Favorite Organization Secret

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Teaching Grace, Jun 22, 2011.

  1. Teaching Grace

    Teaching Grace Connoisseur

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    Jun 22, 2011

    Just thought it'd be cool to have everyone share what their favorite organizational secret is... I'm pretty organized but I know a couple of things that I will be changing this year to be even more so with going into Kinder... with out a parapro :) But curious what everyone else's is too....:D
     
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  3. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Jun 22, 2011

    OHIO.

    Only Handle It Once.

    If you pick something up, put it back in its proper place. Don't put it down intending to do something with it later. This works for computer files as well.
     
  4. sweetlatina23

    sweetlatina23 Cohort

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    I like that Caesar. I can't say I have any "secrets." I'm working on it though.
     
  5. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    If I haven't used in 12 months, throw it out. Teachers are hoarders by nature because we're so used to not getting what we want. I can't tell you how many teachers have stacks of old handouts and workbooks in their room "in case they ever need them."
     
  6. sweetlatina23

    sweetlatina23 Cohort

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    lol that is so true. I got rid of a lot of worksheets this past month. I couldn't fit everything in boxes anymore. I still can't seem to get away from all my folders, that I don't need. I have a box full of used folders, another box of spiral notebooks. I finally cleaned it all up.
     
  7. queenie

    queenie Groupie

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    I number the kids in my class each year. They write their number on the upper right hand corner of every paper they turn in- that way I can easily put them in order and see whose is missing, plus it helps when I put grades in my grade book. I don't put names in my grade book- just use the numbered lines. Also, I use their numbers for the lunch count, job chart, and behavior system. Plus I give them numbered textbooks. All of this is easy for me to keep track of, but anyone outside our classroom could find my gradebook and not know who the grades belong to or see a child's number moved on our behavior system and not realize who was "in trouble." I also put their numbers on sticks for bathroom trips and for random drawing (used during review games, etc.)

    I also have a drawer of hanging file folders that are in ABC order. I put things in their file folder immediately instead of putting them on my desk or elsewhere. I keep extra empty folders in case something doesn't fit in a category already.

    The only things on my desk are lesson plans, a tape dispenser, a stapler, textbooks, notepads, a bell, a timer, paper clips, and pens. The only things IN my desk drawers are those things that I can keep easily organized and are needed almost DAILY- scissors, pens, highlighters, white out, thumbtacks, envelopes, notes home, stickers, etc. Everything else goes in a cabinet.

    I have a big rolling cart with six sections on top and four on bottom. In the top left two sections I keep all things Language Arts (manuals, DIBELS books, etc.). In the top middle sections are Math in the front and tutoring in the back. The top right sections are for Science and Social Studies, respectively. On the bottom of my cart are the leveled readers, flash cards for Reading Vocabulary, and clip boards for recess work. When I need something to work on plans I can be pretty sure I'll find it on this cart!

    I keep two containers for pencils- one for dull, one for sharp. I am the only one who uses my pencil sharpener. I sharpen pencils every morning and right after lunch. Kids trade in dull pencils for sharp ones whenever needed. This keeps me from hearing the pencil sharpener all day AND from having to buy a new sharpener twice a year =)



    I only keep things I KNOW I will use regularly. If it's something I might need some time (and if it can purchased for less than a couple bucks on the rare occasion it will be needed) I don't keep it.
     
  8. Mrs. Q

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    Jun 22, 2011

    I agree with OHIO -- I just had a workshop on GTD "Getting Things Done" and that is one thing they stress. If it's going to take more than 2 minutes, you can put it in your "inbox" but then you have to set a time to go through everything and put it in its proper place. I'm hoping it will help me be a little more stress-free next school year.
     
  9. tchr4evr

    tchr4evr Companion

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    I have magnetic plastic files on the back of my file cabinet, one for each class. When I have handouts, I place them in there. I know where they are to hand out, and when kids are absent, they know to look in there to get what they missed.
     
  10. Emily Bronte

    Emily Bronte Groupie

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    I am an organized person by nature, so I don't have any secrets or tricks up my sleeve. Sometimes, I think I am too organized. Is that even possible?
     
  11. nstructor

    nstructor Cohort

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    I have helpers for everything and my students know exactly what to do as soon as they walk in the room.
     
  12. scmom

    scmom Enthusiast

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    My problem isn't setting up an organizational system - it is keeping up with it through the year. I must admit to being a piler sometimes and, yes, I have too much stuff.
     
  13. Aussiegirl

    Aussiegirl Habitué

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    Thanks for the ideas. I have a box of spiral notebooks that I've had for almost 5 years. I used to have two - I gave a set to the reading teacher. Guess I should heave them, or give them away huh? :)

    Someone mentioned giving kids a number alphabetically. I do that and it is such a timesaver. If a new student comes in, I give them the appropriate number with an "A" after it.

