Grade: all
Subject: other


, level: all
Posted Tue Jul 13 22:22:49 PDT 1999 by T-Netters....compiled by RandyAk2 (
Materials Required: Listed in the tips.
Activity Time: A few minutes here and there.
Concepts Taught: How to organize a classroom.

What follows is the transcript of posts on ORGANIZATIONAL TIPS. These posts start in July and go up to about the 12th of
July. I started to leave off all the names but had second thoughts. Someone would think I came up with all these great ideas if I
did that. I did delete any email addresses just for security reasons.
I'll keep an eye out for more posts on this thread. They will be compiled into ORGANIZATIONAL TIPS...THE SEQUAL

Enjoy and get organized,

Post: Information about
web page for tips for
getting organized

Posted by Kim/KS/8th--Keep posting
your ideas! on 7/09/99

I am working on the webpage for the
organization tips.
Here are the categories so far. Please keep
adding your
ideas! When I get it ready, I'll post the URL.

Your Desk
Teaching Resources and Materials
Students' Desks
Keeping Track of Students' Assignments and
Other Papers
Attendance/Lunch Count
Organizing Small Items
Calling on Students
Grouping Students

Post: Desktop clutter...

Posted by ma/3/pa on 7/09/99

Those organizationaal tips were great from
7/8/99. Now as
someone mentioned...what do we do with our
desktop? I know
some teachers do not use a desk at all, and
that eliminates
that problem! But if you do use a desk, what
do you do with
all the stuff? This year's goal...LOL

Re: Desktop clutter...
Posted by Kathy/5/IA on 7/09/99

Desk clutter ... my goal toooooo! Just bought
organizer thing (on sale at Staples), but more
ideas would be
helpful. Keep the ideas coming ... I loved the
TIPS thread!

Re: Desktop clutter...
Posted by OK/1 on 7/09/99

> Desk clutter ... my goal toooooo!
I have a hanging file folder that I used last
year. Could keep
things used very often. Papers for absent
students. Papers to
run copies of and ones to put away in folders.

Moved my teacher's guides from my desk and
that helped.

Fellow teacher used a diary to write when
notes or orders were
sent and any discipline problems or strange
happenings . It
kept many things together in a small item.

Re: Desktop clutter...
Posted by Amelia on 7/10/99

I hardly ever have a clean desktop unless I
know a substitute is
coming! I guess that's something I've grown
to live with..I need a
bigger desk, maybe like a huge counter that
stretches from one end
of the room to the husband says
that I'd use all that up

I hesitate to put anything like stackers or
baskets on my desk
because I like to have a clear view of the room
if I should happen
to be at the computer sitting by my desk.

Keeping a good-sized table helps. That way
you only keep the bare
minimum on the desk at one time. Last year I
had a big art table
near my desk and that was awesome..There I
stacked baskets, wall
organizers, glass and plastic containers, file
holders, and
miscellaneus items..

Post: What is your best
organizational Tip?

Posted by Amelia on 7/08/99

I am known as the clipboard queen. I have a
class set of
clipboards for the kids' use. It's great because
they can
have everything they need on the clipboard
and flip through
pages as they work on their assignment.

I also have clipboards hanging around the
room in stategic
locations. This helps me and the kids find
commonly used
items like handouts, hall passes, assignments
sheets etc.

This question has probably been posted
before, but does
anyone want to share a favorite organizational

It would surely be beneficial to here the best
of the BEST!!

Re: What is your best
organizational Tip?
Posted by Vicki on 7/08/99

My file cabinet is right inside my classroom
door. On it, I
have the kids names written on 3x3
construction paper
squares. The squares have magnets on the
back. The boys'
squares are one color and the girls'are
another. Beside the
names I use masking tape to divide a space
into 2 squares.
At the top is posted this question: Are you
eating a school
lunch? As soon as the kids walk through the
door, they put
their namesquare in the appropriate square. In
this way, I
can take attendance and lunch count without a
lot of hassle!

Re: Re:Organizational
Posted by Luann/5th/OK on 7/08/99

Amelia, I had read your post earlier about
clipboards and
went right out and bought a classroom set! I
can see how it
will really help some of those students who
can never find
anything. Thanks for the great tip! My tip is to
assign a
number to every student, the same number
that is in my
gradebook. The number MUST be on every
piece of paper they
hand in to me or it doesn't get looked at. I
usually have my
student of the day collect and sort the papers,
so when I get
ready to put the grades in my book they are
already in order.

Re: Assigning students a
Posted by Suzanne/TX/3 on 7/08/99

Luann, I do the same thing, but I carry it
MUCH further. Every
novel set in my class, every supply that I have
a class set of,
etc. also is labeled with the number and each
student is
responsible then for that object with his
number on it. My
students line up in number order. I have
mailboxes (shoe
organizers) that are numbered. Every day the
students check
their mail boxes for returned papers,
announcements, etc. This
system has saved me from having to relabel
things every year!

Re: Re:Organizational
Posted by Joan/1/NE on 7/08/99

I do what Luann does with the class numbers.
I have the
kids line up in alphabetical order by FIRST
name and then
number off. I write their names in my grade
book by first
name, too. It makes it easier for me because I
"Susie" I don't think
"Willmont" So I seem to be able to go to the
"S's" faster
than figuring out "Susie, ss,s,,s no....
w..w.." :o)

I also have a deck of playing cards. I put each
name on one card. Then when I need to do
groups.... I just deal out of the deck. It also
for question/answer. If I'm asking
questions.... It
seems like Billy always has his hand up,
right? If I draw
from the deck, Billy knows he'll get to
answer AND Susie
knows she has to answer because she's in the
deck. Frank
knows he'd better listen.... because the deck
is random
and he doesn't know WHEN I'm going to call
on him. There
is also a little excitment involved when I
shuffle the
deck for a "volunteer" or even small groups.
That snap
of the cards gets their attention. It's something
little different.

