with each student's name on it. I simply choose a popsicle stick from the container with the table number on it. When I am done, I place the popsicle stick name down so that I know that they have already been chosen. When all names are down, I flip them all back over and start again.
 Table Trash Cans
Kindergarten is VERY MESSY! This year I purchased these little trash cans at the Dollar Tree. I have one for each table. When we begin an activity that involves cutting, a trash can is placed on each table. The students simply place their trash in their table trash can. This avoids students constantly getting up and heading to the trashcan. My table captain dumps the trash can at the end of the activity. Easy!
Paper Plates for Pieces
Kindergarten student are very good at losing things. If I know that we will be doing a lesson which involves cutting out little pieces that need to be kept, I simply give each student a paper plate. As students are cutting, they place their "keep" items on the paper plates. This has also been a life saver. We hardly ever lose pieces since we began using the paper plates.
Craft Boxes

These are my craft boxes. If we are doing a craft that I know involves passing out a large amount of materials, I will organize all of the needed materials in these craft boxes before school. I have one craft box for each table. This has helped me so much because I do not have to worry about passing out all of the needed materials to each student. Instead, everything is in the box waiting. I simply sit the basket in the middle of the table at the beginning of the craft. When we are done with the activity, my students leave all extra materials in the box and I sort through those materials when I have time.
Guided Reading Groups
I use this 3 drawer organizer that is on wheels to organize my weekly guided reading materials. Each drawer in my organizer has a different "level" of materials that I use in guided reading. The top draw has the books and materials that I will use with my lower group. The middle drawer is for my medium groups, and the bottom drawer has materials for my high groups. At the beginning of each week I place the new books and materials that I will use in each drawer. I love that it is on wheels because I often change where I do guided reading. I simply wheel it to where I want to go. The little basket on top has my white boards, markers, erasers, and pointer fingers that are used by all groups.
Desk Organization
I use this kitchen spice rack as a method to organize my paperclips, rubber bands, push pins, etc. This has really helped me get my desk organized.
I hope that I have given you a few ideas on how to get organized in your classroom. I appreciate you taking the time to read my post! Here is a little St. Patrick's Day freebie for you.
Clipart for this post was provided by Krista Wallden and Melonheadz. 


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