At previous districts we've had at least one day before classes started that was strictly a teacher workday. Teachers could unpack, organize, decorate and plan without the interruption of staff meetings or insurance meetings or any one of the dozens of meetings that have to take place during that time. At my current district we don't have that. Actually, we have open house before school starts and after only one paid day back at school. This means that unless we come in on our own or are crazy super organized and preplanned that we will have to come in a day or two before that on our own.
I don't mind coming in before that. I enjoy decorating and getting things ready. I don't want to give up a week or two to do that! Last year several teachers came in to work 10-12 days before they were required every single day all day long to work in their rooms. Wow! I don't want to do that either.
Some things I've done in May to get ready for August:
- Put up bulletin boards and then covered them up so they wouldn't fade.
- Made copies of class syllabi and filed them.
- Created my Song of the Week (now Song of the Month) display and laminate it.
- Copy Recorder Karate Books, listening worksheets, etc... anything I could think I might need in the first few weeks.
- Plan a theme or color scheme for next year.
This year I decided to organize all of my materials in a way that made sense to me. I have a lovely wall of storage with big deep shelves. I am so fortunate that the teacher before me insisted on great storage and left me a well-stocked classroom. The problem? It was kinda all over the place! Take a look.
This is behind my first set of doors. I keep my office and craft supplies here as well paper, folders and a spare computer. This area also houses my microwave and refrigerator. On the left is the slow decay from about a year and a half ago when I half-heartedly threw some things in containers. On the right is my newly organized, easy to get to set up.
These containers are from Sterilite and you can get them at Walmart among other places. I tried to place like things together (glue sticks and glue guns, labels and dot stickers, etc...) but most importantly tried to have a PLACE for everything.
The picture below shows how I have organized my crazy amount of books, center supplies and games.
So remember those hundreds of books that were stacked or sliding or just crazy in the before picture? Well...now they all have a home! I used magazine boxes and labeled them by topic. The flowers are just from those notepads you can get at teacher stores. I thought that gave them a cheery look and a degree of uniformity. Right now they are in alphabetical order (starting in the back), but I imagine as I use them next year I'll pull the ones I use the most to the front.
Above and below all of my books is where I store things for workstations. These containers contain workstation materials sorted by topic. The labels say: Bingo Games, Rhythm Pins, Old Flashcards, Pitch Workstations, Rhythm Workstations, Music Dice and Clothespin Rhythms, Christmas Centers and Cool Compositions. In the bigger containers below that are Noodle Notes, Rhythm Blocks, Bop-It and Simon Says games and a box for supplies that I'll use to make more centers. This box has fun things like ice cube trays, foam dice, cards, baggies, etc...
Games, lap packs, Star Spangled Banner Workstations (all in folders. I do them with 3rd grade every year), reading supplies for workstations and miscellaneous worksheets and direction sheets for centers.
I spent a little bit of money from my fabulous PTO to get containers and finally moved my puppets (used in my singing centers) and beat buddies (beanie babies) into proper homes. Now they are easy to get out and put away and store nicely in the space I have for them.
Last year my room seemed pretty organized on the outside. I'm happy to say that when I start this year it will be pretty organized behind the closet doors too! :-)
Do you do any organizing or preparing for the new year at the end of the last? Blog about it, grab the image at the top of this post and link it back to my blog. Link us up with your ideas below. If you don't have a blog, feel free to share your ideas in the comments.