Good luck.

Re: Assigning students a
Posted by mel on 7/08/99

Shoe organizers!!? I hadn't thought of that...I
was looking at a
catalog that has mailbox slots! I'm going
shopping for shoe
organizers instead!!

I also use number order for many classroom
items, but I get so
nervous when students drop or enroll. I'm
afraid of losing
stuff! What do you do if student number 5
drops from your 1st
class? Do you not use 5 until another student
enrolls and assign
it to the next incoming student?

When the grading period is over, do you
reassign for alpha order?

Re: Same as above, but a
little different
Posted by Kathy/5/IA on 7/08/99

> I also have a deck of playing cards. I put
each kids'
> name on one card.

I do the same thing with a little different twist
now that I'm

I use popcicle sticks. I see two different
classes - one we call
the green team and the other the purple. I
color the tips of the
popcicle sticks green and puple. Then I write
the kids names on
them. I have two different containers for the
two different
classes. I use to do the CARD thing ... but
found I was always
losing the two decks of cards. This was a little
more visual for

Great thread....looking forward to getting a
bunch of great ideas.
I already put clipboards on my student supply
lists (after reading
your idea a while back!)


Re: Baby wipe containers
Posted by Kim/KS/8th on 7/08/99

I was forever losing supplies such as tape,
staples, paper clips,
post-it notes, rubberbands, etc. I found that
baby wipe containers
work well for holding them. They also stack
well in the closet. I
put a label on the end that faces out so I know
what is in each
container. I also use them for colored pencils,
highlighters, scissors, etc. for my students. I
put them on a
shelf with a label, and if a student needs to
borrow something, she
knows where to go. The students and other
teachers have found this
system to be humorous, but it works for me!
Best of all, they're

Re: May I use your ideas
for my website?
Posted by Kim/KS/8th on 7/08/99

Does anyone care if I compile these ideas and
use them for a
page at my website? I think it would be
beneficial to have
them posted all year.

Kim's Korner for Teacher Talk

Re: more on organization
Posted by Suzanne/TX/3 on 7/08/99

I don't mind if you post my ideas. I probably
stole most of
them from another teacher anyway LOL!!

If a student moves, I just give the next new
student that
number. I can set up the gradebook software I
use to put the
new kid in that number order no matter what
his name is. My
3rd graders do good to learn their number
once; I couldn't ask
them to learn a new one just cuz someone

I also have a class set of clipboards. They are
great for
working outside the classroom (you know,
those guys that have
work to do at recess - papers can't blow

Another thing I do to organize is have a
cardboard banker's box
w/lid for each month. In it I keep stuff for my
calendar, any
special books I know I'll use for that month,
samples of art
projects that go with a certain month, etc.
Makes it real easy
when I'm looking for that certain Mother's
Day card project -
just look in the May box! I always ask a kid
who finishes an
art project early to make another one for me to
keep as a
sample. Then I have lots of kid-made samples
to show the next
year (or 8 or 10!).

One more thing, Whenever I buy a great
teacher resource book
(like Month By Moth Phonics - love it!!) I
always tear the book
apart at the spine, 3 hole punch the pages, and
put it in a
binder. That way I never have trouble
photocopying a page that
won't lie flat.

Hope someone can use these hints. I'm
looking forward to
getting some as well.

Re: more on organization
Posted by ma//3/pa on 7/09/99

We have metal sided desks, and this past year
I bought each
student a Mr.Men magnet that has a clip. They
loved being able to
hang a paper there instead of putting it in their
desk for a
little while, if it would be needed again later.
I also agree with the clipboard idea. Best
money I ever spent.

Re: computer labels on
Posted by Sandy/TX on 7/09/99

I've made all kinds of labels on the computer
this summer for all
my containers of goodies! As was previously
mentioned, baby wipes
(especially the Chubs brand) are great storage
containers. For
items that don't fit in the Chubs boxes, I go to
the Dollar Store
and stock up. The computer labels go on the
end of the boxes. As
was ALSO previously mentioned, I try to
include a picture reminder
of what is in the box along with a word title.
Important note
about the labels: put clear packing tape on top
of the labels. In
this way, the labels won't peel, get marked
on, or dripped on and
will always look fresh and new.

Re: Stacking Trays and
File Folders
Posted by Sara/k/Tx on 7/09/99

I also use the bankers boxes with lids to store
my units.

I use 5 stacking trays and 5 laminated flie
folders. Label each with
one of the days of the week M-F. Inside the
Monday folder, I file
any papers/activities/books I will be needing
for that day. I place
it into the stacking tray labeled "Monday". Do
the same for the rest
of the days in the week. Keeps me organized
for a while!

I also by the laundry hangers - you know - the
ones used to hang
laundry to dry. They fold out into a cirle and
have clips on them.
I hang them over each of the children's tables
and use them to hang
their art work or special projects. When it
comes to take them down,
I am not hunting all over the room to match
child with work. They
are under the hangers.

I too assign chidren numbers. They are for me
mostly. The kids don't
have to know them. I place their number on
report cards and home
folders... When it comes time to see who has
not returned theirs, I
place them into numerical order. It is easy to
tell who is still
neding to turn something in.

I'm looking forward to hearing of more ideas!

Re: Stacking Trays and
File Folders
Posted by Amelia on 7/09/99

Don't forget the ziplock baggies! They are
great for just about any
little thing you want to store! I draw names
from them, store "tickets"
or color-coded tags for each class/grading
period, and use them for
little treats that I buy in bulk.

