MLK Day and Classroom Organization

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Hello all and happy MLK day! I want to share a few free resources about Martin Luther King, Jr. with you today, in case you’d like to use them later this week in your classrooms. Last week, we read a really cute (and short n sweet) reader’s theater script about his life. It was great for repeated reading, and tied in holidays/social studies as well. Coming up this week, my students have a busy week with MAP testing (computerized norm tests, given through the company NWEA) in both reading and math for 2 days, and then I am gone for a day since my hubby is having some minor surgery. Do you ever have times when you feel like you don’t have a full week with your students for weeks at a time?! It is tough to plan for, but my kiddos are awesome for dealing with the craziness when I am away at math meetings or other events.

Anyway, here are a few free word puzzles that I found on Pinterest:
MLK word search
MLK crossword
There is also a video on Brain Pop and Brain Pop, Jr and I (think) they are free to view.

The other half of my post is devoted to classroom organization! I wanted to put 20 exclamation points at the end of that sentence because I love organizing my classroom. The beginning of the year is probably my favorite time because I get to set up the room and the materials! However, this year, my supplies have been going missing a little more often than in past years. By going missing, I just mean that my students borrow supplies from the “group” materials bins and either use them up (glue, pencils, colored pencils, stickies) or accidentally misplace them in their desks (scissors, dry erasers, markers). I stumbled upon the most amazing blog post yesterday and you can access it here. The idea of color coding everything in a group supply bin seemed so simplistic, I wondered why I hadn’t thought of it earlier! I love the way Kim from Finding Joy in 6th organizes her groups’ materials to the max, with color coordinating dots, scissors, tape dispensers, staplers, and rulers. I don’t put that many supplies in the group bins, but I was excited to at least use a few of her ideas.

In my fourth grade class, I have 24 students in four groups of six students each. The tables are red, blue, green, and yellow. I also have orange and purple bins in case one year I decide to make six groups of four students each! (Always planning ahead…) My four groups have a color coordinated bin (the red group’s is pink because I have not yet found the perfect red bin), and a recycling bucket (for small scraps while making interactive notebooks) in their team color. Their desks each have a small colored dot on it (again, the red table has to be pink because I lack red circular dots…) which has been one of the easiest and best decisions I made to start the year in August. But now, I am so excited to add color coordinating scissors to each group’s bucket of supplies! I am going to have our “library checker” take on an additional job of “supply checker” to make sure the colored scissors do not walk off at the end of each day. I bought the scissors today at Office Max for $2.49 per pair ($4.99 each pack, since there were 2 pairs). See my attached photo for the new scissors! If you need pink, they also had pink. I’d also like to start putting colored dots on the glue sticks and crayons too, in order to keep the buckets more organized. I am guilty of saying, “Oh your group is out of glue? Just borrow nicely from another group’s bucket for today” – but that made me realize I was adding to the madness of supplies going missing/switching bins! I hope this new update to my organizational system will be positive for my students and for our class! Tell me some of your favorite classroom (or home) organization tips!

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