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Organization

I am the least organized person on the planet. My office at home looks like a disaster area. Before automatic bill pay, I got those pink envelopes all the time. I don’t think I’ve ever balanced a checkbook.

As a teacher, this can be fatal. So I’ve had to learn how to fake it. I’m still disorganized, but I’ve found a couple of key things that make me look a lot more organized than I really am, and have a great bang for their buck.

Color code. RoYGBiV. 7 colors of the rainbow, in order. 2 of them don’t show up in the 5packs from major product manufacturers, but you can still keep the other 5 in chromatic order: Red, Yellow, Green, Blue, Violet. In a 6 period day with 1 conference period, that makes one color per class.

It’s a godsend during parent conferences, and I can ask the kid to get their folder and tell just from the color which period they’re in.

It also keeps me from misplacing their assignments or important papers.

These are colored folders to match the color scheme above. To the front of each I have stapled a medium heavy duty transparency, just by the very edge. I can slide a seating chart under it, and it stays there by static electricity. I can then take attendance, points, and track behavior all with an overhead marker. and reset every day. New seating charts (generated randomly by Easy grade pro) are also easily replaceable. I make my seating charts to be viewed from the back of the room – this gets me to move away from the attention area, and it’s also easier for the kids to read when I import then into my daily deck.

Inside each one I keep unreturned tests for students that were absent, or tests with postits for students who have yet to take them.

Finally, I have about a dozen of these bins, from Lakeshore. These two, however, are special. The left one has all of the leftover handouts from the previous day – If a student was absent I know where to easily find it without actually have a whole cataloging system. Likewise, the one on the right is my dumping ground for stuff that comes out of my mailbox. Invariably there was something important in there that someone asks me for 4 days later, this way I can always find it instead of in a pile on my desk.

{ 4 } Comments

  1. Elizabeth S | September 23, 2010 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

    OMG, you are an organizational GENIUS! I love this system and plan to implement it to the letter, except that I might have to go VIBGYOR rather than ROYGBIV because I’m left-handed. ;-)

  2. Kate Nowak | September 28, 2010 at 4:39 am | Permalink

    In the first picture – what goes in the file for each student?

  3. Mr. K | September 28, 2010 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

    The hanging files contain all the folders for the (4) students at one table. Each student actually has two folders. The first is where they keep all of their graded assignments, along with their concept trackers. The second is where they keep everything else – old notes, warmups, worksheets, homework, classroom exercises. I’m not sure I’ve impressed the kids that the practice folder is actually more important than the graded one, but I’ve at least made noises in that direction.

  4. Sandi Walden | January 20, 2011 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

    I am stealing the idea from your last picture! I have to get this mess off my desk and a bin for the “mail” that i get is great!

    I have a basket velcro’d to a small filing cabinet where kids put their quizzes & things after they finish. Anything ready to be graded goes in the basket. This keeps it off my desk until I am ready to grade. I also have a plastic folder divided into sections by block. When kids are absent and miss a quiz I put their name on a copy and stick it in the folder in their block. This way I know which quizzes they’ve missed and where they are.

    and I am very peculiar about my books. I don’t have them organized by author or type or book name, just as I get new books they go on the shelf. But I have each one labeled with a number and a card in the front and a spreadsheet of every book I have (almost 1500) so I know just about where any book is.

    Other than those three things, I am really disorganized and my desk stays a mess. I almost envy teachers who have neat, meticulous classrooms.