Putting these on a web page is a great idea!
Wish I'd thought of it! I'd
like to do the same as well!

Re: Tips
Posted by Kath/KS on 7/09/99

I do the file cabinet by the door but I use craft
sticks. They don't get
banged up like even laminated cards would.
The thing I'm trying this
year that my team teacher swears by is to
color code each subject: Math-
Purple, Reading-Green. Then when you have
late work or need to sort
through work you can easily separate them,
also, it is easy to grab that
math page to take home and grade without
looking too carfully. I'm a
little nervous about the "rainbow" effect but
I'm going to give it a try!

Re: Organizational Tips
Posted by Tulip on 7/09/99

I use zip lock bags all the time too. Instead of
the cards and the sticks
- I use clothes pins. I write their names on
them and pick them out of a
box when I need to call on students. I also
have mail boxes for the
students (they love these) there is even one
with my name for any mail
that they have for me. I have also decided that
I hate file cabinets - I
am in the process of converting all my files
into binders.

Thanks for all of your great ideas!

Re: Organizational Tips
Posted by dbk on 7/09/99

I teach 6th grade and have collected and
inherited many resource books in
the classroom. I used colored electrical tape to
color code binding. For
example the poetry books have blue tape, the
history section red tape, the
science books have orange tape, independent
reading shelf green, etc. That
way when kids use the resources in the
classroom they can easdily remember
to return them to right section. Some I futher
code ie, astronomy labels
are orange with a big "A" written on them,
inventions orange "I" on etc. It
helps keep some organization. (My teen
daughter helped me do this last

Tulip I am doing the exact opposite. Taking
things out of binders and
putting them in file folders. I can find things
(and put them away) much
more easily! And besides I have some teacher
shelf space that way. I do
keep materials kids use in boxes with labels -
the clear tape was a great

Admittedly I am one of the more disorganized
people - my desk top is always
a mess despite file slots and organizers. This
year was not as bad as last
and next fall I plan to not leave for any reason
until everything is in
proper place (I wonder how long that will
last?) Anyone who has good
suggestions for teacher's desktop tell me!

I hope everyone tells Kim yes she can post
ideas. What a great way to
brainstorm and share!

Re: More on binders and
teacher's desk
Posted by Kim/KS/8th on 7/09/99

I use binders as well. Each binder has a
subject, such as literary genres.
I put in dividers for subdivisions such as
historical fiction, biography,
fantasy, etc. I buy the clear label holders to
put on the spines of the
binders so I know what is in each one. I have
found that most of my binders
will fit in a filing cabinet with the spine facing

As far as my desk, it is my goal to help
eliminate piles, too. I bought
plastic dividers and put folders (and binders)
in them for the things I need
most--blank copies of forms, reading
conference logs, dictionary, teacher's
editions of textbooks, district curriculum
binder, etc. I also put in a
folder for papers I want to keep, but don't
have time to file right away--
only a temporary solution, but it gets rid of
the piles.

I also have a basket for students to return
books for the classroom library
and another for homework. My teaching
partner's husband made her a wooden
cubbie divided into six sections, one for each

Oh, and then there is MY bookshelf. It is for
my "stuff" only. It sits next
to my desk, but is short so I can the
classroom. This is where I keep things
I need on a regular, but not daily, basis. I put
in the plastic stacking
shelves to help stay organized.

As a middle school teacher, I can have student
aides. The first thing I did
last year was teach them my organizational
system. I had them file anything
that is not confidential. I had the most
"organized" year ever.

Re: My favorite tips!
(Okay, so I put 5 instead
of 1...sorry!!!)
Posted by (LOL!) Kristie/4/Indy,
, on 7/09/99

Here are a few of my favorite organization

1. Yes, I LOVE assigning each student w/a
number. When I student taught, my
supervising teacher showed me that & I love
it!!! They put their number in
the upper right hand corner of every single
paper they turn in, and it makes
it so easy for me (or other students) to quickly
put them in order! Just a
note on that: I cut off the corner of every
paper that is 100%, or if it is
an "extra effort" paper by a lower ability
student. I have an old Slimfast
container that I decorated that sits on the
corner of my desk, and I drop the
pieces in there. On Fridays, I draw out 3 or 4
names, depending on how many
are in the container. Those students get a
surprise, like a pop pass,
pencil, piece of candy, etc... If they don't put
their # in the corner, I
put a slash with my pen (so they can't write it
later!) and then they don't
get in the drawing. This really motivates them
to remember to put their # in
the corner, and we have a lot of fun! After
each drawing, I dump out the
container and we start over.

2. I have one of those large
tackle/organizational boxes that you can get at
K-Mart in the hardware dept. The ones that
have all of the diff. sized
drawers that pull out in front. I keep that in a
file cabinet, filled with
bandaides, safety pins, paper clips, staples,
rubber bands, etc... I always
know where everything is, all nice & neat in
its little drawer! (The front
is clear so you can see what is in each

3. I take attendance and lunch much like
Vicki, however, I used small nails
to hang up a square of carpet on my "Morning
Board." Then, I bought those
calendar pieces that have the #'s on the front
of each piece. I laminated
the squares, then put a small piece of velcro
on the back of each one. The
kids walk past it as they come in the room,
take down their ticket, and place
it in the appropriate container sitting right
below (buying lunch, brought
lunch). Usually the first one done w/D.L.R.
and other morning work will put
them back for me ~ they think it's fun! I have
diff. sets of the calendar
squares, so I change them each month to go
with the season or holiday.

