Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Project: Organization

Okay, okay, so it's summer.  But some of us (the ones NOT born organized) have to start early planning for next year.  One of my serious weaknesses is organization, or the lack of it.  So as I go through this significantly stressful journey over the next several weeks, PLEASE feel free to add your tips and hints.

As the GT Specialist at my school, I am responsible for seeing lots of different groups of kids each week.  It can get confusing keeping up with which class is supposed to be doing which activity.  And with three of the groups--my identified 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders--I have to do formal assessments, projects, even report cards.  Seeing so many groups--from kindergartners to 5th graders--every day and every week can be a bit exhausting.  But it is super fun getting to spend time and get to know all these different kiddos, about 500 per week!

So, after 6 years in this particular job, I think it's time to get organized!

First step:  I went to school this morning to evaluate the situation.  Oh, my.  It was bad.  I wish I had taken some pictures so I could show you, but it's probably better that you just use your imagination. :)  We have to completely take down our classrooms--everything off the walls, everything packed up and packed away, nothing left out.  I do have a large blue cabinet that I usually shove lots of stuff into, so I started there.  I went through several boxes and threw quite a bit of stuff.  Then I had to start thinking about how I wanted procedures to work in my classroom.  How do you handle student work?  Do the kids have a certain place where they ALWAYS turn in their assignments?  Last year, I used flat bins that were just a bit larger than a piece of paper.  This year, though, I think I am going to find a more convenient location for those and add the clothespin trick to the mix.  Do you know the clothespin trick? I saw it on Pinterest (of course), and one of my co-workers uses it.  You just have a clothespin for each student, and the clothespin is pinned to the sides of the "turn-in bin".  Then students just pin it on their work as they turn it in.  That way, you know who hasn't turned in their work.  You also know who those "no-name papers" belong to.  My co-worker plans to use student numbers on hers, but I am going to use student names and maybe numbers, too.  For my GT classes, I have those students for up to three years. I thought it would be fun to let the kids decorate theirs how they want (and have their name and number on the back).  I think they would love that!  And I can use them year after year with only 3rd graders and new students creating new ones.  How do you keep up with who's turned in their assignments?

Please, please, please share your organizational successes with me!  I'm sure I'm not the only one who needs help!