Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Starting To Think About Organization and Activities

One of my colleagues is sadly moving to a different school, but she gave me this great wooden organizer/bookshelf from her room. I haven't figured out exactly where I want it to be in my classroom, but I do have several ideas for what I'd like to use it for!

The white containers above hold Leap Frog Tag Readers and books. I need to purchase headphones that will fit inside these cases, but I love the idea of students grabbing a case (they look like little briefcases when the kids hold them!) and quickly finding a spot to begin listening to reading. I have 5 Tag Readers and currently have 3 working headphones for my listening center. Developing accountability and exploring more ideas for listening to reading will be another post!

The organizer with the three drawers is where I am hoping to put several options for work on writing. A friend on twitter (I wish I could remember who!) gave me the idea of having the kids write comics as an option for work on writing. I'd like to keep comic strip templates in one of these drawers. I haven't found a template I love yet, as many are pretty boring. In another drawer I would like to keep mini-books (inspired by the book Library Mouse).

For the rest of this great organizer/bookshelf I am going to purchase small containers that can be placed into each opening. I'd love for the activities to be ones where students can pull the drawer out and go and get to work. For writing I am thinking of adding words to wordless stories (thank you @nsharoff), cutting words/pictures out of magazines for sentences and story inspiration, and story starter cards.

I'd also like to include Word Study options in this bookshelf, but I think that might be another post!

What activities do you have for work on writing?
Do you think colored or clear bins are best for this type of bookshelf?
Any thoughts on what should go on top of this bookcase?


  1. Hi! Guess who?! How do you like your Leap Frog tag readers? I don't have any of those but think they'd provide a great option for Listen to Reading. Are they quiet or do kids use headphones with them? (Can you tell I don't know much about them?)

    For Work on Writing, I used blogging as an option this year. Unfortunately, I only have one classroom computer so only one person can do that per session. I also have done "topic notebooks." I've had a sports notebook where everyone writes in the same spiral notebook about sports. Other topics were OUCH! (about getting hurt,) dinosaurs, movies, books, vacations, family, animals, pets, and Webkinz.

    Love the shelf, by the way!

  2. I LOVE the tag readers. We use them with headphones and therefore they make NO noise. I like that it is more individualized than 4 kids listening to a book on tape. The negative is that the batteries have to be changed constantly. It's not recommended to use rechargeable batteries with them, but I do and that has saved a lot of $$.

    Topic notebooks sound so fun! Thank you for that great idea.
    What website did you use for blogging?

    I am going to have 7 (!!!!!) computers, so I am thinking the computers can be a different option each week.

    Thanks for keeping the discussion alive on here Laura :)

  3. I don't know how many students you have, but have you thought of using the cubbies for literacy boxes?

  4. Hi Elizabeth!

    Thanks for stopping by. Literacy/book boxes should probably be a post as I had a lot of trouble with them this year! I bought the magazine boxes from IKEA and the kids demolished them. I haven't figured out what I'm going to do next year (I had heard the idea of bags??).

    What do you keep in literacy boxes in your room? Where do you store them?

  5. I used Kidblog for blogging last year and loved it! It was very easy for the kids to use, at home or at school. Being new to blogging, it was also easy for me! Have you looked into Really Good Stuff for individual boxes? The plastic boxes I use have worked very, very well for me! They're magazine style, but because they're plastic, they hold up much better. This will be my third year using this set.

  6. I am looking forward to reading your journey. I have taught 3rd grade language arts to 2 classes and I'm moving to 1st.I had 50 students between am and pm and used the REally Good Stuff boxes to help students keep their materials straight. THe boxes usally last about 3 years before needing to be replaced due to cracks and breakage. I have spent the month of June trying to figure out what my day will be like (structure). I am planning on moving back to Daily 5 structure for the firsties for lang arts and want to try math 5.

  7. Thanks for stopping by Joanne! Now that two people have recommended these Really Good Stuff boxes I will have to check them out :)

    How much time do you have with your firsts?

    I think Math 5 sounds great! Let me know if you'd be willing to do a guest post on how you think Math 5 will look and operate in your classroom!


  8. Adding words to wordless books? Brilliant! I would even like that as a writer, since I do not like to draw! And the cubby is an awesome hand me down! Thanks for sharing!

  9. Target has great book boxes in their dollar section during "back to school" time! I've had mine for 5 years and only have had to replace a couple here and there!!! I put new name labels on the front each year and they are good to go! They also run through the dishwasher well if needed!!! Best is they are $1.00!!!! Watch the back to school stuff, they go fast!!!

  10. Thanks for the note about the Target book boxes. I will keep my eyes peeled for them!