Organized Manipulatives in the Classroom

I have a great quick organized classroom tip for you today. I’ve received a lot of questions about packing up at the end of the year, getting organized so that you’re not crazy insane whenever it comes to next year.

While this tip is going to help you organize things a little bit for this year, it’s going to really come into play next year as well.

Here is a fun little end of the year organized classroom tip for you as you are starting to prepare to get things packed up to head out of school this year!

Here’s what I want you to do. As you are organizing all of your different manipulatives in your closet, I like to put mine in basic shoe boxes.  

I put basic Avery labels on the front of them, that I just have typed whatever it is on the front of the box. Now, here is the key for you.

As you are doing this, and yes it’s going to take a little bit of time to put it together, I want you to put a dot. Make sure the color is nice and bright so you can see it.

Now, you can make your dot with a sharpie like I did, because that’s all that I had at the moment. You could even take a very bright neon garage sale color dot to use.  I love that as well.  

Here’s what you’re going to do.

First, you’re going to stack all of your things on your shelf like you normally would.

Then, throughout the year, after you use an item, I want you to turn it around so that the label is now NOT showing.

You could even put the same label on the other side, just don’t put the dot on it, perhaps. That might even be another option that you have. Go ahead and do that.

At the end of the school year, you’re going to be able to see what you didn’t use the entire year.

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Then you have a choice, do you give it away?

Do you let someone else borrow it?

Do you sell it?

Do you just take it home and be done with it and bring it back next year if you need to? Those are obviously your choices.

Of course, you could keep it in your supply, because I know you’re saying, “I will probably use it the next year.”

Then, make a note of it someplace in your lesson plans from this year on the lesson you would have used it on, so that way when you look at your lessons from last year to plan next year, you’ll say, “Oh yeah, that’s right, I have that manipulative that I forgot that I had and I never used it.”

Now, if it’s already in your plans, you’ve jotted that down, you’ll remember to use it the next year.

Guess what, if you don’t use it two years in a row, it’s time to hit the road.

Truly, we have so many things and so many amazing materials, (most of us do anyway), to use that we just can’t get to it all.

Guess what, there are some newer teachers, there are some teachers that are in your building, maybe assistants that you have, that really could use those materials, right? Pass them along to someone else that can use them so it’s not just collecting dust in your closet.

There is my fun little end of the year organizational tip for you as you are starting to prepare to get things packed up and get started.

This can also be used, like I said, even at the beginning of the year.

If you don’t get to this at the end of this school year, you can start it at the beginning of the next school year. It’s never too late to get organized, and it’s never too late to get a system in place.

Use the system. It’s easy. It doesn’t take a lot of work to do, and it will really help you start to streamline all of the materials and manipulatives that you have.

The best part about that, you’re going to get use out of everything you have, and the things that you don’t get use out of, you can then pass on to clear out space in your room like you will never believe.

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I hope that was helpful. If so, I would love to have a comment or a share.

Have a great rest of the week teaching friends,

~Charity
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