August 6, 2012

Goodbye book bags...hello reading drawers!

Hey everyone! I am linking up with Tara for her awesome and inspiring...
My Monday Made It was something I've been thinking about for awhile now--since the end of last school year in fact!

You see, though I loved our book bags for Reader's Workshop in the past, they were getting old and worn.

And they were just hard to store!

I tried some of those sticky hooks on the wall, but they would eventually fall off in the humidity. I tried lining them up on some shelves, but they just looked too messy. In the end, we draped them over the chairs in our classroom. This was ok, but they were dragging on the floor. And starting to look pretty dirty.

So I started thinking about my ideal storage in the classroom...the storage that works best for me as a teacher. And how this could maybe work for the students too. And it came down to those lovely, clean Sterilite drawers.

I use them for my files. Hold on, I may have a recent picture...
(ok, so that's the back of them, but you get the idea!). I've had them for years now and they work so well for books, games, any teaching materials I need to keep sorted.

So I thought, why not use something similar for my students' reading materials? They could store their books and reading journals, pull them out for Reader's Workshop, then put them away all tidy at the end of workshop. We even tried out a few of my old drawers at the end of the school year. The kids loved them and told me I must use them next year! So cute.
The only thing I was worried about were those larger pictures books that may not fit in the drawers...since the ones I have for my files are for 8.5 by 11 inch paper.

Well, it took me awhile, but I finally stumbled upon a solution...
Those extra-wide drawers designed to hold scrapbook paper!! I thought these would be the best to hold many different-sized books. 

One thing to note...the drawers have a little catch on the side, to prevent them from falling out. Most come out easily anyhow, but if some catch as you slide it, you just have to lightly push on the plastic side of the drawer (they're flexible) and it slides right out.

So, we'll be using these drawers to store our independent reading books, reading journals, sticky notes (not those fancy ones you see in the picture, those are MINE!), and a couple of pens/pencils. 
That way everything will be together and ready to go for Reader's Workshop! The drawer can be taken out of the unit and to my students' favorite reading spots in the room.

And put away all nicely after...no more dragging off the chair, dirty book bags.

Oh, and I almost forgot (thank you to a friendly reader!) I will be using these in addition to the chair pockets I already made. The chair pockets are smaller and meant to hold a book or two that my students will need at a moment's notice, any time during the day, while at their tables. These drawers are meant for Reader's Workshop specifically and can hold all of the needed materials.
The Made part in this Monday excitement lies in the labels. I am completely on a numbering craze this summer--thanks to everything I have learned from my blog friends! So easy...no waiting for a class list, just numbered and ready to go! And that's what I did for my reading drawers today :)

And I would love to share the file with you, my wonderful readers! If you'd like to use it, the numbers fit nicely on these wide storage drawers

They could also be used other ways (labeling reading materials, book boxes). I would love to hear what you would use them for, if you'd like to download them. You can download them by clicking on the image below...

69 comments:

  1. Hi! I LOVE, LOVE your blog! Thank you so much for all you do and share with all of us! I do have a question about this post! A couple of weeks ago you posted on your Nail Apron idea to but student books in, but now I see this post about drawers for books as well. Just wondering which one you were doing this year? or if you were doing both and why? Thanks!

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    1. Hi and thanks!! I was just saying, argh, I totally forgot that part and I meant to explain! Thank you for asking!

      The aprons are smaller, so they are to hold a book or two my students can always access right away at their tables for independent reading (plus I'm hoping to put dry erase markers and highlighters in there too!). The reading drawers are specifically for Reader's Workshop and will hold all of the reading materials they need for this. Thanks again!

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  2. So great :) I always love your posts!! Sucha clever lady you are ;)

    Kimberly
    The Learning Tree

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  3. This is awesome!!! I bought book bags about five years ago and keep using them year after year. To say they are worn is an understatement. This idea is so great and practical. Do you mind me asking where you found them? I am guessing most large stores carry them. Thank you so much!

    Allison

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    1. Hey Allison, of course not! They are from Amazon and come in sets of three: http://www.amazon.com/Sterilite-20938003-3-Drawer-Organizer-See-Through/dp/B002BA5F70/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1343915094&sr=8-1&keywords=sterilite+wide+3+drawer

      It's a little pricier than I normally like for storage, but I know how long my other drawers have lasted so I didn't mind. Plus it had super saver shipping--woohoo!!

