Obsessive Compulsive Teachers

Discussion in 'General Education' started by ayotte04, Jul 15, 2007.

  1. ayotte04

    ayotte04 Comrade

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    I never considered myself a "neat freak" or OCD, but after student teaching I found that I need to become OCD. It is so much easier for me to sleep at night when I have all my ducks in a row, everything is copied, and organized, neat, and clean in my classroom.

    I'm in love with Rubbermaid containers (or their rip-off counterparts). For those of you who are superorganized can you give a new teacher some tips on keeping things clean and organized or other things that are big time savers?
     
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  3. Jame

    Jame Comrade

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    Sounds like you have already discovered an essential key...have everything organized and ready to go before going home each night (If you can, that is! :) Go easy on yourself when you can't. :angel: ) Mornings are just so unpredictable! Like I tell my kids, always have a back-up plan. :) And enlist the kids' help in clean-up. They can pick up things off the floor and straighten areas before leaving. After all, they made the mess. It teaches them responsibility, ownership, and a sense of empathy and gratitude for others. :)

    Oh, one thing that I have learned to do is to make new copies of tests, worksheets, etc. to replenish folders before putting them back in the file. Saves a lot of time preparing for the next year's class. :)
     
  4. OtterMom

    OtterMom Comrade

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    Organization is essential for us "little kid teachers!" We haved literally THOUSANDS of manipulative pieces, and once they get mixed up, it's impossible.

    We also love Rubbermaid, and kids love to help clean up.
     
  5. hyperangel

    hyperangel Rookie

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    I always try to clean up before I go home at night, I am kicking myself when I come in the next day and I haven't usually. Also, I try to have all of my lesson plans done at least a week in advance if possible except for a few minor tweeks. This always helps me to feel on the ball in the morning.
     
  6. ayotte04

    ayotte04 Comrade

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    Yeah...I've found enlisting kids to pass back papers and take 3 minutes to pick up textbooks on the floor, trash, broken pencils helps a bunch.

    when you're talking about making new copies of tests are you talking about making just another master copy of the worksheet....or whole class sets?
     
  7. Jame

    Jame Comrade

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    I was talking about a whole class set. :) I have a file drawer for each subject. After I have given a test, I quick run off enough copies for next year, adding a few extras for retakes or extra students. That way it is all organized and in place for the following year. And you thought you were OCD!! :D
     
  8. ayotte04

    ayotte04 Comrade

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    Yeah...the thing is I have to find out if my school is limiting me on paper and number of copies. My student teaching site watched everyone like a hawk on how much they copied (they would track your id number). And I would like to have extras for next year, but as a secondary teacher that would mean having about 120 more copies...=(

    I'll have to see what my school policy is. Any other ideas about how best to use rubbermaid containers?
     
  9. GlendaLL

    GlendaLL Aficionado

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    Jul 15, 2007

    Use three-ring binders to organize paperwork. You can punch holes in the papers or (for the papers you want to save nicely) you can slip them in page protectors. To make copies, you do not have to take the paper out of the page protector - just put it right on the copier.
     
  10. Jame

    Jame Comrade

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    Great idea to use binders...that would help a lot! :)

    ayotte04, that does make it harder. Our enrollment stays pretty consistent, so that helps. I do think the paper count would still be similar, though, between HS and elementary, when you figure your say, six "classes" vs. our six "subjects" taught...does that make any sense? :)
     
  11. wldywall

    wldywall Connoisseur

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    Ayotte, the best thing I did as a first year teacher last year is simple but a life saver. When I had an assignment I put it in a file folder in a box by the door, organized by week assigned. Then the students would have to get their own missing papers (I timed it, I saved at least 10 mins per class not getting it myself). THis is how the folder should be organized, blank copies in the middle, notes stapled to one side *if it was a notes assignment* and when the assignemtn was no longer due, a key. *for other kinds of assignments* On the other side of the file folder you staple in a key, mark it with yellow highlighter so kids don't take it. Now if you want to use again a few years down the road, you pull it out and it is all there. Trust me it works!
     
  12. ayotte04

    ayotte04 Comrade

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    Yes I learned this exact thing from a colleague. I didn't realize you could make a copy of something already in a page protector. thats good to know.

    i've been going wild with sheet covers and heavy duty plastic dividers. I've seen other teachers make a folder for EVERY paper they use, or others just divide things into units in those hanging folder crates. But so far, I've found the binders seem to work for me.
     
  13. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I have a vertical file box on my desk. Each class period has its own folder and its own color. Another goes for my homeroom. Anything that is to be returned to a studnent goes into the appropriately colored folder. If he's been absent, we both know where to look for that quiz I returned yesterday or that form that was passed out in homework.
     
  14. letsteach

    letsteach Comrade

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    I have a "Master" file which obviously contains all the master copies of papers in transparent sheet protectors. In yellow highlighter pen I write a large "M" on the front. Yellow highlighters do not show through when you photocopy. (You can write notes in the yellow and it won't show through, other colours [blue, green, pink, etc will though]). I photocopy the number I require and any extras get put behind the master. When I next come to copy I already have some done (I don't like to waste paper, I am a good recycler!).
     
