Half day Kinder....how to keep it organized!

I am in my first year of 1/2 day Kinder....it is a lot to take on!  I've taught Kindegarten before but only full day.  I think after a few months in 1/2 day land I have a few tricks to share!

1/2 day creates a couple of unique problems. 
Kids share seats...
Kids share materials...
Kids share everything...
(even germs)
It was a real struggle to figure all this out at the beginning of the year. 

First of all.....where do they keep all their stuff?

Crayons: 
I found these little cups at IKEA this year and I keep 6 of them at each table.  Both groups use these crayons so they do get a little....well....used.  I switch them out quarterly which seems to be just the perfect time to start over. 

Scissors and Glue: 
I keep a caddy in the middle of the table with scissors and glue sticks.  They always have these materials ready to go so when they are working independently they don't have to ask me :) 

Pencils: 
I was keeping pencils in the caddy too and all 46 kids were using them throughout the day.  Let me tell you....it was a mess!  First off they really don't take care of materials when there is no accountability.  Chew on a pencil?  Sure....I'll grab a different one tomorrow!  Well, this fixed that....
I printed out regular labels and attached them to a Ticonderoga pencil (I never use anything else!)  To keep them attached I wrapped a little bit of scotch tape around the label and they stay attached for 9 weeks.  They are SO MUCH MORE CAREFUL with their pencils and their erasers when they get the same pencil every day.  I am currently on week 6 of the same pencils and I haven't had to replace one!  Not one!  Of course some of them look awful....but that's just life when you choose to chew on the top of your pencil. 

I sharpen these myself every other day.....my pencil sharpener loves me and my kiddos are always prepared.  Plus I never have to hear that awful sound during the middle of instruction or independent work! 

I collect the pencils at the end of each session.  When the new group comes in I just hand them out when we are ready to get to work (this gives me a chance to give directions before they start randomly writing whatever they want on their morning work!)  This also helps me take a quick attendance so I can get a handle on who is there and who is not.  This solved a big problem for me with two groups! 

Journals: 
I keep each groups math journals in a bin (of course I had to choose 2 that matched) so when I am ready to hand them out I just have to grab the bin! 
I keep their writing journals in a dishpan....same idea.....different bin. 
See them hiding under the easel?  2 sets of journals for 2 sets of kids.  I teach Writer's Workshop at the easel so I don't have to walk anywhere to grab the journals.  As soon as my mini lesson is done they are ready to grab their journal and go! 

Small Group Materials: 
Small group can happen anywhere....and I need materials for my high, middle, and low group all in one easy spot.  Don't forget the assessment materials!  This year I found this shower caddy (in the dorm room stuff) at Walmart for $1.50.  It was my best find of the year! 
Now I keep all of our small group instruction books in it and it sits pretty much in the middle of the room.  I can grab any set of books I need and teach on the go!

EXTRA Storage: 
Did I say EXTRA?  Yes, extra storage for all those boxes of kleenex.  I use the ever popular crate seats for my small group instruction table.  I can store all kinds of stuff in these crates and they are perfect for the kiddos to sit on.  Because who ever sits in a chair in Kindergarten anyway?  Right?


Book Boxes: 
Reading the Daily 5 Book by Gail Boushey and Joan Moser saved my life in primary land!  I love the Daily 5 model and book boxes are a huge part of our reading routine.  I got these at IKEA and they hold up all year long.  It was difficult to find a spot to put them (because 46 book boxes take up a lot of room!) but the tops of book shelves work just fine.  They have all their books, decodables, and fluency pages inside their book boxes so they can grab it and go anywhere they need to during Read to Self time.  Our "cubbies" (where we keep our papers, backpacks, personal stuff) are not in our classroom so keeping them there was out of the question, this has been our best option so far.  

 (The book boxes are on top of the shelves.  The book shelves are full of our classroom books)

Ok...last but not least....
 Nametags
So frustrating!
No one makes a two-name nametag.  Well....I haven't really looked but it seems kind of weird.  I created this one so I can have both kiddos names on the table when they go to sit down. 

You can grab this one for free.  It has two lines in a "Handwriting Without Tears" style.  I don't have the time tonight to make it editable....but you are welcome to grab the blank copy and write the names in.  I have a "red" group (am) and a "blue" group (pm)so I put their names in according to colors.
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Bwy_8L1vfUHTdDRxcHlmak5Ua2s/view?usp=sharing
 Just click on the pic to get it in Google Docs. 

That's it!  When I figure the rest of it out I will let you know! :)