Five for Friday (7/24/15)


Happy Friday, y'all! Some of us are already heading back to school but I have 4 more Fridays until the kids start. Here's what's been going on…
I did my first Periscope on Wednesday. It was terrifying. I couldn't even watch the replay. I thought I would be okay but I was shaking. #maybemyoneandonly

But I did have some good tips that may make your life easier if you are an OCD but forgetful teacher like me.
So, when I was growing up, my dad collected dinosaur books. He had so many books, he kept a little notebook with every title he owned written down alphabetically and by author. I thought he was crazy at the time, but I find myself forgetting I own certain titles and buying them two or three times (especially when the seasonal books come out and I'm motivated by holiday excitement to buy another—I'm not the only one who does this right?).

But keeping a notebook with all my book titles in it was just too much. I'd have to take it everywhere with me cause you never know when you'll walk by a display at Target (after spending $30 in the dollar spot) and see a book you just LOVE but can't remember if you have it. BUT I do carry something with me all the time…my phone. 

So, I created a Google Sheet on my computer, typed in all the books I own (well most of them), and downloaded the app to my phone. And presto! I have it all at the touch of my fingers.

I can sort them by title if I need to find one quickly:

I can also sort them by author. So if I know I have several Jan Bret books, but I can't remember which ones, I can pull her up quickly and check. You could also add fields for reading level or even genre or teaching point and sort them that way.

I created a couple extra sheets as well for the I Can Read books. Not that they couldn't go with the others, but it works better for me to have them separate. I don't usually use them as read alouds (although I have at times) so keeping them on a different page made sense for me.

I also made a page for my wish list. I always see new titles I'd like to get, so by putting them in the spreadsheet, I can find the title and author quickly when I get to the store.

This is what it looks like on the phone: 

It's small, but it's easier to work with than using a notebook I have to carry around everywhere.
Another tip I shared is how I keep my centers and copies organized. I have a binder for each month that I keep hard copies in of each thing I use.

I put each thing in a sleeve for easy viewing and group them by theme. So in August, all the first day of school stuff is together. All the Chicka Chicka Boom Boom stuff is together. All the Chester stuff is together. You get the drift. 

If it's too big to fit in a sleeve (like construction paper) I just punch holes in it and slide it in.

I make a couple extra of everything just in case. You never know when a water bottle is going to spill, a student is going to make a mistake with it and needs to start over, or a scissors accident is going to take place and they need a brand new one. So extras it is! 

But I hate throwing away extras. So I keep them. Almost all of them. And I file them in plastic file holders for next year, or emergencies. Cause you never know….

Each bucket has a label with what's inside. 

And there are lots of times we don't get to a certain thing and I have an entire class set of leftovers. If that happens, I file it away and when I'm planning the next year, I can use that set without having to make more copies. 

Why use the buckets instead of a filing cabinet? Well, have you ever moved rooms or schools? Have you ever had to empty a file cabinet and try to keep it all together? I have. This is MUCH easier. It's already done for me. I just have to pick it up and go.
Okay, now that we're all organized for back to school, let's talk lesson plans. I have a couple freebies for you if you haven't already snagged them. 

First is my Tens Frames Freebie. You can use them to count using erasers, play dough, etc., or you could hang them up with your calendar and add a sticker a day as y'all count the days of school. There are multiple color choices so they should work with just about every classroom color scheme. 

Start introducing centers with these FREE Back to School Play Dough Mats.

If you read Chicka Chicka Boom Boom at the beginning of the year, you'll want to do an ABC Scavenger Hunt to find the letters in the school or classroom. Place the letter cards around the school and go on an alphabet hunt to find them, learning letter names as you go. This set includes capitals and lower case letters for a matching game, and "Aw coconuts" cards as well. (Directions are included.) 

And of course, you'll have to assess them on their letters and everything else the first few weeks. This Kindergarten Beginning of the Year Assessment Pack has everything you need to get the ball rolling. 

But we want them to take ownership of their learning as well. Start them off right with their very own, kinder friendly, data binder (or folder, you know, whichever works for you). 

Now if you are a blogger like me, and you've been doing all of these challenges this summer, maybe you're needing a good tool to keep it all organized. I did. So I made a calendar to keep track of when I posted/blogged/tweeted/instagramed/etc. Maybe you'll find it helpful, too.

Whew, that was a busy post. I hope I left you with at least one resource you can use for this upcoming year. Please let me know in the comments if any of this was helpful to you.

Swing by Doodle Bugs Teaching for some more Five for Friday Fun!


  1. I love the playdoh mats!!! I am with you on the periscope video! I was so nervous for the first one and haven't mustered up the courage to do another one yet! I hope you have great weekend!!

  2. Kudos to you for your Periscope video!! I'm with you too, I was so nervous my first one I talked so fast and tripped over my words! We'll see if I do another one!! Your organizational tips are awesome, thank you so much for sharing them!
    Thank you so much for sharing your 5, and I hope you have a great weekend and really enjoy your last few days of summer!!

    Kindergarten Dragons

  3. Wow, Rachael. You are so organized and I can tell that you enjoy organizing. I want to be organized and this post helps give me the motivation. Thanks so much, and don't worry, next year this time you will look back at this post on your first Periscope experience and chuckle at yourself. You know what they say, everything is hardest the first time doing it. Have a great rest of the summer.
    Lori Ross
    Your Teacher Assistant

  4. Google docs on your phone– that's a good idea. Thanks for posting. Kathleen Kidpeople Classroom

  5. Love all of your helpful tips!!!! Made me feel the itch to organize some of my own stuff!!! And holy canoli with the creating! You rock girl! Can't wait to check out your freebies! Thanks for sharing your five! Have an amazing rest of the summer!!!!

  6. doing my first Periscope today...even though i really don't understand! :)

  7. Hi Rachael, your tips are great! Thank you. You look very organized and I love the binders. I'm sorry I missed your Periscope. I bet you did awesome! I did one and it was so scary. I'm thinking I might be more of a viewer of Periscopes, haha. Thanks for sharing. Have a great weekend! :)

  8. Great organization tips! I really like how you have your booklist on your phone-- very helpful!

    My Bright Blue House

  9. LOVE your organization!!! I MUST create an excel file with my books. I have so many but often have to run to the library because I can't remember if I have it or where it is in my classroom. Love the idea of having a file I can easily pull up! ... Now if I can get that done before the start of the year...!! :) -Kristen
    Moore to Learn

  10. Kudos to you for doing a Periscope!! I have yet to do one (and not sure that I will! haha), but I keep seeing lots of teachers who are! I love all of your organization tips!! And creating a file with all of your book titles is an amazing idea! I always try to organize my books and then they get mixed up when I pull them out to use! Maybe one day I will create a file like you - I love that idea! Hope you have a great weekend!
    ~Heather :)


Graphics by I Teach What's Your Superpower. Powered by Blogger.
Back to Top