Earlier this week I saw Ms. K's Little Rays post on Daily 5 which got me thinking about how mine run. I love love love my literacy centers every day! Every year I am constantly changing bits and pieces to make it better for each of my classes. One part of my literacy centers that has always been tough for me to keep organized is the meet the teacher station. How is it that I can keep my kiddos organized, but I can't always keep ME organized??
I've had these bin organizers for a couple of years and I've never had a great use for them. I've used them for extra supplies and I tried using them for word work - neither things were effective uses of the space.
When my friend and professional organizer Danielle helped me put my room together this year, we really wanted to make these bins work. We decided to have them essentially be the command center of my guided reading materials. This has worked out perfectly for me! In previous years, all of my materials were scattered in several different places and I never felt fully prepared during groups. I was always up and around looking for letter mats or whiteboards. Now I have everything in one spot right behind my table.
For now, post-its are a perfect temporary labeling system for these bins until I get a firm idea of where I want everything. Activities, as you know, are ever changing during small groups so whatever labels I end up using will need to be easily removable so I can switch them out easily. Right now, most of my students are working on a Pre-A level. We're using a lot of letter and name activities. Here's what I have in these bins so far:
Having this system has helped my groups to move so smoothly because I have everything ready and prepped for each group and it's all in one spot! Another thing that my kindergarteners work hard on is knowing when I'm unavailable to them during centers. I always try to have a clear signal that shows them that my attention is needed at my group and that I cannot be interrupted. I have tried several things and this year I'm using a lamp behind my table. If the light is one, it signifies that I'm working with a group and cannot be interrupted. It's working well so far!
There is always room for improvement, so I'm sure that this will be ever-changing throughout the year! I'm already prepping mix & fix activities for our sight words. How do you set up your meet with the teacher stations?