For years, and I mean years, I tried a variety of ways to store my guided reading and reading center activities. It was not until the 2018-2019 school year that I took some time the summer before school started to organize my materials in a more functional way.
I love the neatness of a binder or the storage drawers, but I know myself. Out of sight, out of mind… and that is exactly what always happened. I needed a way to keep my materials handy and visual. Then a-ha! It is simple but so effective and I am going to share my system with you.
Instead of writing about it all, I figured I would share the video conversation with you! I had the opportunity to connect with Cassie from Create-abilities and we had a chat about small group organization! Even if you do not teach reading, these principles can easily work for math and other subjects!
I hope you were able to tune in and gain some takeaways from our chat! Here are the main takeaways to implement this system…
- these magazine holders from Amazon! They come 12 in a pack for about $18-$20 which is a deal!
- the Target adhesive squares from the dollar spot. They cost around $3 per pack. If you choose not to use the adhesive squares, you can laminate your tables and tape or velcro them to the boxes!
- these simple reading skills labels that I made… you can easily make your own and include different wording or additional skills/strategies. Create a square that is about 3.4×3.4 inches in size; it will fit nicely into the adhesive pockets! Then choose a font/color, and print! I prefer to print the labels onto one of my favorite Astrobrights packs: Bright Assortment!
The contents I keep inside of the boxes are basic classroom staples I use for guided reading. So far, these include:
I love sliding these reading skills posters into a photo frame from the Dollar Tree! Students have the mini charts in their reading notebooks but they do not bring those to the guided reading table all the time. I keep a small group set of 6 (with a couple extra) in the bin with a larger copy (trimmed down to 8×10) that will fit into my photo frame! I also keep the small charts in a notebook at the table for teacher and student access to all the skills. I print them onto colored card stock. These also come digital for students to access at school, at home, or on the go!
These reading skills tri-folds allow students to work on a reading skill or strategy throughout the week. Each trifold spans across 5 days (Sections A-E). Some can be done in one or two days but have the ability to allow for multiple practices. These are space-saving and store nicely. I keep a master copy in my box for quick access to pull and copy. A digital option is in the works!
These reading graphic organizers are a student favorite! They love using sticky notes and these are perfect for that! I print my copies double-sided and laminate them for reuse. You can also use sheet protectors or print on a durable material like card stock. I keep a laminated set of 6 (with a couple extra) in each box!
Wow! My students love using sticky notes and imagine their faces to get to write responses on a pre-printed reading sticky note! It is super easy to print onto them and if you have never tried it – learn how here! I keep a master template in my box. When I want to use them, I will ready the template pages into my printer. If I am short on prep time, I will print these onto color paper and cut apart. The size is not intimidating and they are super fun to use!
Another staple! Reading Bookmarks serve as an amazing tool with multiple purposes. It saves places in books when we have to end our reading group and also is a tool to record student thinking. These also use… you guessed it! Sticky notes! I keep a laminated (double-sided) set of 6 bookmarks (plus… you guessed it again! …a couple of extras!) in each box. They are ready for grab-and-go use! I created a digital version of these bookmarks for students to use in school or at home!
I keep a master of these notebook flap printables in each box. When I want to give students an interactive way to respond, these flaps do the trick! I allow students to paste them into composition notebooks or onto construction paper. As a tip, I usually print the template and use the paper cutter to cut around all the main edges. I leave the dotted lines for students to cut (which they love) and it takes no time!
Never underestimate the power of sentence stems! Since incorporating sentence stems into some of my resources, I have seen a tremendous improvement in student output. Most of the time, they just need a way to get started – that’s the tricky part. I also love that sentence stems provide a way to give variety with how to begin an oral or written response. These reading response stem cards also use sticky notes (Hallelujah!!) and will be digital in the near future! I print these onto colored Astrobrights card stock and laminate for reuse!
Want to check out the contents I just shared?
Here is a Context Clues freebie that includes all 7 of the resources mentioned above that live in my reading skills and strategies boxes!
Love what you see?
I have separated most of my reading skills into individual sets and added them into a bundle as requested by several teachers!
Check out the Reading Skills Activities Bundle HERE!
I hope you are able to get your small group skills organized and functional, too! It will save time, in the long run, to do the hard work upfront!