Quality Educator






Organizing Yourself

For some of us, organization is a challenge. I hope these resources and ideas will be helpful to you -- and me!

Paper Trap - There is a lot of paper involved in teaching. While there is some efforts toward moving to a "paperless" classroom, I doubt it will all be eliminated. So here are a few tricks for handling all that paper.

  • Files for incoming paperwork - Before school starts have a file folder for the meeting-related paperwork you'll get: staff meetings; staff newsletters; committee meetings; tech tips, etc.

  • Catalogs and flyers - Recycle the items placed in your school mailbox that you won't look at before you even bring them to your room. And while the catalogs are fun to flip through, don't kid yourself: Unless you actually have funds to purchase something or need something specific, recycle it. When you really need something, you can find major catalogs online or ask your school secretary where they order from.

Student Papers - As a teacher, you have to keep your own papers organized AND all the papers belonging to those darling children. Here are a few ideas for handling their papers.

  • 12-pocket expanding file - I purchased a plastic 12-pocket expanding file and use it for work to be graded. I keep an E-Z grader and grade record sheet in the front pocket and each assignment gets its own pocket. It keeps the assignments organized and easy to transport.

  • Collecting homework - I don't. I have a time during the day (usually the beginning of the day or subject) when students are working on something else but have their completed homework out on their desk. I walk around to check for completion and we go over it together in class. On occasion, I may spot-check a problem or two (just number 7 and 12 on that math assignment) to see if they're understanding, but I do everything I can to avoid collecting homework.

  • Number system - Assign each student a number. Train them to write their name AND number at the top of each assignment. Put assignments into numerical order to easily check who didn't turn theirs in and for easy grade-recording.

Parent-Teacher Communication - Teachers and parents need to work together to help students reach their maximum potential.

  • Positive phone calls - Within the first two weeks of school, make that positive phone call home. Parents love to hear that their child had a good day, and it puts them on your side. This is especially true for children who may not have had much occasion for a positive phone call in the past.

  • Daily planner - If your students have planners, you can communicate daily about children's behavior. This is very easy to implement if you have a card or clip chart system: simply use a marker that matches the color the child is on and draw a smiley face for the day, including a short explanation for any below-expectation behavior. Some teachers have stamps for common behavior issues or a short checklist they staple to the planner to detail behavior.

  • P-T conferences - I ask for my parents' input before parent-teacher conferences. It helps me prepare and gives parents a chance to communicate what really matters to them BEFORE they walk through the door. Click here to see the form I use.

Lesson Plans - Lesson planning is such an important part of what we do, and as you become more experienced, you'll find that you tweak more and more. Here are some ideas I've picked up over the years.

  • Plan the Year - Coming Soon

  • Plan a Unit - Coming Soon

  • Plan the Week - Coming Soon

  • Organizing Files - Coming Soon