New Way to Organize My Interactive Notebooks

I use three interactive notebooks in my classroom each year. In years past I have had three composition notebooks just like my students. But this year I will be organizing my notebooks, not my students, in a three ring binder. This will allow me to lay each page flat under the document camera. I can change the order of the pages that I prep this summer as I am teaching them. 

The materials I have at home this summer to help prep and reorganize my interactive notebooks are:


  • 3″ three ring binder
  • 3 packs of notebook paper
  • Colored paper
  • 3 dividers 
  • Markers
  • Color pencils
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Post it notes
  • Tape

The notebook is divided into three sections:


  • Math
  • Science
  • Social studies

To ensure that I include all of my favorite notebook activities in my new notebook I have my interactive notebooks from the past two years to guide me. 

I have started prepping many units in my new notebook. Here is a little preview of posts to come!

Standard, EQ, and the Line of Learning

Math Practice and Answer Keys

Organization for Taxes

I hate tax season! I feel like I am never organized enough or have anything set up to help me get ready to meet with the tax accountant. This year was our first with filing as an ordained minister which was even scarier because we didn’t know what to expect. 

Last Friday we sat down with a new accountant to file our taxes and it went sooooo well! She told us what to keep up with as far as deductibles and receipts. So I have come up with a system based off of her advice and my great friend Laurie’s organization idea!

I have a notebook for taxes now. In it are sheets for each type of deductible to track and sheet protectors to store receipts in.


I am tracking education, school/teacher supplies, home expenses, medical, dental, ministry, and donations! Each section has a recording sheet.


 I record the date, store/location, and amount of money. Then I store the receipt or check stub in the page protector behind it.


 I think this is really going to help me stay organized for next year’s taxes. Or at least I hope (fingers crossed).

Any other ideas on how to stay organized for this not so pleasant time of year? 

Cleaning Out My House

Every year after Christmas we purge throughout the entire house. We go through all of the closets, drawers, cabinets, and baskets to determine what can and what cannot be thrown out. It is a long process, but when the house is organized and neat it is so worth it.

This year’s pile is MASSIVE! My husband keeps everything (and won’t let me purge as much as I would like to) and I do crafts (you never know what you may need), SO we have an abundance of stuff. This would be great if we lived in a house with 4 or 5 bedrooms and a full basement. My tiny 5 room house will not hold all of the extras. There are only 3 closets in the entire house (one is the tiniest coat closet you have ever seen), so organization is a must.

As I continue this purge (especially of clothing) I am reminded of how blessed I am. God has given us the means to provide and fill (to the MAX) our home with anything and everything we could want. What some people wouldn’t do for the clean coffee canister (that I hold onto for who knows what reason) sitting in my spare bedroom (the benefits of no kids).

Thank you Lord for the gifts you continually give us and how we are able to share those gifts with others by donating them!


Easy Access

At my school we serve breakfast on the hallways. In order to do this we have cards for students to hand the cafeteria workers when they get there breakfast (so they know whose accounts to charge). The first year we did this I just dumped all of the breakfast cards on a table each morning.
Total CHAOS!
Last year I had a poster with card holders. This worked very well, but the poster fell apart from the wear and tear.
Good idea, just needs to be executed better.
This year I got some expert advice from The Resource Center on how to execute my endeavor best.

First they had me draw on my poster and laminate it. I simply wrote “Breakfast Cards” on the top. Then they laminated my pockets and helped me cut the slits for the pockets. We then attached the pockets to the poster using two 2″ strips of double sided sticky tape. To add a cute factor we used name tags on each pocket. I wrote student numbers on each tag (in hopes of using the pockets again) but you could write names on them.


After all of the pockets are attached the poster looks like this:


I plan on hanging it on the inside of my classroom door so students can grab there card on the way out to breakfast! Easy Access!

Setting Up A Teacher Binder

If I could have majored in “organization” in college I would have been in heaven. I LOVE to organize and color coordinate!!! Although eight and nine year old boys and girls do not care about the organization of the classroom, I do. I must know where everything is at all times and be able to get to it quickly and easily. Because of this need I have one binder that is mine. I keep all of my essentials in it so that in a hurry I can grab it and go. The basic ideas for what to include in this binder came from Beyond the Grades blog.


I created my own cover, but there are a ton of free more colorful binder covers out there. Check out the free chevron covers and free black and white options!


