Thursday, July 30, 2015

DeClutter Your Classroom

Hi Dear Friends!  It's Back to School Time for me!!  AND you know what that means.... time to get that classroom ready.   Something that I spend some time on at the end of the year and sometimes at the very beginning of the year is streamlining my classroom.  I feel claustraphobic in clutter.  It's terrible.. I know!!  

We all begin the school year with a beautiful and highly organized classroom.  It's the rest of the year that I often struggle with.  My motto used to be... if you can't see it, then there's no clutter.  Seriously... my classroom could appear to be organized ,but if you were to open my filing cabinet, storage closet, and even inside some of my boxes that held files one would see a major paper mess. So I finally did something about it by finding ways to keep things organized... not just at the start of the school year.

1.  Get rid of most paper in your filing cabinet!!  

It's a leap, I know BUT it was the best thing I did.  Most of my files are now digital.  I purchased a flash drive and have files listed with subjects and by quarter.  I dump the digital copy of each item into this particular folder.  I have 2 school flash drives.... Just in case I lose one.  Actually the other one I keep with my Danielsen binder. This has actually made my life much easier as many times my planning takes place of an evening after I tuck my kiddos into bed.  There's no need to go into my classroom late at night because I have all I need for planning on my flash drive.

2. Organize those task cards and games into plastic tubs that are labeled.
I have all of my math task cards and activities in plastic tubs.  They are labeled according to the unit.  I also have my Wonders for reading organized into these very same plastic tubs.  It makes it so much easier for me to place those task cards or activities that I have spent so long laminating back into these plastic tubs.  In the past, these task cards might be shoved into all different sorts of cubbies in my room.  The plastic tubs stay shelved above the storage cabinet in my room. 

3. Banker boxes and canvas bins to keep copies for the week and lessons for each day.
 It seems that each year I have been so fortunate to have amazing parent volunteers.  Last year my parent volunteer came in EVERY single FRIDAY.  One of the things she would do for me is copy all that I needed for the following week.  I would simply paper clip items needed for each day that needed copying.  She would copy them and then place the completed copies in the banker boxes for me.  It was AWESOME, and such a time saver!!  This also reduced my paper clutter by no longer having stacks of papers sitting in piles on the back of my cabinet.

4. If you haven't used it in the past two years... throw it away!
Last year, our entire school had many classroom changes due to a grade level moving into a different building.  So I had to move my entire classroom at the end of the year!  It was a lot of work, but one of the best things I did to get rid of my clutter.  I have taught for 18 years, and I had items from my student teaching days that were never used.  SO there's nothing like having to pack your entire room to make you really think about whether you need something or not.  If I hadn't used it in the last two years, I donated it to others or threw it away.  It helped tremendously with the clutter, and I didn't miss one single item that I had thrown away in that purge.

5.  Lastly, try working without a desk.  I think you will like it!!

I had a desk... that I NEVER sat at.  It basically held my papers, lesson plan book, and supplies.  It also took up a lot of room in my classroom.  So I made the plunge 2 years ago to get rid of it.  I replaced it with a round table that I desperately needed for small group work.  My plan book with lessons and activities for the day sits on the back of my counter.  My papers that needed graded, filed, copied and other supplies are now found in these containers next to my counter.  It took me a few weeks to get used to not having a desk.  I did miss it in the beginning, but now I would never go back to a desk in my room again. 

Enjoy the rest of your week!!  I know many of you are already back in the trenches or are working on your rooms.  Best of luck to you on a new school year!!

1 comment:

ithappenedin3rd said...

I totally agree to get rid of as much paper as possible. So much easier to store it on a flash drive, and great idea to have 2 copies!