My sister-in-law gave me this tall DVD shelf. The image below is from my first classroom. I taped some colored paper on the back and decorated it, but really... it couldn't hold much. Looked cute, but other than holding little things like dice and crayons, it was large and in the way. That year I was in a teeny tiny portable and space was a huge deal, so I almost got rid of it...
Then... I had a thought. What fits on DVD shelves? Hm.... DVDs! I had a bunch of empty DVD cases that were literally collecting dust in my house, so I snagged them and went on brainstorming. I had lots of Ziploc baggies of task cards and center games that could definitely fit, so I whipped together some cute covers to trim and slide in the DVD case's front sleeve. The result was the CUTEST center storage that fit perfectly on my shelf.
This is a sweet dinosaur counting center for my precious kinders my first year teaching. I jazzed up the back of it with pictures of what the students will need in addition to the game. Not all centers need something, but most had recording pages so having a picture of that is always handy for the little ones. They went to the drawers, grabbed a sheet, and gathered their supplies from the "center shelf." No questions asked and no confusion! My students actually started calling them "Movie Games" because they recognized the cases as movie cases. Love it!
Fast forward another year and I redecorated the shelf:
I had been moved to second grade when this picture was taken, so my "Movie Games" were not well stocked up at this point as the ones I had made the previous year were for Kindergarten. You can see that the shelf holds tiny things, so it was a good place to store some of the materials needs for the centers that students could look on the back of their center case and locate. I changed the background of the shelf as well to go with the new classroom I got that year. That's just wrapping paper back there, people. So cute and cheap!
If you are looking to change up your center storage, download the FREEBIE below! It is an editable file that allows you to decorate any DVD case to go with the specific center or set of task cards you want to store. The size will print perfectly to fit a standard size DVD case. (Click the image to download).
If you're looking for a deal on DVD cases, Amazon sells a pack of 50 (that's right, FIVE-OH) for only $18.99. It's the least expensive storage method I have found so far besides Ziploc baggies that never seem to stay closed and that rip all the time. Here's what I ordered (click the picture to go there):
If you use this method, send me a picture! I'd love to feature it on my blog in the future!