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May 4, 2016

Organize and Transform Your Classroom!

     There’s nothing better than having an organized work environment. My brain always feels like it’s going a mile a minute and I find myself not paying attention to where I set things down or even what I’m actually doing while trying to multitask. For example, I’ll make numerous copies of activities for the week ahead and just leave them in a pile without thinking twice. I’m just too busy to take a breath and organize them in any logical way. I’m somehow always convinced that I would benefit more from barreling onto the next task instead of fully completing the first. Then when it’s time to begin those assignments with your students, good luck finding what you need!
If this sounds all too familiar, I hope these tips will help you stay organized. (and sane!!)

1.)    Have a plan
 Consider all possible devices you can use (electronic or not) to help organize your workspace –computer, desks, file cabinets, anything! Have a plan of attack – what would work best for you throughout your day? Think about the activities you do in your classroom… if you have a designated small group area, wouldn’t it make sense to keep all the supplies for small group near that location? Create a classroom map if you need to!

2.)    Locate the problem areas and tackle them!
Have you seen the movie The Intern with Robert De Niro and Anne Hathaway? (If you haven’t you should watch it, I highly recommend it). In the film, Robert De Niro’s character (Ben) is part of a senior internship program for an e-commerce fashion site. Hathaway’s character (Jules) is the extremely busy owner of the company. It is clear that Jules and her team do not have time for the senior internship program so Ben is ignored in the company and left to his own devices. In their busy workplace, there is a desk with a ginormous messy pile of random supplies, papers, and junk. The first time his character is noticed by Jules is when he cleans the desk. That simple yet powerful gesture was a memorable moment in the film.
Most of us can relate to having a designated junk area. My personal favorite are junk drawers – out of sight, out of mind!  Sift through all that junk and see if you can find a common theme, what is the best way to categorize the papers?

3.)    Brush up on your computer skills
There are many wonderful online tools to help you stay organized. Getting on the virtual bandwagon also helps get rid of the clutter! Storage tools like Google Drive and Dropbox are great to have. (and they are both free!) Evernote is also a great tool that lets you store photos, documents, websites and more, syncing to all your electronic devices.

4.)    Lose the guilt of getting rid of things & reduce the classroom clutter.
Teachers are caring individuals. We care deeply about the environment and not being wasteful. It pains us to toss away paper or supplies. Personally, I would always save mason jars and bottles for crafty classroom DIY projects that I knew deep down I would never have time to actually do. If it’s too hard to recycle or throw away, give your stuff away to other teachers! Try to reduce the guilt along with the clutter.

5.)    Last but not least, create a space that makes YOU HAPPY.
Did you know the average person will spend 92,120 hours at work in a lifetime? That’s a lot of hours! Yes, it is important to create a welcoming environment for your students but most importantly, YOU need to feel good about it.
 Get rid of the things that don’t bring you joy. According to Marie Kondo, author of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, “the best way to choose what to keep and what to throw away is to take each item in one’s hand and ask: “Does this spark joy?” If it does, keep it. If not, dispose of it. This is not only the simplest but also the most accurate yardstick by which to judge.”

Not only dispose of things that do not spark joy, but find the things that do! I am a planner junkie and I am obsessed with having a teacher calendar and agenda that brings me joy – after all, it is something that you use multiple times a day! 

I loved designing and using the Personalized Teacher Binder. This single download has 30 different covers and styles to choose from! It has Fashionable binder designs you will be sure to love - Includes boho, shabby-chic, keep calm, whimsical, fashion, glittery, abstract, modern... every style to suit your mood!

You can just type and edit into the design so you can mix and match styles! Or you can stick to your favorite design and create multiple subject binders!


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