Questions... lots of questions!

Sunday, January 22, 2012
Morning bloggers!
I am in desperate help of having some questions answered. I KNOW that you can help me. First, I LOVE to teach by anchoring to a book or story. But I am struggling with the organization of the books and lessons. When we were a reading first school and had to do vocabulary driven read a louds, our literacy coach would create a folder system and we would check out the folder we needed and return it when finished. I guess that I am wishing that I had something like that now. But here is where the problem or potential problem comes in... if I pull and store those books in folders, then I don't have a copy in my classroom library. ugh! I guess the problem actually goes deeper... as I am adding wonderful resources from places like TPT, or through workshops, I am struggling to keep it all organized! If you have a blog post or can share how you keep your teaching books organized, or the bigger picture all the teaching themes organized... please share the link - I'm on my knees begging here.

Ok so now to problem number 2! I have torn the "stuff" that holds the knee cap in place and possibly broken something close to the tear. So I have been taken off work. I've cried, I've screamed, but the reality is that I get a few days of vacation until my case moves from the workers comp doctor over to the orthopedic doctor. I'll admit it, I'm a control freak! Not so much with people or the kids but it comes screaming to the surface when you start talking about the "stuff" in my room! My class this year is just not the group to keep things in order. They just don't care. I've tried to minimize the "stuff" that they will be using down to the "I don't care if it gets lost or broken" stuff. I guess it helps to know that each child had crayons with their name on them kept in a bag in the center of their table. These are now in my closet and the "group" work crayons are in the table buckets. I'm the kind of person who doesn't like my marker tips smooshed or my crayons broken. And some of my students are too, so we label everything! This really helps to teach responsibility, but I've got 3-4 that just could care less.

I'm faced with writing sub plans and creating centers that the sub can actually run. Mind you most of our subs have a high school diploma and really feel that they don't need or have to teach anything. The end of that is BIG because I need them teaching... but I can't write plans that are too long or they just stop reading and following them. So how do you handle subs in your room? And what if it's more than one day... say 2-3 weeks to recover from surgery?

Thanks for helping....


  1. Let's see...for book organization, the best thing I ever did was to take a day and type a word document that listed all the places where I have books...and then under each location, I listed EVERY book there. It helps me because, if i need a book and am not sure if I have it, then all I have to do is open that document and use the search option to find it in the document...which then tells me where it is located.
    As for subs, the only times I have been out for an extended period of time was my maternity leaves...and that was with a cert. teacher sub...but I left DETAILS of what to do and how to do it. It went great! =) Hope that helps!
    First Grade Blue SKies

  2. Karen, maybe I can help you with some of your questions.

    I'm very anal retentive about my books as well, so what I do is divide my books. Board books, which are nearly indestructible, go in every center. I have board books about animals in Science Center, books about numbered patterns and sorting in Math Center, books about vehicles, buildings, places and trucks in Construction Center, etc. I have really expensive read-alouds in different shelves in my house. I categorize the books on the computer and then type in the title when I want to find it and bring it to school for that lesson. I also found a great web site called "Good Reads" ( that allows you to organize your books virtually by title and shelf/category. Being a blind pre-k teacher, I have to be super-organized. So I place the books in Library Center by theme (also sometimes by author or type of book). For example, during my five senses unit I place a tub of touch/feel/smell books in Library Center that the students go nuts for.

    I don't want to make this post too long, so feel free to email me if you have more questions. I've been teaching for over 20 years. Oh, and stop by my blog for some really cute freebies. :-)

    Sharon Dudley, NBCT

  3. ugh the destruction! its driving me nuts as well! It is definitely my "button pusher" when kids destroy my stuff that I buy with my own moola! Grr. One thing I've tried with supplies at their tables is awarding supply stars. I do random supply checks, if every member of the table has all their crayons in their altoid tin(what i use for crayons) and the pencils are all in the communal cup then the table earns the star. 5 stars= a new supply at their table to share such as markers or twistables. I found this idea at some blog but of course no clue where!
    Oh and when my books are getting destroyed I take them all away and all they get are board books and do mini lessons on book handling during literacy stations.

    I share your frustration. WHere do you teach? urban? I'm in Milwaukee, WI and find the destruction of supplies. comes with the urban poverty. I just don't get it.


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