June 22, 2015

Monday Made It: Back to School Organization

I know...it’s summer and I’m sure the last thing any teacher wants to do is begin thinking about the upcoming year. However, the saying is true: the early bird gets the worm. Getting organized is always a goal for me as I enter each new school year. Thinking of new ways to manage reading groups, organizing homework, my grading book, and all of those forms at the beginning of the year is just the tip of the organizing iceberg.

Today I am linking up with Tara over at Fourth Grade Frolics and sharing a few resources that have helped me stay on top of all of those pesky, but necessary, beginning of the year organizational tasks!

Back To School Parent Packet

I have updated this download to include forms that are not only perfect for second grade, but are all geared towards any grade level! Having changed grade levels a bit it occurred to me that this resource should be beneficial no mater what grade I may teach, so with that experience I made sure to include a little something for everyone.

I tend to give out quite a bit of information at Back To School Night because I am able to be right there to explain to the parents exactly the important info I need for my class as well as those important documents the school gives us to hand out. This updated packet has welcome letters, student information forms, permission slips for various activities, and extensive parent volunteer forms. I have also included optional parent surveys so I can get the skinny on the little details about my new kiddos that way on the first day of school I have an idea about each one of my little people. Then, I also have included a student survey that I love giving as morning work on the first day of school for the kids to fill out about themselves. Parents can give us teachers good insight into their child, but anytime I can get feedback from the students themselves it has proven to be well worth it! Plus my kids love to share about themselves so it’s a win, win!

Since creating this packet, I’ve used it every year and it has saved me SO much time in the area of preparing information for parents. There's so much that goes home or things needed from parents and these forms were super easy for parents to fill out as I gave my presentation at Back to School Night, which for my school district back in Virginia was a few days before the first day of school.

I simply printed all of my materials and in order to keep it looking professional and neat, I decided to create Welcome Parent folders in which I put all of my classroom forms AND forms from the school in one convenient place. This way if families or students don’t attend back to school night, all of their important information is in one place and it made it easy for the parents who did attend to hold all the important stuff we send home.

Classroom Library Labels V2!

Labeling the classroom library is one of my most hated tasks ever when heading back into the classroom. My first year teaching I remember getting into the classroom and having NO CLUE as to how to even begin organizing the books that were left to me. I know that depending on your grade level there are different ways to label and group them, but that was the only thing I knew going in.

Then I thought, oh Pinterest will help me...wrong! I was so overwhelmed by the billions of different ways people label and organize their books even though they were all useful. So, I just decided to go with what worked for me and the reading material I had to work with. In doing so I have only just added to the billionth-and-one way to label your classroom library with these fun classroom library labels.

These labels have been updated to include even more genres, topics, and authors to compete any library in any grade. I am also happy to announce that this download also includes labels for organizing by Lexile, DRA, F&P, and AR! Seeing as teachers use various ways to organize their libraries I was happy to introduce these to the bunch! See all the different labels included here.

How have you tackled labeling your library in the classroom? What tips make it easy for fellow teachers heading back to the classroom?

VistaPrint for the classroom!

See how I use VistaPrint for the classroom!VistaPrint is my BFF during the summer because I am able to create resources that add a specific touch to my room and class each year. Here are a few of my favorite things to make that help keep my classroom organized.

#1 Return Labels: I used return labels to create ‘This Book Belongs To’ stickers for the backs of my classroom library books or read alouds. This helps me differentiate between books I’ve purchased and those provided by the school or school library throughout the year. It’s funny to see this photo with my maiden name on it!

#2 Car Magnet: Saw this original idea from Pinterest (couldn't find original owner so if you recognize it please message me!) and thought it was genius to use magnets for all kinds of things. For me, I am using it as a No Name poster for all those pesky papers with no owner. It helped make the kids accountable by putting no name work where they could see it. I had them check the board before leaving each day to make sure they wrote their names.

See how I use VistaPrint for the classroom!

Another tip I use to reduce no name papers is getting my kids in the habit of highlighting their names before turning in their work. I keep a bowl of highlighters right near the turn-in bin and it’s amazing to see that little step helped cut down the number of no-named work being turn in.

#3 Business Cards/ Loyalty Cards: 
This fantastic idea of birthday reward cards came from Emily over at I Love My Classroom and using loyalty cards to incentivize doing homework/tests/behavior, etc. came from Tiffany at The Learning Effect. These cards were so wonderful to add to my classroom because the kids got so excited when they filled up their reward cards. It was also a great incentive for students to try their best on the two areas I’ve found difficulty with and that was with our Word Study words and behavior. 

See how I use VistaPrint for the classroom!See how I use VistaPrint for the classroom!

See how I use VistaPrint for the classroom!

What do you like best about VistaPrint in the classroom?


  1. I agree, the early bird gets the worm! I love your card system, and your labels are awesome!

    Hodges Herald

    1. Thank you! I was so happy with how they turned out and they were so helpful throughout the year! VistaPrint is the way to go!

  2. I love how you used labels to create "This Book Belongs To...."! I may put that on my to do list! I just picked up some labels today.

    1. YES! It beats stamping or otherwise handwriting them into all of your books. Plus as you add new books to your classroom you can just stick them right on!

  3. Wow! I'm glad you liked the idea. :) Thank you for the shout out! Great job with your made its!


Thank you for sharing!