4. I had a couple of kids who were not very
organized, and they kept
misplacing their D.L.R paper. I bought
brightly colored folders, the kind
that are closed on 3 sides and open on 1. I
used clear packing tape to tape
it to each student's desk, then put their
nametags on top of that. The kids
just came in, reached into the folder, pulled
out their D.L.R. paper, and did
that morning's work. After we checked it,
they all just slipped them back
into the folder. After I started this, I NEVER
had another student misplace
a D.L.R. sheet!

5. For group work, this was a lot of fun. I
took index cards and put
various stickers on them to form groups. For
example, I had 21 students, so
I had one pack of cards w/animal stickers that
put students in 7 groups of
3. There were 3 rhinos, 3 lions, 3 monkeys,
etc. I would shuffle them up
and walk around the room, and they would
pick a card. I let them look at it,
but they couldn't show anyone. Then, I gave
directions. After that, they
got to get up and WITHOUT talking find the
others in their group. After they
found each other they brought the cards to
me. I bundled all of the cards up
w/a rubber band, and the top card told me 7
groups of 3. I had another pack
with sports stickers that I used for 5 groups of
4 (one group had 5). Once
you make them up and label the cards, you
can just pick which you want to use
that day. (For example, I had one pack that
put them in 6 groups of 3 and
one group of two ~ in case someone was
absent.) Sometimes I would bring the
cards when I picked them up from a special,
and as they walked out of the
room they picked a card. They loved this,
because then they had to wait
until we got all of the way back to the room ~
they would just giggle and
clutch the cards to their bodies so no one
would see!

Okay, do I win the award for rambling on the
longest?! (LOL!) I love this
thread ~ what great ideas I am getting!!!
Thanks! Kristie/4/Indy

Re: 1 not mentioned so
Posted by Emmy/reading/OK,
on 7/09/99

I made up what I call turn in sheets. I made a
form on the computer that had
each child's name and number written on a
line followed by one little box and
one slightly larger box. I then used scrap
paper and ran off a whole bunch of
them (I had three fit on the landscape size
paper). I wanted to notify parents
weekly if their child had not turned in work,
but sometimes I didn't have it all
graded, so I used the "turn-in sheet" and made
a check-mark for each paper that
was turned in. When I graded it, I could put
the grade in the second box and
have a record until I got around to the grade
book. I also used it to mark
field trip notes, party notes,pictures etc. There
are a million uses for them.
I got the idea from a teacher whom I

I also use the number is great. If #5
moves away, then I just save
all those things until someone new moves in
and they become #5. It helps when
we have tornado drills or on the field trip bus,
because you can orally go
through the numbers to see if anyone is
missing and it is quick.

I thought it strange that I do each of these
things mentioned (or a version
of)... Except the one thing I want to do....
control the paper.....I want to
make myself take care of all the stuff on my
desk before I go home.....but that
has been my goal for a long time.

Re: To Emmy
Posted by ma/3/pa on 7/09/99

Does your turn in sheet have the whole class
listed on one


Re: To ma/e

Yes. It is really just a class list with numbers
and names then the little boxes.
I forgot to say that I left a box at the top that
says Ms. Ellis' Class and space to
write "Skating Note" or Page 152, Math etc.

All the teacher's in my grade use them now.
For instance, if the office wants to
know the Honor Roll kids, you can write
Honor Roll on the top and check off the
names of the kids on the honor roll...that
quickly it is done.

I used the spread sheet program on my
computer to make it so each name is very
clearly marked.

Is that as clear as mud?????

Re: My best
organizational Tip not
Posted by OK/1 on 7/09/99

I keep math manipulatives in the clear
shoeboxes with labels.
To keep counters ready at any time, I keep 20
in black film
canisters in the boxes. They work so much
better than ziploc
bags and are free from film developers.

To be ready for a substitute at all times, I have
papers with
each subject and class time and general
instructions. Then
when I find I will be gone, I put the teacher's
guide and
papers under each subject and sticky notes to
give details.
This way it is easy to put a sticky note telling
if they have
duties also. I even kept the sticky notes that
could be used
again and layered them to put the one on top
that applied
that day. When you are sick suddenly,every
short-cut helps.
I also have a cover page for the class rules and
some things
I always do and expect from my students. It
has who the sub
can get help from(students and a fellow

This has been a great idea to share ideas.

Re: Another idea
Posted by Siobhan/ON on 7/09/99

Wow!!!!!!! These ideas are great!! Here's one
small idea.

We are required to have fire and tornado drills
several times a
year. Of course we are supposed to get the
children out as fast
as possible and then take attendance once we
are in our assigned
spots. I found I would forget to grab a class
list and the
French teacher (who comes in once a day)
would not always have
her class list handy. When I did remember I
was setting a bad
example for the kids by going to my desk to
look for a class
list. So I reduced the class list on the copier
and cut it to
fit into one of those library card pockets. I
stuck it to the
wall right next to the door and labelled the
pocket in bright
read letters, 'EMERGENCY CLASS LIST'.
Now I remember to grab it
and it's easily available for the French teacher
or a sub.


P.S. I can't remember who suggested putting
these ideas on
their website but I think that's a great idea.
Will you let us
know when you do that? Thanks so much!!!!

Posted by Ebbie on 7/09/99

I have been looking high and low for steel or
plastic stacking trays
(like 3 row by 5 colomns) to no avail. Where
can I find them. And what
exactly is a bankers box??


Posted by Kim/KS/8th on 7/09/99

The plastic stacking trays I use are letter trays.
The only way to get
more columns is buy more trays and stack
them next to another column. I
don't know if this is what you wanted.


For cooperative learning groups I use two
different things that work well.
One is a set of UNO cards. I just randomly
pass these out. Depending on the
day I sometimes have them meet with people
of the same number and sometimes
the same color and sometimes the same shape.
They never know which I am
going to choose so they don't trade.

