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Nuts & Bolts: Keeping Students Organized

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Keeping Organized: Students' Cubbies and Binders

Russell Yates

My students are moving from one working group to another throughout the day. Frequently they are also working on an individual task. Due to the flexibility this kind of movement requires, I have chosen to use tables throughout the classroom instead of student desks. Because students have no desk in which to keep their supplies, I converted a number of lower bookshelves into student cubbies. The local hospital donated numerous dish pans that serve as the main container for supplies such as crayons, pencils, scissors, and other small items.

Below the "Pink Tub," as the students call them, are kept their 3-ring binder, spiral notebook, and clipboard. This system has worked very well for me. However, student cubbies will get a bit too messy from time to time just as desks do. In response to this I have a hand drawn poster that I have the students color at the first of the year. Additionally I remind them routinely that being organized will help them with their school work and that a clean cubby is part of being organized.

Another part of my system that has helped with students having the right stuff at the right time of the day is the use of 3-ring binders. They carry these with them most of the day as it includes nearly everything they need, organized in various sections. The "Pee-Chee" type folders I have them bring at the first of school are turned inside-out and punched with a 3-hole punch. They are then labeled (mostly by subject) and used as pocket dividers in their binders. I also ask that students bring a pencil pouch to keep snapped into their binders. This helps them keep track of their pencils.

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