KinderGals: Organize Your Group Time with Carpet Bags

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Sunday, July 31, 2016

Organize Your Group Time with Carpet Bags

That Back To School rush can be very overwhelming. Too much to do and too little time to get it done. If I don't get it done before the kids showed up, sometimes it never gets done at all.  I am a super, organized person and can drive my family, and even some of my friends...absolutely crazy! I like things put away in the right place...I like things to be cleaned up as soon as you are done…you get the point. Now, I have tried to lighten up a little, but I still think the ability to organize maximizes teaching time. The Carpet Bag helps me organize my circle time!
So what can you do now that will make the most difference when you start back? Get that carpet bag done!
Here are the items in the carpet bag...
*word families book
* unit vocabulary notebooks
* alphabet charts and yes/no sticks
* Book of Lists
* Nursery Rhyme Books
* traveling word walls
* working mats
* literature journal
* student calendar notebook

Carpet Bags

You can find the actual carpet bag in lots of stores! These are some that I saw at the Dollar Tree. You can also use the recyclable grocery bags and just tape the three sides so they don't open all the way.


Carpet Bag Storage 

The bags are stored in these three baskets. In the morning, the children get out their bag and place it on their spot in the large group area. We leave them there all day! At the end of the day, we return the bags to the baskets.
Carpet Bag Contents
We keep a small bag of supplies in each of the bags. In addition to the items mentioned below, the children also keep a small plastic container with 10 of the 2 sided counters. No more passing out supplies. Passing out supplies is a major time sucker!

Yes/No Response Stick

A yes/no response stick is as great way to get children to show their understanding of the concept. Again, no passing out. Just say, "Get out your yes/no stick." and they are ready to go!

Student Calendar Notebook

As I am doing the calendar, the kids follow right along. This is a perfect way to develop number sense. It also holds the children accountable for their learning!
Here are some of the pages from the student calendar notebook unit. 
Traveling Word Wall
As I add  new words to the word wall on Monday, the kids add them to their traveling word wall. The real purpose of the traveling word wall is to teach how the word wall is organized. Some kids will be able to read all the words on the word wall and others will not. The important part is, do they know how it is organized and how to use it!

Word Family Book and Book of Lists

We add a new word family to our Word Family books each week.  This is a great way to introduce spelling patterns, chunks, short and long vowels.
We also add a new list to our book of lists each week. This is a great way to practice stretching words while reviewing concepts taught in science, social studies, and math.
The Literature Journal
Since we do most of our comprehension work together, I have my kids keep their literature journals in their carpet bag as well. Again, no passing out. Just invite the children to pull their journal out of their carpet bag!

Working Mats

The newest addition to our carpet bags is the working mats! Boy have they saved us some time. We took all of our math tools and our graphic organizers and bound them together into one notebook. Now the kids can easily get that out of their carpet bag. The problem...finding the right page. We added a tiny animal clip art in the corner of each page. Now we can just invite the children to turn to the page with the "bee"!
 What is the purpose of the Carpet Bag?
  1. To optimize teaching time! No more having to collect and pass things out.
  2. Assessment: We do all of our large group teaching with the kids on the carpet. This makes it easy for us to see who is catching the concepts and who will need to pull for small group. 
  3. Takes advantage of that "teachable moment."
  4. Makes students more independent. Each child is responsible for the contents of their bag.
Here are the resources to make your carpet bag.
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Cindy Lusk said...

WOW!! Love this idea! I wonder how I could implement the same concept in my prek class

Lisa Rowe said...

How and when do you introduce carpet bags?

Kim and Megan said...

The first year I did the carpet bags I prepped everything over the summer and put them in the bags. What a disaster! I introduce one thing at a time over a series of several weeks. As I introduce, I add it to the bag.

Kim and Megan said...

When planning for your prek class, ask yourself this, "What things do I use on the carpet all the time that the kids could manage independently?"

Jennib said...

Was observed yesterday...while my students had their workmats out....using the 10-frame....IT. WAS. AWESOME. Principal says to me, "Does the rest of your team know about these?" :)

Kim and Megan said...

So glad you rocked your evaluation! Tell your team they can purchase the unit at the discount rate by using the multiple user license.

Unknown said...

Im wanting to start carpet bags this year... I have read how and why... I just want to make sure I am totally understanding... In the bags are things I would do during circle time instead of sending them to their tables to complete the work we did as a whole group they will be working along with me,using the supplies? I noticed you said it is used throughout the day, is this because it also can be used during transitions? Sorry so many question! I will also check out your youtube!
Thank you I love your stuff! I feel like such a better teacher since I have started following you and reading your blog

Kim and Megan said...

Yes, we use these bags ALL day. A big part is during the morning meeting, but we use them at other times as well. We use them during math and literacy. There is a set of mats for literacy and math included. No need to ever pass them out again.

Shyftdubai said...
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