Jenna, at Speech Room News, just created a link-up for August of organization ideas. Since I recently wrote this post about my binder organization for seasonal units, I decided to link it up to Jenna's party;) I also have some recent posts about organizing my literacy book companion units, which required a larger filing system than these binders described below. Be sure to check out the other links at Jenna's blog for more organizational ideas for your therapy rooms!
Last summer, I spent some time switching from an accordion filing system to binder and pencil case storage for all my SLP materials. I started with four binders, one for each season of the year. To date, my post about organizing my speech and language materials is one of my top five, most viewed and re-pinned. Over the last year, I have found it SO much easier to flip through my binders while planning sessions. Transporting materials from my home office to part time school job has been easy too. Alas, it wasn't a perfect system, since I quickly grew out of the four giant binders. I blame Pinterest and all those creative SLPs and educators out there who continue producing fun, quality materials! It was time for an expansion, so I grabbed a few more, huge binders and sorted materials into some popular holidays: Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. I also picked up two, smaller binders at the Dollar Tree; a red one for Valentine's Day and a green one for St Patrick's, just to help give a little more wiggle room in the Winter and Spring binders.
In addition to the binders, I like to use page protectors for each lesson plan. Some can hold a small group of cards, but thicker flashcard sets require a Dollar Tree pencil case. I decided to file the plans in each binder starting with the youngest, preschool plans and advancing to middle school lessons. Instead of putting all the pencil cases in the front, I inserted these wherever the next theme occurred in the binder. For example, in my Spring binder, I start off with all my welcome spring activities and move along to Easter and Earth Day. A pencil case acts as a divider before each of these sections. I also like to store the pencil case face down so when I open my desired section, I can view the flashcards with a lesson side by side.
This system worked for my paper lesson plans, but it didn't work with my obsession with buying cute, seasonal bins and containers to use with cards. Many of my clients share my love for having a box to collect cards that they earn during game play, so I found this handy (you guessed it) Dollar Tree bucket to hold all my bins and boxes.
This summer, I started seeing private clients in my new, home office, so I bin organized my closet for sessions. Of course, it helped that my husband had already installed shelves into a large closet. The blue bucket on top of the rolling drawer cart has my Velcro, pencils, pens, index cards and assorted office supplies and the blue cylinder container on the left has my summer materials.
The next two bins are my favorites! I store all my supplies for sensory bin play in a closed container and switch out the materials that I need for sessions in a deep, black bin like the one pictured below that holds the oral motor supplies. Right now, we are working on a bug/ letter Bb theme so I have plastic bugs hiding in brown, crinkly paper "dirt" on my therapy table. The other bin pictured below has all my oral motor supplies including lollipops, bubbles, straws, gloves, a mini flashlight, flavored tongue depressors, and a couple sets of Speech Buddies.
Next up, I have four red, sturdy buckets purchased from Walmart last year. This one has one of my all time favorite, year round, communicative-tempter activity. Curious about what this is all about? Go to this post and find out more! The other three buckets have Velcro foods, wooden blocks, and Melissa and Doug food sets. These buckets are stacked on top of each other in my closet to save space.
Last, but not least, I found a use for the bins that were collecting toys under my son's bed by sorting miscellaneous lessons for younger and older clients. These sit below a HUGE bin of my farm toys (which are popular with my young clients) because I don't use them as much as some of my other materials, but that doesn't mean I would EVER toss them.
I am not the least bit ashamed to admit that I LOVE organizing materials- I know, strange right? I just feel so much more efficient if I can put my hands on whatever I need quickly, so I can spend more time planning sessions. It doesn't hurt that I have the time to take on projects like these in the summer;) Happy sorting!