Organize It: File Cabinet Love

I have a slight obsession with file cabinets.  My custodians laugh when I ask for "just one more."  I currently have SIX in my classroom.  Yes, you read that right.  SIX.  It's getting a little out of control.

I just can't help it.  File cabinets hold SO MUCH STUFF!!!  And, of course, nothing gets dusty.  Bonus!

I like the two-drawer filing cabinets best.  The tall four-drawer ones block my sight-lines.  And every teacher knows that if a student can't be seen, they will probably be up to no good!!!

I love having the books I read aloud in my file cabinet.  They stay so nice and new, and I can find any book whenever I need it!  (The only caveat is that I have found a small number of hardcovers that are just plain too big to fit in the cabinet.)  This year I began using the AH-mazing BooksApp.  You can read more about how I organize my read alouds in my BooksApp Blog Post.

Since I began Math Workshop this year I found myself preparing SO many more materials for math.  I need a place to store them that was convenient.  Both my Teacher Read Aloud file cabinet and Math file cabinets are right next to my desk.  (Sorry, should have snapped a pic of that set-up!)  

I organize my math materials by skill (i.e. Addition, Compare Numbers, Graphing, Place Value, etc.).  

Within each green hanging folder I store my Focus Wall posters (if I have any), vocabulary cards, and folders with master copies of worksheets for Math by Myself.  It's hard to see in the picture, but the folders are labeled Coin Identification, Coin Value, and Coin Counting.  I have a TON of mixed practice books, and I was finding that without grouping my resources together by like-skill I was missing out on some fantastic independent practice.   

These "beauties" house my Reading A-Z info, Holidays, and ELA Games.  They are hideous looking, but very functional.  Someday I'll get crafty and cover them with pretty scrap paper and Mod Podge like I've seen all over Pinterest.  Someday, haha.  

After the kiddos left this year I started re-arranging furniture in my classroom.  I was able to get rid of a computer table because my student computers are being replaced with 10 iPads in the fall, WOOHOO! So now none of my students need to access my current computer table.  I have two computers, one that is hooked up to the Smart board and one that is for my use.  I had the custodians jack up my table so I could slide three file cabinets underneath.  What a space saver!  Sorry the pic is so awful... clearly you can tell I was in the midst of room cleaning/packing by that overflowing garbage can.  Yuck!
Please forgive this sloppy picture!

I LOVE using Reading A-Z during small-group reading time.  The books are high interest, and have great follow-up activities.  Plus the kids get to keep the books when we are done with them in reading group.  It's a great way for first graders to build a library at home for nightly reading practice, especially since it is so difficult to find low-level readers at bookstores!

I have a section for each DRA Level.  I created folders for each story that I like, printed a master copy of the book for easy photocopying, and printed the accompanying practice pages so I could easily choose what follow-up activity I'd like to use with each book.  SO easy to prep my reading groups, which is great because I have five reading groups each day.  I see every single student for small group reading each day.  I love that I get that small group time with them!  Planning for 25 reading group lessons each week can be challenging, but if you are organized it makes it so much easier!!! 

Of course I have a drawer for Holidays!!!  It's getting full though... I may need another file cabinet soon, haha!

I have a TON of ELA Games.  I don't do Centers in my classroom since I follow the Daily 5 (Read to Self, Read to Someone, Listen to Reading, Work on Writing, Word Work) while I teach small group reading.  On Fridays in reading group though I almost always have "game day."  This is where I use my ELA Games/Centers to reinforce phonics and vocabulary skills.

I have one more organizational post for you this week.  I'll be delving deeper into these ELA Games cabinets to show you how I make/organize/store all my games and centers.  Of course I found an amazing app to help me!  Until next time...

Happy Organizing!!


  1. It's always fun to keep your files organized! In doing so, you'll never have a hard time looking for a file or document when you need it. Labeling and organizing each alphabetically are also good ideas. Organize your files according to what you feel you're most comfortable with.

    -Ruby Badcoe @ WilliamsDataManagement

  2. Your organization motivates me! I just got a few file cabinets from this local place called OSI. ( they actually have some on clearance right now! Cant wait to get started!


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