Organization, Organization, Organization
1.) Student Numbers
*Put the homework papers in order by number. It is easy to see which student has not turned in his or her paper. Numbering papers also helps to put grades onto your computer more quickly. This makes it faster and easier to put papers into student mailboxes too.
*You can label everything with student numbers. This will help you put numbers on books, mailboxes, coat hooks, folders, etc. You only have to put the number on once and will not have to label everything year after year.
2.) Two baskets or tubs available for students to turn things in
*One basket is for finished work. Students turn in homework and work completed in class. Having one place to turn everything in makes it less likely that a finished paper gets lost.
*The second basket is for notes and money. You can quickly see which students are turning in lunch money, persmission slips, and notes from parents.
3.) Student Homework Folder
*This folder can keep students organized. Print labels for each of the two pockets: "Keep at Home" and "Return to School". Keep at Home is for graded papers, informational notes, etc. Return to School is for unfinished work, notes that need to be signed, etc.
*Pockets on the outside can hold Weekly Assignment Sheets and Spelling Lists. Students and their parents can see what needs to be done at a glance. Also, Spelling Lists are always available.
*This binder can be used for all of those schedules, forms, and other pages that we are given. Some of the sections in the binder could be: Schedule, Parent Helpers, Lunch Menu, Telephone Tree, etc. I use it for those things that I don't need to look at every day, but need to be able to find.
*You could use part of this binder for student information. Name, address, birthday, phone number, parent information, etc. You can also keep antecdotal notes on each student in this binder. I put a top loading sheet protector in this section for each student to hold notes from parents throughout the year.
*The more we can keep things in a central location, the easier our job is as teachers. You may need two binders - one for teaching information and one for student information. I like keep it all in one BIG binder.
*I have two file cabinets. One is full of folders for themes and subjects that I use throughout the year. These include one for each month, topics like Christopher Columbus, special days such as "100 Day". I try to keep only things in these folders that I really plan to use. It makes it very easy to find what I am looking for.
*My second file cabinet is set up with a folder for each Reading Story. Last year we started a new series, and I started my file. Each week I would add the things that I wanted to reuse, or things I found useful. I also have a gallon size ziplock bag in each folder. This holds picture cards, flash cards, games, etc. that go along with the story.
*I have several milk crates with hanging folders. I have one for Math. These folders are separated by Math Chapter / Topic. I put File Folder Games and other games I have made for each chapter. Again, this makes it so easy to find a game or activity for students that need extra practice, or to use with small groups.
*I also have milk crates for Reading Games, Language Games, Writing Games, Science Games, Social Studies Games, etc. These are always ready to grab and use as needed. I can look at the folders and see which need additional materials, so I buy or make what I really need.
*I use dishwashing tubs on my classroom library shelves. We use "Accelerated Reader", and so my books are in tubs according to reading level. The books and tubs are marked with color coded dots so it is easy for students to choose books and to return books.
* I have plans to put my other books for students (those not on AR) in dishwashing tubs by topic. I plan to give away those books that are just taking up shelp space as I organize these books. Some topics may be Space, Ocean, Alphabet, etc.
7.)How to Begin
*Start tomorrow. Don't keep telling yourself that you will get organized next year, or during your next break. Start tomorrow.
*Start with one thing at a time. I had several boxes of File Folder and other games. I started with Math. I labeled each folder with a Math Chapter / Topic, and I put the games and activities into their folders.
*It saves so much time to have things organized. I can find what I need quickly and don't have to spend valuable teaching or planning time looking for something I needed.
*As you begin organizing, throw out things that you won't really use, or things that are missing pieces or broken.