What are your favorite organizational tools in the classroom? I have to be honest when I tell you that plastic containers with lids are my number 1. With all the different classroom DIY tutorials out there, you can make virtually anything into a storage container, but I never seem to stray too far away from a basic clear plastic storage tub for organizing just about every school supply out there.
If you are one of those people, here is a fun little idea in video form below for how to organize your supply manipulatives (and keep them that way even in the hands of little ones)!
Here is a closeup of what my example container label looks like as well in case you are curious:
I know many of you are already thinking of ways to improve some organizational things, your classroom management, and different things you want to try for next year.
So here’s just a really super quick tip at organizing your manipulatives. You’ve got all these different manipulatives for math, science, even reading, you’ve got little reading cubes and phonics things, and all those great things, but they’re kind of all over the place and the kids just kind of toss everything back into big buckets whenever they’re finished, and that’s fine, but let’s find a way for them to be in control of organizing it again for you whenever they go to put it away.
I’ve shown you this before, I know, where I just have a shoebox, and it has the label of whatever the item is on the outside. Then you can stack these on bookshelves or any other type of shelf that you like. Here is a different idea, which will help the kids even more, especially the wee ones that you’re dealing with, the very small ones who can’t read to even know what’s supposed to go in that box.
I want you to turn your shoe boxes or your little plastic containers to the side. Now, on the side you’ll a sign which will have the picture and the words for those that can read it. Even for older kids, such as fifth, sixth grade, it’s fine. Put the picture on there just so that they have a visual, “Oh yeah, that’s right, that’s what’s supposed to go in there.” Then they’re all stacked up on the bookshelf where the label background is your theme, your colors from your classroom, or whatever you like, get as original as you like on this side.
To make more, simply print it off, tape it on the plastic container with clear tape, and that’s all that I’ve done with this example.
Now, when you say to the students, “Hey, go grab the tangrams, they can look for the picture or the words, grab the right box out of there, and when they’re finished they know everything that goes right inside of this box because everything is already shown on the picture which is on the outside of the box.
Super handy and very visual for the students and for you. You know right away what’s in that box, so you can just go grab it if needed as well. I hope you have enjoyed today’s fun little organizational tip. You can start to organize some of those things as you’re cleaning up from this year before going into next year so you don’t have to do it all this summer.
What else can you use to organize your school supplies?
- colorful plastic storage bins
- large storage totes for hiding your big items
- plastic containers in various sizes
- plastic storage containers without lids, such as buckets
- clear plastic baggies also get the job done
What if I prefer something that is less harmful to the environment for classroom storage?
Here are 7 other ways to store supplies that might be a better fit for your personal preferences: