Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Organizing Materials

One of my friends recently asked me if I have any ideas about how to organize materials for various ages. My organizational skills are something that I am constantly striving to improve. Most of my materials are for ages 3-6, and honestly, they are just packed in some Rubbermaid bins in the garage. I really need to sort them. I generally go through them every few months and attempt to rearrange and categorize. I have one bin that is "getting ready to read" and "reading" stuff, but I will have to sort through it for applicable materials as I need them.

As far as stuff I am using on a regular basis, though, I love the Sterilite shoe bins. They are clear, so I can easily see inside them. They are just the right size and shape for stacking, and fairly small, so I am limited as to what I can put inside. This is a good thing for me - they force me to only store a specific activity or group of objects that actually are used at the same time.

I have been putting my materials that I plan to use during the week in these caddies...

I bought them at Joann Fabric and Craft when I taught kindergarten, and they have been extra useful.

I plan my goals, then put what I plan to use during the week in the caddy. This way, I am not wasting time and losing Delaney's attention while I am trying to figure out where I hid stuff. Also, it is making me think ahead to what I want to accomplish. I sometimes get ahead of myself and plan far too much, then feel like a bad mom when we finish about 1/4 of it. The size of this caddy is nice because it is just large enough to hold a reasonable amount of materials for a week or so. I am hoping it helps me to stay focused and feel more accomplished when we use everything!

Our current goals are:
  • Alphabet order
  • 1:1 correspondence
  • Recognize numbers through 20
  • Rhyming
  • Letter "t" words
For this week, the caddy has some alphabet cards, some number flashcards, m&m's, unifix cubes, and  some letter "t" flashcards.

I think this will work well for day to day use. If you had more than one child, you could have a separate bin for each. Older children could learn to find their bin and complete their work independently. In fact, Delaney is already catching on to the system, and got her bin and activity out for me today.

For long term storage as the girls get older and are using different leveled materials, unless the organization fairy comes my way and blesses me with a better idea, I will probably just continue to use the big bins that I can store in the garage until I need them, with an inventory of what is inside of them taped on the side.

If you have a good idea or something that has worked for you, please leave a comment! I could definitely use some inspiration in this area!

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