Sunday, May 5, 2013

Task Card Storage & Organization

I am SO excited to bring you this post!  I get emails, comments, and questions from people all the time asking me how I store my task cards.  I must admit, aside from my Task Card Corner bulletin board, I didn't have a good system.  I had tried shoeboxes, I had tried envelopes, and I had even tried Ziploc bags.  None worked for me.  I finally just started tossing them into bags and baskets when they came off the bulletin board.  I'm embarrassed that I have to show you this, but here it is...


It was bad...and now it's good.  It's OH, so good!  I needed to find the perfect solution.  I found this blog post from a mom who found a nice organization system for her children's flash cards, and I went off on a search for something similar.  Only problem was that neither of those items exist anymore.  Apparently, they are SO 2011 (I kid, of course).

So, the whole family went on a trip to Target. (Let me preface all of this by saying that if you have a Container Store nearby, I highly suggest you look there, too!  I really had to get creative here.)  I found the file folders I wanted right away (only $1 in the dollar spot...but they are always around, and I know they have them at back to school time as well).  They also have more expensive ones that are "coupon organizers."  I accidentally bought one, and I thought I would use it for my monthly task cards since it was bigger and sturdier, but when I put them in, it actually wasn't.  So don't spend the extra on that.


A peek inside one of the folders.  There are seven sections, inside each one, and they expand pretty well.
One other SUPER IMPORTANT note before you go on...Do NOT buy index card holders.  They are too small for most task cards.  Exhibit A:

Don't buy these!  They are too small for most task cards.
Then, I needed somewhere to put them.  I knew that the folders were just the start of an organization system--I didn't want them to end up strewn about my room or stuffed in my closets willy nilly.  I had to do this right.

So, off we went.  We searched through all the office supplies, through all the closet organization, the bathroom organization, the kids room organization, even the tool section, and NOTHING FIT.  NOTHING!  They were either too big, just a bit too small, but nothing was just right.  I felt like Goldilocks.

My husband wandered off, baby on his shoulders, and then quickly came back announcing that he had found the mother load of organizational goodies in the kitchen section. Ah ha!  Why didn't I think of that?

He was right.  He had found three awesome options for storing my files full of task cards.  Here they are...lined up in Target, being tested before they were placed in my cart.

 
I couldn't decide which one I liked the best, and they all seemed to have their pros and cons.  I knew I would need to test them full of task cards, too.  So, we bought all three and off we went.

Here is a handy picture so that you know exactly where to find them at your local Target:



I went to work making some cute labels for my card holders, laminated them, and began filling the card holders.  When they had cards in them, I put the labels on with permanent double stick tape (which I could remove if I really wanted to).  I provide the labels I used (not editable) at the bottom of this post.

I was so excited to put these all together, and truthfully, they are all great options!  The one on the right is my favorite option, but unfortunately, it is also the most expensive ($12.99) holder.  BUT! It holds a TON of task cards.  I have tons of them, and this holds ALL of them.  (I did go back and buy another one because eventually I know I will need a second option, when I will split them up by math and reading.)

Here it is:

Task Card Organization

Another view of my favorite option
Isn't it pretty?  And it's STURDY!  There are hundreds and hundreds of task cards in those folders collectively, and it is a very sturdy container.  This one is my favorite because it holds the most task cards, the folders fit in perfectly, and it looks nice.

You will notice the little labels in the top left hand corner of each file.  For math, I organized them by the units I taught like "multiplication," "decimals," "fractions."  For reading, I put three or four sets in each one, so there is a file with "Inference, Context Clues, and Main Ideas" and all of those cards are in that file.

Here is my second favorite option, with is the least expensive ($2.99)


The downsides are that the folders fit in their very snuggly (but it still works), and you can only fit about half the amount.  I would have needed at least 2 and eventually 3 to hold all of my cards.  But, if you are on a budget (and you don't have as many task cards as I do), this is a GREAT option for you.

And the third option, which I love the premise of, but it's not super practical.  It's actually a top holder (for pots).  They fit in very nicely, it looks great, but it doesn't fit all of them, and you can't move it around without them falling out.  But I wanted to include it here because it really does look nice, and if you have one sitting around, it might work for you!


My last dilemma was that I had a few sets of half page cards.  Sometimes when there just needs to be more content on a card, I have to make them this way, and my favorite "Theme" cards from Rachel Lynette are half page, too.

No worries!  Target has a $1 folder that is just a bit larger that works just fine.



I stuck them in one of the dollar spot file folders that I had from another Target trip, and it was the perfect solution.  I didn't organize them quite as much as the others since I don't have many, so I just organized them by subject.


You can download the "labels" that I used for free, but I can't offer them in editable format because the frames and paper are not mine, and I can't just give them away.  The frames are from the fabulous Krista at Creative Clips and the papers are from Sassy Designs.  The adorable font is from Jen Jones.  There are plenty of blanks if you want to write in your own, as I'm sure you will have your own organization system with these.





If you have any questions about this, please feel free to leave a comment.  Do you have a fabulous organization idea? I would LOVE to hear it, and I would love to feature it on this blog!

Happy organizing!

64 comments:

  1. Ooh I love this! Thanks for sharing your ideas! I used cheap photo albums that I got from the Dollar Store! They worked great and the kids thought it was fun. I used your Main Idea Task Cards for one of them. I need to get some pictures made and write a blog post (and link to your fabulous cards!)

    Jennifer

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  2. Great idea!! I just started getting into task cards, so storage is definately somthing that I need to work on! Thanks for sharing! I'm pinning this post and I am following you!
    Andrea
    htt://eltigger.blogspot.com

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  3. I love this idea! Thank you so much for testing out so many options and sharing your thinking process!

