Functioning in Guided Whatever Groups

Hello all!

I am Haley from Owls and Lessons, Etc. and I'm really excited to share with you a look into my guided groups organization!

I can hear my co-workers hysterically laughing right now... really?  Organized?  Unfortunately, I missed the organization gene and have had to really. work. at. being. organized.

This was a gift from a coworker... she knows me all too well!!

The struggle is real.

I have really tried this year to keep my desk and guided group area organized and functioning so that I can maximize time and instruction at my table... not digging for books or highlighting tape.

At the beginning of the year, everything looked so fresh and clean. Then by the time September has ended, I usually have piles everywhere.  Long live the Pile Queen!

This was my guided whatever area before I reorganized... not too bad, but it wasn't functioning as well as it could.  Nothing was clearly labeled and I had other things besides my guided group materials.  Cleanse and purge time!

Here is what I did and my "why"... you know, because we get the kids to explain why to us all the time!

For my guided reading groups, I go once a week (sometimes more) to my school's wonderfully stocked bookroom and pull books for my groups.  Once I get back to my room, I will sort my books into each group's reading basket.  Any other extra materials I'll need, graphic organizers, etc., I'll put into a bin labeled Reading Materials.

Don't you just love those dry erase pockets?  They are a must have in any classroom!  

For my reading groups, I bought the chapter book sized bins so that I have more room for books and notebooks.  In each group's bin, I keep each student's reading workshop notebook. The marbled composition books are my favorite size, but spirals will fit just fine. While my students sort their word study cards, I just reach and grab their notebooks from their group basket and pass out while I listen to them sort and justify. In their notebooks, they have the book they read the day before.  Everything is kept organized for a quick start to each group.


I also keep anything my students may need at the table in my bins- extra pencils, highlighting tape, reading strips, sticky notes, whatever.  They are in my awesome bins with labels so I can just point and say "Get it!"  We use sticky notes for just about everything. Below is an example of a student's work as he read the story "The Josefina Story Quilt", looking for characters, setting, problem, and solution.  Keeping them in close reach is really a no-brainer!

For math, I have the smaller binder bins to hold my students' folders. I have them sorted by group with other bins for my most used manipulatives, dice, and other math things.

The labels are ones that I made and printed on cardstock.  Really Good Stuff has a template for Labels for Life when you purchase these bins, but a simple ruler and text box skills will get you labels just as quickly, especially if you have to have everything in a gorgeous font! #selfproclaimedfontsnob

All supplies are easily found and within reach.  Even the children know what to grab if I'm working with another student.

I know it seems like a very simple system, but simple works.  I always enjoy seeing ideas from other teachers and how they have their materials organized.

Thanks for reading today!


  1. I'm so proud of your organization!! :)

    1. Thank you! Organization is not one of my strong points, but using this system has definitely helped!