  15. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    I pride myself on being super-organized, and it makes things run SOOO much easier in my classroom. I always know where things are, and I don't lose things. It's also easy for subs and kids to do things in my room because they can find things easily.

    By the way, OCD doesn't equal extra organized. My husband actually does have OCD, and organization is not his strong point at all.
     
  16. ayotte04

    ayotte04 Comrade

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    yes... thats true OCD doesn't equal super duper organized. I just wasn't sure how to categorize it. Hehe. Ima...can you give me specific examples of things you do that make a big difference?
     
  17. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I do my best to always put things back in their homes when I'm done using them. It's hard for me in my real life at home, but I'm very good about doing it at school.

    I make sure that my desk is cleared off at the end of the day. I'd hate for a sub to come in the next day due to some sort of emergency and see a filthy, messy desk.

    I never leave food or beverages out once I'm done. That just totally grosses me out. I've seen other teachers with half-eaten donuts and cold cups of coffee on their desks for days. ICK!

    I'm going to have a binder where I keep all my student self-inventories and contact information. Behind each student sheet I'm going to file any referrals, detention slips, denial of credit forms, absence notifications...all those sorts of forms and a record of parent contact. By keeping them all in one place, I'll be able to grab them and head off to parent conferences with little hassle.

    I keep copies of commonly used forms in a stackable tray organizer on my desk. That way I'm not going in and out of my filing cabinet all the time.
     
  18. ayotte04

    ayotte04 Comrade

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    Yes I agree with the idea bout food. The fact that you have SEEN donut and coffee sit out for that long (without it being an intentional science experiment) worries me.

    I like the fact that you're putting ALL your student info in one place. I've seen it organized , but divided separately and you're so right about having to run off to a parent conference while trying to find 3 different file folders.

    The stackable tray on your desk (so you don't dive into your file cabinet all the time) is a good idea. I was thinking of getting those mesh drawer tray setups...the ones that are stacked and can actually be set up next to the desk. They can be more expensive but I think they slide easier than some of those cheap plastic ones.
    But I understand the need to have something, right there, right now like hall passes, or detentions or whatever it is.
     
  19. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Just be sure to lock up your hall passes. Sometimes kids can be crafty and steal a pack when you're helping another kid and not looking at your desk.
     
  20. ayotte04

    ayotte04 Comrade

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    wow. kids these days. Yes I will have them in a secure location that requires passing through the metal detector first and taking off your shoes and belt.

    haha...no wait....that was somewhere else....
     
  21. Teacher Chele

    Teacher Chele Habitué

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    Jul 16, 2007

    Recess Box...
    A great organizational tip is to have kids put anything they need to work on during recess in a box. Have extra pencil, etc. in there just in case.
     
  22. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    Let's see . . . I'm big on containers and labels. I like having everything labeled so it's easy for the kids to put things away, and subs really appreciate it as well. I especially like containers like baskets and boxes for bookshelves and desk drawers. I'm more organized in small areas than in open areas, so I like putting my desk items in small containers in my large drawers.

    I also don't allow myself to put things in places other than where they go. I have one basket near my desk that is a "catch all" where I put things that I can't put back for some reason or things that don't yet have their own spot. I make sure I clean that basket out once a week.
     
  23. ayotte04

    ayotte04 Comrade

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    Yes...the thought of excessive labels and excessive containers makes me drool. Only problem is it is expensive when you're starting out like me...a brand new teacher.

    If I bought everything I wanted/needed....I wouldn't be able to cash in my first few paychecks hehe.
     
  24. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    I've had 14 years to collect containers. I've picked up a few here and there over the years. I focused on one area and tried to pick up things just for that. Now I've pretty much got it set. I just replace things that break most of the time.

    I had to tear myself away from the containers section at Dollar General today. They had too many cute containers in colors I'm using in my classroom this year!

    I recommend a label maker, too. I have one of the hand held electronic ones. It wasn't that expensive, and I use it all the time.
     
  25. teacherkasey

    teacherkasey Cohort

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    When I did my student teaching oh so long ago, my cooperating teacher had a white milk crate looking container with the hanging file folders. She had a folder labeled with each day and would put in any worksheets or books she needed for that day in the correct hanging folder. The kids switched for math so she had a seperate one for math. If there was something that wasn't completed on the day she planned, she would just move it to the next file folder so it was there for the next day... and she wouldn't forget that it needed to be completed. She would set up for the next week on Friday afternoons before she left for the weekend.

    When I was teaching Kindergarten I modified this idea because all of my manipulatives, etc. wouldn't fit very well in a file folder. I got small clear plastic containers (I think they were the shoe sized boxes) and had them labeled, one for each day. If I could get the lids on them I would stack them in my little "teacher area" and if the lids didn't fit because there was too much in one, I laid them out on the window sill next to the table where I held my small group activities.

    I also use binders to store all of my units. All master copies, book lists, and other ideas that go along with a theme are in 3 ring binders, organized alphabetically. It took me quite a few years to get these together but it definitely got easier as time went on.
     
