April 7, 2011

Speaking of Organization...

OK… time for an actual teaching-related post. Get excited, people! (Non-teacher readers, you totally have my permission to skip this post. Or you can keep reading and mock my OCD tendencies if you prefer!)

One of (maybe the only?) good things about subbing is that I have the opportunity to steal ideas from many other teachers since I'm several classrooms each week (at least most weeks... when jobs are available). Sometimes, I take note of a classroom routine that impresses me. These are some ideas I'm totally stealing... and posting here so I can remember them when I have my own classroom again (please let this be next year!).

I am a very visual person, so it's extremely important to me that a physical space has a clear purpose. One of the things I hate about primary classrooms is that the walls, floor, ceiling – every inch of every space- is usually covered with “things.” And while I certainly recognize that these are often learning resources, it drives me crazy because I usually don’t see a rhyme or reason to most of the displays. If it were my classroom, I would group like-things together. All math displays, for example, would be on one wall, while writing would be on another (and I would need “white space” to break up these displays so my brain could process them as separate). This is often not the case, causing me to feel overwhelmed in such settings (and I imagine this is the case for many students as well).

This improves dramatically in the middle schools because most teachers only teach one or two subjects. You may recall from pictures of my old classroom that I still have designated spaces for everything – it’s just how I like things! One of my favorite spaces is my “Student Center” where I house all of the supplies my students might need: paper, pens, markers, colored pencils, scissors, glue, etc. The first idea I want to steal is for this area, and it’s the hanging organizer pictured to the right. It’s a hanging file system made of durable plastic that I will use to store extra papers, one folder for each day of the week and one for “older” papers. Prior to this, I always just had one bin full of my extra papers, but I think this is a much better (and cuter) system!

Another idea I want to steal takes one of my own to a new level. In my classroom, my students have Study Buddies to fill out Absent Sheets for them while they are away. The Study Buddy records the day’s agenda and homework, which are always posted in my classroom and collects extra handouts to create a packet for the absent student. This saves me a lot of time during the precious few minutes of a passing period when I’m otherwise stuck reviewing yesterday’s homework with students who were absent. In the classroom where I was subbing, I learned that I can make this process even easier for myself if I hand back papers to those Study Buddies as well (otherwise, they end up in a pile on my desk that I have to sort through again later). Duh! Additionally, this teacher hangs each Absent Packet on a magnetic clip on the board so she can visually see if the absent students have picked up their packets the next day. I like this much better than putting them in a bin where students forget to look.

Do any teachers out there have suggestions for other organizers or routines that make life easier?

1 comment:

  1. Ohhh!! I just blogged about a hanging organizer thingy like that in my Tried It! It really has been a lifesaver! The best part is the students can find the papers themselves:) Thank you so much for linking up!
    Fourth Grade Flipper