Organization Tips

Discussion in 'New Teachers Archives' started by nasimi77, Aug 13, 2006.

  1. nasimi77

    nasimi77 Groupie

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2005
    Messages:
    1,429
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 13, 2006

    I thought I'd start a thread on this, because I would love to hear how all of you keep your stuff organized. I am a new teacher and I will be teaching 4th grade, as well as beginning visual arts 3 days a week after school on Tues, Wed & Thurs. I THINK I will have a separate room to teach art, but I sure as heck don't want to make that assumption. I am just figuring I'll have to teach 4th grade and also be a visual arts teacher for those 3 days of the week. I'm excited but also very overwhelmed right now.:rolleyes:

    I have come a long way in terms of organization, but I'll admit I have a long way to go. I'm what you'd call the "organized chaos queen". (my apartment is a perfect example):eek: I just want to have a neat and orderly looking room, and I also realize a lot of that has to do with how I plan things. I am not a slob by any means, and I am a clean person, I don't want to give the wrong impression. I have just heard many teachers say they want to be more organized. It does seem to be a tough thing. So, for those of you who have organization down to an art form, please help me and others who are still a work in progress. :D (well, I guess we all are in a way)

    Thank you!:)
     
  2.  
  3. Ann2006

    Ann2006 Cohort

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2006
    Messages:
    682
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 13, 2006

    My number one on organization is to minimize daily. If you don't need it, throw it away.

    If it's student work, grade it then either file it or put it in the returned papers box.

    Have separate boxes/tubs for late work, classwork according to subject, homework according to subject, returned papers, extra copies of handouts, notes,etc..
    This way you can grab what you need.

    Record grades ASAP! Do not wait. It builds up quickly.

    Don't grade everything!!!! Stamp it completed and return or file it.

    Memos, reminders, etc...get stapled on a bulletin board by my desk. This is where I look every morning for what I need to know. If it's private, I keep it under my desk calendar.

    If a pile of something has been sitting longer than a week, either put it in a closet or throw it away.

    Keep portfolio type folders for each student for each subject(color coded) so it is easy to spot and grab when it's time to work.
    Make yourself one too with a table of contents of student folders...jot down what you have them keep in theirs.

    Ok...that's all I can think of right now.

    Most important is throw things away you don't need any more. Don't keep any stacks of papers lying around.

    Hope this helped a little.
     
  4. scienceteach50

    scienceteach50 Companion

    Joined:
    May 21, 2006
    Messages:
    114
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 13, 2006

    after my first year of teaching last year i learned that keeping a planner helps and throwing away memo's that i don't need helps more. I write down what i need to know from the memo in my planner and toss the memo. On my desk i keep a vertical file sorter and have a "memo's/stuff" folder that i stick stuff in when i don't have time to read it right away, homeroom folder, and three folders for each class labeled in, out, and late. I have a date stamp and I date stamp the day i recieve late work so that I make sure that students get docked the correct amount of points.

    Then i keep two file drawers. One file drawer for administrative paperwork. One file for instructional stuff. I keep my files labeled and put my originals back asap. I never put anything on my desk, it would get lost there.

    HTH
     
  5. paperheart

    paperheart Groupie

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2005
    Messages:
    1,350
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 13, 2006

    great advice Ann!

    I tend to create piles so this year I am working with this tendency and have designed spaces to have different categories of piles and they are now housed in containers so I don't have sloppy piles that start falling over.

    I have:
    • an In and Out set of stacking trays--for my paperwork with a deadline.
    • a set of in (white) and out (black) trays for each class I teach
    • a shelf in my storage cabinet for copies that are already run off. The shelf has a paper organizer which I'll use to organize copies by the day I'll be using them.
    • the top of my filing cabinet is designated for copies to be handed out for that day.

    Other containers I've found helpful:
    I have an embroidery case (with little square sections) that I keep all sorts of small doo dads--paper clips, change for vending machine, thumb tacks, etc.
    On top of my desk I have some sort of container found at a yard sale. The container might be for napkins, silverware and paper plates (not really sure). What's helpful about it is it keeps all my desk clutter corralled and organized. I keep my stapler upright in the napkin holder part and my pens, pencils and highlighters in the pen part. The paper plate part is for my 3-hole punch, post-it pad, timer and things like that. Underneath there is space and this is where I keep the papers I want to get copied. I have a little tray (actually the top cover from an old transparency box) to keep them in and carry this to the copier.