Another thing I make in the beginning of the
year is a set of index cards
with famous/up to date pairs on them. When I
want to do a partners activity
I pass out the cards and they find their match.
I use names like Bert and
Ernie, Fred and Wilma,Curious George and
the Man with the Yellow Hat,
Robinson Crusoe and Friday, etc. I try to
update those who may become out
of date each year and add popular ones to it. I
have at least one threesome
in case I have an odd number of pupils
attending that day. You could
include Larry, Mo, Curly, etc. for this. The
kids love to see who they get
and then have to do a little thinking to find
their match. I have used this
for teacher inservices too when I want the
teachers to do an activity
together. This allows them to work with
someone different for a while.

I make a substitute folder early on the year. In
it I include class lists,
fire drill rules, seating charts, times and
schedule change info (like late
day schedules), and a generic plan for the
day. Then I create a form on the
computer for my regular class schedule.
When I have to be out I just fill
in the blanks. On this computerized sheet I
also include the location of
teacher's guides, helpful teachers, procedures
from the office, and my
discipline rules by class. They say it helps
them a lot. I usually have
very little trouble getting a substitute because
it is so easy to follow.
Of course having a routine with the students
helps too.

On last thing I do is -- Purchase a small set of
plastic drawers the size
of a sheet of paper. (Mine came from
WalMart) I keep this beside the door
on a table. In the top drawer I keep extra
pencils, my whistle, an elevator
key and other things I need in a hurry or the
kids always want as soon as
they come in. In the second drawer I keep
extra class lists for checking
off all kinds of things, my locker list, fire drill
roster, extra hall pass
forms, soda money for me, etc. The third I
keep empty. As the students
enter they often give me all those good things
they need to have you read
right away (!!!) like notes from home, late
notes, etc. I put these in this
drawer until I get time to response. They do
not get lost and I always know
right where they are.

I have really enjoyed this thread. Anne from
grade 6

Posted by Pat on 7/09/99

I really like the idea about using binders. Is
there a place where you can
buy them for around $1.00 ( the 2" ones)

BINDERS, Boxes, Files
Posted by Deb PS/IA on 7/09/99

You can purchase Bankers Boxes or any
letter/legal or legal/legal sized card
board boxes at any office supply store
(Staples, Office Depot, Office Max) you
may also buy them at SAM's or other
discount outlets.

Stacking files trays and binders can be found
at these places too!

I have been pleased with mail order services
provided by:




You may want to call about a catalog or check
out if they have a website (i
haven't done that yet!)


Re: My tip
Posted by JAS/2/OH on 7/09/99

Once my class list is finalized, I type it on the
computer, copy and paste
until I have 8 to a page. Small print but that's
all that's necessary. I
print several pages and cut them into strips. I
use these for so many
things just by highlighting or crossing out the
names. I just grab one
when I need one and use it to keep track of
permission slips, $$ for
special events, spelling pretest scores, school
forms returned, lists that
have to go to other teachers, groups (highlight
by color), animals for
reports, etc.

I too use numbers--craft sticks in a can. It's a
great way to choose
children randomly. And it's amazing how
quickly they learn every one's
numbers and by the end of the year I still
don't know them all!!

I love all these suggestions and want to thank
the person who (back in the
spring) gave the idea about using clipboards.
Mine are at school waiting
for me!!

Re: What is your best organizational Tip? Posted by Elaine/7/In, on 7/09/99

I think I got this one from this board, but it's worth repeating:
I place small sticky notes with student names on them on
my seating chart grid. Then, it goes into a page protector
(like is used for reports). This is wonderful because it's so easy
to change seats.
Also, you can write on the protector with a dry erase marker, if you wish.

My other hint is very obvious, but I know many teachers who
could benefit from using it. I meet 7 different classes each
day. Each class hour has a different colored 2-pocket folder
which I keep by my "podium." I put EVERYTHING for each
class into the folder (papers to return, reminders of overdue library books,
make-up work for absentees, an idea that might
clarify a problem that that class had yesterday, etc.).
Things that I want to save for that class go into the pockets.
I begin EVERY class by opening that folder.

Re: Organizational Tip Posted by Deb Ps/IA on 7/09/99

The handiest tip I got from the mailring was about video cassette storage boxes.
I bought 30 of them at SAM's really
cheap and now store all my small and medium sized flannel board peices in them.
They store flat and orderly and are easily
marked with computer print out labels.
When I take out the sts they can hang in ziplock baggies from hangers that have a
hook on the top and a clothespin clip on the bottom.
These then hang from a tension rod beside the flannel board.

Sam's also has these flat white squares that you put together
into cubes and you can make lightweight storage shelves. In
my classroom one side holds manipulatives in ziplocks and
sorting trays and plastic shelf units that hold bigger maipulatives.
the other side has hooks for aprons and the dust pan and
a mirror for the dramatic play corner. You can make this unit as
tall or wide to fit the needs of your classroom!
It is very easy to see through and around for classroom management.

Re: Tips Posted by Patty, on 7/09/99

Amelia, Thanks for the great question. I have really enjoyed reading all the responses. I have gotten some new ideas and
found that I am using many posted here. I have something new I'm going to try this fall. I think I found it on teacher's
net. It has to do with Rain Gutters and library books. Check it out...

