To: Lori Metzger (Mentor Extrordinaire)
I always say that I used to be very organized, until I became a teacher!! You are known around the kingdom for being extrememly organized and having a spic-n-span classroom at all times. Please share some pearls of wisdom, maybe some simple things you think every teacher could do to get even a little bit more organized. Maybe you could also address dealing with the infamous beast of paperwork!
You are awesome and amazing! Beth
Organization is my specialty! I'll share my paperwork secrets here in this magical blog.
First, create a filing system that works for you. In my file cabinet I set my folders that correspond to each reading and writing skill or strategy that I teach. For example, I have folders titled main idea and sequence in the reading section of the drawer and I have folders titled setting and character development in the writing section of the drawer. Everything that I come across for that skill goes into the folder, but only one copy. That way the folders aren't bulging full of extra papers that I don't need.
I also have a set of weekly files labeled Monday through Friday. I try to organize the papers that I'll need for the week in these folders. If I have a test run off that I'm giving on Friday, I keep it in the folder and pull it out after school on Thursday.
My secret to being organized is my third set of files. Before the school year begins, I take a copy of the school board's yearly calendar and Chets Creek master calendar: I use four different color packets of construction paper, one color for each quarter. I fold the paper in half and use one page for each week of the school year. So this week's packet has the following dates on it: Oct. 22, Oct. 23, Oct. 24, Oct. 25 and Oct. 26. Next to the date I write anything important, such as early release, WOW days, picture days, tests that I know I'm giving, etc. Inside the construction paper I slip anything in that I can get ready ahead of time, homework and test papers, blank progress reports, field trip permission slips, etc. It does take some time to plan ahead but I don't find myself scrambling at the last minute for papers I need. I keep my construction paper files in milk crate in my office. Stop by if you'd like to see how it works.
One last tip is something I read years ago. I learned to touch a paper only once (if at all possible). For example, when I received the ballot for the Teacher of the Year, I stopped and grabbed a pen and filled it out right away. Then I turned it in.
I hope these organizational tips work!