    I have student secretaries. They collect the papers, and it is really easy for them to alphabetize them by number. Saves me that job. Then they put the papers into the sorter in the back of the room. The sorter has two sides. Left is for incoming work, right is for graded work.

    I adopted the idea of a "Student Central" table from this site and I have a number of things there. I have a hanging folder basket with folders numbered 1-31. At the end of each day, I plop the left over handouts in the folder of the day. Kids who have been sick can go in and grab what they missed.

    In student central I have a double tray (nice antique style one I got from Goodwill) . The top of the tray holds Nameless Papers. Even if they put their number on the page, I refuse to accept the work unless the heading is on the page - that includes their name. At the end of the marking period, I chuck any papers left in that tray. The bottom holds extra loose leaf paper. I buy as much as I can at the penny sales at Staples before school starts and I scrounge up what I can when the kids clean their lockers at the end of the year, so it doesn't cost much to keep it stocked for the times a student doesn't have paper. Instead of whining to me that they don't have paper, or disrupting the kid next to them, students can go get a piece of paper on their own. I do speak to habitual abusers unless I know a particular child is in dire financial straits.

    I have a crate for each of my core classes on my cabinet. Each student has a hanging folder containing a manilla folder and a colored pocket folder (each class is a different color) About once a week, I try to file all the graded papers in the manilla folders. Sometimes I'm lucky to have a kid who really likes to file papers and they do the filing for me. Kids get tests back the following day, generally, but after they make corrections and I re-grade them, I show them their new grade during bellwork, and the test is filed. At the end of each marking period, I have the students get their folders (colored and manilla). I tell which writing assignments must be put in which pocket of the colored folder, and the vocab work goes into the other pocket. Everything else they can recycle or take home. This works for me because if a child sees something listed as missing on a progress report or a missing assignment list (which I post just before report card grades have to be handed in), I just tell them to check their binders, check the nameless paper tray, and then the folders. If it isn't in there, then it is truly missing because I don't lose papers. Sometimes I've goofed and graded a paper but somehow didn't enter it in the book. I apologize and we move on. At the end of the year, I hand back everything in the pocket folder along with the paperwork in the writing folders that were passed on to me.

    I also have a tray by my desk labeled LATE & MISSING. Instead of having to handle papers, which I know I'll put down somewhere because I get distracted, students know to put late (whether truly late or absent) papers in the tray. I go thru it every eve and date stamp the papers. I do spot check those labeled absent against the attendance records because sometimes certain kids get "mixed up" as to whether the work is late or they were absent.:whistle: If students need to turn stuff in early because they know they won't be in class when the work is due, they can turn the early work into this tray as well.

    I have another tray labeled "SIGNED PAPERS" that I put out if there are papers that need to be signed for HR or in my core classes. This way, once again, I'm not handling extra paper. This gets cleaned out every night and the sheets are duly checked off or entered in the gradebook. Once the due date is over, the tray goes away and the signed sheets have to be placed in LATE & MISSING instead. It takes a little practice in the beginning, but the tray system works well for me.
     
  14. Noel

    Noel Companion

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    Jun 22, 2011

    Label...I label everything! Even sometime the obvious things. By doing so it makes it easier for everyone to put things back in their correct place. I love my label maker, I would be lost without it.

    I am also a fan of OHIO!

    With regards to my computer files I have folders set up and everything goes in the appropriate place.
     
  15. shouldbeasleep

    shouldbeasleep Enthusiast

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    http://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/product.asp?order_num=-1&sku=10207649

    I have one like this that I hang over the closet door in my classroom. I have all sorts of things in the pockets. For example: band-aids, metal rings for holding together a deck of student-made flashcards, rubber bands, extra boxes of staples, brads, etc.

    I only paid a few dollars for mine on sale at Kohl's, I think. Or maybe Big Lots? I don't remember.
     
  16. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    You could give some of your organization skills to me :p! I know what to do, it's the doing where I get bogged down.
     
  17. Emily Bronte

    Emily Bronte Groupie

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    Ha, I would if I could. Part of it is that I don't like clutter and I think this helps a lot! I think that being organized also helps me feel more in control of things.
     
  18. 5thELA

    5thELA Rookie

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    Do you have a list of your classroom jobs that you might want to share. This is my first year.......
     
  19. nstructor

    nstructor Cohort

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    I teach 7/8th grade. These are the jobs:

    -pass out wrt/rdg folders
    -pass out journals
    -keep track of who borrowed pen/pencil
    -whiteboard cleaner
    -errand runner
    -collect folders/journals
    -collect independent rdg books
     
  20. 6thgradeteacher

    6thgradeteacher Rookie

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    When I run copies, I always run 3-4 extra. I have an "Extra Papers" tray and I always throw the extras in there. That way, if someone loses a paper, they know to look there before they ask me.