Re: Tips To Patty!
Posted by Donna B4TX on 7/10/99
Patty...I just checked out this site you gave! Really neat ideas on space saving! Thanks! Donna B4TX

Re: Tips........
Posted by Mona who bought notebooks today at Office Depot for $.99. on 7/09/99
This thread is awesome!
My one idea that has not been presented yet (I think) is a class notebook.
I can use the same notebook year after year by
changing the student name in the tab. I have a 2 inch binder.
I bought a package of 30 individual pocket folders made for
notebooks (they have a pocket on both sides).
I attached a tab (you know the colored ones) to each folder. Each student has
a pocket folder in this notebook.
This is where I keep all correspondence, medicine approvals, field trip permissions,
excused absences, copies of notes to parents.
This keeps all the paper work from accumulating on my desk or in the
drawers. I also put one extra pocket folder for all my receipts for things
I buy through the year for income tax purposes! I
also keep the lastest copy of the student's report card in the pocket.

Another timesaver: When I get my classlist I go straight to the copy machine
and zoom until I have a 1 1/2 inch
copy of each name. I can fit around 8 names on a page.
I run these off on different colored tagboard and laminate. I can
then use them for games, center assignments, graphs, name plates,
raffle drawings, calling on students, computer
assignments, grouping, ect. When I need them they're already made and
I can chose different colors or all the same color. I
also use these same names on templates for projects
on bulletin boards, graphing or writing samples.

Take home folders: I follow a "star" theme all through the year.
I buy folders over the summer and make a template
for the students to color. I glue the template to the folder.
On the first day when I'm distributing books the students are to
decorate and personalize their folder. I laminate these and
they take home their papers every Wednesday in these folders.
Parents know exactly what to look for each Wednesday!
They last all year and the students are excited to take them home
the last day. I bought the folders today at Walmart for 10 cents each.

Re: What is your best organizational Tip? Posted by Robin/TN on 7/10/99

Amelia, Thanks for the question. I hope T-Net will compile
this information somewhere before it goes off the chatboard.
I also number my second graders. When they line up, they form
a girl and boy line by their numbers. Each week the child
in the front,"line leader", of the line becomes the "line backer"
so that each child gets to be line leader. It takes a few times
for them to figure out where to go but after they understand
who they are behind and ahead of, they can line up quickly
without any pushing. Robin

On 7/09/99, Pat wrote:
> I really like the idea about using binders.
Is there a place where you can buy them for around $1.00 ( the 2" ones)

Pat.....I always look in Goodwills and other thrift shops.
Usually I find good 2" binders from 20 to 40 cents each. In
addition to using these myself, I like to have several extra binders
to give to my students who can't afford or just don't have
the binders they need. Donna B4TX

Re: Organizational Tips
Posted by Sandy/2/OH, on 7/10/99

On 7/09/99, Tulip wrote:
I have also decided that I hate file cabinets -
I am in the process of converting all my files into binders.

I love this thread. I also "do" many of the organizational things
that have been listed as well. In response to Tulip's hatred
of filing cabinets . . . I wholeheartedly agree! So . . .
I do the following. I use 3-ring binders to hold all of my stuff instead
of putting it in a file folder. Inside my binder, I place plastic sleeves.
I put my papers inside these sleeves. You can also
photocopy through these sleeves. When I plan on working on a
particular theme or whatever, I take my binder home. I
don't lose papers this way and they are so much more durable t
han file folders. Last summer I arranged all my language
arts' units in 3-ring binders. I brought them home this summer
and when I find a great idea on the web, I print it out and
place it in a sleeve in the correct binder.
It helps me keep organized!

I too thank you for sharing your wonderful ideas.
Posting these in one place would be great. Sandy

Re: Organizational Tips Posted by Samantha/TN, , on 7/10/99

This type of sharing is what it's all about! I love it!
My tip deals with organization of bulletin board materials. I get plastic
dry cleaner bags, ( I have used trash bags),
and I put all of my materials for my bulletin board inside. I label it with stickers
on the outside, along with a picture taped with clear tape.
I then fold the open end around a cheap clothes hanger, and
secure it with clothes pins. Very inexpensive, and easy!
I have an extension rod used for curtians( shower rod would do) in
my closet,and I hang all of my bags in order of seasons!

I wish we could do this for favorite bulletin boards,
grading techniques, first day act., fav grammar teacing tech., etc.

Thank you Kim for putting these all together.
I can't wait to copy them all! Samantha/TN

Re: What is your best organizational Tip? Posted by Anne/gr6/MD, on 7/10/99

Here's another thing I do in my classroom. I bought a magnetic
file from Staples. It is clear with a big piece of magnetic
tape on the back.) When someone is absent after I pass out a worksheet
I write the absentee's name on a blank sheet and put
it in this pocket. I also store papers I have passed back there too.
When the children return they look in the file for their
work. If I have notes I just photocopy from someone who does a good job
-- put the absentee name on it and stick it in the

Here's another one: I also keep a chart on my blackboard
with three columns. In the first column is the name of all
my classes abbreviated. This column is very small.
I use things like sp1 for spelling first period, J for journal topic, LA4
for language arts period 4, etc. I write these topics vertically
and they only take up about 1/2 inch. The other two columns
are about three/four inches wide. The heading to the second column is TODAY
and the heading for the third column is
YESTERDAY. I write the classwork and the homework
in the boxes for each class. At the end of the day I erase from
TODAY and copy it under YESTERDAY. (I also revise it if I changed my mind
and this happens a lot! Some say every
day!) I put the new work under TODAY. Kids always know what
assignments to expect to get completed. It also helps me
remember the next day what homework I assigned to each different group
when I go to collect it. Make the chart(including
the subjects and TODAY and YESTERDAY) when the board is really
wet and press down on your chalk, then let it dry,
and write the work with dry chalk on a dry board, you do not have
to draw the chart very often. I have also heard of
soaking chalk in sugar water and writing with it wet, allowing it to
dry and then using it for semi-permanent writing but I
have never tried that. I think the chart needs to be cleaned up every
few weeks anyway just for appearance sake. I use the
wet chalk idea when I want to use a graph with several classes
or a graphic organizer. Draw it up wet before you go home
and use it all the next day. Anne in Grade 6 in Maryland

