Saturday, October 17, 2015

Classroom Organization: Curriculum Binder Organization


If you have been a reader for any amount of time, you know that I love my binders!! When Indiana decided to adopt the CCSS, I started organizing my math binders to match those standards. There were so many CCSS resources out there, that I had no problem finding organization tools. I even did a post about several resources that could be used.

Before I could get my 6th grade binders done, the state decided not to adopt CCSS and to do our own standards. I would say that 95% of the new Indiana standards are identical to the CCSS, so I was able to use some of the same materials.

Of course, I needed to make all new covers for my binders.


Then I made cover sheets that listed all the standards for each strand.


Then I made tabs for each of the standards.


Behind each of the tabs are the following:

Our district has a wonderful math team and they put a great document together that broke down the standard plus gave 10-15 sample problems.


I would use these problems to create my tests.


I would then usually create a packet that we would work through. 

Sometimes I would use pages from teacher books.


Other times I would make my own packets if I couldn't find exactly what I was looking for. 


Lastly, I would include any pages that could be used for homework.


Each of the sections have way more material than I can ever use, but that means I don't have to hunt for more materials for intervention time.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Classroom Organization: Taming that Paper Pile


For years, I would end up with a pile of ungraded papers that was a mile high.  This year I finally found what works for me!

This paper tray was used for many different things over the years and this year I decided to re-purpose it!

I don't collect math homework because it is for practice. I want the students to be able to ask questions about the problems they had difficulty with the night before which can't happen if I collect their homework. They do get credit for the homework, but it is based purely on completion.

I do collect science and social studies homework and of course I have tests and quizzes to grade.


The trays sit on the corner of my desk. I made mini signs, printed them on cardstock, laminated them and then attached them with double sided tape (use this all the time in my classroom!).

I use the top tray for tests and quizzes because I allow the students to make corrections to those and it is really easy for them to just drop the corrected papers on top.

I think being able to see exactly how many papers I have to grade for each subject area keeps me from putting off the grading (I don't know about you, but that is top on my list of things I don't like to do!!) and getting a pile a mile high.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Classroom Organization: Daily Work


As most of you know, I teach two different grades. I need a way to keep all my papers organized and I think I finally found the way!

I found this Rubbermaid organizer on clearance at Staples, but it was the only one they had. An associate looked in the system and none of the other local stores had any. So I hunted on eBay and found another one (LOVE that place!!).


I wanted to decorate the front, so I created a sign to fit across the front.  The front is about 13.5 inches, so I had to print two pieces of paper and glue them together. I didn't want a create in the top layer, so I have to make it 10.5 inches to leave room around the edge where the ink wouldn't print.


I glued the label on to the pattern paper and then cut out the dip on top.



I laminated it and then used double sided tape to adhere it to the organizer.


Inside the colored folders are classwork papers and homework.


I put the student's papers in horizontal (since there are more of them) and the answer key behind the papers going vertical. This helps to separate the papers within the folder.


Behind the colored folder is a manila folder that holds my unit tests.


Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The Real Teachers of Blog County



When you go to blogs you usually see classrooms that look perfect! We'd all like you to believe that our classrooms look that way all the time. Ha ha, I wish! Whenever I take pictures of my classroom, I make sure to straighten everything up so it looks perfect!  I've even gone back into my classroom during a school break to take a better picture of something because I didn't like the way it looked.

This is the way my classroom normally looks...


This is my teacher area. I try to keep myself organized with all my binders,  but I never find time to re-file my papers. This picture was taken the first day of fall break when I took 2 days to straighten it all back up again.  I don't think it has been this bad again...it only took me a couple of hours to straighten up during winter break.

There is hope for me yet, with 1.5 weeks into this quarter everything still looks pretty good!!


If you want to see more "hidden secrets" go to Second Grade is Out of this World and check out what everyone has posted!


Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Interior Angles of Triangles and Quadrilaterals



We started our lesson by taking down notes in our interactive foldable graphic organizer. I project the notes on the overhead screen for them to copy. I then put a printed copy of the poster on my bulletin board.



Next I gave them this sheet of triangles and quadrilaterals and they colored in each of the corners.


The next step was to prove that the interior angles of a triangle were 180 degrees and 360 degrees for a quadrilateral.  The students tear of the corners of the shapes and put them together to form 180 or 360 degree combined angles, thus proving the angle sum theorem.


