Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Organizing All of our Stuff...Part IV

Organizing supplies for the week is a never ending nightmare in most preschool classrooms!  OK, maybe just mine!  The children in my classroom tend to require large realistic items rather than smaller paper or abstract items.  Which, of course, take up a great deal of space! 
My supplies for the month in a 3 drawer cart.
I've tried lots of different ways to organize supplies for the week, but my biggest "problem" (if it truly IS a problem) is that I often switch things up!  Since, we should be planning each day around the interests and needs of the children, I don't view changing things as a problem.  However, this does make it tricky to organize!  So, I've basically decided to use multiple ways to organize. 

Our basket for weekly supply items.
Previously, I found an organizational system on Teach Preschool, using a basket and expandable file folders.  It was simple and easy to set up, but didn't quite work for me.  So, of course, I used the basic idea and adapted it so it fit my organizational style and what works for the classroom I teach.  (I'm not as linear thinking as some people- I tend to organize things based around ideas and topics, rather than days of the week.  And as I said, I may change things mid-way through!  If my system doesn't make sense to you, you may be a more linear thinker, and should go with the simple system Deborah suggests at Teach Preschool.)
I just recently added the 3 file envelopes for hard copies of activities
flannelboard stories etc. that I plan to do with the children for the week

So, here is how I set up my organization for our daily, weekly and monthly supplies: 

1. First, I have a 3 drawer cart that holds large supplies for the month.


Each drawer is labeled:
    A.  Drawer #1: Art, sensory, science and cooking supplies
    B.  Drawer #2: Stuffed Animals, Puppets, Books and Listening Supplies
    C.  Drawer #3: Outdoor, Center time, Transitions and Extra Items


I simply throw stuffed animals, art materials, sensory materials, books etc. that I plan to use for the month in these drawers. It's really just a hodge-podge of various items that I anticipate that I will need sometime during the month. Often this becomes my basic materials for the month, with more added for a specific week or day.


2.  On top of the 3 drawer cart, I have a basket for weekly supplies. I take any item I will need for the current week out of the monthly drawers and throw it in the weekly basket. This way it's simply in my line of vision so I remember to pull it out and actually USE it!


3.  I have recently added the third organizational tool:  3 expandable file folders that sit in the back of the weekly basket:  


These are each labeled as well:
     A.  File #1:  Songs, flannel-board stories and finger-plays
     B.  File #2:  Art and play-dough projects
     C.  File #3:  Book activities and projects 


These file folders hold hard copies of activities I have found on the Internet or in books that I plan to use during the current week.  They also hold words to fingerplays, songs etc. that I plan to use and don't already know.  I basically have paper-clipped together the hard copies of the items used for a week, then each week the new hard copies will be placed in front.  The files are expandable and will hold many weeks worth of hard copies of activities, so I will simply keep adding, until I am forced to take some out and file them away in a more permanent file! 

Oh yes, that would be how I organize!  I'm all for systems that don't require me to move things too often!  If you would like to see how I've organized our paper-work, books or how I have labeled the books follow the links to read more.

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