Re: New Teacher Stress!! Posted by H.M :-) on 7/10/99

I have just been given a 2/3 position and have loved reading these tips!
Does anyone have any ideas on keeping students'
homework organized? I was thinking some kind of homework notebook
but would love any different ideas. Any other
organizational tips for a first year teacher would be greatly appreciated.
If I can get organized, I will feel a lot more
about starting the year. Thanks to anyone who can help!! H.M :

Re: keeping up with


My students have a Behavior Folder that
goes home every day. It is
a manila folder that has a Behavior Sheet
(from Cooperative
Discipline program) stapled on one side
and an assignment calendar
I made on my computer using the
spreadsheet program stapeld on the
other side. It has a place for the parents
to inital every day
that they have seen the assignments.
Each week I stapel a new
Behavior Sheet and assignment calendar
on top of the old ones.
This really helps me (and the parents
who care) keep up with the
homework. If the student's assignment
calendar isn't initialed, I
mark the Behavior Sheet for "missing
I explain at the beginning of the year that
the child is
responsible for making sure that the
assignment sheet gets
initialed (after all, he/she is getting the
conduct grade!!) and
the parents sign a form idicating that they
understand that
initials are required daily. The students
get a new folder every
6-weeks and I keep the old one as a
record of conduct grade.
(Conduct grades are based on the
number of days a student has his
Behavior Sheet marke for inappropriate
behavior. 0-3 = E; 4-6 = S;
7-9 = N; 10 or more =U).
Our whole 3rd grade team uses this

Re: keeping up with
homework & other tips

Posted by Linda/2/NJ on

Our PTO bought every student in grades
2-5 student planners. They
are spiral bound & have spaces every
day for recording homework
assignments. First thing in the morning,
the kids copy their HW
down. While I'm going around to sign
their planners, I can easily
make a note in the previous day's box if
last night's HW is missing.
Parents are also supposed to sign the
planners nightly, so they will
see right away if their child did not hand
in his or her HW, (if the
parents actually look, of course).

One way to help keep my classroom
library organized is to give each
child a sentence strip with his/her name
on it. When he/she goes to
select a book, the sentence strip takes the
place of the book they
take. That way, they can easily replace
the book to its proper

I am a big fan of the rubbermaid
shoeboxes. I keep everything in
them and label the end so I know what's
inside. They are easily
stackable, so you can fit them in many

My calendar cut-outs also go in one of
those boxes, but each shape is
in a ziploc bag. As I take down the old
month's cut-outs, I hang the
new ones.

I label cabinets so substitues can find any
supplies they might need
as quickly as possible.

My last tip is that I fill out birthday and
star student certificates
in the summer so I am not scrambling to
fill them out on a busy
morning at the last minute.

Re: classroom
Posted by Luann/5th/OK on

My school uses portfolio assessmentin
the very simplest of terms. I
purchased two sets of hanging file
folders for my classroom. One of the
files is used for the student's work. Each
week the students pick a
representative paper from each subject
area to put in their file. At
the end of the 9 weeks we have 9 papers
from each area to show to
parents at conference time. Sometimes
we sort them out to just 3 or 4
papers that are a good cross-section of
the student's abilities.
The other hanging folder is kept on my
desk. This file is used to
keep any and all correspondence from
parents and copies of notes to
parents from me. I learned a long time
ago that documentaion of every
phone call and conversation with parent
might be important at a later
date. I keep this file all year and only
destroy it when school is out.
As soon as I get my class list after
enrollment in the fall, I make
a whole page of labels with each
student's name. They use these for all
folders and notebooks and any other
materials that need their name. I
also make name tags for their desks on
my computer. i use a LARGE font
and attach it to their desks with that
strong, wide, transparent
tape.(My students call it "killer tape") At
the end of the 9 weeks
I give a candybar or some other treat to
those who have not picked at or
drawn on the tape. I've had kids that
NEVER touch it!

Re: Missed
assignments &
homework notebooks
on 7/11/99

Missed Assignments for High School:
Someone before has mentioned the idea
of having "Yesterday"'s and
"Today"'s assignments on the board.
This past year, I took this idea a
step further. We have dry erase boards in
our classrooms. (You can
purchase DRY and WET markers. The
Wet markers when dried are permanent
until you use a wet cloth to erase.) I
taught 3 classes a day - we were
on the 96-min. block schedule, so I had
4 columns. Then I divided the 4
columns into 6 rows. In the columns
starting in the 2nd block, write the
days of the week. Then, in the top row
starting in the 2nd block, write
the class names. Each morning, I would
write the days assignments. The
students always knew what was in store
for them that day. If there were
days that I didn't want the assignment
known before I began, I would
write "Surprise Assignment". At the end
of the week, I would ask one of
the students to copy the assignment
board, in case a student happened to
miss all week or the end of the week.
The copies went into a binder
which the students had access to. It
really saved me time.

Homework Notebooks:
Although I teach high school, one of my
friends taught 1st grade. She
had a great way of doing her homework
notebooks. At the beginning of the
year, she bought the 2-pocket folders for
each student - not the paper
one but the "high-quality" ones with a
cute picture. On the outside, she
would staple a week's chart (like the one
I described above). On this
chart, she would have written the week's
homework assignments and the
xeroxed copy would be the one stapled
to the front. Inside, one of the
pockets would be for papers to be
completed. The other would be for
papers that the parents needed to view
and keep. It was very simple and
the 1st graders knew exactly what
needed to be done. Also, it helped
parents out by knowing what was
coming up - for example, if the parents
knew that Thursday night they wouldn't
have a lot of time for homework,
the students could double up on
Wednesday or work a little extra each
night previous. The teacher then took up
the homework folders on Friday
and if everything was completed, had
parents signature, etc., the
students received a sticker. Once a
certain number of stickers was
received, the students got a prize.