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  4. These are absolutely gorgeous! I use super cheap dishpans under the kids chairs to house all their notebooks and folders, but I LOVE the look you created here.
    Thanks for sharing,
    Tania
    My Second Sense

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    1. I think I'm gonna go for cheap dishpans, too! :)

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  5. Great idea for the big kids! I hope they last much longer than your bags.
    Your flipped signs are gorgeous! Thanks for sharing,
    Andi

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  6. Hi! I am using your numbers for my tables supply boxes. I finished my two outside bulletin boards, today. Tomorrow, my classroom bulletin boards. Pictures are coming tomorrow. Thank you for sharing!!

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  7. Awesome Kristen! Totally using these tomorrow. Today was our first day. You think I can print them on Avery labels?

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    1. aw, I hope it was great Sydney!! I don't use labels 'cause I always laminate to make them last--especially now that they are numbered so they don't have to be changed necessarily next year (ha, like I won't change my labels next year!!)

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    2. You crack me up! I laminate EVERYTHING. Teachers make fun of me. I just was thinking of speed at this point. Ha. Everything in my room is from you, well almost. I'll have to send pics!

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    3. I would love that! But when you're settled with the new year, I know it must be hectic right now!

      If it's a consolation, I'm teased about hot gluing everything in class! :)

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  8. Excellent idea!! I use book bins in my class with my first graders but I love how neat and organized the drawers look!

    ❤ -Stephanie
    Falling Into First

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  9. Great idea....storage bins have so many uses in a classroom! Thanks for blogging about the Home Depot aprons last week...they're on my to do list for next week's Monday Made It!

    Brandi
    Success in Second Grade
    Don’t forget to check out My Summer in Pictures Linky Party

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  10. very cute! These would be perfect for labeling library baskets, too! Do you think you'll make these in bright and clear? I only ask because I've used all of those and am not using these if you are! =)
    Rachel

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    1. Hey Rachel, thanks! I don't think I'll get the chance to, I'm sorry!!

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  11. Thanks for sharing. You always have amazing materials. I love your pictures. You are obviously a photographer! I downloaded the labels and I know I will find a use for them.

    ✰Becca
    Simply 2nd Resources

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  12. As always...AMAZING!!

    Laurie
    www.firstgradelyonsden.blogspot.com

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  13. I did the same thing this year. I love your smaller drawers, I'm using the bigger ones which mean more space. It looks so neat and tidy in your room :)

    Jen @ The Go To Teacher

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  14. Silly question, but did you use a label to print these on? Which one?

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    1. Hi Annie, not at all. I don't print onto labels. I make them on cardstock and laminate them so they won't get damaged or spilled on during the year. I'm a little nuts about laminating everything!!

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  15. Kristen- You have out done yourself this year. I love all of your labels, alphabets, and packets. You are seriously talented.

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  16. Kristen~
    I was so busy emailing you back that I didn't even click into my Google Reader until now...and WOW :) These are FANTASTIC! I just love them and you are right. With numbers...we are ready to go on day 1!!!

    Elizabeth
    Fun in Room 4B

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    1. Hey, didn't I just talk to you!! Kidding of course and thank you! I'm pretty excited about using them :)

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  17. You seriously are a genius!! I love this idea..and your labels are the cutest I have seen. I love your ideas! Thanks for sharing! :)
    Lisa
    Learning Is Something to Treasure

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    1. Thanks Lisa, you always leave the nicest comments. I'm definitely a trifle obsessed with storage at this point, ha! :)

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  18. I just have to say.... I LOVE LOVE LOVE your stuff!! I bought your ABC lines and can't wait to print it and hang it up at school! So much nicer than the generic train I have now!

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  19. One of our 5th grade teachers uses the drawer system. I would love to, but 1. I can't afford it this year, and 2. I don't have the room. :( Your labels look great, though! I used your black basket labels for my class supply containers today. They look beautiful! :)

    Leslie
    Miss R's Room

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  20. THANK YOU FOR THE IMPRESSIVE AND AWESOME LABELS!!! I'm not sure where/how I'll use them, but I {HEART} them very much!!!!!!

    Thank you for sharing!!!

