Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Simply Organizing Those Flannelboard Stories!

by Pam Bergman

Each year around this time, I resolve to organize at least one area of my preschool classroom!  It's the start of the new year; perfect time to get organized!  Besides, I've always found that the time and energy I spend organizing the classroom pays off in the end!  I love being able to quickly swap out materials at the last minute if needed.  I also love being able to find additional items quickly while working with the children!  And, since I tend to have more than the average number of children with very short attention spans...this comes in handy quite often! 

So, about a year and a half ago, and after creating over 40 flannelboard stories, songs and games, I realized I couldn't find a single one that was complete!  I was constantly losing one or two pieces from our favorites. I had resorted to storing some in Ziploc bags, while others were thrown in my group time basket!  We were more than just a bit disorganized!  And it was driving me CrAZy! It was time to organize our flannelboard stories!

                                                                                  Luckily, I found
 an expanding file folder collecting dust at home!  I quickly bought one more and set out to get our flannelboard story situation under control!  (NOTE:  These are the expanding file folders with a handle- that look like very small suitcases.  I found mine at Walmart.)

I started by putting each flannelboard story in it's own Ziploc bag.  I then typed out a label for each bag with the name of the flannelboard story as well as the number of pieces that belonged with that set.  This way I could just quickly count the pieces as we put them away to make sure we hadn't misplaced any!

                                                                              I also made note of any extra items, such as a story or song card, that belonged in the Ziploc bag. On many of these labels I also included the main skill we could work on while enjoying the story, song or game (ex. colors, sequencing, counting etc.).  This has been useful while planning.

I alphabetized the flannelboard stories and inserted one Ziploc bag in each file space.  I typed up a numbered and alphabetized "cheat sheet" listing all the flannel board stories in the first file folder and another list for the second file folder  (although they are ALL alphabetized as one large group). I put these in the front of each file folder as a reference. 

I also put a small number on each section of the file. This way, when I need to find a flannelboard story, song or game in a hurry, I can just match up the number on the cheat sheet with the number on the expanding file section!  Could it get any easier?!

Numbered and alphabetized "Cheat Sheet"
NOTE: I decided not to add the number to the label on the bag. That way, when I do make more flannelboard stories, I won't have to change the label on the bags.  I'll just re-work the cheat sheet to indicate the additional stories and adjust the numbers for all (and the placement in the expanding file spaces).

OK, so it may look a bit scrunched here, but you may be
able to see one of the expanding file folders on the
far right!

When we're done with a flannelboard story, all I have to do is count the pieces to make sure we haven't lost anything, tuck them back in the Ziploc bag, put the Ziploc bag in the correct space and put the whole file folder back under our group time easel!
Simple and organized!

Here are a Few Additional Tips:

For several of the stories, I actually have two matching sets.  This way, I have one to use with the whole group and another set to leave out during center work for the children to use to retell the story. When I can squeeze in a few more hours to my day, I plan on making more identical sets!  These come in quite handy when you have children who may be a bit rough with the flannelboard pieces!  

While I know there are many resources on the Internet and in books for making flannelboard stories, I found the best resource for large, simple designs was the book 2's Experience Felt Board Fun.  (look for this at your local library.  I simply checked this out many times and created many of these over a period of about a year!) 

 Of course, there are many other ways you could organize your flannelboard pieces! Another great way to organize flannelboard stories was highlighted by Deborah at Teach Preschool!

Finally, if you would like to check out some of the other ways I have organized classroom things, take that long walk down to my blog: How Long is This Hall!? and check out "that ongoing classroom organization".  Or if you would like to see a creative way to make flannelboard pieces check THESE out!


  1. This is very similar to how I store my resources - I love my clear plastic pencil cases! I got them @ Office Depot but sadly they are gone from Canada - I hope to find a new source to buy them.

  2. Leeanne! You're right...great minds must think alike! Using pencil cases works very similar to this. Great idea!

  3. I love this idea! AND, we start back to school tomorrow with our teacher workday. You can bet I will FINALLY get my flannel boards organized. The best part, I already have one of those file boxes (I'm a scrapbooker and outgrew it!). THANKS AGAIN!!!

  4. Karen- So jealous that you have a teacher workday!!! We start back tomorrow as well....and will be sitting in an in-service all day. :( Wish I could work in the room and at least feel a bit more ready for the kids to be back on Thursday! Have fun with your workday- and organizing those flannelboard stories!

  5. Great ideas, Pam ... and thanks for the wonderful links as well! I pinned your post to my Organization Pinterest board at http://pinterest.com/debchitwood/organization/

  6. Love this idea!! Would you be able to share the behavior picture cards that are posted above where you store your flannel board stories?? Thanks!!


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