Happy Back to School! I hope the beginning of your school year has been fantastic. Today I am partnering up with a great group of music bloggers for a Back-to-School Music Blog Hop!
This blog hop includes six blog posts about Back-to-School in the music room, from lessons, to organization, to games, and more! To continue on the blog hop, keep clicking the pictures at the end of each post to hop to the next blog!
I just started my 5th year of teaching, and I am so excited to be in a new school. Previously, I taught at four different elementary schools. This year, I am at ONE, yes, ONE! I am still in disbelief that I get to drive to the same school every day. I was so eager to jump into my new classroom this summer to organize and decorate my one classroom. After spending many hours in my classroom, it is ready! It is decorated....it is organized....it is ready for music-making!
Organizing....I LOVE to organize. From my classroom instruments, to school supplies, to planning, I feel it is important to be organized. Items need to be easy and convenient to find in order to save time and be efficient.
Here are my tips for being organized in the music room:
#1: Label EVERYTHING
In my classroom, I have EVERYTHING labeled! Every cabinet, every instrument, every supply. Every item has a label. This not only makes it convenient for myself, but everything is clearly labeled so my students know that each item has their own special place in our classroom. Here are some pictures of the many labels in my classroom.
My new classroom features wall-to-wall cabinets. This is perfect for staying organized. On each cabinet, I have a label on the door. This not only helps me to remember where every item is located in my classroom, but if I ever have a guest teacher in my room, they are able to find the items as well. And they also add some cuteness! :)
Inside the cabinets, I also have my instruments labeled.
Wooden instruments feature a red label, while metal instruments have a blue label. Most labels also include a picture of the instruments for those students that can't quite read. Looking for your own set of classroom instrument labels? Check out my set of classroom labels.
This set is color-coded for the type of instrument. Each label also includes a picture.
Besides my small classroom instruments being labeled, I also have my xylophones labeled. Each xylophone features soprano, alto, or bass on the instrument.
I have a free set in my store! Click the picture to check them out!
One of my favorite features in my room are my crate seats. These crate seats are used for storing items. They can also be quickly grabbed and used as a seat. I label each crate and store items that I often use in my classroom. These crates feature movement props, puppets, scarves, and masks. And of course, each crate is labeled!
When it comes to my desk, I used a teacher toolbox to organize all of my desk supplies. Here is a picture of my toolbox.
Everything from Band-aids to pencils are stored in my toolbox. Like these labels? I have two options available in my store! It is so much easier to just look at the toolbox to find what I need, instead of digging through a desk.
Behind my desk, I have a Copy/Grade/File three-drawer filing system. There are many free options available on Teachers Pay Teachers.
Instead of piling items on my desk, I stick them in one of these drawers. I wish I could find a set of four drawers so I could add a label for "return." For now, papers that need returned to students are stored in the "file" drawer.
To keep my art supplies organized, I purchased shower caddies in the dollar spot at Target. In each caddy, I have glue sticks, crayons, and scissors. I even color-matched the scissors to the caddy. I keep the caddies stored on my counter so they are easily accessible to students.
By having different colors in the art caddies, I can also categorize groups by color for classroom management! For example, I may have my blue friends, or those students at the blue caddy, share an answer or perform for the class.
#2: Command Hooks are your best friend!
I love to use Command Hooks in my classroom for organization. My favorite way to use Command Hooks is for storing bulletin borders. Most people, and I was one of them, roll up the borders and stick them in a drawer. When it comes time to use them, they do not want to lay flat. Instead of rolling borders up in a drawer, use Command Hooks in a cabinet or closet.
Attach hooks to cabinet or wall. Keep borders in the plastic wrap. Use a binder clip to clip border packaging and hand on hook. Nice and organized!
I also use Command Hooks on my bulletin board to store dry erase markers. I bought cheap buckets in the Target Dollar Spot. I store the markers in the bucket and then hang on the hook. I also used Command Hooks on my Piano Rewards bulletin board. Similar to my marker storage, I placed the hooks on the board. I then hooked buckets onto the hooks. Inside the buckets, I store clothespins that have class names on them for my incentive board. You can see the buckets and Command Hooks on my bulletin board below!
#3: Organize your planning
When it comes to having a successful year, it is important to organize your planning. There are many resources available to help plan and organize your curriculum. One resource that I recently purchased is Lindsay Jervis' "Ready, Set, Plan: Yearly Planning for the Elementary Music Classroom."
In this resource, Lindsay provides everything you need to plan for a year in your classroom. This set features a yearly plan template. My favorite part of this source is that she includes song list for each grade. The song lists are created in an order that is developmentally appropriate for students. Once you have a song list, the planning is much easier. These song lists have helped organize my lesson planning to fit in a sequential order for each grade level throughout the year.
When it comes to lesson planning, I have been using David Row's FREE lesson plan templates.
These templates make it very easy to organize your lesson. Each template allows you to check off the standards and focus area. It also includes a section for materials needed, objectives, review, and assessments. My favorite part of this template is that David's includes a section for transitions. Many times, teachers don't plan for transitions. With this template, I am able to organize my thoughts and plans for each music lesson, including the transitions. Also, by listing the materials needed, I can quickly grab what I need prior to my students' arrival in order to be more organized in my lesson.
#4: Use a planner
Use a planner, use a planner, use a planner! With a planner, I can plan and organize my year. I can make reminders, lists, put in grades, and mark events. This year, I am using an Erin Condren Teacher Planner. I won this planner at the French Lick Blogger Meet-up. Even though I LOVE Erin Condren's life planners, the teacher planner is pretty awesome as well. However, it is not very suited for special area teachers. The teacher planner features items such as classroom birthdays, grades, student information, etc. With a class of 30 students, this is ideal. However, when you teach over 600 students, these features are of no use. As a result, next year, I am planning on investing in a teacher planner geared toward music teachers. In particular, I have had my eye on The Yellow Brick Road's Editable Music Teacher Planner.
This planner features a data tracking section, binder spine inserts, blank forms and checklists, calendars, class lists, contacts, desktop organizers, notes and lists, planners and schedules, resource forms and checklist, seating charts and class jobs, sub binder, and tutorials. It is also editable and easily customizable. It is specifically designed with music teachers in mind. My favorite feature is that it has a section for you to place sticky notes. I have sticky notes all over my desk. This planner allows you to place the note in your planner and move your tasks from week to week. I think this will be a great tool in organizing and planning my classroom in the future.
Thank you for stopping by my blog in the Back-to-School Music Blog Hop. I hope you learned some tips and strategies for classroom organization! Now on to the next stop. Click on the picture below to visit Tracy King at Mrs. King Rocks where she will be giving tips on creating classroom resources yourself!
Enjoy the rest of the hop!