Friday, September 28, 2012

Organizing Kindergarten

Someone said it's like herding cats....

But it's a little more complicated than that. I'm not just herding them. I'm teaching them to read, add, and write. Our job in September was getting organized. Here are some of favorite organizing tools in my kindergarten class

1. Color coding kids:

Red team, line up! Orange team, line up! Green team, go straighten the chairs at your table :)
The table colors are useful for organizing a lot of the work we do during the day. I use have also used the same colors to mark their reading folders, Song and Poetry Binders, and math journals.

Each table group also works together in centers and math tubs during the day. I use this colorful pocket chart to keep track of the rotations. By moving just the color cards, I can keep track of which book box they have read, which center they are going to visit, and which math tub they'll be working in.

2. Call and response management:

When I need their attention, I call, "Oh, Class!" and they answer "Oh, Yes!" Or I call "Oh, classy classy class!" and they answer "Oh, yessy, yessy, yes!" It just feels more like a game than "Give me five" or "Your attention, please." Plus, there's some phonemic awareness built in there. :)

To sit on the carpet, we use call and response again.
"Criss Cross" ("Criss Cross", cross legs)
"Applesauce" ("Applesauce", sit on carpet)
"Hands in ice" ("Hands in ice", hands frozen in their laps)
whisper: "That's nice." ("That's nice.")

We do call and response when we review the rules.
Other call and response throughout the day keeps us all together, and makes learning fun!

3. The schedule:

Another pocket chart shows an outline of our day. It would be nearly impossible to list all of the routines and details of our day on a chart like this. None of our projects lasts more than 30 minutes. Most are closer to 5 minutes. Reading independently is still a 3-minute activity, so that is just listed under "Reading workshop". Yikes!

4. Organizing the work space

We spent quite a bit of time in September learning about how to use the spaces in the classroom. Students have assigned chairs for morning work , assigned seats on the carpet for group time, and assigned reading spots, which we call their very own Book Nook for silent reading.

The students use their cubbies to keep their snack, any papers that are going home that day, and the daily folders that they carry between home and school for notes and school work.

The student mailboxes are used for work that stays at school. Right now, they have their Draw and Write books, their math journals, 15 copies of their names to practice writing, and a pencil box so that they each have their own pencils and crayons.

All of our work areas are now clearly defined. We created I CAN signs for each center.

And one of my FAVORITE tools is this "found" basket. Because I quickly realized that my little friends would be endlessly following me around with the little pieces that they find throughout the day and can't put away on their own. Now, they drop them in the "found" basket. woohoo!
5. Organizing student materials:

Besides the student cubbies and mailboxes, students also have a place in a pocket chart to store their lunch tags. Another chart holds their behavior cards. Students start on "green" every morning and afternoon. When there is a behavior problem, they flip to the yellow card. If the problem continues, they flip to a red card and parents are notified. Except no one ever gets to red. yet.

This is yet ANOTHER pocket chart that holds the clips that students use when we rotate to our afternoon centers. They are allowed to choose any center, but we can't have 25 kids in the art center. So, each center is limited to the number of clips that are available in the pocket chart.

 This is just the very tip of the iceberg. There were so many things to get organized in September! I am excited to move into October and see what new adventures await!


  1. Thank you for posting your pictures! I love all your ideas, simple and clear. I'm going to be so organized this year!

  2. Laura you have great ideas! Where can I purchase that colorful pocket chart.