Saturday, June 1, 2013

Teacher of the Year... and Getting Organized

It is officially summer vacation!  We watched our class slideshow and I handed out DVDs last Thursday.  Then I won Teacher of the Year at our school!!  No joke.  My students were pretty proud of me.  It was such an honor, and a bit overwhelming. 

Then Friday I returned to clean up my classroom.  By 2:00 I had shoved everything I had left in a cabinet and skipped town.  Everyone does that, right?

I stopped by school earlier this week to drop off some things I've been hoarding: cardboard egg cartons and tissue paper.  We use egg cartons at Easter time so I save them all year, and my friend had a baby shower where I sat next to her shamelessly tucking away every last bit of tissue paper from her gifts, and then went home and folded it all while I watched reality tv.

It was a lot of tissue paper.  And it was free.  I couldn't help myself!

Now it's time to work through that summer school project list!  I didn't write it down because I figured I could remember everything.  Rookie mistake.  You think I'd learn.

I'm working on some content area vocabulary cards.  Our school has a subscription to Reading A-Z and I love their vocabulary cards.  They have them for basic vocabulary, content area (I like the science in particular) and then parts of speech.  It's great because you can go through and pick the words you want and then it creates cards with activities to go with them.  Last year I used it a little for parts of speech and Language Arts, but my favorite is the science vocabulary.

I went through each science unit we teach and created vocabulary cards with definition cards.  Science A-Z also offers cards with a picture to match to the word (we call them "Image Cards" in our class).  They are fantastic because sometimes students are great at memorizing a definition but still have no idea what it means.  This way they have to find the matching picture, or tell the different between two similar pictures.

  Here's how I keep all these cards organized.   {and here's where I link up!}

First, I run off each unit of vocabulary or image cards in a different color.  For instance, all of classification is on green cards, all of the human body is on yellow cards.  I usually make three sets of each unit vocabulary set.  Laminate them.  Slice and dice them.

Then, I laminate scrapbook paper.  I use this to make envelopes.  I put the laminated scrapbook paper on the Cricut and have it cut out the envelope shape.

Then I fold and tape them together for each set of cards I made, so they look like this:

So here's where I go a little organizationally crazy.  It drives me bonkers when the kids leave cards out and I don't know where they go.  If they leave one yellow card out, but I made six sets of yellow cards, I don't know which envelope it goes in.  So I take a little extra time on the front end to ensure that we know where these lost cards go.  

I run off sticker labels- one for EACH card + one for the envelope.  
{Avery 5160 labels- Office Max typically does a deal a couple times a year when if you buy one- I always buy two- for 26.99, they will put a $26.98 credit on your MaxPerks teacher rewards card, which is how I got the free printer that I printed these all off on!  Plus they have Box Tops so I feel like I'm giving back to our school- 20 cents is better than nothing, right?} 

I put one sticker on the outside of the envelope with a colored dot sticker (I should own stock in those things!!).  Then I put a label on the back of EACH card with the corresponding dot sticker.  Each set of yellow cards gets a different dot sticker.  That way when I find a yellow card with a green dot, I know EXACTLY which envelope it goes in! 

How do you keep your vocabulary cards, task cards, etc. organized?!? 


Happy Teaching! 

Follow on Bloglovin


  1. Wow! Congrats on Teacher of the Year that is AWESOME! To organize my voc cards and task cards I have started using rings this year. I have found it just makes it so much easier for me and the kids! If the kids need to sort cards then they just take them off the ring and FINGERS CROSSED put them all back on! I love how you label everything on the back of each card! Smart girl!
    I hope you have a super day!
    Carmen Zeisler

    Exploring Elementary
    Fourth Grade

  2. By the way where in KS are you? I live in McPherson!

    Carmen Zeisler

    Exploring Elementary
    Fourth Grade

  3. Love your envelopes...I need a cricket!!!!

    Two Friends in First

  4. That's wonderful! Congratulations Teacher of the YEAR! :)
    Brandee @ Creating Lifelong Learners

  5. I didn't know my cricut could cut the envelope shape! It's like a library pocket. LOVE!

  6. Congratulations on Teacher of the Year! I love the way you are organizing your cards! So smart :) I love my Cricut, too. I'll have to get that cartridge for the envelope. Thanks for linking up with us!


    Fun in Room 4B