An organized teacher is a better teacher!
Now, that’s not to say that there aren’t still piles of papers all over my desk(s). There certainly are. However, there is a system and I use it to survive (and occasionally thrive) in the classroom.
Homeschoolers, these tips can be tweaked to apply to you, too! Just drop me a line and I’ll help you figure it out.
Turn it In
Whether your class is large or small, you need to collect work. And you need to keep the work somewhat organized.
I created “turn it in bins.”
Best thing ever! I used stackable file trays, but didn’t stack them. However, you totally could. On each of the four bins I put a label.
- Late Work
- Notes for Mrs. Flanagan
After a few weeks of practicing, they were doing the job of organizing FOR me! My turn it in system did all the work for me!
Once the work is turned in, you’ll need to sort it. Like many classroom teachers, I give my kids numbers based on last name. Since it is based on having many students, this strategy might not be able to be used in home schools.
Then I tied it to EVERYTHING.
I taught the students to sort (ungraded) work by number, and then stack it up for me. All I had to do was look at my master copy for the corrections, and put the scores into my grade book.
Having your lessons all planned and ready to go every week is essential for any teacher in any setting. As a new mother, I had to maximize my time at school so I could grab the munchkin and get home in time to make dinner without taking work home.
Here’s what I did:
I scheduled my week, sort of. I tried to make specific days for specific tasks. I didn’t always stick 100% to this plan, but I tried REALLY hard!
Mondays were my planning days. In the morning, I did a quick preview of what was coming up that week and made sure I had everything I needed for every lesson (more on that in a minute). I also looked at the trajectory of each unit and the grade level standards, making notes to review later in the week.
Tuesdays were one of my grading/organizing days. I looked at any work from the tail end of the previous week and the first two days of the current week. I graded what I could during prep periods and in the time before/after school.
Wednesdays were for copying/unit review/catch-up. Based on my plans, I pulled work for the rest of the week and made copies. I also tried to get ahead as much as possible with copies for the next week, too.
Thursday was another grading day. I also prepped for Friday Folders, our system for sending home graded work and notices to parents.
On Friday I tried to leave right after the kids. Often I did need to do a few last minute tasks, like setting out morning work for Monday or prepping my planning files for the next week.
This was the MOST vital part of my streamlined classroom. Next to my desk I put a milk crate with hanging folders. Each hanging folder was labelled with a day of the week.
As I planned and pulled master copies of materials, I stuck it into the folders. On Wednesday, I could just grab the folders (with master copies) and head to the copy room.
Using these four simple tricks in my classroom, I felt prepared, planned, and organized for every day and every unit. I was never at a loss for what to teach or which day to teach it.
What are your tricks to stay organized?