You can find this product in my TpT store here:


Monday, November 24, 2014

How To Make Task Cards


I started buying task cards long before I starting making them.  I found that I started to have preferences for the cards that I purchased and that dictated what cards I would purchase.
  • I like cards in which I didn't have to make more than two cuts. I don't want to have to cut around the outside to get rid of the white border that is created because a printer won't print edge to edge. 
  • I hate cards in which the color is cut off because a seller put their frame or background paper too close to the edge of the page.
  • I love having a cover page for the set of task cards. I usually just have to make one myself for the cards that I purchase.
  • I love a mini answer key. Again, I have to create one myself because I have yet to find other sellers that do this.
  • I hate when the cards are not aligned or are not all the same size, grrrrr!!
The following are things to consider when you make your task cards. These are all things that I do. Choose how you want your cards to look and pick and choose what works for you.

Number 1

Sometimes the frames looked weird because the seller tried to make the frame into dimensions that did not match the original format. That really bugs me. Having a background in digital scrapbooking and knowledge of such things, it makes me cringe every time I see it. This led me to create TASK CARD TEMPLATES to make things easier for those that wanted to create task cards.

If you haven't tried my templates, here is a freebie that you can try.


Number 2

I really don't like task cards that I purchase and print to have parts of it cut off in the printing process. Yes, I realize this makes me a bit anal but we like what we like. What this means is when I make my task cards, I make sure to keep a border around the edge so that this cut off doesn't happen.  

I've made TASK CARD TEMPLATES that have a perfect 1/4 inch white edge around each card and prevents this cut off from happening.  Here is a link to all of my sets:  TASK CARD TEMPLATES.


You'll notice that the cards I create don't have any of the colored part cut off because of the gap I leave in the border.


Number 3

One of the things I get thanked for doing the most with my task cards is creating a mini cover and answer key. I often have my students self check, so creating the mini key was an obvious solution to me because it could be stored with the rest of the cards and I didn't have to hunt it done when I wanted to use it.

I create 95% of my products in Microsoft Powerpoint because of its ease of use.  One of those features is saving the slides as jpgs.  I save the slides and insert the cover page onto a new page to make my mini cover. If the answer key can be resized with ease, like the one below, I just resize the font and table and insert it into the same slide as the mini cover. If the answer key has something that doesn't easily re-size, I use the jpg like I do for the cover.


Black line only for viewing purposes.
Number 4

A recent discussion come up among sellers about including color or b&w versions of task cards. I asked this question on my FB page and the overwhelming majority wanted the option of both. I LOVE color task cards and my students to do, so up until now that is the only way I have created them. I've slowly started to add the b&w version of the task cards to the sets that have already created. Any future sets will include both.  As a seller, this will up the cost for you because some artists don't include the color and blackline version of the clip art together in a set. Some of the clip art that I use doesn't even have blacklines offered. I now make my choices of clip art based on whether or not the blacklines are included.


So how do you start creating task cards?  Here is a video I put together on how to use my templates. This is the easiest way to get started. You don't have to worry about lining everything up, because I've done it for you.

I also created a video on how to use my Transparent Task Card Templates which can be found HERE. These are really nice because you can make frames any color that you want.



If you have any additional questions about how to make task card, feel free to post your questions in the comments and I will be happy to answer them.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Task Card Organization (the last one, I hope!)


I've posted a couple of different ways that I have stored my task cards. You can find those posts  HERE and HERE. I hope this is the last time that I change things around.  I've had it like like this since the end of last school year and it seems to be working. Fingers crossed....

I'm still using my drawers I got at Michaels, but I've taken the cards out of the coupon holders. I just got too many cards and the holders were taking up too much space.


The inside of the drawers look like this.  I can fit two stacks of cards on one side and then several sets standing up on the other. I use binder clips to hold each set of cards together.


On top, I've got two baskets that I keep the current cards we are using for each grade level. The students know that if they get done with an assignment early, they can go get a set of cards.


I love the tags I put on the front of each one! I created this sheet with circles that I knew would fit inside my scalloped punch.


I trimmed down the top and bottom to get the punch to fit over the circle. I punched a hole in the top of each tag and then attached it with a metal hinged o-ring.


You can check out my new TASK CARD page and see what other ideas I have!