26 August 2017

Organization OCD #MTBoS

MTBoS SunFun LogoAs part of the #MTBoS #SundayFunday Weekly Blogging Challenge, the post for this week is on "Everything Organization."

I am pretty organized! I actually am not as organized as I used to be before my daughter came 2 years ago, but I'm reminded often that my worse is still better than most best.

Emails: I struggle when I see people with numerous unread emails. I know they have a system that works for them, but it gives me anxiety sometimes - I can't have more than 25 emails in my box at a time. My system is: if it doesn't pertain to me, delete it and file away the email I've responded to that I need to save. What remains in my box is essentially the stuff I need to still do or respond to. This helps me to get those tasks completed so I can weed through my emails.
Papers and Files: I color code much of my stuff to help organize. ROYGBIV is my friend. I organize class periods that way and I organize course materials that way. For my course binders, I use a binder for each semester, with the courses going in order by color (Integrated Math 1 is red, Math 2 orange, Math 3 yellow, Financial green, Math Analysis blue, Department Chair is purple, and then AVID is Black). I still have some work in organizing my cabinet with all of them, but essentially I hardly ever use any of the books or information on the left side. Next to this cabinet is a huge corner cabinet - like so large I have to crawl into it to get anything in the back. In my 6 years, I still haven't figured out how to utilize it. In addition to my hard copies of materials in color-coded binders, I also organize my Google Drive Folders with the same color scheme.

Next to my computer, I have some folders that I file common student papers into. Papers to be graded, to be recorded into my gradebook (I keep a paper hard copy and then transfer scores into our online system), quiz corrections, assessments to be taken (for absent students), and then to-do folder.

Electronic Files: This is probably where I excel. I've always organized my files into folders. We've been a Google Apps district for like 6 years now. I was initially very resistant to using Drive since math doesn't work so well, but it has been getting better and catching up. Now that we have more teachers teaching a course, we use Drive to collaborate and have common files. As a Lead for our Math 1 and Math 2 courses, we organize our units with a Unit Plan. I link any documents or resources to it. It's like a one-stop shop for the team to get information, resources, and ideas from. My task this school year is to convert all of our Word files to Doc files. I'm about half way through both of those courses. With Financial Algebra, we used Drive from the start, which has been awesome and a life saver! I like to have as much as I can in electronic format since that helps to cut down on the papers I have to figure out how to file.

Classroom Space:  Several years ago I put up curtains on some side shelving. I keep some department supplies in 2 of them. The other 2 are student supplies - 1st one are whiteboards, erasers, and towels. The second set are more of the supplies - markers, glue sticks, compasses, protractors, scissors.

I have a clearly marked "IN" tray and "OUT" bins. And in between is where I keep the absent folder, Quiz Corrections Forms, and Request to Retest Forms. For absences, I place the name of the student on any work that was passed out and place it in the folder. I use to have a slip that went with it and stated specifics of what they missed, but I haven't used in over a year because the current course I'm teaching doesn't work that way - it's project based most days.

The past 5 years I've had my teaching station (doc cam) in the front corner - which was unusable space because of the angle to the board - and student desks arranged in groups of 4. This year I arranged things differently. I moved my DocCam to the back on a cart that I can stand at, then arranged the student desks into various table-top groupings (pairs, 3's and 4's). I figured it would provide students different situations to work in. The pairs are easily set-up to become a group of 4 when needed too.

I've taught AVID for a number of years, so that's why I have a lot of space decorated with Pennants. Last year I was lucky enough to have Seniors, so I started a wall for them with where they are going to college. It's a work in progress though - I have more students to put up, just haven't had the chance to work on it yet.

I'm sure I have more Organization Hacks, but for now this will have to do.

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