Student Toolboxes!

Happy Monday my friends! I'm psyched to be sharing a project I've been working on for my students this summer. And I'm linking it up with my dear friend Tara for her delightful...
So I think I may have posted about how much I adore my Teacher Toolbox a couple of times. Or several, really.
I just love it! It's the ONLY part of my classroom that never once got out of order last year and I could find things so easily, even in the busiest of times.

It was so easy to manage that I would even let my 5th graders borrow items from there last year if needed...they were always SO careful to put things back in the right place.

And how could you not? Each drawer was labeled and was the perfect size for the items inside.

This got me thinking. 

What if I had smaller-scale toolboxes for my students, at each table? With everything we use during a school day?

I imagined how much easier it would be to track supplies, each in their own proper place. How much instructional time would be saved in not having to pass out materials.
So I decided to test it out. It was still June with weeks to go in our school year. I purchased this little toolbox from Walmart: Stack-On 12 Drawer Storage Cabinet and tested it out with my soon-to-be-graduating 5th graders.

It worked out great! And that was without any labels (since it was the end of the year). I decided to make it my summer project in the coming weeks.

There was only one snag.

That lovely toolbox from Walmart has been out of stock. For a long time. And while it is supposed to come back (yes, I emailed and asked obsessively!) I started thinking about how much I did NOT want to spray paint six of those toolboxes for my students.

In the end, it worked out for the best because I found some that were exactly the same and already black (no spray painting needed!). They were more expensive but honestly the time and money invested in spray painting this summer was just not worth it for me. Plus those guys are still out of stock! I ended up getting: Homak 12 Drawer Organizer. UPDATE! Our friend Emily also found them on Amazon here: Homak 12 Drawer Organizer. Thank you Emily!!

The rest was very easy. I planned out all of the items we use within our day, made some labels, laminated them, and hot glued them right to the outside of the drawers (even though I love how my teacher toolbox has the labels on the handles, I was afraid my students would knock them off over time, so I left the handles clear and labeled the front of the drawers):
(please don't mind my lack of school supplies to show it off...we don't go back 'til September and I'm holding off on buying supplies for now!)
I made six altogether, for my six tables (here's a shot of four of them):
Since the backs of the toolboxes are open...
I covered them with folders in which I could pass out assignments ahead of time, complete with table numbers (I posted about these Table Folders the other day):
So each toolbox will be like a complete organizer (hopefully!) with everything we need for the day.
I have some more plans for these toolboxes, so I am working on a Part Two to this post! I will be sure to show it full of school supplies next time I am in my class, so you can have a better idea of how it looks in action.

Thanks so much for reading! I hope you all have a wonderful week and best of luck to those heading back to school!!

Optimum Organization: Table Folders

Hello and welcome to the last Optimum Organization of the summer! Elizabeth and I have had so much fun hosting this party these past weeks! If you would like to link up with us for one last time, please grab the button below and join in...
My organizational technique for the week is centered around my students' tables.

This year, in efforts to make things run more efficiently, I am going to use table folders to hold work for my students. I'm planning on placing any assignments we will need for that day in these folders, to eliminate wasted time in paper passing.

These lovelies are from Walmart and were 47¢ each! They will match our black and white with brights nicely...
Actually, I have a confession. 

This is really a sneak peek at a much larger project I've been working on for my students this summer! But I will share that on Monday...a little suspense for you :)

Anyhow, I'm hoping this will help me save those precious minutes of instructional time that go by oh so fast!

If you are interested in the table signs shown above, I have them available as an instant download right here: Bright Table Signs

They go up to Table 10. I'm hoping you don't have more than ten tables. Or, if you do, that you also have a lovely, enormous classroom!

Thanks for visiting and please join us in our final week of Optimum Organization! :)

2-in-1 Clipboard and Whiteboard!

I'm very excited to be taking part in Tara's Monday Made It today! I've had this idea I've wanted to try for a long time now and I finally have all the materials I need (bit of a shipping nightmare, isn't that the worst?).
So, to backtrack a teeny bit...

I've always had these same whiteboards, provided by my school. And while they are a wonderful learning tool and used constantly, there are some things that just drive me crazy about them.
Like the fact that they're heavy. 

I can only put so many in a box before my poor 5th graders are staggering under the weight as they pass them out.

Oh, and speaking of passing them out? I'm so very tired of that. As my dear friend Elizabeth said the other day, it just leads to time being wasted (check out her solution here!). 

So I decided I would follow in the footsteps of Elizabeth, my sister, and Keri from Kinder Keri and make those dry erase spots at my students' tables. And that is a project I will get to very soon.

There was only one little problem. 

I really liked having the mobility of the whiteboards for my students to use throughout the classroom. You know, when they complete word work in partners on the carpet or play math games on the cushions.

So I thought I would streamline things a bit with a 2-in-1 resource...a combination clipboard and whiteboard! The front part would be used as the clipboard, the back would be the whiteboard.

It turned out to be a very easy project and only took about 25 minutes. Well, that and the weeks I waited for my clipboards to arrive--but I'm going to have to move on from that. 

