Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Teacher Week: Organization and a Freebie!


I am super envious of people who are naturally organized.  Unfortunately, I am more of a "creative type" (or at least that is what I tell myself), which is why it is extra important for me to have strategies that work at school. 

My first organization strategy is super simple, and technically happens at home.  I'm not allowed in my classroom yet, so I have to get a little creative here.  

I am absolutely not a morning person.  I am perfectly happy if nobody talks to me until my first cup of coffee is completely gone.  This, combined with waking up at 5:15 on school days is not the best combination.  I have been known to be driving down the highway, suddenly realize that I have forgotten my lunch, my laptop or my lesson plans, and have to go racing back to my house to grab them.  I have also been known to change my outfit 37 times in the morning, leaving me frazzled and my bedroom a mess.

 My simple solution is to have EVERYTHING I need for the day ready to go the night before.  I hang my outfit (including jewelry and undergarments) on the guest room door and place my shoes on the floor underneath.


I also have my breakfast, lunch and water packed and ready to go in the fridge so that all I have to do is grab it.  I also place my teacher bag, laptop, purse and car keys right next to the front door.  The fewer brain cells I need to use in the morning the better!

My second strategy happens both at home and at school.  A few years ago, I realized that my classroom was way too full of junk.  I did a major purge, giving away anything I did not use.  Then I purchased 10 bins during a back to school sale at Target, labeled them with each month of the school year and used them to store my necessities for each month.
I  have literally NO closet and NO storage at school, so it is really important for me to use my space wisely and efficiently. I keep these bins in my basement, and each month I bring one to school and leave it there for the month.  For example, at the end of September I will put all of my September items back in the bin, bring it home, and return the next day with my October bin.

 The insides of my bins are definitely not too pretty, but they don't need to be.  Inside I store anything that I use in that particular month.  It could be a craft that we always do that month, left over supplies, thematic books and so much more.  In the September bin above you can see stickers for my annual Chicka Chicka Boom Boom craft, classroom decor, a new pocket chart that I want to remember to bring to school and underneath are some items for our apple theme.

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Mitten-Word-Cards-and-Word-Walls-in-English-and-Spanish-431763
Here is an example of the January bin.  We have some Martin Luther King biographies, a snowman name craft example, felt scarves, hats and mittens for our epsom salt snowman sensory table, and The Mitten story retelling pieces.  My rule is that once the bin gets full, I have to get rid of something in order to put something else in.  So far, I have been using the bins for two years and most aren't even half full.  Yay!
Each bin is labeled on the side and on the lid.  This makes it easier to find exactly what I am looking for with a quick glance.  Sorry for the awful picture quality... I am still learning how to use our fancy camera :)

My last organization tip is for the dreaded teacher desk.  I am totally guilty of having very organized kid spaces in my classroom, but a desk that looks like a bomb went off.  On my desk at any given time are: a plan book, a 6 month old candy cane, three books with ripped pages that need repair, an assortment of dried up markers and at least 17,000 pieces of paper to grade, copy or file.

 I have seen these bins all over teaching blogs and Pinterest, and decided that I needed one to combat my paper problem.  I scooped this puppy up at Walmart for under $10.

I cut some pretty scrapbook paper that was left over from my wedding into strips that are approximately 2.75 by 9.75 inches.  My paper cutter one of my absolute favorite teaching tools and I am obsessed with it - it is second only to my little laminator!  I whipped up some labels, glued them on and VOILA!  A grown up looking place to stash the mess.
No more rummaging around to find Johnny's permission slip or that one little piece of paper that the office needs right.this.second. 
I am pretty excited to see how this works!   If you like the labels, you can snag a free (and editable) copy of them {here}.  Happy organization!

Also, don't forget that there is a one day only sale going on right now.  My whole shop is 28% off!
http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Adventures-In-Kindergarten-3594

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