    Jodi Hammond ~Buffalo, NY

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  21. Wow! I love the drawer idea! I just got rid of our book boxes because I didn't have enough shelved for all of them. This would work perfectly! I am hoping I can find a sale on them. I have already gone over budget on my back to school shopping. :)

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    1. Kelly, I have seen drawers like this at Michael's, so you might be able to take advantage of their amazing 40% off coupons.
      Lauren

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    2. You might also find some drawers that have more than three to a stack. We are just starting D5 and CAFE this year and I tell you...the things we teachers focus on: "how on Earth do the kids carry all of that stuff?" is the quote Im hearing most in discussions. I cant wait to share this drawer idea with my teammates. Thanks so much for doing such great work!

      Jen in Denver

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    3. Thanks! Michael's and I have a date tomorrow. We got some money from our PTO and those drawers are on my list :)

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    4. Thanks! Michael's and I have a date tomorrow. We got some money from our PTO and those drawers are on my list :)

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  22. LOL! I was just reading your comment on Tara's site (UPS arrived, right?) and then I found your words on my post! Small world :-)

    We are in party mode for tomorrow's episode of Dance Moms; we also can't wait for the next Drop Dead Diva! I'm still trying to figure out if Abby knew that she would also be on DDD and if she had any say in the casting of the dancer. My daughter is taking a break from the comp team this year--she will be super busy as a freshman on the high school dance squad--so, now we are a bit weepy when we watch Dance Moms.

    You have been busy this summer! I have enjoyed seeing your creativity. I'm trying to get excited about putting my room back together...unfortunately, it has to be dismantled every Friday. During the school year, I get into the swing of taking it down and putting it back up. But before orientation? I just feel befuddled and disheartened! I'll try to post pics soon. ReadWriteSing

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  23. Fabulous as always! I'm still thinking about how I want to do my book "bags".
    The Science Penguin

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  24. I {puffy heart} these!!! You totally rock! Quick question...Do you cut all of these by hand or does your circle cutter make ovals too? I'm seriously thinking about getting that circle cutter! Thanks for sharing your wonderful ideas!

    Kristi
    Learning's a Hoot

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    1. Hi Kristi! I wish my circle cutter made ovals, but it doesn't. I cut them by hand. :)

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  25. WOW! Your creativity amazes me! How do you store the book drawers (it looks like you stack them)? Do your students get their drawers when they need them for Readers's Workshop or do you pass them out? Again, thanks for sharing. Stop by my Blog anytime!

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    1. Thanks and I am going to visit you right now! My students will just get them out at Reader's Workshop :)

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  26. Thank you so very much! I am one who is working on more efficient organization. I love all your ideas. They are so helpful!!! Thank you!

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  27. Thanks for giving me a great reason to re-label some storage drawers! ;)

    Kate
    EduKate and Inspire

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  28. Your title says it all! I am so relieved to have another option to having someone sew chair bags for me. I just ordered the drawers and printed the labels. Sooo excited! Thanks for sharing all your fabulous ideas!

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  29. I love this idea. I will be using book baskets this year, but the drawers look amazing. Thanks for sharing.

    I am your newest follower.

    Katrina
    Teacherofscholars.blogspot.com

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  30. I have used numbers for years - since my first year of teaching based on my dad's advice (he was a teacher, too). I love it so much! These labels will be great with all of the things that I label. Thanks! I saw a classroom with those book drawers and have wanted to do that. I just lack the space to find where to put them. I hope it goes well for you. Maybe I can do them eventually.

    Diane
    The Teacher's Jungle

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  31. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!! I have been using the number system for several years and I LOVE IT!!!! It makes things so much more organized and clean looking. I was using blank banana designer cards from "Learning Palace" but not anymore. I can't thank you enough for this amazing design and the size is perfect. I love the colors. I have been telling everyone about your blog. PS your prices are always fare. Love you dedicated follower. I will post some pictures when I go into my classroom next week to get ready. I stated a blog recently but am very new still. I know you will be proud.

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  32. I can't afford the drawers so I use magazine boxes. It works just as well. I have found new magazine boxes at Goodwill for $1.00 for 2 or 3. New ones at the stores are a little more.

