Oh my. This topic is the BANE of my existence. I try so very hard to be organized. I think about it. I make labels. I blog or write about it. Then it doesn’t work, so I think about it. Make more labels and write about it and on and on and on! So please keep in mind that by NO MEANS am I a master of organization. However, I must admit that this system generally keeps me somewhat on track to being organized!
To keep this post organized (Hah! I crack myself up!) I am going to divide it into two sections- keeping the kids organized and keeping the teacher organized.
Keeping the Kids organized for Guided Reading
My father was so sweet to buy (and ship) me this awesome piece of furniture from Really Good Stuff. I asked him to make it for me since he is so crafty with wood. He decided the materials and his time was worth much more that the price tag.
On to the colored baskets. Each guided reading group gets one basket to store their (or my) supplies in. In each basket is a folder for each student, my lesson plans for the book we are reading, any worksheet or graphic organizer for the book and familiar past books the group has read and is still using as a familiar read. For example in the pictures below is the blue group’s basket. In the basket are a folder for each child (I stacked the folders carefully so the student’s names would be covered), the book we were reading was called Animals of the Arctic which you can see in the photo, an atlas to show students where the arctic tundra was, a paper clipped stack of index cards for students to use as a sort before and after reading the book, and a graphic organizer for a post reading project we were doing after reading the book (writing an informational report about polar bears- which where a topic in the book). In the next photo you can also see my lesson plan in the stack J.
Inside each of the student’s folder contains all the material they need for guided reading. In the front pocket they store the book we are currently reading. In the back pocket they store what we have already read and generally they read these books in the beginning of the guided reading lesson when we read the familiar read. In the prongs are clear page protectors. In the first page protector is the reader’s tool box. This has all the post its, highlighter tape, mark a spots and stops signs students need to use while reading. You can get a copy of the tool box here
. Since it is in a page protector it is easy for the students to slide in and out. I shared this in my first guided reading post. Only some students have another page protector sheet- it depends on what they need to store.
In the next photo is a folder for a student that is a struggling reader. In addition to their tool box they also have a second page protector that contains a list of their sight words they need to learn (only 10 at a time) on orange paper (I have heard orange helps kids remember better??). They also store their EZ reader to help for tracking and a sheet of decoding stickers. This child is REALLY struggling with decoding words. I told them whenever I saw them use a strategy to figure out a tricky words (more than one time) they would earn a sticker. When they earned all the stickers (cringe) I would buy them ice cream. I know, I know…but it is working. I hate all these dangling carrots as prizes too.
After the page protectors is graphic organizers we have completed about books, fluency passages we have practiced together and notebook paper where students have responded to the question that was given to read for (the “set the purpose” question).
This is a Story Elements chart to help students with comparing and contrasting.
Fluency passage- we used this to practice pausing at punctuation.
Sorry this one isn’t clearer. Character web and answering a comprehension question about the book we read.
Keeping the Teacher Organized for Guided Reading
Back to that great piece of furniture…
It is a great way to get organized. The top divider sections are pretty much just “stuff.” The first slot is extra baggies for book baggies for home reading. The second slot is pictures…that need to be hung up somewhere in my room (see that’s where the organization gets me!). The third slot is all my tier information for RTI. I like to keep it handy so I can get to it quickly when I work with kids. The last slot is blank paper.
Behind my guided reading table I have two large rolling plastic drawer organizers and a black shelf. On the bottom of the black shelf I keep several of my binders that I reference daily including my Guided Reading Binder. I use this binder EVERY SINGLE DAY and I LOVE it. You can read more about this binder here
and and lots of detail about it here
In the plastic drawers I keep some of my guided reading materials. In one drawer I keep a small basket of mechanical pencils for students to use while in groups, all my question sticks that I start my guided reading groups (read more about these here), a basket of post its and index cards, and a basket of highlighter tape and post it flags. This is the drawer I use EVERY day during guided reading.
I have another drawer of random guided reading materials. In this drawer I keep wikki stix, cards with different kinds of responses or questions on them, markers (love these!), cards to find the main idea and supporting details and just reading “stuff.” I don’t use most of this stuff- generally I just use the markers! I use the other materials during specific units or times.
Update: If you are looking for LOTS more information about Guided Reading and organizational make sure to check out my guided reading pack, A Guide to Guided Reading
. A hundred pages of guided reading goodness!
Mandy Gregory is a 2007 and 2012 Teacher of the Year. She has taught 4th, 3rd, and 2nd grade in both the general education and inclusion setting. She is the owner and creator of the Teaching Tips website (www.mandygregory.com) and has over 10 years of experience. She is married with two beautiful children.