First, let me tell you this room wasn’t part of the original floor plan of our basement. Our basement is large and finished but sorely lacking in organized storage spaces. We thought about simply building a wall of shelves at the far end and hiding them behind a curtain or sliding closet doors. A contractor we’ve used on several home projects suggested we build a wall a few feet out from the shelves and truly make a room instead of just a closet. Best idea ever!
Here’s the view when you’re in the doorway…
Doesn’t every teacher love Big Books? I sure do but they can be very awkward and cumbersome to store. I’ve used laundry baskets, plastic tubs, and even tall kitchen trashcans to hold these big literary monsters. Nothing worked as well as I wanted. One time I saw a wooden storage book box at a teacher convention so I snapped a picture and showed to my husband. He immediately said, “I can build that!”. So now I have a customized a Big Book Box! It’s on little casters so I can roll it out of the storage cubby, pick what I want to take in and read to the class, and then roll it back in it’s place.
My monthly boxes are one of the main reasons I yearned for a good storage place at home. I don’t need to have daily access to them but I also don’t want them buried under piles of other stuff. They are on the very top of the shelves and fit perfectly. Out of the way but where I can get to them. I have a small step stool in my resource room that I use whenever I need to fetch a box.
The boxes are the plastic Sterlite brand which I purchased from Target about twelve years ago. They’ve held up incredibly well and were definitely a worthy investment. I remember buying two or three at a time when they were on sale because I couldn’t justify buying them all at once.
These boxes contain things that are pertinent to that month. For example, the October box has all of my pumpkin centers, fall decorations, seasonal craft items, October poems/charts/songs for my pocket charts, calendar pieces, etc. A few days before each month begins, I take down the next monthly box and sort through the contents. It helps with my lesson planning and gets me ready for what’s coming up.
I am blessed to have lots of alphabet/literacy/language resources! I think it’s my favorite thing to teach and my favorite resources to collect! This is an important part of the resource room because I am constantly taking things to school to use for learning at the teacher table, switching out items in centers, and trying to meet individual student needs. These tubs are sorted by the types of language arts activities they contain. I knew I’d never remember what was in each tub so I typed up an inventory list and posted it to the end of the tub. A quick look and I can easily find what I want.
Tub 1 has a variety of letter manipulatives…everything from letter dice to letter rocks. Tub 2 contains resources to teach beginning sounds. This tub has lots of matching games, small puzzles, and pocket chart cards.
Tub 3 is exclusively for fine motor resources I use when we’re working on learning letters. It’s full of ABC rubber stamps, stencils, playdoh letter stampers, Wikki sticks, and even ABC crafting supplies! Tub 4 has several categories but mainly stores my rhyming and sight words resources.
I made three super large binders with alphabet “stuff” in them. It was challenging to remember what I had in miscellaneous teacher books so one day I sat down and basically disassembled them! I tore out pages from a huge stack of resource books and then reorganized everything I had. I put all the pages about letter A in one stack, all the B papers, and so on organizing all I had by the letter. That way if we’re working on the letter P at school, I can look in one notebook and easily find a P handwriting page, a piggy puppet pattern, a page of P clip art pictures, and a list of P art ideas. It has made planning so much easier to have everything together instead of having to look through a dozen books to find what I needed.
This language arts area also stores Nursery Rhyme flannel board pieces, puppets, and pocket chart phrases in addition to my Word Family and Guided Reading binders. Oh, I did the same thing with word family resource books as I did with my alphabet ones. Tore them all apart and filed everything by that particular word family. So when I’m planning to teach the -at family, I have a variety of activities in one place without having to flip through 4 or 5 teacher books to find what I want.