December 19, 2012

Tips for Organization

Recently a new teacher asked her fellow FLTEACH listserv subscribers for suggestions on how to be better organized. Here are some of the suggestions, just in time for winter break:

I have developed a system this year that seems to be working. I have color coded folders for each class. Within each class, I have a folder for " to grade/to see" and "to return/to use in class". I also have a folder for "from the office" and another for "to the office". At the end of every day, every paper that touches my desk must be in one of those folders. I use to keep papers in a "one day I will take care of it" pile, but lately I have been just chucking things. If there are readings that I like and want to keep, I scan them and chuck them. I imagine the day I retire I will have a million pdf files to keep me company, but in the meantime I am not burying myself in papers.

Marcin, M. Re: [FLTEACH] organization. FLTEACH listserv (FLTEACH@LISTSERV.BUFFALO.EDU, 7 Dec 2012).

I have a table at the front of my room off to one side. On it I put a milk crate (for file folders) and put four colored file folders in it, one color for each level I teach. Whenever I print off handouts, quizzes, tests, flashcards, etc. for the class, I put it in the appropriate file folder in the milk crate. That way, whenever I need to grab a teaching aid, test, or handout, it's right there and I don't have to go back to my desk or file cabinet to look for it. When I am finished with that unit, flashcards and leftover handouts & quizzes go into my file cabinet for future use.

Meyer, C. Re: [FLTEACH] organization. FLTEACH listserv (FLTEACH@LISTSERV.BUFFALO.EDU, 6 Dec 2012).

The most important area for me to stay organized is in my files (any papers that I give to students). When I know that I have an activity for something and can't find it, I go crazy! I've tried many different systems over the years, and the one that works best for me is having binders and keeping everything in page protectors. The way that you choose to group materials depends on how your courses are structured.

I have one binder for each level that I teach, and each of those binders is divided with tabs into units (for me, story units). First in each binder are plans for the units, and all of the materials and answer keys follow it.

I have a separate binder for grammar notes and activities (since I do not use a textbook that includes grammar within units) that I can pull out when I want to focus on a specific topic for awhile. I have another binder with thematic vocabulary notes and activities for the same reason.

I also have a binder that contains song lyrics (that don't easily fit into one of my story units), a binder that contains blank forms (for activities that I use in many situations, like storyboards, writing rubrics, dictation forms, reading forms, etc...many of these are posted on my blog), a binder with sub plans (I have a post-it on each plan listing each use--date and level--so that I don't duplicate), and a binder for cultural activities that don't fit into units (like holidays, for examples). Let's just say the supply clerk knows to pull out page protectors as soon as she sees me at her door.

I also try to keep my computer files very organized, in the same way that my hard copies are organized, but with folders grouping units and topics together instead of binders and dividers.

Bex, M. Re: [FLTEACH] organization. FLTEACH listserv (FLTEACH@LISTSERV.BUFFALO.EDU, 7 Dec 2012).

What works for me is that I have 2 manila folders for each period I have a class. One folder is for incoming assignments and 1 is for returning papers.

This summer I got to choose new textbooks. So I have made a manila folder for each lesson in each book. I put 1 copy of any handouts in it, so as next time I teach it all I have to do is pulls those out and make copies for the students.

Hanson, M. Re: [FLTEACH] organization. FLTEACH listserv (FLTEACH@LISTSERV.BUFFALO.EDU, 7 Dec 2012).

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