Made 4 Math #5- Organizing Unit Activities

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.


  1. An organized teacher is a happy teacher! Love it!


  2. Ohmahgod - I love the idea of a spreadsheet listing activities in the order you would use them during the year! Brilliant! (Can you tell I have also made the same activity twice?)

  3. So your next #made4math is sharing some of these cool sounding activities, right?? :)

    Great job on organizing! I love the idea of the spreadsheet!

  4. Your post and pictures inspired me to work on my filing! Right now, I'm in the "It's worse before it gets better" stage, but I'm optimistic. Great idea about the spreadsheet. Thanks for sharing!