Thursday, October 25, 2012

Classroom Management

Please ignore my dirty tables. :)
So today I decided to share with you guys some of my classroom management strategies! And it starts and ends with two words - COLOR CODING.
I'm the kind of person that is crazy organized and usually always over prepared (although it's almost always done last second). And when things are not just so, I get crazy amounts of anxiety. So below are some of the ways I keep from completely shutting down in a school of 1800 students (800 of which are mine).

Color-coded table containers.
On each table in my room (I have 9 tables that are divided into 6 color tables) I have two color coordinated containers which stay on the tables at all time. 
One container acts as a turn-in tray -- 
*When it is time to clean up and put our stuff away, I just have kids turn in their work to their table trays. This prevents kids from getting up unnecessarily around the room and makes it easier for me to file their work away properly (more on this in a minute). 
The other container is a craft caddy --
*In it I store crayons and pencils which are always there, and on the bigger side I will change out materials based on what my classes are doing that period. 

I recently ran into a problem however with my pencils in my caddies. I found that I was losing my new pencils and gaining tiny pencils pretty quickly. 4/5th grade pencil swap anyone?
Glorious pencil system.
So I decided that I needed a system to help me keep track of my pencils. So now in each caddy I have color-coded pencils. The bottom piece of tape corresponds with the table color, and the top piece of tape corresponds with the seat number (I have 5 numbered seats at each table - yes the kids have assigned seats) with one extra yellow pencil (the just-in-case pencil). So now if green table's seat 3 pencil goes missing -- I'll know who to talk to. ;)
Is this more work? Yes. Will it be worth it for my pencil supply and mental sanity? YESSSSS.

Grade level table folders.
Now back to my turn-in trays.. Once students turn in their artwork and are lined up at the door waiting for their teacher, I go around the room and pick up the artwork in each table tray and tuck it into a color-coded table folder which is then placed in the grade level drawer. Since I see the same group of kids for a week at a time, my folders are always emptied out by Friday and ready for my new batch of kids on Monday.
This system also works really well because when I'm getting ready for my next class to come in, I can just grab their table folders from their drawer, and slip their work into their table buckets. I save myself so much time doing it this way because I never have to call students names to pass back work - it's already in the trays on their tables. :)

Color-coded drying rack!
I organize my drying racks in a similar way using colored tape! When we do "wet" projects, I'll call students up by table color to bring me their artwork and organize it that way in my drying rack. Then when their work is dry, I know which table folder to put it in. I also use removable grade-level labeled clothespins to label the side of the drying rack by grade (which helps if different grade levels are doing similar projects).

Hopefully in reading this post you found something useful... and as always, please feel free to critique, comment, suggest, or share ideas in the comments section. :)

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