    I also keep two pencil containers, one for sharp, one for dull.

    I keep important papers/memos/mods, etc...in plastic sheet protectors hanging on my filing cabinet by my desk.
     
  21. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    I schedule my planning times. If I just do whatever comes up, it seems I always muss something and I get behind. But if I know that during Tuesday morning prep I am scheduled to read journals, it always gets done. I enter grades at the same time every week, and do plans/copying at the same time. Its just like another class.
     
  22. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    kc---I love that idea! It was something on my list to try for next year.
     
  23. jenglish97

    jenglish97 Devotee

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    Hi,

    I purchased 2 shoe cubbies (15 compartment) to use as the students mailboxes. I put all of their papers in their mailboxes instead of their desks. It saves on losing papers and children telling me that they did not get the homework or notices.

    I have a 6-drawer container for my homework. I labeled each draw a subject (reading ,spelling/writing, mathematics, science, social studies, and other). Each day the children place their homework in the correct drawer. This saves a lot of time of filtering the papers into subjects and seeing how did and did not complete it.

    I also number the children alphabetically on the 1st day of school. Makes everything so much easier.

    This year, I had the children bring in a plastic shoe box to house all of their supplies that do not fit in their desks (glue, scissors, markers, pencils, pens, etc.) and they store it on the rack under their chair.

    My file cabinet is very organized. Each subject has a color (red - communication arts, blue-mathematics, orange-social studies, green-science). I purchased the hanging folders in those colors and put a chapter in each folder. So for communications arts, there are 30 stories and I have 30 red hanging folders to put all my work for each story.

    Just a few things that I do in my classroom!
     
  24. Rabbitt

    Rabbitt Connoisseur

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    Jun 24, 2011

    I also number my students and have them put this number on the right hand corner or papers. Great for entering grades quickly. I line them up in this order too...quick way to know you have them all or which is out.

    Magneric clips added to sides of each student desk. It's where unfinished work hangs. Then it doesn't get lost, smashed in desk, or forgotten.

    I have a Word template/table with days of the week listing everything that I need to do (lessons, newsletter, etc). I write in things as they arrive. This keeps my mind from worrying about 'when will I _____?'
     
  25. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Shamelessly cut and pasted from another thread:

    Here's what I do with a new prep:

    I hit Staples and buy a new binder for each course-- 1.5-2". Then I go home with my syllabus and type up a chart in Word. I have a column for lesson #, one for topic, one for homework and one for short notes (as in "needs graph paper")

    Then I block out my year, with the number of lessons I think each topic will take.

    I put in tests (I like to test every 2 weeks, regardless of what I've covered) and count. If I'm under, that's great, since some topics (as well as the occasional snow day) will throw off my timing. If I'm over (that's never happened) I know I have to streamline my plans.

    Then take your syllabus and start planning those lessons.


    Something else: anytime I type a test, I include "row__" in the heading.

    It makes them a lot easier to hand back, especially in those early weeks when I'm still learning who's who. All the row 1 papers go on the first desk in that row, and so on.
     
  26. queenie

    queenie Groupie

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    I teach second grade and here are the jobs I have (I couldn't remember them all):

    Morning Greeter (reminds students to do lunch count and turn in folders)
    Turn on/off computers
    Calendar (add today's date and remind teacher of upcoming birthdays)
    Door Holder
    Moniter the Class
    Pass Out Papers
    Run Errands
    Tidy Bookshelves
    Pledge Leader

    End of Day Jobs:
    Floor Checker
    Cubby Checker
    Turn off Elmo
    Change Bathroom Book
    Move Lunch Count Cards
    Put Up Extra Chairs

    Sub (does jobs for absent students)

    I have 24 (only had to use 16 this year) but can't remember the rest of them. I'll post any more I remember later...

    I change my jobs every Friday.
     
  27. sweetlatina23

    sweetlatina23 Cohort

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    LOL :lol: That's exactly my problem too!
     
  28. Mrs.DLC

    Mrs.DLC Comrade

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    Rabbitt-I like the magnet idea for unfinished work! They sometimes do push the Ketchup folder into the desks....I have velcro on desks for sensory and many hang their ticket holders on the velcro also. But, I may add magnets for papers..they love magnets!!
     
  29. princessbloom

    princessbloom Comrade

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    I teach 3rd grade. I try to give my kids as much responsibility as I can. Just about everyone has a job to do daily, which saves me SO much time!
     
