Room for Improvement

     I've been spoiled blessed to have great classrooms for most of my career. In my 18 years of teaching, at my best count I've had 7 different classrooms in three different schools (including one year I spent co-teaching in the media center- Hi Gina!) I've always seemed to have plenty of storage, lots of cabinets and drawers. One school had a glorious walk-in closet and in another school I shared one of 4 classrooms that opened up into a shared office/storage area. Even in the media center, we found ways to store our things pretty efficiently. Then about six years ago I moved into my current room. There are plenty of things I love about my room, like the ceiling mounted projector and speaker system. And I know that there are rooms far worse than mine, but my room does present certain challenges. First of all, it's wet. Sometimes the humidity is so strong, that papers don't really crumble, they just kind of quietly mush into a ball.  The worst part of the humidity is what it does to my hair. From May to October I pretty much have full time brillo-bangs. The best part is that the rooms on the other side of the hall are dry and cold! It kind of comes in handy when I'm teaching habitats. We just have to cross the hall to go from our rainforest environment to visit the arctic region!
     Besides the humidity, there is a serious lack of storage, at least compared to what I've had in the past.  The room does have one tall cabinet, but that's it for closed storage. Everything else is on display at all times. Below is my cabinet and you can get a glimpse of the two open shelves that run along part of one wall:

As I've related before, I'm a bit crazy when it comes to keeping things organized in my classroom. But I must confess, if you could click on that cabinet and open the doors I would fear for your safety. I've been creating a lot more centers of my own lately and I've been at a loss when trying to store them. I was putting all of the pieces in a ziplock bag and then shoving the bag wherever it would fit. I knew there had to be a better way. I think I found it!

I've started to put all of the pieces to each center into a plastic page protector and place them in a giant three ring binder. This way each center is kept together and all of the pieces are ready when I am.

     An added bonus is that other teachers can easily borrow a center by just removing one of the page protectors. I added a check out sheet in the pocket of the binder. I'm pretty notorious for letting other teachers borrow things and then forgetting who has what. Hopefully this will help a bit.
     Now that I finally found a way to organize my things a bit better, you know what will happen right? I'll get moved to another room. Well at least it will be easy to pack!


  1. I LOVE your clean sweep center!!!

    Speaking of crazy should see my lesson plan notebook! It's uber organized. I'll post some pictures of it sometime this week!

    Third Grade Experience

  2. I LOVE this idea!! :) Out of curiosity, do you post any of your centers or have a TpT store? I'm loving what I'm seeing in the blown up pics! :)

  3. I think it's great that you have different biomes in your own building! LOL How cool is that?! (Oh...little side-note, when I'm teaching weather, I always tell my kids that my hair is a GREAT indicator of humidity! hee hee)

    I store my centers in binders, too! I am a huge binder freak, and I put just about everything in binders! :)

    Thanks so much for sharing your wondering ideas!!

  4. Glad you guys stopped by! I guess living in Florida for most of my life I should be used to the humidity, but it still kills me.

    Mrs. B, I do have a tpt store if you want to check it out :)

  5. I ♥love, ♥love, ♥love the idea of having a check out sheet...that way you can still share, but KEEP what you've worked so hard on...that's why all my stuff had "Fern Smith's Center Games" before I got the domain and started selling online and at TPT!!! It was already all over the bottom of stuff! Keep posting, I so look forward to your blog! :)

  6. PS...I can relate to your room, our Florida portables are so poorly made, it's either freezing with the AC on or all the cold air runs out instantly and it's a muggy 100 degrees!! But I love my district...I would be happy teaching in a Sears Toolshed! :)

  7. I had the same problem! I had so many centers from all these fantastic blogs and no idea how to store them. I like your idea of page protectors. I bought those hanging storage bags and a rolling rack and I store my centers that way now. I am also a bit crazy when it comes to keeping my things organized so I understand.

  8. I wanted to add that I LOVE the Clean Sweep center. I saw it in a picture above and just purchased it. I can't wait to use it!

  9. Thank you Amy! I hope you enjoy the center! If you have any questions, please let me know :)

  10. I've been looking for plastic sheet protector pockets like the purple one in the picture. By any chance, do you know if they have a particular name and where you got them? I like that they have the tabs too.


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