Organized people.....please stop here!

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by Mrs. Mom, Jul 28, 2008.

  1. Mrs. Mom

    Mrs. Mom Cohort

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    Jul 28, 2008

    I'm looking for advice on how to get home at a reasonable time each evening. There was a teacher last year who didn't tutor, and she was able to leave for home about 3:30 each afternoon. Her desk was always clean, her lessons were done by Wed. or Thurs. for the next week, etc., etc. She was an awesome teacher. What am I doing wrong? I will tutor two afternoons a week for an hour each, but how do organized people pull this off? I feel like I am doing lessons all weekend, especially Sunday, and grading papers never ends. I just want to get this year off to a good start. So, all of you organized people, share your secrets for leaving school at a decent hour and not dragging half your classroom home with you! (My husband will thank you if you can teach me to do that!!)
     
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  3. Dana

    Dana Rookie

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    Well, I try to do as much stuff as possible during the summer. Copies, printing, etc... It's all ready to go. That saves ALOT of time for me. I don't like spending more time preparing the lesson, when I feel I should be using that time DOING the lesson...

    I guess my biggest secret is to keep it simple and do as much ahead of time as possible.
     
  4. Missy99

    Missy99 Connoisseur

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    Jul 28, 2008

    Someone else here posted a question of a similar nature -- and I remember one of the responses was that you shouldn't set yourself up for a ton of extra work every week. Streamline. For example, don't grade everything the students turn in.

    Are you disorganized at home as well? If so, you may need to schedule a consultation with a professional organizer to figure out what you are doing to keep yourself from being more efficient, both at work and home.

    For free -- ask that teacher how she does it. She may be very glad to share with you the secrets to her success!
     
  5. 2love2teach

    2love2teach Companion

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    Jul 28, 2008

    I know a teacher that plans reading on Mon. Math on Tues and Social studies on Wed/Thurs. On Friday she makes homework and other copies and put them in folders. This way she doesnt have to do any work on the weekends.
     
  6. janlee

    janlee Devotee

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    Jul 28, 2008

    I am able to arrive at school about 1 hour before the students come in. That gives me time to file, mark journals, gather together any papers that I will need copied later in the week. It's quiet and no one disturbs me. I make use of my planning period by marking folders, tests, cleaning up any messy areas. I also only use about 15 minutes of my 45 minute lunch period to eat. The remainder of the time I work in my room. I do stay on Friday, about an extra 1 in order to get my plans and papers in order for the following week.
     
  7. trayums

    trayums Enthusiast

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    I too go to school early early. School starts at 8:30 and I usually arrive between 6:45-7:05. This is when I get the majority of my planning, grading, copying, emails, etc. done. I am then able to leave pretty much right when they kids do. I also use my planning times to plan and get prepared as opposed to chatting with colleagues (well don't get me wrong I chat with them too but not the whole time).
     
  8. Sheree

    Sheree Companion

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    Jul 28, 2008

    I agree trayums! Use your prep for preparing not talking. I have that problem sometimes. I could kick myself in the behind when I'm sitting at home grading a ton of papers that could've been completed at work!:mad:
     
  9. trayums

    trayums Enthusiast

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    It's so hard to do when you don't get to see anyone for most of the day. But-- it does pay off in the long run to get lots done during planning :)
     
  10. I<3kiddos

    I<3kiddos Rookie

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    Jul 28, 2008

    I don't leave things for later. Rather than putting papers to file in a stack to file later (or papers to grade in a grade pile, whatever it may be), I file it then. It's actually much faster than setting aside time for doing the things later. I get to work 30-45 minutes early and make sure things are ready for the day; I have the kids straighten their parts of the room before they leave; and I clean up my things before I go. I am generally out the door at our allowed time to leave, and my room is always orderly.
     
  11. love_reading

    love_reading Comrade

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    Jul 28, 2008

    I don't know. I feel like I am an organized person, but I have the same problem with bringing things home. I have to leave on time b/c I have young children to pick up and get home to feed and take care of. But I tend to get sidetracked during my planning time and end up doing most of my planning at home. The second part of last year I just told myself I would no longer grade papers at home...and I didn't! I worked on them during planning time. The part I hate the most is getting all my materials for lessons prepared...that tends to take me forever! I am a bit too picky...
     
  12. Calalilys

    Calalilys Comrade

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    Jul 29, 2008

    This is exactly what I do and have been doing for the past two years. It's the only way I can find to not spend my weekends working. I have also done it where I lesson plan on Monday and Wednesday and then Tuesday and Thursday are spent grading papers. So by the time the kids leave on Friday, I can leave as well with nothing in my hand. :)
     
  13. paperheart

    paperheart Groupie

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    Jul 29, 2008

    I was just going to start a "best time-saving tips" thread.

    One thing that helps: Get to know the functions on your school's copier. Some can staple, hole punch, or allow you to run all your copy requests through at once. These features save more time than you think.

