Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Theme Organization-- How do you do It?

What does theme organization look like in your classroom? For me it involves a lot more than center stations and printables for pocket charts. It includes dramatic play props, gross motor activities, fine motor activities, costumes, sensory table materials, you name it- it's probably there!

Because of this it requires a lot more for me than just my file cabinet. Or neatly organized Sterlite drawers. I need containers. BIG containers.

I am so thankful for this above cabinet storage space that I have. I'm popping at the seams of the storage capacity in my classroom as is! Without this space I'd really be in trouble!

When I first began teaching copy paper boxes were handy, available, and free! I loved them. I fit about 2-3 themes in each box, depending on how carried away I got with each theme.

Now that I'm in my 4th year of teaching I have some themes that will only fit in 1 box! And after a mouse a colony of mice chewed a hole in one my boxes and set up camp for the winter resulting in me having to pretty much throw away EVERYTHING in that box, I decided to switch to plastic.

Large plastic storage containers are expensive, but I know I'll be glad I made the investment. Especially considering we had pipes bursts in other classrooms 2 weeks ago. This stuff is NOT getting wet. (at least I hope not...)

Not to mention these containers are a little bit bigger so I can fit more stuff. (imagine me doing my teacher happy dance) It did take me a little while to come across enough of the same containers. I know you're now wondering why.

Well you see, I have this little thing called OCD (self-diagnosed, but aren't most of us??) And I purchased clear containers with green handles from Walmart. And I want all my containers to be clear with green handles. The same handles, the same size, the same shape. NOT BLUE, WALMART. NOT BLUE! 

With time and patience (that I wasn't sure I had) they re-stocked the clear ones (teacher happy dance again) and I purchased more. They're great!

Because they are so great I decided that they needed fancier labels than words written on index cards that I used previously. So I made these fancy ones!

One theme per label that way I can mix the containers around, and put as many labels on there that I have themes in the box. Well, I can only fit 4 labels but there's no way I'm fitting more than 4 themes in a box anyway!

If you organize your theme items in similiar bins you may have a use for these labels, so I listed them in my store. I actually had a lot of fun making them and deciding on the themed clip art to use. I hope you'll enjoy them and use them to brighten up your organization!

Here are the themes currently included in the pack:

Let me know if there are some theme suggestions you have!

{Click below to go to my TpT store}

If you love these labels but don't use bins to store your items in they would make fun labels for the front of your file folders. Is it bad that I'm thinking of doing both!? I have a file (or 2) in my file cabinet that goes with each theme bucket too! 

Do you have other genius ways to maximize the storage in your classroom? I'm going to need some serious pointers for my closet. I can't even close the door anymore... (look of embarrassment)


Anonymous said...

Very cool idea. I just threw my old stuff away because for high school I just do a few decorations. But when I choose to keep stuff, I will get those boxes! :)

Tales of Teaching in Heels

Erin said...

I love your sweet labels and am envious of your storage space! Seriously, I'm drooling over here! My teacher closet is embarrassingly messy!
Short and Sassy Teacher

Anonymous said...

I love them ! They are definitely on my ever growing list of TPT things to buy before school starts. Would you consider adding; transportation, ocean, Halloween, sports and farm?

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