Lets talk about file organization! I think we can all agree here that organizing those endless stacks of papers can be less than exciting, and honestly quite exhausting. I organize mine in a way that allows me to enjoy my school year without the stress of feeling cluttered and unprepared. Yes, it took time to get to where I’m at now, but it was SO worth it. The system I use saves my sanity most days.
Lets talk colors! I use bright, fun colors on EVERYTHING. I do this because it is more appealing for me to look at. Sure, I’m the only person who ever really gets a look inside the filing cabinets, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be fun to look at. I print ALL of my dividers on standard printer paper in rainbow colors.
These dividers go in front of EVERYTHING in my two large filing cabinets. All I do is simply staple them to the front of a file folder once I have things in place. This helps divide my papers without those tiny plastic labels getting blocked by my files when they are full. This saves me more time than I can even explain, and it only really took me 45 minutes to print and staple them all.
My files are organized in a number of ways. Letters for example; I organized my letters in order from A-Z even though I teach them out of order during the school year. The A-Z progression just flows better for me personally, but you definitely could organize them in the order in which they are used in your classroom. As shown above, each file has its own colored divider for clear separation. I use standard green hanging files, filled with manila file folders that separate each activity for each letter. This allows me to simply pull what I need for the day, instead of having to grab an entire folder containing multiple activities.
Numbers are also organized in order from 1-25.
Colors and shapes are organized in order of how I teach them.
Sight words are organized alphabetically.
(Note how my dividers are stapled!! I put the dots just barely above the top of the file folder when I staple. If it hands down at the bottom thats okay, the filing cabinet allows enough space for it to have no effect.)
FREE Number Template Download: https://organizedpreschoolteacher.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Numbers-1-25.pptx
FREE Alphabet Template Download: https://organizedpreschoolteacher.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Letters-A-Z.pptx
FREE Sight Word Template Download: https://organizedpreschoolteacher.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Sight-Words.pptx
FREE Themes Template Download: https://organizedpreschoolteacher.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Themes.pptx
Each manila file folder is clearly, and boldly labeled with a black sharpie to allow for quick grabbing when I’m in a hurry. I print and prep ALL of my materials before the school year begins; which allows me to enjoy my evenings at home with my own children without having to stay late in order to finish work for the following days. My Letter Books end up getting cut, and stapled together, then bagged up into a gallon Ziploc bag. I put them in the bag to prevent them from spilling all over the place if the file tips while I transport it to my classroom. Looking for the files I have here in my letter folders?
You can find the ENTIRE ALPHABET here for just $20:
See my FREE letter A unit here:
Themes Activity Bundles: ALL of my themed activity bundles get printed, prepped, cut, laminated (whatever they require) as soon as I have the files completed. It typically takes one evening to do 2 or 3 themed units. I begin prepping these in June typically. My themes are stored in the order in which they get used in my classroom.
Here’s a closer look into how I store the “current theme” for our classroom. These activities get stored in my smaller filing cabinet. I use the same type of system as I do for my letters! Files are placed into manila folders (OR LARGE ENVELOPES) based on the activity itself. Activities that are just one page go into the large envelopes with a photo of the activity glued to the front. Activities with multiple pieces go into large envelopes and slid into labeled manila folders. *See below*
My other small filing cabinets have MANY helpful items in them! One is used for Teacher supplies and extra construction paper.
One cabinet is used for printer ink and our current theme.
One cabinet is used for enrollment forms and student information.
And the final filing cabinet is used for personal files (which I won’t be showing here).
Having my files stored in this manner has tremendously improved my productivity in class, and has almost eliminated the need for me to spend ANY time in my classroom before or after school. This gives me FREEDOM, something I used to only dream about. I will not lie to you, it takes time, and it was not exactly cheap, but it works for me. Even if you can’t incorporate everything shown here, and you can only do bits and pieces, I do hope that it helps lead you toward a more stress free organizational system.
If you have any question for me, or you’d like to see more, please don’t hesitate to leave me a comment below! I check them daily.