Re: field trip
permission slips and
party money
Posted by deb on 7/11/99

Right after school starts I type a list of
the kids names in abc order. I leave
10 blanks at the bottom for move ins.
There are 20-25 boxes after each kid's

Then I staple this sheet to the manilla
envelopes that are usually used for
interschool mail --- bigger then a piece of

Then when I write the field trip at the top
in the first column. As the kids
bring back the permission note, I put a
circle around the edge of their box. If
they bring the permission note and
money, I put a circle and the amount. If
money I write the amount, no circle.

There are a lot of teachers in my building
who only except permission slips WITH
the money. I don't do it that way, but it
is an idea......

The permission notes go right into this
big envelope. I also staple them on top
of each other so the packet is


Re: What is your best
organizational Tip?
Point Cards
Posted by Susan/5/OK on

I love all of these ideas! One that has
worked for us for
many years is what we call point cards.
These are 3x5
notecards that are kept on a ring and stay
with the teachers
at all times. They are used as
documentation for not turning
in work , behavior problems, etc. and
also for positive
points when a student is caught being
good or showing
kindness to others, etc. There is a card
for each student
with their name on the top line. They
start out with a fresh
card every Friday morning and are used
until the next
Thursday morning. They have 20 points
to start with each
week and if they get down to 17 points,
they lose recess for
one day. On Friday, if they have 20
points or more, they
receive a special treat of some kind, such
as free time with
games, puzzles, computers, pop in class,
etc. Every Monday,
we make a copy of each point card and
send it home to be
signed so the parents can see how their
children are doing in
school. Of course there are always kids
who "lose" theirs or
fail to show them to their parents so if
we don't get them
back the next day, we call the parents.
This only applies to
ones with low points. We are
departmentalized so the point
cards travel to each of the three classes,
and also to P.E.,
Music, and Library. This way the
parents can see how their
child behaves in each class. These cards
have saved us many
times in conferences with parents. We
save each card and
file them in the students' folders so we'll
have the
documentation right at hand when
needed. I'm sure I have
probably left something out so let me
know if you have any


Re: Parent Contact
Posted by Michael/6/GA on

At my school much emphasis is placed
on communication with
parents. To ensure a paper trail that could
be used to document
contacts as well as serve as proof of
notification of problems,
my partner and I came up with our own
"Contact Sheet."

For each student we have a sheet in the
notebook with the
student's name, address, home phone,
each parent/guardian's name
and phone number, and emergency
numbers in case we could not
reach a parent. Below the information we
print lines across the
paper, as well as on the reverse side. At
the top of the lines
are column headings for Type of Contact
(T for telephone, W for
written,and P for in person), Date of
Contact, Person Contacted,
and COMMENTS. We always carry the
notebook to the phone with us
and record the essence of the
conversation. Written
communication and personal contacts are
also recorded.

During a parent conference, the book is a
magnificent support
tool for the teacher. Once the parents see
that all contact has
been documented, they are uneasy with
making allegations that
they might not have been informed of a
situation requiring their
attention. The book is also a great
resource when it comes time
to document a request for consideration
of administrative action
on an individual student. We all tend to
forget many little
things that we do, and this just makes
our job that much easier
when the crunch hits providing us with
memory-joggers of
relevant contacts.

Re: Parent Contact
Posted by Amelia,


Great ideas everyone!!

My shopping list is ready to go--baby
wipes, uno cards craft
sticks more labels and much more! I
haven't priced the rain
gutters, but I had seen the article
before..and it seems so
reasonable -- wise and clever

And I've been busy making chart forms
for next year like the
classroom running assignment sheet. I
love the parent contact
sheet Michael, finally one that makes
sense. I created one right
after reading your post! I always had
roster check of lists for
almost everything now I can improve

I spotted this classroom management tip
recently. I don't have the
contributer's name though..It included
using strips of papers with
a teacher's phrases on it..mine say
"Uribe's Freebies". When
students are "caught" doing something
good, they are quietly given
a slip. You can usually fit 20 on one
page to cut out. Students
write their name on the back of the slip,
and names are drawn for
small prizes at the end of week or
grading period -- candy bars,
school supplies etc. anything on sale or
free -- sounds like a
small price to pay!

I am also compiling these organizational
tips for my website. If
anyone has any objection please let me

Re: Really cheap
raingutters -- FREE
Posted by Kim/KS/8th on

I just realized where we can get free rain
gutters. Here's how I
got the idea. My area just had a major
hail storm, and many roofs
(including rain gutters) were damaged. I
know many people will be
tearing these off and (gasp) throwing
them away. If you know
anyone replacing their gutters, I'll bet
they'll let you have the
old ones for FREE. Of course you'll
want the plastic kind, so
you'll have to do some looking. Of
course they'll probably be
damaged, so you'll want to check to see
how bad it is first. It
might not work, but it sounded good at
the time.

Re: Really cheap
raingutters -- FREE
Posted by Patty,
on 7/12/99


Great idea!!! I hadn't thought of that. I
checked at Ace Hardware
today on prices. A 10ft section of white
plastic gutter is $3.29 +
tax. The brackets are $1.99 + tax. No
end caps are needed. My
maintenance man said I should probably
use 3 brackets for each 5ft
section I'm going to put up. But FREE
would definately be better!!!