Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Organize Your Classroom Materials

photo of: Classroom organization, teacher organization ideas, shelves in preschool
How do you keep your classroom organized?
How are you managing your Pinterest browsing these days? 
Do you get all *motivated* or do you feel yourself getting over-whelmed? 
Seeing ALL of the 'possibilities' has the potential to bring out a sense of inferiority. 

My suggestion? Prioritize. Do your pin-browsing and then......
Get enthused about one idea, get those pieces together and take ACTION!
Raise your hand if you have a pin board for 'organization.' 

photo of: Organize fine motor materials, fine motor manipulative materials, preschool shelves organized
Preschool Shelving and Organization of Manipulative Materials: buckets on shelves, dividing each type of material.

One of my favorite aspects of making school visits, wearing my author/illustrator hat, is the opportunity to 'see-how-other-people-manage.' I LUV walking into classrooms to see how things work, to see how this professional has organized their space. It's a little bit like eaves-dropping. I seldom know the teacher well --- 
if at all.  I'm a visitor. Popping in. Clicking a few pictures. Filing away a few ideas to revisit later. Vowing to learn from the best ideas I see on my travels. 

Welcome to my classroom-observations.............

photo of: Organize teacher supplies, kindergarten organization, teacher materials organization
Kindergarten classroom organization of fine motor manipulative materials.... a bin for each type of material. 

These are two different kindergarten takes on making all of the variety of materials available to eager students. I can see the system within the bins below. There are containers of like-materials within the larger bin itself.... sub-dividing the space. What do you think? 

photo of: kindergarten shelf organization, getting organized, organized classroom materials

Kindergarten Organization of Building Materials within Bins onto Shelves

I will tell you that in even my few moments on-site, I can reach a quick conclusion as to how well the children function as a group -- in their physical setting. There are some places that appear pretty 'random' and others like these above that have a system in place for the many materials that are the delight of young children. 

Photo + Outline for Organizing Dramatic Play

Did you see my previous article that took the children's dramatic play shelves to an art-form of organization? Here's one little glimpse. If you want to see the other examples just click back here to see additional photos of this approach to organization. 

These next couple of photos are from my local VPK and these are some of their materials in the midst of their 7000 books. To see how they organize those 7000 books, you've got to go back in time, by clicking to this article.

Sensory materials shelved within 'library' of books!

photo of: Art supplies organized at school, library organization of books
Craft materials shelved within 'library' of books!

Take a look at this librarian's collection of goodies!!! 
Her collection of high-tops alone wins a prize!
I LUV the way she has the books and the 'props/puppets' together on the shelf. Her array of tennis shoes is just a tad hilarious!

Here's a peak at a system of organizing all of those art tools: brushes and markers and rolling brayers, Oh MY!!! -- from my field trip day in Reggio Emilia, Italy last year. [Wanna see all of my Reggio 'articles' from my visit there, this time last year? Click here for Reggio.]

photo of: Organized Art materials in Reggio, Reggio Art supplies, Organized classroom,
Reggio Emilia Italy, Arts Materials within Bins Hanging from the Wall

This week my author-visit took me into Garden Elementary in Venice Florida. It was coordinated by Joanna Davis of "Our Art Lately" and so I had a couple of minutes to buzz through her Art Room. Take a peeeeeek!

Shelf of Organized Art Supplies in Variety of Containers for Easy Access

Now that I've made a transition to Art materials...... I LUV this photo, let alone the way the paint is organized. 

You know I LUV seeing Arts materials all in a row, organized, accessible and ready to use! The brand new paints housed in a box in a bin just makes me smile! I also LUV this 'up-cycled' veggie tray, repurposed for use with craft supplies.

photo of: Organized classroom, organize craft materials, preschool craft materials,
"Up-cycle" your Veggie Tray from the Deli for use to Organize Crafting supplies

There's even a system for organizing your 'Boomwackers.' While at Garden Elementary, I was stationed in the music-room. How much do you adore Boomwackers? Ya knew I LUV their colors alone, right?

If you're looking to 'organize' your day, in addition to your stuff -- I've posted previously about using a visual planner -- very helpful for children. 

Daily Schedule: portrayed through photographs of activities

Now. Let's get closer to home. My home. Look at my ol' personal play-space!
My Quilting/Art Studio:
My quilting studio: IKEA shelves + tables, "Container Store" drawer towers

I think that much of the success of the system has to do with the 'back-bones' of the shelving and containers themselves. I'm such a fan of IKEA, the "Container Store" and Target. It is possible to set up an affordable system. Give a lot of thought to the 'buckets' that will house the loose pieces. That's my quilting studio with all my favorite spaces, subdivided with buckets and baskets!

The wealth of 'educational-teacher-blogs' and 'mommy-blogs' has opened our classrooms and living rooms to one another. We can learn much from our peers and contemporaries. We just need to keep in mind that everyone brings their own strengths to the Pinterest show. 

Based on the fact that this article became my #1 viewed post of all time, I then intentionally 'set out' to take pictures to share of organized classrooms vignettes.

That efforts took MONTHS and if you LUV'd this one you're gonna go crazy for this next installment - its at least five times as packed! Here's a peeeek, [click here.]

From there I went on to create another in this continuing series. Click here to see the photos from Part Three, there's still more ideas to share! 

photo of: Classroom Organization Vignettes (RoundUP via RainbowsWIthinReach)
Part 3 on Organization in the Classroom

Our new-ish collaborative blog, "PreK+K Sharing," has had a couple of articles that are very specific to organizing. Deanna Jump had an insightful and FUNNY article including her New Year's resolutions. Click right here to see her insight and read her helpful + humorous suggestions. 

Deanna Jump's classroom approach to getting organized. 

Also at "PreK+K Sharing," Pam Bergman took the time to share her specific system of organizing all of her many flannel board stories and their many pieces and parts. To see how she uses that system in her classroom that serves children with special needs, just click right here to jump right into her article. 

-- Debbie -- 
Another note from the future!

I am now an Amazon Affiliate and when you click through from here to do your shopping, you are supporting my 'retirement' account. THANKS! 

Pre-K, Kindergarten, First, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth -
I have now opened a TpT store for my original children's songs. 
They include zipped files with Mp3s and support materials. 
Come by and pick up your FREEBIE and get acquainted. 

 Please insert this slide above into your blog article (new or old) and add my back link within your article. 
          Let's get it together!!

I'm not the only one with a summer organization blog hop. 
Look at Confessions of a Teaching Junkie for additional ideas.   
Kindergarten RoundUP                                     


  1. Thank you for sharing the pics. There can never be too many ideas and reminders for organization.

    1. You are quite welcome. It just takes me a while to get my system together. Glad that the pictures could offer you reminders, too.


  2. Replies
    1. I'm a lucky-duckie!!!! Now. I just wish I had enough time to play in my ideal playroom!!!! Having it organized goes a long way to making it playful!


  3. Thank you for an excellent post and gathering of resources. I have materials at work and at home; and I am constantly trying to keep things organized and together to save time. Thanks! Kristi

    1. Kristi!!! Thanks for the pin. I've been getting 'traffic' from it all day as a result. Organizing is the ever-present challenge. The more creative you are and the more 'stuff' you have..... the greater the puzzle.

      Thanks so much for stopping by with support!


  4. In regards to the rules, they knew to raise their hands to be recognized by the teacher.

    classroom observation resource


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