    Avoid perfection.

    Prioritize what must be done. Before prioritizing reflect on what your teaching philosophy is. Keeping that in mind will help you realize that having perfect bulletin boards doesn't really make a difference or whatever the case may be for you.
     
  14. cheeryteacher

    cheeryteacher Enthusiast

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    Jul 29, 2008

    I used to have a specials schedule for myself. I mapped out what i wanted to get done everyday while my kids were in music, gym, etc. I think it stopped me from goofing off during the time when I wasn't supervising kids.
     
  15. LiveNLearn

    LiveNLearn Comrade

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    Jul 29, 2008

    I try to stay organized by being on top of things. If I have a couple extra minutes, I always have a follow up folder of things that need attention.

    I have a "to copy folder" so that if I go to the copy machine, I have everything that needs to be copied.

    I have a "to file folder" so that if my students ask for a job when they have extra time, I can quickly get them to work.
     
  16. I <3 ESL

    I <3 ESL Rookie

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    Jul 29, 2008

    I'm a newbie to this myself, but I've seen a couple of other teachers on here post about the Flylady website. I just joined because, eventhough I consider myself an organization-loving perfectionist, I still end up sidetracked, covered in clutter and leaving work late. I know Flylady has a special section for teachers too and I'm really excited to start using it both at home and at work.
     
  17. Miss W

    Miss W Phenom

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    Jul 29, 2008

    My planning periods on Monday and Wednesdays are open for me to work on whatever I want to. Tuesdays are reserved for team meetings (which is our pod (3-5 teachers), our literacy coach, and our principal).

    I do my lesson plans on Thursdays during my planning period. They're not due until Monday Morning before school, but I like to have them done by Friday. I don't like to do them any earlier, because sometimes our schedules change during the week. Maybe a lesson didn't go right, or the kids just didn't get it. I try to be flexible. If something does come up and I can't plan on Thursday, it's okay. I have 3 more days to get them done. Another thing I do before each month starts is preplan on a calendar (I do this in Publisher) what I plan to teach for the month. It really helped me cut down my lesson planning from an hour to about 20 minutes. I know in my head that the calendar is flexible and I move things when I need to.

    I try to make any copies I may need for the next week during my planning period on Friday. I have a Teacher's Orgainizer from Lakeshore that really keeps my copies and teaching materials for the week in order. If I'm using copies or books I put them in the corresponding day. My lesson plans are arranged that the day's header is the same color as that day's bin. This really helps if I have to leave in an emergency. Subs or aides can simply look at my lesson plan book to see what is needed.

    I've always been a late stayer (I know, not a word), but that's me. I grade papers at home because I get distracted with projects while I'm at school. Usually if I'm staying after school it's for projects I want to work on. It would be okay if I didn't get them done. I do tend to get a little disorganized to other peoples eyes (looking at my desk), but I know where everything is. Anyone else a piler? When people bring stuff to me while I'm teaching I just pile it on my desk. It can wait until later, I'm busy teaching. If someone else is coming in, my desk is always clean.
     
  18. amyt682

    amyt682 Comrade

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    Jul 29, 2008

    i try not to stay more than an hour after the kids leave, which is 4 and on wednesday's i leave as soon as our staff meeting is over and if i really use my time wisely then i'm out at 3:30- the earliest we can leave. don't grade everything- review/check work as they are working on it and put some type of mark showing you did look at it and you are aware of their progress, make copies during the summer, any major projects the kids will be doing organize that during the summer and store it, assign each kid a number so you can reuse things that you previously would have just written their name on and let them take home at the end of the year, file anything as soon as you get it, don't leave a stack to do later, answer any note/email as soon as you get it- unless your mad ;), have everything ready to go for the next day before you go home in case you are running late in the morning-you won't feel so frazzled...
     
  19. firstgradeteach

    firstgradeteach Comrade

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    Jul 30, 2008

    I definitely am not organized but have made it my goal to be more organized. These are the things that have worked for me. :)

    Instead of printing out and stapling pages for the math journal, journal, vocabulary notebook and poetry notebook I bought the 5 cent :) spiral notebooks from Walmart. This way I don't have to run them off all year. I will print off the poems and the students will glue them into the notebooks.

    I like other teachers print off items during the summer. I print off all behavior calendars, reading logs and certain items that I know I will need all year.

    I am trying to (I haven't perfected it- and I'd love suggestions!) check in math homework quickly during morning work. I teach first grade and can usually glance down the paper and grade it right there.

    My students turn their work into a file crate into their designated folder. This makes it really easy to grade and hand back quickly.

