September 08, 2014

Classroom Organization: Using ELA Boxes to Store Materials

How many times a week do you hear, 'I can't find my writing/reading book!'?  Trying to stay organized and keep learning materials easily accessible is always a challenge for an entire classroom of children. Literacy in particular can become disorganized quickly because of its' multiple components. Children require an organizational structure to make transition time easy and alleviate loss of valuable instructional time.

When I first began teaching, children kept all of their books in their desks. Desks quickly became messy, disorganized and children spent much too long searching for their books.  Then I switched to tables.  I thought keeping all of their resources in drawers along the wall would keep their books more organized.  It did help a little as it was easier for me to monitor who had to clean their drawers but still, it wasn't enough. I finally tried what now works for me, Literacy Boxes.

Literacy Boxes are magazine boxes used to store a child's literacy materials.  Each child has their own box which is stored on a shelf along a side wall.  They are not kept full-time on learners' desks as they get in the way when not in use.

Literacy Boxes allow for:

  • less cluttered desks or drawers
  • easy access for the teacher to find and return literacy materials
  • cuts down on 'I can't find my book!"
  • all materials are grouped together for easier use during literacy time
  • less loose paper

Literacy Boxes contain:

  • reader's response notebook
  • writer's notebook
  • writing ideas
  • word study
  • personal dictionary
  • reading log
  • independent reading books
  • guided reading book if appropriate

Children retrieve their Literacy Boxes from the side shelf upon entry (if literacy begins then) or as they leave the gathering area after your first literacy mini-lesson and prepare for independent work.

I typically purchase my Literacy Boxes from Ikea.  Compared to office supply stores, Ikea is much less expensive and carry a variety of fun colors and patterns! Children enjoy using the boxes and typically take pride in keeping them organized.  Some children do require reminding not to draw or doodle on the boxes as they can generally be used for a two or three years before they have to be replaced.

To learn more about the No-Nonsense way of teaching, check out my store:

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