  30. cmw

    cmw Groupie

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    What a great idea! I get new students every 9 weeks & this will help a ton! :thumb:
     
  31. Miss W

    Miss W Phenom

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    Instead of a mailbox system, I have a filing crate with a lid. I can easily take it with me when I need to take things home or anywhere else in the school. Since I also give students a number for organization, this helps me enter grades and file quickly. Students then come to get their papers out of their own file when it's time to go home.

    Another change I made this past year was to put an Organization Station pocket chart up. I actually have had the chart for several years, but have used it for different things. Instead of students keeping a work folder in their desks, they kept their work in this pocket chart. It was a visual clue to them and myself if they had work not finished. It cut down a lot on missing student papers throughout the year, as well as the mess of papers in their desks.
     
  32. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

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    I have everything - and I mean everything - color-coded in my room.

    So, for filing, each topic has a different colored strip (Sharpie highlighters are pretty awesome for this) across the top. Poetry is yellow, figurative language is orange, short stories are green, novels red, etc. Make it super easy to get everything back into the right spot. I have a file rack on my desk, so anything we're working on right then goes there for easy access.

    Each class has an assigned color - 1st period red, 2nd period orange, etc. I bought colored hanging files for them, so I reuse each year. Each class's papers are graded in their color. I think this year - since I'll have two bulletin boards - one will have a folder for each class (in their color, of course) tacked up with any makeup work in it. Maybe they'll *actually* check it if it's large and right in front of them?

    I also keep trays in the back of the room for papers to hand back, one per class. When I collect papers, I just clip each period together and toss into a paper tray.
     
  33. Miss W

    Miss W Phenom

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    I also have these weekday bins from Lakeshore.

    Love them! It helps me stay organized with my teaching supplies for the week. It comes with matching folders, so it's easy to stay organized. I also coordinate my lesson plans to match, so if a substitute has to step in on emergency they can find my materials easily.
     
  34. shouldbeasleep

    shouldbeasleep Enthusiast

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    I bought some storage cubes that you sit on at Target last year. Very inexpensive, and they held up just fine. The kids stored indoor recess games in them. It helped to keep the shelves tidy.
     
  35. eddygirl

    eddygirl Companion

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    I e-mail myself every document I use, either self-created or a worksheet that I scanned. If I create it at home, I e-mail it to school, or if I worked on it at school, I send it home. By doing this, not only do I have every document at both places, but if there is a problem with the computers at either place, my documents are in the "sent" file of my e-mail account.

    I also rename my docs every year (i.e. 10-11 Unit 1 test), so that when I clean out my files, I can delete the older ones easily.
     
  36. shouldbeasleep

    shouldbeasleep Enthusiast

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    I use a yellow highlighter to write "Master" and my name on papers that I want to keep. The copier doesn't pick it up, I won't pass it out by mistake to a student, and I'm more apt to get it back.
     
  37. beccmo

    beccmo Comrade

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    This is my 6th year and I am still developing an organizational style that works for me. I tried binders, but don't keep up with them past October. I have accepted that I will probably always be a manila folder person, since I need to physically turn pages for myself.

    That being said, this past year I finally decided to dedicate one large drawer of my desk for important papers. I have hanging files for: IEPs and 504s, excessive absence notices sent home, parent correspondence, my substitute folder, and for every subject for the current unit we are working on (I switch the contents of these throughout the year). This was the first year I haven't had to search for where I put a folder (I am a piler by nature).

    My flash drive needs organizing next, and I am working on that this summer. Right now I am putting created notes, labs, and homework in unit folders on my computer and backing them up.

    I am thinking of creating google templates for my freshman class worksheets, since they have computers. Can you organize templates?
     
  38. cmw

    cmw Groupie

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    Jun 30, 2011

    I have the students in my various classes fill out an informational sheet (parent info., music likes, activities, etc...). For my band & choir students I put that paper in my communications binder. I kept track of parent contact on it including positive calls home (which I am trying to do more of). I had separate sections in my comm. binder for gen music and my other ensembles. I want to tweak the system, but I'm not sure how yet.
     
  39. paperheart

    paperheart Groupie

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    Jun 30, 2011

    love the circa/Rollabind systems. The circa is available through levenger.com and is a bit pricier and the Rollabind system is the cheaper version. You can order the discs for it on eBay very inexpensively. I plan to splurge for another punch before the school year. It works well for me to keep important papers together.
     
  40. queenie

    queenie Groupie

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    :thanks: Love it!
     
  41. tchr4evr

    tchr4evr Companion

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    Jul 1, 2011

    I remembered something else

    I have a graphic for each class - I teach four subjects - Theatre I is drama masks, Theatre II is curtained stage, English 12 is books and AP is quill and paper (all clip art from Microsoft) Altough I do have baskets for each class, if I run off a large batch of documents, or kids put things in the wrong place, I see the graphic in the right hand corner and know right away where it goes.
     

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