    This takes a LONG time to do initially but saved me hours and hours of planning time. I made a curriculum map for myself. I made tables in a word document. Each page had the rough outline for a month. Along the left-hand side had the subject names that I teach every week. The remainder of the table had a box for every week for each subject. I laid out all of my curriculum. (Spelling book, writing, reading) I designated a week to teach certain items (which most were already designated by the programs) I then got out my state standards and highlighted standards that my programs did not cover. I filled in the rest of the dates with the remainder of the standards that I needed to cover. This has served as a general guideline for planning. I also made boxes as "make-up" weeks for all subjects especially during the winter due to all of our snow days. Some items changed but for the most part I made sure I got to all standards and it didn't take long to plan every week. I typically planned on Monday every week (allowing for changes if needed) and made copies during my break on Tuesdays.

    Thanks to a suggestion from another teacher I have white plastic drawers from Walmart labeled as "substitute information", "Monday", "Tuesday", "Wednesday", "Thursday", and "Friday". When I make the copies I put each days copies/books etc. into each drawer. I also have file folders labeled by subject that the copies are organized into inside of the tub.

    My final suggestion is that I have an expandable file suitcase looking thing. :) Last year I stayed really late after school for two days. I made all of my reading, writing and spelling masters for the entire year. I also tore out all of the pages of my word family workbooks and organized the pages by word family. I put all of the 'an word family worksheets into one clear protector sheet. I also did the same for theme 1, 2 etc. for all of curriculum. During the year I just had to grab the theme in the protector sheet from the expandable file that I needed. I added supplemental items to the file as the year went on. Again this is a lot of work initially but it ended up saving a lot of time the remainder of the year. The best part is that I won't have to do it ever again! :)

    I have been going through this headache the past two years. If this post seems long, just be grateful I didn't have to write about the things I've tried that DON'T work!!!!!!! :-D I figure if it saves someone else time then it is worth it!!! :-D
     
  20. cruiserteacher

    cruiserteacher Comrade

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    Jul 30, 2008

    This sounds great, could you post a sample?
     
  21. lcluigs03

    lcluigs03 Cohort

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    Jul 30, 2008

    i also plan math on monday, reading on tuesday, science/s.s. on wednesday...etc. i can sometimes even get two weeks in.

    this year, i'm saving a copy of all the worksheets i give out. then i'm going to put them into a binder and use them the following year. wouldn't that be much easier to copy than out of a book? just plop in the pile and push one button! i think that will save a BUNCH of time the following year. i thought about it at the end of last year, but it was too late already!

    i have an hour for planning. after i plan my subject for the day, i'm going to TRY to get some grading done. i take way too much home and would love to diminish that. but i've made a pact with myself to only grade two night a week if i do end up bringing it home. and i STICK TO IT! it was great last year (luckily my husband works late two nights a week...so i graded!).

    the best organization is to set in your mind what you want and STICK TO IT! sometimes it's easier said than done. last year i said i wasn't going to come in on weekends any more...and i didn't! well...once or twice in a 3 month period. but it was better than every weekend like the year before.

    i don't know if i helped at all. hopefully someone did. it's important to me to not let this career i've chosen take over my life...it's really hard to do. my family is my first priority.

    good luck!
    LC
     
  22. lcluigs03

    lcluigs03 Cohort

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    That would be great if you would share. i bet that took a long time!
     
  23. firstgradeteach

    firstgradeteach Comrade

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    Jul 30, 2008

    I would LOVE to share! I need to figure out how to scan it in then I can post it.

    We use Literacy -by-Design
    Sitton Spelling


    If I can't scan it I will type up a nice copy and attach it through word.
     
  24. firstgradeteach

    firstgradeteach Comrade

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    I typed up a quick example. I also have my blank lesson plan form that I plug information into if you would like to see it. Please PM me with your email address and I'll attempt to show you. I know that it saved me a lot of time. Since we use the same program I can keep the basic frame work this year but will be moving around some of the science and social studies items etc. I also do not add math to the grid. Math is very unpredictable. I only add my extra major focus for the month in the math slot and not the actual lessons.
     
  25. Eneli

    Eneli Rookie

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    These are a few of the things I do and I leave at 3:20 everyday rain or shine. :)

    * Arrive early (30 minutes to an hour before) - During this time, I plan, gather materials, grade papers (essays or long and short response answers), answer emails, etc.
    * Assign classroom jobs. - If I have 26 students, I have 26 jobs for them to do. Have the students clean, organize shelves, turn computers on/off, change the date, erase the board.
    * Grade Papers with Students - This has two great advatages, first the students see their mistakes and second you do less grading. Walk around and monitor to avoid changing answers or have a buddy check.
    * To Do List - Organize your school shores by date, prioritize with deadlines and most importance.
    * Test day - Friday is test, file, clean up day. While the students test, I clean my desk, organize materials for quick Friday lessons, etc. When the students finish testing, I have the filing manager pass out the folders (always green in my class, but don't ask me why) and everybody files their own papers in chronological order. The last 20 minutes of the day are used to clean up and throw away garbage.
     

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