Sunday, February 2, 2014

Organization in a Departmentalized Classroom: A Bright Idea

Hello! Welcome to the next stop on the Bright Ideas Blog Hop! I know I have LOVED reading all the wonderfully bright ideas. :) 

I hope you enjoyed your previous stop on our hop, learning about post it note fluency with my sweet friend, Christina of Sugar and Spice.  

Today I'm sharing a "bright" idea or two on how I keep my classroom organized this year.  

For those of you who are visiting my blog for the first time, I am departmentalized this year.  I teach two classes of language arts this year.  Previously, I had always been self contained, so organizing two of everything was hard to get used to at first.  

Being organized with two groups of kiddos really starts with them. 
Each of our kiddos carry an organizational binder to and from school.  Inside this binder is their pencil pouch, folders for each subject, and their home to school folder.  You can see how this binder is essentially set up {here}.  

I also stay on top of them to keep their desks clean.  This cuts down on the whole "the person who sits here in the other class took my pencil, put my book pack in the library, etc," complaining.   Ideally, all that should be in their desk is their binder and two bag of books, their own and one belonging to a student in the opposite class.  

These two kiddos are doing an exceptional job. :) 

Another way my students help keep our materials organized is putting their writing materials
 in their table's writing basket. 

Each basket does have a label on the front of the basket with either my name or my partner teacher's name and a table number. However I flipped them around for privacy's sake. :)  These baskets may look a mess but they WORK!  Each student's writing notebook and any other materials we are using for writing, such as spelling aids or graphic organizers, go in them each and every day. I love this is one less thing for them tote back and forth each day.  

Sorry this picture is so blurry but this pocket chart is another way my kiddos help me stay organized.  They each have a number and when they turn in work, they put it in their pocket. For the most part their numbers are in ABC order, excluding move ins and such, and having them pretty much in ABC order makes putting grades in the computer SO much easier.  At the end of each class, I just take out the papers and paper clip them together and throw them in my teacher bag.  In my bag, I have two file folders for each class, one labeled "grade" and one labeled "return."  This keeps me so organized when it comes to graded work and it starts with my kiddos. 
 Another thing that keeps me organized with my two classes is our daily rotation chart.  

Under this chart, I keep a list of who is in each reading group for both classes.  I make a quick switch in rotations after lunch to meet the needs of both of my classes. 

When we switch up reading groups, I just print off a new poster for each class.

I teach reading in small groups but it all starts with an mini lesson where we create an anchor chart together. 

Exclude my SUPER messy handwriting.  My anchor charts are functional but certainly aren't cute.  I usually have two sets of post it notes or index cards when I record student responses.  One set is for my morning class and one set is for the afternoon class. I snapped this picture before my afternoon class got to create their chart, but I think you get the picture. :)  

As far as materials for each groups go, I keep them on a shelf by my guided reading table.  One of my basket's labels went missing and I just haven't replaced it yet. :)  Basically I have have one approaching grade level group, two on grade level groups, and one above grade level group.  The A, O, and B baskets hold the leveled readers for our reading series.  The group baskets hold materials each group is either working on or will use that day.  I just simply paper clip each class' set when I put them in the basket. 

For materials that all groups will use at some point throughout the week go in these baskets.  I also keep our daily copies close by in these letter trays. 

I separate each class' set of copies with a paper clip or binder clip. I do this because the make up of each of my classes is different, so sometimes their daily whole group activities differ from day to day.

I hope that you enjoyed learning how I organize my class this year.  :)  Additionally, if things look a little "off" on my blog, don't worry, it's in the process of getting a MAJOR facelift! 

If you are looking for more great ideas, please visit the next blog on our blog hop, written by Arlene at LMN Tree! Her post is all about using sentence frames to get your students started writing! Click on her button below to check out her awesome post!

it's LMN Tree

You can also visit the link-up below and choose a topic that interests you! Thanks for hopping around all the "bright ideas" on our blog hop! :)


  1. Love all the ways you stay organized! I really think organizing things by table group is a great way to keep things moving efficiently when you have different kids in and out during the day.

    The Math Maniac

  2. I loved reading this! I can't imagine all the organization it takes when you are departmentalized, but you have it down so well! Thanks for sharing all of your wonderful ideas :)

  3. This is my first year teaching in a grade that is departmentalized and I love it, but am definitely working on my organization! These tips are going to be super helpful! I especially like the pocket chart idea.

    Sara :)
    The Colorful Apple

  4. Love all of your organization ideas and thank you for all the great pictures! Super helpful to see it all laid out in your classroom! Thank you!

    Katie :)
    KTP: Keep Teaching and Planning!

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