I am not a naturally organized person, as I've told you before. When I started downloading freebies from other teaching blogs, I needed a way to keep track of them all. Literacy center storage, especially, was a challenge.
Here's my solution for storing centers and keeping centers organized!
First of all, if it's something I'm looking at at home, I save it to either Google Docs or pin it to Pinterest (follow me here) so I can find it easily again at school.
(Would anyone have an interest in hearing how I organize my Google Docs?)
Once I print it, I laminate everything including the recording sheet, if there is one. Laminating the original helps me keep kids from using it, and it helps it hold up to (hopefully) years of copying. I can actually still run it through the automatic feed on our copier!
The cover sheet, if there is one, goes on the front of a manila folder. Eventually, I would love to laminate my folders, too, and just cut a slit for the opening with an X-acto knife, but it hasn't happened yet! Maybe this summer?
If there is a directions sheet (separate from the cover), like this free possessive nouns sort from Pitner's Potpourri, it goes on the back of the folder.
Inside, I put the laminated recording sheet and enough copies for my class (with a couple of extras because someone inevitably loses theirs or accidentally does it twice...)
All pieces go inside, too. Usually, I try to put small pieces in a Ziploc bag. Otherwise, they tend to get mixed in with the papers.
(Isn't this an adorable free nouns, verbs, adjectives sort from Tales of a Teacherista?)
Since the little claspy things don't especially hold up well, I don't bother using them.
Once the center is ready, I just store the envelope. Right now, I'm using a plastic filebox and they just stick out of the top. This worked this year, as I was a new teacher just starting to print/laminate all these wonderful freebies. I need to come up with a better solution for next year, though, especially so I can sort them into different topics/ holidays. I could just get more of fileboxes, but I'm open to other suggestions!
Because so many of my math centers are just one page games with no extra pieces (except for dice and counters), those centers are put into a binder and kept in plastic page protectors until I need them.
When it's time to use a center, I just pull out the manila envelope, copy the recording sheet if it's not already done, and stick the folder in the cheap plastic basket at that center spot. If students will need dice or counters, they know where to go and get them in the classroom. I keep them in little cups for easy storage!
I love storing centers in these envelopes because everything is already together and easy to move around the room. The students know that everything they need is in the folder, and everything goes back in the folder when they are done.
How do you store all your center materials? I am always looking for center organization tips! :)