Friday, October 02, 2015

Five For Friday: Teacher Organization Edition

I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching on this lovely Friday to do Five for Friday... a post where one would normally speak on 5 things from the week or day.  I'm doing it a little different though.  I'm speaking on 5 tips to keep yourself organized this year.  This week is the teachers edition to staying organized and next week I'll have 5 tips on how to keep the substitute organized.

But enough with the yammering... let's get started... shall we?

I would like to start off this post by saying that in order to stay organized you don't (and shouldn't) do all of these things... it just wouldn't make sense.  Just some thoughts I had on how to keep yourself organized this school year.
Get a Teacher Planner
Whether you make it yourself or buy one at the store it doesn't really matter... just have one. 
Confession: my first year of teaching I hardly ever wrote in my planner.  I thought I had it all together and when I knew I didn't have it all together (which, if I'm being completely honest, I likely rarely had it ALL together) I just thought writing stuff in my planner would take too long.  My 2nd year of teaching I used my planner nearly every day.  I tried to write a couple of days in advance in it (one day, once I've been teaching for a while, I would like to be able to write a week in advance).  It was a lifesaver.  I'll forever use a teacher planner when I'm teaching and I think you should too.
The planner I used had a column down the side of the page for "notes"... I liked this because I could write where we got to with something or things I needed to mark, or what I needed to buy/bring from home, etc.

Use a cart to stay organized

You can find this one here but I'm pretty sure Michaels also sells them and they almost always have a 405 coupon in their flyer... so shop around!

There was something like this in my classroom and I labelled them according to subject (and sometimes grade when they were doing different things).  Then I would do a bunch of photocopying and keep the pages in these bins so that I knew I would have it when I needed it.  With the extra bins I had a couple of missed work ones where students could come and pick up what they missed, a bin with some "I'm Through" work in, and the larger bottom ones held the teachers stuff that would be returning to her classroom.

Binders - one for each day of the week (or cycle)
I've thought about it and I would REALLY like to be able to plan a week in advance.  I'm not sure if this is possible until I've been teaching the same grade and subjects for at least a couple of years but I would really like it to.  Once I've got an idea of everything I will be getting through and how long it all takes I think I would have a binder for each day of the week (likely a different colour of binder for each day).  Inside each binder I would use dividers to section of the different subjects I teach and inside those different sections I would put the work that I would be handing out to students, lessons for the week, books I would be reading... basically anything I could need that could be placed in a binder.  This would be a HUGE help for when I need a substitute teacher too... it always took me at least a half an hour at the end of the school day to get everythig photocopied and layed out for a substitute that would be coming in the next day... could you imagine just being able to pull a binder off your shelf for that substitute instead?  That's the dream.
Accordian files could also work for this... I just thought binders would be better for storing on a shelf.

Hand in and Hand back Bins
A way to keep track of things to hand back and things to mark.  I've always used hand in and hand back bins (last year I put them on top of that organizational cart in #1).  When there was stuff in the in bin I knew I had marking to do (helpful hint: don't bring your marking home... mine never got done that way but if I stayed at school an extra half an hour and got there a little earlier I found that for that most part I was able to stay on top of it).  If you teach multiple classess you might want to have some other sort of filing system for this... so that you don't get all the grades and classes mixed up (which would make it more difficult for handing back bit)

No Clutter!
Stay away from clutter!  This was always a hard one for me because the classrooms that I've taught in have always been someone else's that would be returning from a maternity leave.  If I had my own classroom I would get rid of resources that I don't use to free up shelf space, counter space, and cupboard space.  Space is not always at a premium in classrooms and I think it would be lovely to use some of that shelf and cupboard space to put extra things you might need for teaching (like some art supplies) and free up some extra cupboard space for games, and puzzles for students.  I just love the look of an organized classroom and you can often tell an organized room from an unorganized one as soon as you walk in.

So, now it's your turn.. 
what do you do to help yourself stay organized this school year?

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