Teacher Week '13 - Now Teach ! Organizing for Instruction

Today Teacher Week '13 continues with Now Teach! Organizing for Instruction. Click on the blog hoppin' button below to hop over to our lovely hosts and see everyone else's link up!

Getting ready to teach is no small feat. No wonder so many of us spend a week or two in the classroom setting everything up before school even begins, and hours and hours during the summer and weekends planning, researching and organizing. I saw some great information at the ACSD website about it: "Planning is a deliberate process that results in teachers being well-prepared prior to walking through the classroom door for the day (Wharton-McDonald et al., 1998). Organizing time and preparing materials in advance of instruction have been noted as important aspects of effective teaching. Individual and team planning are beneficial to creating valuable learning experiences for students".

Planning: I do a lot of my planning in the hours before the school day starts and of course at night and on weekends. There are certain things that repeat in the curriculum - for example the spelling program, readings logs... so I try and plan ahead and make sure I know what is coming up, then get the supplies in order. Also, those Everyday Math tests : I copy 4 or 5 at a time so I am not running to the machine at the last minute.

I definitely have a bit of a routine for Reading Workshop. Each day of the week I tenatively schedule various types of centers: fluency, phonics, comprehension etc. Sometimes I mix it up, especially when I see the class needs more practice on one of them, but for example, on a Thursday I might have a spelling center, the listening center, and a phonics game. It helps me stay organized!

I have to say the things that are hardest for me to plan ahead for are science lessons. We use FOSS and there are a lot of hands on materials which is great but require a lot of prep and set up on the day we use them. I make sure when starting a unit I will have everything I need but I do need to account for the time each day to set everything up.

Preparing Materials:
I am one to get to school early . The kiddos arrive around 8:30 but I like to show up at 7:15am because it gives me lots of time to get ready. I hit the copy machine, set up the white board, put out materials and check e-mail. Laminating is also a good thing to do early in the morning at school but  my dream is to get one of these and the laminating sheets!


 Instead of laminating, I have also been thinking about getting some of these Learning Resources Write and Wipe sleeves. I saw someone else recommend them online and put them on my amazon wishlist.

If you've read my blog before you may have seen my post, "Organizing all those Games and Centers" where I shared some ideas for storing all that stuff! Click here to read it, and I found a few more items to use this year.

  I love these for small card games and various other center and game materials!
                                                                  These also work!

I love these poly envelopes for games and centers with 8 1/2" x 11" size materials. You can also find legal size ones. I usually get mine at Target but I found these at Amazon and wish listed them. I will have to look closely as they may be cheaper!

Oh yeah ! Circular labels! These are great for labeling books and  various supplies.  I bought them to spice up my Math Facts program. I found "Bottle Cap Math Facts" at TPT. Its a free download from FlapJack Educational Resources. Check it out here. It definitely made things a little more fun this past year.

And sheet protectors!
Can never have enough! 

What resources and strategies do you use to plan and organize?


  1. I love your idea for using the Learning Resources Write and Wipe sleeves but I found these at EAI Education and they are way better. They open on the side so the kids can insert their own papers/templates...huge time saver. They also have books of templates that are easy to reproduce, practical, and also great time savers. Check them out:


    1. Great! Thanks so much Jennifer! Appreciate the tip! :)