Organizing Big Box Curriculum

Do you have to follow a more "scripted" language arts program?  Has your district ordered new curriculum? Here are a few tips to keep you organized.

Well, once you've unpacked, I am sure you will realize that almost everything is bundled together and you will need to sort it.  This takes a considerable amount of time.

First, designate a spot where you will keep the items.  I prefer to keep the boxes because I lack storage space.

Next, organize the materials that you need the most first.  In my case, these were the Teacher's Manuals, Anthology Read Aloud manual as well as leveled and decodable readers.

Our language arts curriculum also includes alphabet and initial sound cards, key vocabulary cards, oral retelling cards, and Interactive Read Aloud cards.

Whew! That's a lot of stuff!

To help me keep organized and save my sanity for years to come, each week I organized a little at a time.  I used these file folders and placed all the items that I needed for the week inside.  Most of these were teaching items (vocabulary cards, retell cards, etc.).  I also added any other items that I used to supplement the curriculum including printables or items that I created.  I housed each of these file folders in a crate which I kept by my guided reading table.

Now, as I plan each week, I have my materials all in one spot for teaching as well as I have other materials that I may or may not use at my disposal.

How do you stay organized?  Share a tip.

Happy Organizing!
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Meet the Teacher 2013

I am so excited to join other teachers from around the US and world for Teacher Week.  I am blessed in many ways.

1.   That's me in first grade; the year I knew I would become a teacher.  I keep this photo in my classroom and share "my story" each year with my students.
2.   I'm a child of the 80s and graduated from college in the 90s.  I am a first generation college graduate.  I am still amazed that I did it!  College changed my life forever.
3.  I've been teaching since 1997.  Since then, I've taught with and without standards, looped, team taught and taught kindergarten through third grade.  Regardless, I know it is what I love to do.  
4.  I love children's books and have a large collection both at home and at school.  
5.  This is the first avatar I had when I began blogging three years ago.  Blogging has renewed my passion for teaching and creating.  It has helped me become a better teacher and connected me with wonderful people and resources.  

6.   I did not know about true love until I became a mother.  He is an aspiring chef; really you should hear him talk about food, loves reading and is curious about the world around him.  He is a true teacher's kid and calls himself my assistant.  He's going to first grade and I am thankful that I will be able to see him throughout the day.
7.  I've been married to the love of my life for 8 years.  He is my everything.  (That's all he'll let me show you of him.) He's my best friend.  He loves cooking, photography and Star Wars.
8.  I volunteered here in high school, later worked here as a Museum Education Assistant, and was married in this spot.  I met some of my closest friends here.  It is a place dear to my heart.
9.  As a family we spend our weekends at Disneyland and our summers at the lake in Wisconsin. 
10.  Fall is my favorite season.  We are a Packer family.  Honestly, I don't know much about football. But if it makes my boys happy, it makes me happy.  This year, I am going to try Fantasy Football.  

That's me in a nutshell. I'm a wife, mother, teacher and blogger.   Best wishes to you this school year.

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Activities for Fine Motor Skills

I have compiled a list of supplies and activities which foster fine motor development.  Although, it may look like just child's play; in fact, it is the opposite.  This is all very serious work that young learners need.  As teachers, we have the challenge to embed these activities within our rigorous academic programs.

Lastly, here is a cutting activity that I use the first week of school with my students.  In my class, we think of our scissors as a car and we must stay on the road while cutting.  Click below to learn more.

Happy Teaching!
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