Papers and papers and more papers.....oh, look...more papers....

Discussion in 'General Education' started by FourSquare, Mar 1, 2011.

  1. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    Mar 1, 2011

    Can you please tell me your organizational system for papers in general? Even as a student teacher, I am struggling with crap piles. I feel like I'm doomed for next year if I don't figure out a system quick. Between student work (homework, exit tickets, assessments, small group, etc.), nurse forms, IEP forms, PTA handouts, grad school work, lunch forms, family correspondence, lesson materials, and whatever else, I am totally overwhelmed with paper! How can I make sure everything has a place? :dizzy:
     
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  3. monsieurteacher

    monsieurteacher Aficionado

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    Mar 1, 2011

    Ok... here's my system... I know it doesn't work for everyone, but I like it.

    I have a four drawer filing cabinet next to my desk. In each drawer, I have a thingie that will hold hanging folders.

    In my top drawer, I have a hanging folder for each student, sorted alphabetically. This is where I keep any assessments, SEPs (our version of the IEP), detention slips, family correspondence... anything specific to the child. In the second drawer, I have hanging folders for all sorts of things... I have one for my personal coursework, one for staff meeting notes, one for memos... you get the picture.

    In the third drawer, I keep lesson ideas... particularly based on themes. I don't use this very often right now, but I do like to store copies away there for future use... particularly for special events.

    The fourth drawer is where I keep a lot of my extra stuff... folders go there, but also anything I can't really find a place for, tends to go in my bottom drawer (it sounds worse than it is... I have a place for most things in my room).

    In addition to my filing cabinet, I have a four tray system on my desk. Top tray is for things I can't forget... right now, my home report inserts for Phys Ed are there. Handouts go there until they are handed out (though quite frequently, I deliver them straight to my TA, since she dismisses the kids). I also have a tray for substitute teacher information, a tray for Literacy and a tray for Math. This is where I keep my Math curriculum, as well as the Math program teacher's guide for easy reference.

    For homework, I have a tub that homework goes in when it's completed. They put it in their duotang and hand it in in the tub. I have a cubby where I store the homework tub when it's not in use.

    Of course, while I do have a place for everything... that doesn't make my desk neat. Since I never use it until after the kids are gone, apart from as a shelf to store paper, it is often covered in paper anyway.
     
  4. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Mar 2, 2011

    Have you tried a collapsible organizer (you know the ones that look kind of like a binder, but have the slots for papers)?

    I put a folder for each subject that I teach. Inside the folder, I put papers that need to be graded. Once I grade them, I put them in the slot but outside the folder to show that I need to record them. Then, I move them to the front (I have a larger front pocket) to show that they need to go back to students.

    In my collapsible, I keep a section for papers to file, papers to follow up on (no name, student needs reteaching, etc).

    Then I keep two files for each student. One file has all student communication and assessments. This is where I put discipline slips, assessments taken, scores, parent correspondence. In my second file I keep student work. In this file I have student work samples, kind of like a working portfolio. Students can access this often and it usually contains their goals.

    Then I have a stacking tray on my desk that I keep all lesson materials. I make copies usually for the week and binder clip copies together by day. Then I put them in my stacking tray by subject. My top tray is for mail, filing, other things I need to do. This must be empty before I leave for the day!

    I have student mail boxes, so all forms that go home go in front of the mail boxes. This can be PTA letters, newsletters, sports, graded work, etc. I have student volunteers who file all the paper into the mail boxes for me.

    Best suggestions: always keep extra organizers around. You may need them and when you do, you can just pull one out instead of getting disorganized while you wait for time to buy one.
     
  5. wildcatrider

    wildcatrider Rookie

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    Mar 3, 2011

    Aside from the file cabinet for more permanent items, I have 7 folders. One marked papers to grade, the others catch papers for each period to be returned to students. All incoming goes into the one folder. I pull material out to grade then place it into the out folder for distribution next class. Some papers have a longer cycle time than others, but it works for me overall. Paperless is still a dream.
     
  6. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

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    Mar 4, 2011

    Um, a system, what is that?
     
  7. Rox

    Rox Cohort

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    Mar 4, 2011

    I've adopted a "no paper" policy. Everything is scanned and saved in several different places on my computer. Then when I need to teach something related to Math standard 3.1, I open that file and see what I have. Or if I need to work on suffixes, I open that file and see what's there.

    Anything that can't be printed/copied goes into one file. During the summer, I go through it and organize it a bit.
     
  8. cheer

    cheer Comrade

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    Mar 4, 2011

    I like the no paper policy! I am storing everything in binders labeled by subject and then sub divided into skill set. I wish I had a scanner. I wonder how many hours it would take for me to do this...hmmm. Maybe a summer project if I can get my hands on a scanner.
     
  9. jlj

    jlj Devotee

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    Mar 5, 2011

    No paper would be a dream come true! I have the scanner, the boxes, bins, binders & files all overflowing with papers....now how & where to begin??!! It is sooooo overwhelming isn't it?
     