I use 8 tabs in my notebook. The first tab is Student Information. I keep all of my students’ names, their parents’ names, phone numbers, e-mails, and address on one or two sheet of paper. This is an easy way to quickly look up the information I may need in order to contact a parent while I’m at home. The second tab is Student Data. I keep data sheets for both of my classes which include CRCT scores from the previous year, Benchmark scores, DRA levels, words per minute, math fact accomplishments, Big 20 scores, etc. This is very useful in meetings and when making phone calls to parents. The third tab is Curriculum Maps. I keep a copy of all of the curriculum maps for the content areas I teach. This allows me to plan from home if I need to. The fourth tab is Grades. I keep a paper grade book in case the Power School grade book ever crashes or a parent has a quick question about a particular assignment’s grade. The fifth tab is PLC notes. I have the agendas from all PLCs for the year as well as any articles or journals we are reading in those meetings. The sixth tab is Grade Level Meetings. I keep meeting notes, agendas, and ideas for the next meeting here. I use the meeting notes stationary found here.  The seventh tab is Faculty Meetings. It is similar to grade level meetings. The final tab is Lesson Plan Ideas. I keep blank paper here for jotting down ideas for future lessons, rough drafts of unit lessons, etc. To down load the cover pages for each section please click here (for the font to work download cinnamon cake from here).


I also keep a calendar in the front of my notebook. I found this cute chevron calendar at The Nest Effect for free!

So now that my notebook is prepped and ready for the next school year, you should go prepare yours. Buy a bright colored binder and find or create a cute cover. Set up your tabs the way that bests suits you and do not forget to have fun with it! It is summer after all.

Student Organization

I am your typical Type A personality who wants everything to have a place and be in that place. Eight and nine year old students are not so concerned with this organizational need that I have, so when I got my teaching job I began to think of how I wanted students to keep their belongings. To throw in a curve ball, I was told that two classes of students would be in my room and need to be able to store all of their reading, writing, and ELA “stuff” in my classroom. Yikes!

I looked at each student having a magazine box to store their belongings in.

Magazine Racks

I looked at each student having a cloth bag to keep their belongings in.


I also considered have students leave their belongings in the baskets under their desks.

I didn’t love any of those ideas. Then I saw it! A teacher down the hall from me had drawers for her students to store their school stuff in. Each set of drawers had six drawers and each student was assigned a drawer. Several notebooks, folders, and children’s books could fit in them. They were durable. I got drawers.

I have 8 sets of drawers (6 drawers in each set for a total of 48 drawers).

drawers 1

I put two different colored labels on the drawers (my homeroom will be orange this next year, and my partner’s homeroom will be blue).

drawers 2               drawers 3

I made the labels using the free polka dot classroom labels found here. I added numbers to them in cinnamon cake font found here. I also made a set of the labels for my partner in green and purple. If you want a free download of the labels made for my room click here.

The labels are printed on regular paper and laminated. Then I cut them out and put four small dots of hot glue on the backs of them. Quickly place them onto the outside of the drawers just under the handle. The labels stay put all year, but are easy to take off if you want to switch out labels later.

This will be my third year using these drawers. They hold up remarkably well and store a good bit of supplies. I have found these are worth the investment and keep my students organized!


Preperation for Open House

I have experienced two Open House nights and when thinking about my third I feel exhausted. Each year I end up worn out and dead tired by the end of the night. When I ask other teachers how they survive the night and still have energy the response is a resounding, “We are ALL exhausted.”

There has to be a better way to work through Open House. As I scanned Pinterest one night I found a pin which led me to Tunstall’s Teaching Tidbits‘ post all about Open House. After reading her post I felt like such an idiot I should have thought of that.

I have created six stations for Open House. At Station 1, parents will find the folder with their child’s name on it. This folder will hold the medical card and information card our office and nurse must have on file. The parents will need to fill these out in the classroom before leaving. There will be a basket for them to place the finished folders in afterwards.

Station 1

At Station 2, parents will inform me how their student will get home on the first day of school. My school gives me a form for this and will simply be sitting with the station sign and some pens.

Station 2

At Station 3, parents are asked to find their child’s desk in the room, watch a power point presentation which will be on loop on the SMARTboard, and take the folder on the desk home with them to read. I found a great power point presentation package at Ladybug’s Teacher Files for free. The link to the FREE presentation is here. I added all of my information to the presentation with my teaching partner and am sure it has more than enough detail for my parents.

Station 3

At Station 4, parents are asked to sign up for text message updates and Twitter. I have a Twitter account to update parents on classroom activities, tests, etc. The text messages I send are through Remind 101. It is a free app which allows you to text a large group without giving the group your cell phone number.

Station 4

At Station 5, parents are welcomed to take a refreshment and read about some additional classroom supplies we will need. I give parents a water bottle and flavor packet. The labels for the packet are FREE when you click here. I also give the students a small bag of goldfish with a tag found here attached. The additional supplies are written on a die cut apple. I got this idea from Lesson Plan SOS.

Station 5

At Station 6, parents are asked to meet Mrs. Ruff and her teaching partners before they leave.

Station 6

I have made these station signs in 7 different color options. They are also editable and can be changed to whatever you would like. I have printed mine in the blue and orange option, glued them to white construction paper to make them thicker, and laminated them. These station signs are FREE here.

I cannot wait to try this method to open house out. Pictures to come afterwards of course!