Friday, August 20, 2010

How I Organize....


Or maybe it should be "How I Attempt to Organize".  I don't know if anyone is interested, but I thought I'd share what works for me. 

Every teacher organizes their papers in a different way: some use file folders, some keep their files on the computer and access them from there when needed, some don't keep papers and try to recreate the wheel every year...

I use binders.  Every unit has a binder (some of them have more than one).  The papers I use for that unit are hole punched and go into that binder.  It includes: worksheets and labs, overhead transparencies, the notes I present to students, and even some new activities that I want to try in the future. 

The colors of the binders themselves are meaningless - I use whatever is available when I need to start a new binder.  But, the labels on the binders are color-coded: red for 6th grade earth science, green for 7th grade life science, and blue for 8th grade physical science.  This also matches the colors of the covers of the textbooks I was using, and I tried to keep this color system going when possible - it made sense to me. 

I keep the papers roughly in the order in which I use them.  In the back, I have a section of new activities - things I've come across, but haven't worked into my classroom yet. 

When I sit down to plan my next unit, I pull out the appropriate binder and go through it.  I can have my unit roughed out in pretty short order.  I also pull out the pages that need photocopying. 

It works pretty well.  At least until it's time to put the papers back away... I kind of fall apart on that end, but I likely would no matter what system I use.  I usually have a large stack of papers waiting to be filed back into the appropriate spot. 

But, it works for me.  Probably not for everyone.  But, if you're looking to revamp your own system, it's an idea to consider.

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