  26. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    Great ideas! Will you keep the binder locked up in case of, shall we say, student misdeeds? (i.e., midnight visits to the teacher's desk -- we've had several breakins since January!)
     
  27. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    Ayotte04"

    You said: "Yes...the thought of excessive labels and excessive containers makes me drool. Only problem is it is expensive when you're starting out like me...a brand new teacher. "

    I agree -- just looking at them drains my checking account! However, there are less expensive alternatives for many of them. Why not start out with empty shoe/boot boxes? You can wrap them in any color paper and label them on the front/side/top as to what they contain. I am a box recycler crazy woman! My husband has to sneak the paper case boxes from work, because we have already taken so many! I got my electronic (Brother, I think) on clearance, along with LOTS of label tape, so I am ready to label stuff, just step out of my way!
     
  28. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    Binder ideas!

    Letsteach said:
    In yellow highlighter pen I write a large "M" on the front. Yellow highlighters do not show through when you photocopy. (You can write notes in the yellow and it won't show through, other colours [blue, green, pink, etc will though]). I photocopy the number I require and any extras get put behind the master.

    and

    Teacherksey said:
    I also use binders to store all of my units. All master copies, book lists, and other ideas that go along with a theme are in 3 ring binders, organized alphabetically. It took me quite a few years to get these together but it definitely got easier as time went on.

    I may not be in a classroom yet, but I wholeheartedly agree! I have been "chewing on" this organizational method for about a year, and have recently begun doing it for my personal files (i.e., my portfolio, etc.). I love it because, if you get the binders with the "view" plastic on the front/spine, once they are labeled it is easy to figure out which one you want! I'm just trying to decide if I want different colors for different categories/classes, or all white so they are uniform and look extremely organized!
     
  29. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    Cassie, I laughed out loud when I read this! I tell my kids all of the time, "Okay, this is where Mr. Stapler (or whatever) lives... Make sure he makes it back home before you leave this room." And I teach HIGH SCHOOL! They laugh, but they put Mr. Stapler back in the right place! :D

    I'm also super organized at school but not nearly as much at home.
     
  30. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    I have also always had an extremely organized work space at work. The exception to that was my last bookkeeper job where my new boss handed me 7 years worth of bank statements that had not been reconciled and said here! They need to be reconciled, expenses need to be catalogued, and I have no idea how much money I have in the bank, so it needs to be fast!

    At home, it's a disaster! I still have unpacked boxes, and we moved in 2 years ago! UGH! Luckily, though, I am untidy, but not dirty!
     
  31. MissFroggy

    MissFroggy Aficionado

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    I end up supplementing my math curriculum with a lot of self-made worksheets, or things I find from other sources. I make a binder for each unit and put a copy of everything I do in that binder. I can then use it again the next year if I want to. I do this for other curriulcum also, but find it most useful in math.

    I usually run off two extra copies when I make the class set. One for the binder, and one to keep as an extra in case someone needs a new one.
     
  32. ayotte04

    ayotte04 Comrade

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    oh... the kids got their semester grades after Christmas and didn't like them eh?
     
  33. MissV

    MissV Companion

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    Oh Gosh, I LOVE sticking my lesson plans in binders! I bought 30 little 1 inch ones at Walmart the other day and it costed $60 :(:(:( I would have gotten the cheaper ones, but I like the white ones with the plastic lining. I WANT to be the most organized teacher EVER this year with the new reading series. (I know..yeah right:p)

    What I want to know:
    Does anyone ever fully "perfect" a year before it actually starts?
    I feel like I've got nothing accomplished this summer but get married:p
     
  34. ayotte04

    ayotte04 Comrade

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    yeah right now i have one of those manual label makers....not the electronic ones. later in the year I'll probably go buy an electronic one. they are so spiffy. I used them all the time when i worked retail
     
  35. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    I dunno -- all I know is that they used the window in a friend of mine's classroom to break in and tore up a bunch of stuff and stole some candy. Not sure of the rest yet.
     
  36. ayotte04

    ayotte04 Comrade

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    Oh god...I can't stop laughing....I can just hear you saying "mr. stapler" hahahaha
     
  37. ayotte04

    ayotte04 Comrade

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    Jul 17, 2007

     
  38. MissV

    MissV Companion

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    Sorry I can't help the "office Space" allusion...
    "But..but but...Thattthz my staypler"

    I love milton <3<3<3
     
  39. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    It's not possible.

    How much and exactly what you teach depends partly on the kids in front of you, and that can't be determined until they get there. Rough drafts of plans, sure. But much more than that is wishful thinking.

    And CONGRATS on your marriage!!
     
  40. ayotte04

    ayotte04 Comrade

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    ditto!
     
  41. Pencil Monkey

    Pencil Monkey Devotee

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    Jul 17, 2007

    i've had that happen to a pass that I wrote, the kid changed the day and time that i wrote on it, went down to the opposite end of the building and got into HUGE trouble. I got blamed.:eek:

    After that I went to carbon copy passes on a receipt type booklet so i could prove which passes i wrote and didn't write. I wish they made carbon copy hall pass books.
     

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