Finding a way in the Chaos- Learning Station Organization

I love teaching through games and student centers for almost every subject.  This means I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time making games, laminating (or not – that plastic stays around a long time) and cutting.  Oh, there has been so much cutting.   I now have a huge cabinet of resources that multiple teachers come and borrow from.  I’m often asked the same question.  How do you keep it all organized?

At first my activities looked like this.IMG_3762

Each game was intact and the kids could see it, but it was a bit of a nightmare to go through.  It just ended up being a messy pile contained in small boxes.

Then I switched to folders and my stuff was contained but I still had trouble finding what I needed quickly.

Eventually, I had a brilliant plan.  I could still use the folders, but I would either have the handy cover so many teacher stations come with or a copy of the activity on the outside.  The real genius was when I started writing in the right corner what specific skills the game/activity/station was targeting.  I could then put my folders in boxes that had a basic description and simply flip through the games only looking at the right corner to find something based on what I wanted to to teach or reinforce.  This changed my life.  Seriously.  It now takes seconds to find exactly what I want.

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I still recommend the folder as kids can basically throw things into it and close it.  Tidying up is a skill that has to be taught and I want to make the task as easy for them and me as possible.IMG_3780

Once I have a lot of games, I often let kids “check them out” of our class library and use for homework.  This is used most often by the EAL kids because the repetition of playing the game at school makes them feel successful and they want to show it to their parents.  This has been one of the most natural home and school links in my classrooms and one of the most successful.

You may spend a small fortune in folders, but in five years I have only remade one game.  I count that as a success.Jenny (banner)

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