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Sunday, July 15, 2012

Day #2: My Teaching Unit Numbering System for Preschool Units

I am one of those lucky preschool teachers who is still able to teach from unit themes - and themes that I as the teacher can choose.  We do "Back to School" and "Fall" and "Apples" and all kinds of other themes.  I think it's wonderful, because we can spend a week or two focusing on a subject that I know is relevant to the Little People, and then we move on to something else. If we really like something we might stick with it for a little longer, and if they kids seem to have some special interest we can switch and spend some time learning about that.

As a result, most of my teaching stuff is theme-related.  It's how I organize my teaching files, my books, and of course my unit boxes. To make this organization easier, I use a Teaching Unit Numbering System.  I got this from my mom - perhaps I should ask her where she got it from.

Basically it is a list of common preschool teaching themes or units assigned a number.  Then I use these numbers to organize my teaching paraphernalia.

Let me give you the list, and then I can talk more about how I use it.

My Teaching Unit Numbering System

Manners (002)
Science – General (010)
Colors (015)
Sound/Music (017)
Mechanical (020)
Math – General (028)
Math – Counting (030)
Math – Shapes (031)
Math – Patterns (032)
Math – Sorting (033)
Math – Comparing (034)
Math – Money (035)
Math – Position Words (036)
Math – Time (037)
Math – Fractions (038)
Plants - General (040)
Plants – Seeds (041)
Plants - Trees (042)
Plants – Flowers (043)
Animals (050)
Birds (051)
Insects (052)
Bears (053)
Dinosaurs (054)
Water Animals (055)
Pets (056)
Reptiles (057)
Spiders (058)
Stories about Animals (059)
Water (060)
Fish (061)
Jungle (062)
Zoo (063)
Ecology/Ecosystems (065)
Rocks and Minerals (070)
Moon/Stars/Space/Night (075)
Days/Months (078)
Seasons/Weather (080)
Autumn (081)
Winter (082)
Spring (093)
Summer (084)
Days/Sun/Sunny Weather (085)
Wind (086)
Rain/Storms (087)
All About Me (088)
Body/Bones (090)
Taste/Touch (091)
Ears/Hearing (092)
Eyes/Vision (093)
Growing (094)
Feelings (095)
Care for Bodies (096)
Feet (097)
Hands/Touch (098)
Mouth/Teeth (099)
Five Senses (100)
Stories (110)
Poetry/Rhyming (111)
Alphabet/Letters (112)
Mother Goose/Nursery Rhymes (113)
Fables/Folk Tales (114)
Songs (115)
Food (120)
Apples (121)
Clothes (130)
Quilts (132)
Castles/Knights (134)
Pirates (136)
Community Helpers (140)
Farm (141)
Ranch/Cowhands (142)
Dentist (143)
Police Officer (144)
Grocery Store (145)
Houses/Building/Tools (146)
Firefighters (148)
Doctors/Hospitals (149)
Safety (150)
Cities (155)
Mail/Post Office (156)
Transportation (160)
Families (170)
Back to School (174)
School (175)
End of the School Year (176)
Friends (181)
Helping (182)
Sharing (183)
Sports (184)
Special Days (190)
Birthdays (191)
Circus/Fairs (192)
Halloween (193)
Thanksgiving (194)
Christmas (195)
Valentines (196)
Easter (197)
African American (198)
Hispanic/Cinco de Mayo (199)
Multicultural (200)
Disabilities (201)
Maps (202)
Wordless Books (300)
Everyday Words (318)

How I use this system:

Filing Papers:  I will copy and paste these units and numbers into a Label template in Word and then print them off on label sheets.  Then I add the labels to file folders so I have a folder for each theme (although some themes end up with more than one folder).  These are organized in my filing cabinet in numerical order, making it easy to find which unit I need.

Books: I also label all of my books with these numbers.  My mom used to just write the number right on the book, but I put the numbers on small white labels and put the label on the front left corner of the book.  I used to put the on the top right corner, until I realized that when I pulled a book out of the bookshelf, I couldn't see the number until the book was almost all the way pulled out.  So then I switched to putting the on the top left corner.  Now I can see them right away when I thumb through the books in the bookshelf.

Here you can see a book with labels on both corners.  I need to take that top left one off.

Book Database: I also use these numbers as a field in my book database, as well.  I enter in that theme number along with the title, author,  and format (regular-sized or big book).  Therefore, whenever I am at the computer and want to know which books I have that have to do with Farm, I just do a search for 141 books, and there they all are!

Big Books: My big books are also labeled with numbers, as well.  As you can see on the book below, I finally settled on the top right corner of the big books as the location for the number sticker.  

That's because I store my big books in a large Rubbermaid-type container, and most of them lie on their spine.   So when they're in the container, I can see the numbers easily when I flip through them:

Multi-Subject Books:  Sometimes it is easy to assign a book to a category, and sometimes it's not.  Sometimes books have more than one category.  Take "The Very Hungry Caterpillar", for example.  It's not only about insects (052), but also about days of the week (037).  What I do for books like these is to put both themes on the label, but to write the theme that I'm most likely to use the book for first.  Therefore, "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" would say 052/037, and I would file it in the (052) section.   

This is often an issue for ABC and counting books.  I almost always file these by their theme subject (if they have one).  For example, if I have a book of A-Z Transportation vehicles, I will label it 160/112, and file it with the Transportation books (160).  That's because I like to have A-Z books for as many themes as I can, and will use that book with that theme.

You have my permission to copy this list and make it your own.  Perhaps you have some themes that I don't have, or the other way around.  Hopefully it will help you organize your materials and make all that Teacher Stuff a little less overwhelming.

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