I used the following materials (all from Amazon):
  • bright clipboards
  • adhesive dry erase sheets
  • corner-cutting tool
I cut about an inch and a half off the side of the dry erase sheets, so they would fit well within the board. 

Next, I rounded the edges of the sheets (this isn't necessary, but you know how I am about rounded edges!). 

Then I just lined up the top of the dry erase sheet to that metal backing of the clipboard's clip:
Which turned the back of the clipboard into a whiteboard surface and left the front part open for, well, clip-boarding:
(you can see through to the dry erase sheet on the back above).

I'm sure it will come as no surprise that this project warranted a label as well:
To keep the boards safe from peeling, I'm going to model putting them in this bin with the dry erase paper facing forward. I tried moving them around a bit (kind of like a 5th grader might) and they seemed ok...I will have to let you know how they hold up during the year.

I do have the label to share below, because I do so adore my readers! Please click on the preview for a direct download if you would like it...
Did you make anything this Monday? I'm off to Tara's blog to check out all the lovely projects!

Organizing Parent Information with Jump Links

Happy Saturday! Well I am sad to say as the summer begins to wind down for many teachers, we will be ending our Optimum Organization linky soon. Elizabeth and I decided that next week will be the official last linky, so be sure to visit and link up that one last time if you would like!

And of course you can link up today :)

Remember that class blog/website we talked about a couple of weeks ago? Well today's Optimum Organization is all about organizing that Parent Information page.
This is an example of my Classroom page. The top menu (featuring our schedule, homework, etc) has clickable links for parents to easily navigate to the information.
And it's really not hard to set up at all! 

I debated on making this into a video tutorial, but I think I can go through it more thoroughly with pictures you can refer back to. 

So grab a coffee or soda and get ready for a very photo-rich tutorial...

Adding Jump Links to a Page

This tutorial was created here on a page on Ladybug's Teacher Files: Jump Links. Please feel free to visit this page to see the links in action.

To begin, open a new page on your blog (though a post would work too!). We will begin with the menu bar that will appear at the very top of your page, like so:
In this example, I am just using three sections...Schedule, Homework, and Grading. If I click on the HTML tab of the page, this is what the code looks like for these sections:
Now we'll take a closer look at the code for each part, so you know exactly what to do! This pictures shows all of the code needed for one jump link, in this case for the Schedule Section:
Let's break that down a bit. This code features the link to your page (in this case, my page link is the one you see when you visit the example page). So if you have a page already set up for your parents, you will just need to copy the url of that page in this section of code:
The other important part of this code is the #schedule part, as highlighted below. This must be named for the #schedule for Schedule, #grading for Grading, and so on:
The next part is the text, as you would like it to appear. Since the first jump link we have is for our class schedule, I have the word Schedule:
That last part is a non-breaking just makes a space between the links. I also have little circles between each word...just to break them up a bit:
Once I have that code set up for all three sections, this is how it will look under my HTML tab:
 And if I click on Compose, this is how it will appear:
You can add as many sections as you would like, using the same code as shown above. I have sections for each subject in our class, for example.

The next part will be the code we will place further down the page...the places we will jump to.

First, we will look at the code for the jump link for Schedule:
Let's take a closer look at that one.

We have the beginning of the div id, in this case for "schedule". This must have the exact name/spelling of the code you created above. Since I named it #schedule above in the top menu, it must be "schedule" here. If it is written differently, it won't jump to this point:
Those next parts are really up to you. This is the part where I centered my text for the section, made it a large font size, and made it bold:
This next part is the word as you would like it to appear on the page. Since this is our Schedule section, I kept it named Schedule:
Those last parts are the closing tags of everything you typed in. If they aren't closed properly, the code won't work properly:
Now I will just copy that section of code and paste it again two times (so I can just adjust the names of each section:
 So I will go to Schedule and highlight it:
And just change it to Homework, for our second section. You will also need to change the div you are making two changes to the code:

Now if you look at the three sections of code, you will see they all have their appropriate names:
If I click on the Compose tab, this is how they appear right now:
So this next part may look crazy, but I want you to see how the jump links will be working. When I'm ready to add the content, all I have to do is hit Enter after Schedule and just start typing the information I want to appear:
If I hit Publish on my page, this is how it will look on the website so far:
If I click on each section, I can already jump to them:
The only thing missing right now is the Return to Top code...and that's what we will add next!

I know there is a more traditional way of doing this, but I prefer to just link back to the page itself because it is easier.

So, right under the first of the three sections, I type in the code you see highlighted below:
Here's a closer peek at that code. It has the original url of your parent information page:
The font styling (I keep the font small, so it stands out a bit from the rest of the font on the page):

The text you would like to appear on the page...I use "return to top":
And the closing tags:
When you click on the Compose tab, this is how it will appear:

Once you have that code all set, all you will have to do is copy and paste it under each of your sections.

Ok, that seemed really long and tedious...I think I need jump links for this tutorial!! I hope it was clear enough and I hope it will be of help for those of you looking to organize your classroom sites. 

If you have an organizational tip to share with us, please join us in the linky fun!
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