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Home : 2002 : Dec : 30

    Classroom Organization
    By sj

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    NOTEBOOKS--I have one 1" notebook I labeled my "Handy Book". Everything in it is in a plastic sleeve. I keep transparencies I use often, such as handwriting lines and a clockface. I keep copies of poems and jingles that I use often. This book is where I keep the "old standbys" that I wouldn't want to stash in a file cabinet because I use them every year and throughout the year. I have another 1" notebook I labeled "Lesson Plans". I also use plastic sleeves in it to store the pages that I must refer to over a period of time, such as duty schedules, library schedule, class roster, scope & sequence chart. I also have a copy of the grade-level objectives (TEKS, in Texas), this week's lesson plans in a plastic sleeve, and as I put in each new week of plans I remove the old ones from the sleeve and hole-punch them and move them to the back of the notebook. Behind the plastic sleeve with my class roster I have hole-punched the information sheet that I have each child's parents fill out on the first day of school that has their phone numbers, allergies, and other info. This notebook is very valuable when I need to have information handy. I have stackable plastic (Sterlite brand) drawer units that have drawers that hold almost exactly one reim of 8 1/2 x 11" paper. These drawers have labels that I made with my computer inserted to show through the front of each drawer. I have a drawer for each day of the week to store copies that I will need for my students during classes. I also have these drawers: GRADES (it holds returned copies of report cards, grade sheets that I use prior to recording in my grade book, any grades given to me from another teacher, etc.); RECORDS (it holds notes from parents, copies of notes I've sent, enrollment forms that arrive with new students, testing results); NEXT WEEK (holds originals and things I've pulled ahead of time for the next week that I've not yet copied or put into the day drawer. These will be re-filed after I've prepared for the next week.); TOOLS (my staple-puller, staple gun, pliers, hammer, screwdriver); PENCILS (sharpened new ones ready to hand out to kids who need them--a container for dull ones stays on the shelf); COMPUTER (booklets, a new cartridge, important program discs); PENS (my pens, sharpies, Vis-a-Vis markers); WHITEBOARD MARKERS; ENVELOPES; FASTENERS (tacks, extra staples, brads, paper clips); PERSONAL (nail file, clippers, bandaids, lip gloss, toothbrush & paste); GADGETS (the thingys that you can hang from ceiling tiles, stick-on hooks, clip-rings, ...); KEEP (the important papers that you can't afford to lose, like those copies of attendance rosters that you have to keep)and then a drawer for collecting any pages or masters that I pull from a series and know that I won't file back where they belong immediately because I won't use them again until next year. By just dropping them into the drawer as I use them, they are usually in order when I go to put them back in their notebook or wherever they belong. This worked especially well with the Saxon booklets, reading transparencies, etc. I have about 20 three-drawer units (yes, I have more labeled drawers than I listed--even three empty ones that serve to simply hide a stack of papers until I get to it!--(LOOKING ORGANIZED IS EASIER THAN BEING!!!) that sit on two two-shelf units that I purchased at K-mart years ago. The top of the shelves and middle shelf have the drawer units. The bottom shelf is for all of my notebooks. It helps it look organized that I bought only white drawer units, shelves, and notebooks. The drawers and notebooks are all labeled neatly with labels I printed to fit each. I also have about 40 Sterlite plastic drawer units that are about the size of a shoe-box. These fit the shelves above the student lockers in my room, but I have had them stacked on a window ledge before and they still looked neat. I don't label them because they are semi-transparent and I prefer to look at what is in them to reading labels. In them I keep all of the "junk" that I used to keep stuffed into cabinets and cardboard boxes. Here are some examples of what I keep in them: flashcards, watercolor sets, base-ten blocks (one drawer for units, one for tens, one for hundreds), pattern blocks (5 drawers so that they are all ready to just pull and set on student work areas and then slide back into their unit when we finish), seeds for the plant unit, rulers, stickers, prizes..... As you see, mostly little stuff. THEN! I have 10 big Sterlite plastic drawer units that are about 7" deep and 18"x20". These hold puzzles, games, larger manipulatives, art supplies such as tissue paper and yarn, my shell collection, and other big stuff. I have about 6 drawers that are 6" deep and about 15"x12". They hold the watercolor markers, my set of softballs I use when teaching about the earth being round, and other medium-sized things. I have a hanging file on top of the 2-drawer file cabinet by my desk with a file for each student. In fact, each hanger has 2 files for each student--one for work samples and one for documentation such as test records. I'm able to drop work samples into the file easily this way. I also have a basket to collect the "to be filed" papers. My personal kid-books that I use to read to the children or pull out for specific units I keep in a 4-drawer file cabinet. My unit files and books use the same number system. For example, the unit on Pets is # 3, and all of the books that go with that unit are labeled with a 3. Each item in the unit folder in the unit file cabinet is also labeled with the number 3 so that it always returns to the same file. I found years ago that if I didn't label them I would sometimes put a tiger in the "animals" file and another time in the "zoo" file, etc. My number system evolved over the years, and there is no reason for each having its number. I found that alphabetical filing created many folders and it was hard to remember what word I'd used before. My numbers can have several sub-topics within the same general heading. I works like this: #6 is Food. Behind food I also have a folder on health, nutrition, grocery store. # 10 is Indians, #11 is Pilgrims, #12 Thanksgiving (which has turkeys, cornocopia, feast plans) I have found that this system was the most flexible as I moved between grade levels over the years from K to 1st to 2nd to 4th to 2nd to 1st to 2nd!!! Now I teach 5 sections of 2nd grade writing every day, so most of my "stuff" sits idle in the drawers--but it is easy to find and easy to put away if I do need it! I keep a separate folder for each section that I teach, with a class roster that has places to write grades in each folder. That way I can put the papers for each class in its folder and record the grades as I get to them. I put the ungraded behind the grade sheet and the graded on the other side of the folder so that I can keep straight what is coming in and going out. This system would have worked for the different subjects when I had a self-contained class if I'd thought of it then. I make sure that I back things up on the computer, and try to keep track of what is on the floppy discs by numbering them and keeping a running index for them in my computer. That way, when I need something I can just go to edit-find and see easily which disc will have the information I'm looking for. I got unexpectedly moved to a new grade last year and realized the importance of having my computer files somewhere besides in my hard drive in the classroom!! This may be (probably) way too much information, but I'm told I'm pretty organized, so maybe some of these ideas will help at least one of you!

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