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  33. LOVE these! I was toying with doing drawers this year for books, but couldn't find any that perfectly worked with my space and ideas. These will do it! I already purchased magazine boxes from IKEA for this year, but I have a goal and a plan for organizing next year. It's never too early to start, right? We just finished our second day. :)

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  34. These are awesome! Is there any way that you can make the numbers go up to 40? I usually have 33-34 students in my room each year. Thanks for all of your hard work and being so willing to share. It is appreciated.

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    1. Hi--I'll be updating the packet this weekend with the extra numbers!

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  35. I love them! I have some drawers that even have the tops on them when they slide out (they can be used as a little lap desk of sorts). However, I have two periods of reading, so I probably won't be able to do this. I am still planning everything out, so I shall see. :)

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  36. I wrote earlier, but I just looked at the whole set. There are only 30 and last year I had 32 students. It seems to be what is happening in my district. Could you make the set have about 34 - 36 numbers to be safe? Thanks so much for doing this!

    Diane
    The Teacher's Jungle

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  37. Another one of your products that I just LOVE! I get so sick of writing/printing student's names for their cubbies and these labels are going to be PERFECT! Not only that, but they will look just darling with your other files that I've bought and downloaded. My room is seriously, so darling because of YOU! Thank you sooooooooo much!!!!

    Alisa♥

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  38. Hi Kristen,

    I am new to your blog and love all of your ideas! I am wondering if you have created bookplates or labels for your classroom books? I am asking because each classroom at my school has books that belong to the school and books that belong to the teacher and I want to better distinguish/label which books are mine. Do you have anything that could help with this or any ideas?

    Thanks again for sharing your ideas!
    Sharifa

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    1. Hi Sharifa, thank you for stopping by1 I label the books to match the basket label and that label has my name on it. I've used this system for years and it has worked well. I hope to share more photos of my library system in a couple of weeks when I get back into my class :)

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    2. Thanks Kristen! Are you referring to the A to Z book labels that you made? I just came across those and they are fabulous! Quick question: How did you get the image on each label? Did you have to copy and past it on to each one individually?

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  39. Kristen,

    Yay! We're name friends - kind of. I'm very jealous of your set up. I went back and forth all summer long about whether to use these scrapbook drawers to store my students extra materials (I'm still debating, but currently leaning towards no), but I didn't even think of using them to hold book. What a great idea! My school just bought book boxes for me though, so ... I feel like I need to use those. Thanks for sharing!

    Kristin
    Teaching In A Nutshell

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  40. I am in love with this idea! I am going to do some daily 5 rounds this year but had no idea where I was going to have the kids keep their books. I am totally going to look at these! I hope they can hold up to kindergarteners!:)

    Sarah
    Cleary Kindergarten

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  41. Hi Kristen-

    I am having a linky party about reading and writing workshop must haves. I would LOVE if you would link up with me and share your expertise!

    Lindsay
    My Life as a Third Grade Teacher

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  42. Kristen -- I love the labels, so bright and colorful! I've been using cardboard magazine files from IKEA. They come in packs of 5 for like $2. They aren't especially durable like the plastic shelves but they work for the time being. I did have question for you though. Are you hot gluing or using double sided tape to adhere your labels to your baskets? I was going to try using my low-temp hot glue gun but that seemed a little to permanent, like maybe I wouldn't be able to get them off later.

    Thanks for sharing,
    Jazmine

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    1. Hi Jazmine. I do use hot glue (after I laminate them) but I use it on plastic storage. It does come off with a good tug if you need to remove the label, then the glue can be peeled off the plastic (if it's a smooth plastic surface). Thanks for reading, I appreciate it :)

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  43. Words can not express my love for these...I love the idea and the labels. I actually use these for math games, yet it never crossed my mind to use them as "book bags." :) Jodi

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  44. I LOVE these! I do my printing at FedEx and was trying to save these to take to printer, but the file can not be saved. Is there a way to do that?
    Thanks so much!
    Annette

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  45. I just stumbled upon this post thanks to pinterest and have been pouring over your blog. I would love to have these in my classroom for my kids ISN books...except I would need 120 or so! HAHA Do they take up a lot of room? If not then it might be possible. I am going to start the year with the kids having them put the books in a hanging file folder but I love the ease of these and how neat they look. Thanks so much for the great idea!

    ~Amy
    http://middleschoolminions.blogspot.com

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  46. Thank you so much for the great idea! I have been trying to find a book bag/box that could hold picture books of all sizes, as well as chapter books. I think this will work. Thanks again!

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