Saturday, August 4, 2012

(More) Guided Reading Organization

A few people have e-mailed me about the binders that I use for my guided reading groups...I've always found it easiest to label my reading groups by color. The old versions of my binders that I have on my website look something like this...Eeekkk!

Last year I purchased binders from Staples (and because they are packed somewhere in the stacks of boxes in my room, I can't take a pic for you at this time)...
I created a blank cover sheet for each colored reading group in which I printed on white card stock and laminated. In the square that's on the bottom right-hand corner I place a Post-It with the names of the students in that group. When the groups change, I can take the Post-It off and easily replace it with the new names! You can print off this template by clicking on the link below.
Guided Reading Binder Covers 
So, inside the binders I keep record of what I do with each group. I rarely ever make lesson plans the day before...unless I am gathering materials that I know I will need. I am able to look at the notes I took the day before and begin from there. I created a generic template that I still find helpful today...

You can take a peek and download it or if you look at my Guided Reading Page on ReadingResource you may find some others you'd prefer to use. I know there's a lot of different lesson plans out there, if you have any others, I'd love to hear about them!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Organization Linky Party

Typically I'm uninterested in link parties, but when I saw it was an "organizational" party from my dear pal Amanda, I couldn't resist!
You should probably head over and check out Amanda if you haven't already!
I went into school today and was bummed to see that my new room STILL hasn't been cleaned. Translation: I'm going to have to throw some old classroom pics your way! You may recognize them from my pages over at ReadingResource and older posts on this blog...I promise I'll get new pictures up this year when my room is ready. But for now, here are my favorite things to organize.

My colleagues like to joke about my undying love for my guided reading table (and all the shelves that surround it) saying it's my first born child. Well, it's true!

This was my table a couple years ago...

I believe that a well-organized small-group area that has all materials where they're needed allows for effective instruction. I keep my leveled books in the purple, blue, and green bins on the black shelf. The pic below shows a closer look at them. A few years back, I revamped the labels...You can print them off my clicking on the links below. (Use with Avery 8163 labels).

Guided Reading Labels #1 and Guided Reading Labels #2
This was my table last year...Well, a closer look at the shelves behind it I should say. I was fortunate to have two large shelves behind where I sit. 

Last year I had five different color-coded reading groups. Each group was designated a specific color (green, teal, yellow, pink, and purple). On the left side of the shelf, you can see the colored bins, as well as color-coded binders. In the bins I kept all of the materials for that specific group and in the binders I wrote down my lessons for each group. 

I printed the following template on card stock, laminated them, clipped them on the front of the basket, and wrote each group members' name with a dry-erase marker. That way when I change groups (which I do very often) I can easily rewrite the new names without having to make new tags!

In another location of the classroom where the children can easily access the bins, the same colored bins are used for placing books, games, magnetic letters, etc. taught in the small-group setting that those students can later use during literacy centers.

As you probably know, getting your classroom library set up can be one of the most difficult things to organize in your room!  When I first started this process, I "hired" a couple of my former students who knew my books well. We laid out all of the books by authors, illustrators, and topics. (Because teaching my students how to select appropriate text is very important to me, I didn't want to level my books with a number or a letter). I was able to create a plethora of different bins. I invested in some sturdy bins and ended up purchasing more than I needed because I knew my library would continue to grow. 

Once I established the names for each bin, I created a picture to represent that bin. These were mostly found by Googling and using clip art (unfortunately, Scrappin' Doodles wasn't around at that time). I also invested in luggage tags from Container Store. Although they weren't cheap, they are very durable and can withstand my little kiddos. Each book that is in the bin has a corresponding picture on the outside. 

When you are needing to label student cubbies and mailboxes, I recommend using binder clips! I just printed off the names with my label maker and slapped them on the edge of the shelf. This was SO helpful when kids moved in and out throughout the school year...I could easily alphabetize the names and it didn't ruin my shelves!

I'm not sure who the genius was that thought it was a good idea to purchase teacher's desks WITHOUT any drawers! Solution: I purchase yet some more storage bins and sorted my junk into 12 drawers...that I of course labeled with my label maker! 

A few years ago the librarian was getting rid of her magazine boxes and I snatched them up for my own professional library! I have all my books organized by subject, which make it nice when Steve comes to "borrow" my stuff.

Well, that's it for now. I promise I will get some new mugs up here as soon as I get into my new classroom.