    This is a brand new setup because I am in a new classroom again. (In 5 years of teaching I have not kept the same classroom or teaching assignment once! In a way, its helped me pare down on unnecessary clutter. In another way, it is making me go nuts because I need to figure out how to organize with different furniture and needs every time.)

    Another key is to take care of little tasks that take less than 2 minutes right away. If you need to send a count of students to the office do it right away before you lose the paper and need to spend time looking for it. If you get a memo with an important date, write the date on a calendar and toss the paper--eventually you'll have to toss the paper away--better to do it sooner than later!
     
  6. Cyndi23

    Cyndi23 Companion

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2006
    Messages:
    113
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 13, 2006

    I create a folder for each child to keep in my desk. I put their parent notes, discipline info, etc in there and write on the outside of the folder parent contact info. It's great for when I go to a parent conference, I just pull out the file and everything is ready to go!

    I'm also throwing EVERYTHING away that I don't need when I get it (especially in front of my mailbox) That way I cut down on the paper problem.
     
  7. MissFrizzle

    MissFrizzle Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2006
    Messages:
    6,439
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 13, 2006

    Keep a master copy of any reproducibles in a binder divided by topics. That way, you can find it with ease, and you'll never write on the last one.
     
  8. Brenda S.

    Brenda S. Comrade

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2003
    Messages:
    272
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 13, 2006

    Yellow highlighter doesn't photocopy. So, I always run a yellow stripe over my original. At a glance I can tell if it is my original.
     
  9. MissFrizzle

    MissFrizzle Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2006
    Messages:
    6,439
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 13, 2006


    That's what I do
     
  10. terptoteacher

    terptoteacher Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2006
    Messages:
    1,751
    Likes Received:
    2

    Aug 13, 2006

    I keep a file crate in the front of the class with folders for each week. (ex. Sept. 5-9) I put any extra handouts in that folder. When kids come for another copy, I have them right there.

    In my reading curriculum last year, there were certain papers that they had each week. We copied them on different colored papers. Spelling was yellow, grammar was blue, vocabulary was on green paper. We'd copy them off a theme at a time. My file folders were color coded to match the color of the paper.

    I had seperate bins for seperate work to be turned in. All ss was put into one basket, science in another. etc.

    I kept a file crate with a file for each child. I would put examples of work,test results, notes from home--anything that pertained to that child in the folder. IT was easy when it came time for conferences.
     
  11. Ann2006

    Ann2006 Cohort

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2006
    Messages:
    682
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 13, 2006

    I love color coding certain papers because it allows you to take a quick glance and see if kids are working on the correct assignment!
    Saves so many headaches over how to deal with kids writing notes or working on something else! Terrific that you mentioned it!

    I've had kids who forget it's color paper and they are shocked when I say, "Put it away and get back to work on the assignment Jon." It's funny!
     
  12. nasimi77

    nasimi77 Groupie

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2005
    Messages:
    1,429
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 13, 2006

    I have actually started to do this already, yay!:D I got a bunch of wonderful reproducibles in one of my methods classes. Thanks MissFrizzle!
     
  13. nasimi77

    nasimi77 Groupie

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2005
    Messages:
    1,429
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 13, 2006

    What a great bit of advice, so simple but so true! I am total packrat too!:eek: Thanks!


    I really like this idea. :)



    I was thinking about this last night and it was keeping me up worrying about it. I could see grades piling quickly, and I am the type of person that needs to take care of things right then and there. So thanks for this too Ann. Your entire post was soooo helpful.

    Thanks to everyone's posts so far..really great stuff. I am saving what you've written so I can refer back to them. I begin setting up my room this week!
     
  14. nasimi77

    nasimi77 Groupie

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2005
    Messages:
    1,429
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 13, 2006

    This is great paperheart! :) Especially in regards to the many different art supplies I will need to have on hand, specifically the smaller ones that are easily stored in those kinds of containers. (erasers, charcoal, small paint tubes, etc.) I really need to go to a yard sale, there's so many great things I see for dirt cheap. I really don't want to spend a fortune!
     
  15. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2002
    Messages:
    18,935
    Likes Received:
    679

    Aug 13, 2006

    For art bins, I don't think you can beat Dollar Tree. It looks neater when they are all the same, maybe just differing in size. Our art teacher is a master of organization.