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  4. Genius. I use those longer ones for my multiplication timed tests and it works great but I never had anything to put it inside of.... I can't wait to go shopping so I can be totally organized as I pack up for the year!
    Heather

    Kickin' It With Class

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  5. Wow, I love your task card organization!! It looks so neat and tidy! And I have a couple of those file folders from Target and love them! Now I need to go back and get more! I wonder if they are going to be getting even more colors for back to school! And I never would have thought about those kitchen containers to store the cards! So smart!

    Molly
    Lessons with Laughter

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  6. I have purchased quite a few of your sets. Do you print & laminate just 1 set for use? Or? I love this organizing idea....running to Target! :)

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  7. this is pure genius! I LOVE it! I have been trying, everything like you, to find the perfect task card solution! I need to SHOP!

    Tonya
    Tonya’s Treats for Teachers

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  8. I love your organization! Couple of questions...
    How many sets do you get in an organizer?
    How many organizers fit in the 12.99 container that you are using?

    Thanks
    Kellie

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  9. Your organization is awesome! Love the Target reference! Thanks for sharing and I am thrilled to be your newest follower!
    Julie

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  10. Made a Target trip today just for this!! However, I got the larger file folders that you mentioned and found an awesome two shelf bathroom caddy that fits them perfect...one drawer for math and one for reading. So excited to get them all organized and labeled now! Thanks for the awesome idea!!!

    Emily
    eah719@hotmail.com

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  11. AWESOME idea!!
    Thank you so much!
    I am NEW to reading blogs, and have just started a "following list".
    YOU are my FIRST!!!!

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  12. I keep forgetting to tell you how much I love this new task card blog and this post! I literally saved several photos from here on my phone so that when I was scouring Target for these goodies, I would know where to look! My Target never has had the awesome clear bins (sad!) but I bought the white plastic ones and I actually love them! I bought the exact coupon holders that you have and I am so excites about them. I am planning to use A LOT of task cards in my room this year for math centers, differentiation, test prep, & every other subject. Thank you for all the great ideas!

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    Replies
    1. Hi Beth! I got your comment via email. These card holders are from Target, and I'm going to school tomorrow and will get the exact measurements then. In the meantime, I know that they still had many at my Target today.

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  14. I LOVE this idea! Thank you for sharing!

    Alex
    theschoolpotato.blogspot.com

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  15. Thanks for this great idea, I saw it on pinterest! I am your newest follower:D

    Danielle
    Growing Special Seeds

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  16. OMGosh! Thank you so much for the ideas and the freebie label download!

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  18. I noticed that you have a binder labeled Task Card Record Sheets and Answer Keys....any chance you could share how you have that set up? That's one area I'm a bit stuck on with setting up so my students can be as independent as possible. Thank you!

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    Replies
    1. Hi Brie!

      Here is a post on my other blog that explains a little bit about that. Another way I have tried is gluing the answer key into a file folder and putting the recording sheets on the inside.

      http://www.teachingwithamountainview.com/2012/11/task-card-corner.html

      Thanks so much for stopping by!

      Mary

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  19. Just saw this post now--I store mine in those same folders! Another idea for you for storing the folders is those photo boxes you can get at Michaels. I just got a few when they were 3/$5, so they were a really cheap way to keep them all together.

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    Replies
    1. Ohhh, I LOVE this idea! I am actually heading to Michaels in the next few days and will have to try that out. Thanks so much!

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  20. Thanks for sharing this. I love it!

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  22. I have looked all over multiple Targets and can't find the larger size file containers-my stores only have the 3 x 5 or a $5 coupon organizer. Can you tell me if there was a label on these and if its a target brand item or another brand. I am hoping I can find one on Amazon. Thanks!

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  24. I absolutely love your task cards. I must admit, I'm a bit of an addict. Unfortunately, I'm a bit overwhelmed currently by my state of chaos. Thus, I love the idea of trying to get them organized. I'm working on it, and was wondering what size avery labels coordinate with your labels. I'd love to get going on this ginormous project. ;) Thank you!

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    Replies
    1. Hi Stacie! Thanks for your kind words. :) I didn't make these with Avery Labels. I actually just printed them on cardstock, laminated them, and stuck them on with double sided tape or velcro so that I could reuse them as needed. Sorry about that!

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  26. Oh this is WONDERFUL. I've been looking for things I can include to help my 5th graders be more independent, and have been thinking that having task cards can be a way to go!

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  27. Lol.. I believe you just gave me an idea on using your method for chores for the kids. LOVE IT! Thank you for the idea. :)

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  28. I had the same issue. I love the organizer for your 1/4 page cards. I really wish I could find the perfect solution for the larger 1/2 page cards. Have you found anything since this post that works as well as the clear container but for the bigger cards? I have mine in a very similar magazine holder on their ends (just like yours).

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  39. I just made one of your task card flip flop rack holders for early finishers and this is for SURE my next project for the cards that aren't necessarily in use at that time... Seriously- how do you come up with these things?!?! So clever and useful, plus- I have a ton of those mini folders that I picked up from the dollar spot last spring! Thank you, thank you!!
    Kelli
    Tales of a Teacher

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  40. When you put the task cards in the file folders, do you hold them together in some way? A binder clip? I worry that my kids will put them back in, but end up putting some in the next slot up or back and then the cards would get mixed up.

    Ms. Julie aka Southern Teacher
    www.southernteacherwbt.blogspot.com

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  46. I am curious about doing task cards in a Jr high, high school math class. Has anyone tried it? What are the pros and cons?

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