  10. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    I just have a place for everything, and it all stays there unless I'm using it at the time. That way I don't lose stuff or end up with piles here and there. I have over 100 students per day filtering through my room. I could easily get overwhelmed with papers without some kind of system.

    I'll show pictures of my room with explanations.

    [​IMG]

    This is where I keep my units. Each unit has one or two drawers. Copies materials, books, etc. are all in the file cabinets. The baskets on the top are where I put papers after I grade them. My student helper passes them out once a week.

    [​IMG]

    Kids pick up missing work here.

    [​IMG]

    This hangs behind my desk. I have one for each class period, and then places for department, committees, etc.

    [​IMG]

    Kids turn in their papers in these baskets. The cabinet has extra paper and other supplies.

    [​IMG]

    The file cabinet holds binders in the bottom and files for things like parent notes, letters home, etc. Behind the curtain I have clear letter trays and other organizers. The curtain is off now. I liked the idea of it, but it was completely not practical to get behind it every time I needed something.

    [​IMG]

    I don't let papers collect on my desk. The desk drawers all have bins & organizers for small things, but there are NO PAPERS stored on my desk. Unless I'm using it, it's not on my desk.

    I'm also a fan of electronic copies. I have drives with just about everything in an electronic copy.
     
  11. heymiss

    heymiss Comrade

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    Mar 5, 2011

    Oh my goodness. I thought *I* was organized. I think you've just inspired a last-minute trip to Mardel!

    I've always wanted one of their Filetastic file holders, but I never really knew what to DO with it. The problem I have is the random STUFF that accumulates throughout the week. I don't have a special place for each type of thing, so it all ends up going in this one file sorter and by the end of the week, it's a wreck.
     
  12. Major

    Major Connoisseur

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    Mar 5, 2011

    Wow... Ima Teacher....... I'm impressed......:)
     
  13. heymiss

    heymiss Comrade

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    Mar 5, 2011

    Can I also just say how jealous I am that you have room for FOUR full-size file cabinets? That's amazing! I bought a used one halfway through the year, and I'm still working on getting it organized. I'd be in heaven if I had a couple more.

    I also rely on my scanner pretty heavily. Since this is my first year teaching this grade level, I'm scanning a LOT to make sure I have electronic copies of all of my worksheets/quizzes/notes/etc. Next year won't be nearly so much work.
     
  14. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Mar 5, 2011

    I love the pocket chart you have behind your desk, Ima! I have so many papers, files etc. that I am dealing with every day that I always end up with piles on my desk. I think I'm going to try something like this next year!
     
  15. gebakat

    gebakat Rookie

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    Mar 5, 2011

    One of the best things our school purchased was a copy machine that will give out hard copies but also save what is copied as a pdf. It sends me an email with the attachment. My scanner is being used less often these days.
     
  16. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    And I thought I was a little OCD...I'm in love with your organization Ima Teacher.
     
  17. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    Mar 6, 2011

    WOW! Thank you guys so much. I appreciate your thoughts. ImaTeacher I really like your slot for "no name papers" as well. I forgot to add those to my list of things that get strewn about. :eek:

    The file drawers look so kept and nice, however I'm worried about things being "out of sight, out of mind." I think I will have a little whiteboard or desktop calendar for myself so I am reminded to hand out certain forms or whatever.

    I guess you pretty much figure out what works for you after the first year?
     
  18. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Mar 6, 2011

    Ima's no-name slot is a great idea. I usually clip them to the board with a magnet clippy thing. This year, more than any other year, I've had so many no-name papers. It's frustrating when kids get all snotty with me, telling me that I lost their work...only to find their papers clipped to the board, where they've been for three weeks. Bah.

    As for figuring it out after the first year, I wasn't that lucky. I'm in my fifth year and I'm still working on a good system for organizing. I like the paperless idea, except that I tend to make changes to my masters from year to year, and you can't really change .pdf files. I'd end up doing all that scanning and not be able to use the scans the next year.

    Right now I'm working on organizing my room. I've been ruthless about getting rid of papers that I haven't used or looked at in the last couple of years. I'm doing a combination of binders and hanging folders. I'm still not sure if it's going to end up being to my liking, but my hope is that I'll get at least one step closer.
     
  19. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    I know! :dizzy:

    I'm constantly organizing. It's a passion of mine. That I should be better at... :)
     
  20. shouldbeasleep

    shouldbeasleep Enthusiast

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    Mar 6, 2011

    I grade a lot with the kids so that they can take their papers with them when they leave class. (Math)

    One basket for student writing that needs to be looked at.

    I have a Monday, Tuesday, etc. folder. I organize it for the next day. Papers that have to go home or have to be filed by the student into their portfolios go in it.

    They all have a portfolio that they keep. These are samples of their work. I'll tell them if they need to file it, otherwise it goes home.

    I'm trying to get everything out of binders and onto Word docs. Hard to do, but I see a huge dent.

    All those office memos forms go in one box and onto a shelf. It's got clinic passes, Media Center request forms, discipline forms, etc. It isn't organized, except clipped, but I don't need it to be. It's in that box.
     

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