June 14, 2016

Planners and Planning and Perfection!

I know some of you are not ready to think about the next school year....but take it from a super organized person who never spent more than 30 minutes a week planning during the school year...you want to!

The biggest tip I can give to teachers, new and seasoned alike, is plan over summer! You only need to spend a few weeks each summer going through your old lessons, switching things out, creating new ones, and filling in your plan book; this will allow you SO MUCH MORE TIME during the school year! I never spent more than 30 minutes a week planning my lessons during the school year-this is because I was organized!

This is NOT a humble brag...this is me sharing with you what WORKS!!! I used to see teachers stressing out, staying at school until 6pm trying to plan for the next day, or there at 6am trying to plan for the that same day! Now before yous tart yelling at me, yes, I know things change during the school day that may cause you to need to change your plans....I get it. I'm talking about IN GENERAL.

Another tip I give is to do your copying Friday after school FOR THE NEXT WEEK. I never ran into other teachers trying to get their copying done...the copier wasn't jammed, I wasn't rushing to get to my class. It's a great time to copy! That way too, if you're sick Monday morning, your copies are available for the sub :)

I use my Summer Planner/Back to School Planner to help over the summer. It has checklists and a timeline to help keep me on track. Then during the year, I use my Planner of choice to help keep me organized with each class. I've updated all my Planners in my TPT Store, and they're all ready for 2016-2017!

Take the first step...get your planner printed and bound [I use Office Depot] and decorated with Washi Tape and all that fun stuff :) That can be your "planning" time for this week!! You'll feel better knowing you're on the right track to organization!

 [I buy the plastic dividers and have Office Depot bind them in with my planner. I also have them laminate the front and back cover in their stiffest lamination.]

Here's all my Planner themes available at my TPT Store:
Pastel Hexagon
Watercolor Flowers
Grey/Teal Chevron
Turquoise & Black Arrows
Black, White, & Blue [Non-year specific]
Gold Polka Dot

And if you're just looking for a VERY basic planner, I have my Free Chalkboard Planner as well. It is very basic though...just the Planning pages, Notes pages, and Important Phone Numbers page.

And if you don't like any of my styles, THAT'S OK!!!!!! As long as you find a planner that works for you and helps keep you organized-that is the goal :)

June 1, 2016

Classroom Cleanout: What to Keep, What to Trash

Well you've made it! With all the end of the year drama like grades and yearbook signing, it's easy to forget about the little things.

If you're like our school district, you've got this one week left, and I've come up with a few lists for you to help clean out for your classroom in preparation for the new school year. Now, some schools make you clean out your classroom weather you're teaching there next year or not, but our school let us keep our stuff in our classroom. Regardless, here are some helpful "End of the Year" cleaning tips!

What to Keep:
1) Example Projects/Essays: NOT ALL OF THEM!!! I used to do that..oh this one is good, oh this one too!!! Here's my advice--For major projects, I would keep an A, B, and C example so students can not only see 3 different versions of a project, but then they get a sense of how you grade the project as well. Even if you have a rubric on day one, it still helps for them to see what they should strive for.

2) A few EXTRA copies of the books you read/teach in class. Undoubtedly a student will forget to bring it one day, and it's great to have an extra one so he/she can follow along.

3) ANYTHING you bought with your own money!!! Like sticky notes, electric pencil sharpeners, expo markers, etc.

4) Planning Binders/Lesson Plans: If you know you're going to teach the same information next year, keep them in your classroom. If you're not going to teach that particular unit next year, these would be something to keep either in a cabinet in your room that you don't access often, or, if you have room, at home in your home office.

5) Last thing to keep while cleaning out your classroom before the summer-Notes from the kiddos!! Find a cool way to keep them...either a picture book/scrapbook, a memory box, or a binder with page protectors. You'll need these around for a pick-me-up on those rough days :)

What to Trash:
1) Dried out markers, nubs of crayons, colored pencils that the lead just seems to fall out of! Have a TA go through them on the last few days of school; the ones that don't work well, just TOSS 'EM! If the school doesn't pay for your supplies, Target has their huge BTS sale in July, and there's always Dollar Tree :)

2) Spiral notebooks with only a few pages left...you don't need them, and they'll just take up space. UNLESS you tear out the pages and put them in a bin of paper students can use throughout the year. Just keep it organized!

3) Student projects that they just left behind. Once you pick your 3 examples, throw the rest away. You really don't need more than 3 per project...trust me. I used to show several examples and it actually just overwhelmed the kids anyway.

4) Anything that doesn't work that you think you'll fix. I used to think I'd get around to fixing everything, and then I never did and just bought a new one anyway.

5) Anchor Charts that you made with the kids. You don't need to save it because the point is to do it with the kids. If you want a reminder of the chart, take a picture and store it on your computer in a folder labeled 'Anchor Charts". This way you have a reference, but not a bunch of rolled up or crumpled up papers.

Well, those are my helpful hints for cleaning out your classroom! I hope that you're able to clean out your room and stay organized over the summer. This will help you feel refreshed and less overwhelmed when you come back from break.

What would you all add to this list?? It's always so great to get everyone's opinion! :)