Saturday, June 4, 2011

Getting Organized: Taking stock of what worked this year

It is the end of the year. This is the perfect time (when you are packing up anyway) to take stock in your situation. What is working for you and what is not working for you in terms of organizatio?. Here is a little exercise you can do:

Copy and paste these sentences and take some time to write your answers. It would be wonderful if you wanted to share some of your answers in the comments section. This would help out other teachers!


  1. I (or my students) can never find my (their) __________. 
  2. I (or my students) have no place to put________. 
  3. There's no room for __________. 
  4. I (or my students) are tired of ___________.
  5. I (or my students) can't _________ because of the clutter.
  6. I (or my students) am losing time or money because of ____________. 
  7. The disorganization makes me (or my students) feel ____________.
  8. What is and is not working for you in your classroom organization? 
  9. Which items are most essential for you for teaching, grading and planning?
  10. Why do you want to get organized?
Now, if you have finished writing your answers, and you are interested in getting clock hours. . . this is actually assignment #3 out of 7 for the class. (If you want university credit, there are 4 more assignments that are just as practical and include actually organizing a part of your home or classroom.)

Click here to learn more about the class or sign up: 

Here are some answers of one of my students. She is a mother of two young children. She let me share her thoughts with you from assignment #3.


  1. I (or  my students) can never find my (their) __________. 
    • We study flashcards every morning as the warm up of the day. Some of my students have a hard time finding their flashcards and losing their flashcards after we have made them. I don't often have extra flash cards that are made up of the topic, or time for them to make up the ones they missed if they were missing that day.I like this because it takes no time for me to plan, the routine is the same every day, and it builds in review every day. 
  2. I (or my students) have no place to put________. 
    • Some of my students have no place to put their binders in their desks, along with their books. I specified that they should bring a 1 inch binder at the beginning of the year, but not everyone did. I didn't really follow through with students about getting the 1 inch binder, and so some of them had really thick binders. They didn't fit in the desk. Then the students would end up putting them on the floor, or store them in their lockers at the end of the day (and then forget to bring them back in the classroom.)
  3. There's no room for __________. 
    • I have no cabinets in my room and so there is no room for all of my math manipulatives. I need to find a better way of storing the manipulatives for my students when we are in different units.
  4. I (or my students) are tired of ___________.
    • I am tired of getting behind in filing my papers.
  5. I (or my students) can't _________ because of the clutter.
    • Some of my students can't find their homework because of the clutter. They end up losing things, not turning it in, not getting credit, turning in papers late. They also tend to blame their parents for the problem.
  6. I (or my students) am losing time or money because of ____________. 
    • I am tired of losing money by eating take out once or twice a week. After staff meetings, I am so tired when I get home that I really don't want to cook. I end up eating out and buying food for me, my spouse and my two children. That is easily $40 a week for one or two meals. Or, for the 40 weeks of school, I'm spending $1600. Wow. I didn't realize it was that much. If I could change that, I would save so much money. 
    • (That would make this class more than worth it! It would be like getting a raise.) Actually, I am so glad that I'm taking this. My school district (PPS in Oregon) pays for 6 credits a year - so I won't have ended up paying anything for the class. They will give me back the $285 I put on my credit card as soon as I finish it . . . and if I just eat out 7 fewer times this year, I'll be ahead by quite a bit . . . 7 x 40 = 280 dollars saved!)
  7. The disorganization makes me (or my students) feel ____________.
    • I don't think I'm that disorganized. But, I do feel frustrated with not being able to find papers on my desk sometimes and frustrated with my filing system. I hate to file, and so I don't put stuff in the files. And when I actually do put stuff in the files, I almost never look at it again.
  8. What is and is not working for you in your classroom organization? 
    • What is working is that I have tubs for all of my books. I took the Daily 5 class and watched the video on organizing the classroom library. My classroom library is great now. My students can put away all of the books and it takes no time at all. It is also working that I teach my students to use their binders. This works for 80% of my students. It is also working that I have turn in boxes for different subject. Another thing is that each student has a number that they write on their papers, and that is the same number I use for the grade  book and for filing. That saves me a lot of time. 
  9. Which items are most essential for you for teaching, grading and planning?
    • My most essential items for planning are my computer, my teachers guides of my current unit, the standards. For grading - my grade book, and  the computer and the papers I'm grading. For teaching - sticky notes, talking sticks (for calling on students), grade book, lesson plans.
  10. Why do you want to get organized?
    • Have more time for my family. Spend less money on eating help. Help my students be more successful in school

Click here to learn more about the class or sign up:

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