I love sorting! I like to create activities for students to sort things and find patterns and make predictions. Or just anything hand-on that makes math concepts come to life.
I did very few my first year up to quite a few my third year. So after three years, I had accumulated a large pile of activities. Before school ended, I cleaned and organized my room. I began to find activities I had forgotten about. I started throwing them all into one filing cabinet drawer for "later".
Later finally came.
While in St. Louis for #TMC12, I visited a Dollar Tree and bought 8 cute bins. Then I went to school and dragged everything out of that hideous drawer and stuffed it in a trash can. Literally, I couldn't find anything else to carry all that crap in.
I brought them home and gave them the evil eye all night long. Finally, I made a deal with myself that I would organize them into three piles (Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II) and leave the rest for the next day.
From there, I sorted activities in the order I teach them for each class. I put everything I could into expandable files. All the overflow was then sorted into bins. Of course I wanted to color code but my expandable files were pink, purple, and teal and my bins were green and blue. So I ghetto color coordinated: I just used pink, purple, and teal index cards taped inside each bin to label the contents.
Now everything looks so nice and pretty! But then I will go to school and shove all these into a drawer. How will I ever find anything? How will I avoid making the same activity twice? (Yeah, that happened.)
A handy-dandy spreadsheet to the rescue! (Now, if I was Julie it would be a google doc, but I'm not Julie). I made a tab for each course and of course- color coordinated- pink, purple, and teal. Then I typed in what was in each tab and if there was a corresponding bin. I even color coordinated the text in each tab! Yay for color!
Now I can easily see what I have for each unit and easily add in (hopefully) new activities.