    My favorite organizational tip that saves me time is to keep monthly files in one desk drawer. Before the beginning of a month, I go through it to find fun holiday activities, craft instructions, printables, even small decorations, that relate to that month. Many of them can be used year after year. When I find something I like in Mailbox or online, I file it in the appropriate month. I even have holiday craft books filed in there.

    In my other large desk drawer, I have a file for each student. As soon as I grade papers that are to go home, I file them in each student's file to be sent home on Fridays.

    For my topic files, I have a 4 drawer cabinet in the closet. One drawer for math, one for ss, one for LA. I file teacher books (paperback) and resources by topic. When I start to teach a unit, I grab out the file to see what handouts I used in the past. I also keep maps, pictures, small posters, (and anything else that pertains to the topics) in there. In the bottom drawer, I keep novel units. I usually print the two out from Mailbox magazine if I even think I will use them some day. Others I buy.

    Because my resources are easy to find and file, I am happy to share them when another teacher needs something.
     
  16. nasimi77

    nasimi77 Groupie

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2005
    Messages:
    1,429
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 13, 2006

    Thanks Upsadaisy. :love:
     
  17. MsWilks13

    MsWilks13 Rookie

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2005
    Messages:
    94
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 13, 2006

    I agree with Ann2006, record your grades ASAP or the papers will pile up very quickly.....

    I use an accordion folder with files from a to z.

    I also have lots of plastic bins. One for paperback books, one for hard cover books, a tri-drawer plastic bin, mailboxes for the kids to put their take home stuff in, and stand up folder holders.
     
  18. cmorris

    cmorris Comrade

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2005
    Messages:
    356
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 13, 2006

    Label everything! I have tons of stuff stored in my cabinets, so I labeled each and every bin. I can look quickly and see where something is. It also allows me to put things back into the right place.

    Clean up your room everyday before you go home. That will help prevent piles of papers. It shouldn't take long if you do it daily.

    Good luck!
     
  19. etcetera83

    etcetera83 Cohort

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2006
    Messages:
    646
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 14, 2006

    OOOOOOH...that's a good idea!
     
  20. TeachWildThings

    TeachWildThings Comrade

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2005
    Messages:
    320
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 15, 2006

    I'm fortunate to have lots of shelf space! I teach infants/toddlers with multiple disabilities so like prek it's all about the "theme of the month" I scored on file boxes & I have all my circle materials for each month seperated into them. I too have masters for the months in file drawers. Another tip is I put all my books into categories & themes & rotate them each month for the students. I also took a few days last winter break & inventoried all my personal books onto a list so I could find them at a glance. (This also helped when I had to give my Admin a list of my personal items I use in class) And one more suggestion, I have a real hard time saying no when someone wants to borrow a book, puppet, ect. I made my own check out list & give them a time limit of when I need it back. So far it has worked great!
     
  21. ctopher

    ctopher Comrade

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2005
    Messages:
    386
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 15, 2006

    I'm lucky to have many cabinets in my room...this year when I cleaned them out and reorganized I wrote on a small piece of paper what was on each shelf. Then I taped the paper to the inside of the cabinet door next to that shelf. It works especially well in my art/craft cabinet and in the math cupboard.
     
  22. MissR

    MissR Comrade

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2005
    Messages:
    272
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 17, 2006

    i have a class list printed out for every assignment that they turn in. Then, when they turn it in, they mark their name off the list and i keep the list with the stack of papers. that way I can look at a glance and see who hasn't finished it/turned it in. I didn't start it right away and it is soo much easier this way than what I was doing before!
     
  23. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2005
    Messages:
    13,919
    Likes Received:
    1,745

    Aug 17, 2006

    My students are to bring back tests and assignments with a parent signature. To track this, I highlight the mark in my mark book--easy to see who has to still return them.
     
  24. terptoteacher

    terptoteacher Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2006
    Messages:
    1,751
    Likes Received:
    2

    Aug 17, 2006

    I did this with my fifth graders. I would just hi-light their names. Or they would do it as they turned it in.
     
  25. merry

    merry Rookie

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2006
    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 19, 2006

    This is a great thread, I have put many of these ideas to work. Thanks everyone!

    No more piles of papers!
     

Share This Page

Members Online Now

  1. YoungTeacherGuy,
  2. Sadnezz,
  3. DamienJasper,
  4. Backroads,
  5. CaliforniaRPCV
Total: 311 (members: 8, guests: 278, robots: 25)
test