Today’s tips are about getting organized during the summer.
The first few weeks will be crazy- so what can you do before they start? Here are the most important things:
- Make a file folder for each child in your class.
I number these instead of putting names- a little more anonymity if someone sees my file cabinet my mistake, and I don't have to re-label them every year. I keep any parent notes, tardy slips, nurse notes, example work I want to show parents, etc. and I always pull this out for parent conferences.
- Make generic class checklists.
[not shown- all my photos have student names! Sorry!]
A generic checklist will be used about a bazillion times. Field trip forms? Check. Money sent in for something? Check. Homework turned in? Check. I also keep one in the cover of my binder at all times, and one in my emergency bag that I grab for drills. Alphabetical order with class numbers works best for me! Don’t make a lot of copies yet (because class lists ALWAYS change in the first week or two) but tweaking a name or two on the form is much easier than typing it all up once school has started and you have a million other things to do!
- Design your daily schedule. (Here's how I use Google Calendar.)
As soon as you have a specials schedule, this is so important! Put in the required things first, and don't forget about logistical things- bathroom break after lunch, for instance. I use Google Calendar to quickly move things around where I want them before I stick it in a Word document.
- Use this schedule to set up your planbook.
Of course, I love my lesson planning pages in Word. Hopefully, you read about my lesson plans, picked up a free starter plan template to customize, and then read my tips for personalizing your lesson plans. Print out a few for the first few weeks- you'll change and update them after that.
- Set up your grade book. (I use Engrade.)
Look at your report cards and ask other teachers what sorts of data you are required to keep, if you’re a new teacher. Is spelling part of "Language Arts," or is it a separate subject? I like to use a digital gradebook because it makes calculations easy and I can access from home or school. Engrade is super easy for inputting grades on the iPad, which I love. I can also weight categories without doing the math by hand.
- Make yourself a teacher binder.
If you don't know my love for my organized teacher binder, welcome. You must be a new reader. I promise you- this thing is my number one, top, favorite item for keeping myself organized. Make sure it includes all of the things you will need with you around the school (staff meetings, computer lab, copy room) and at home (calendar of school events, planning pages, standards/ planning documents).
- Set up a calendar. I really like to put mine in my teacher binder!
Unless you DON'T tend to pile things on your desk, don't try a desk calendar. Believe me when I say that it will end up under a stack when you need it, and then you won't write something down, and then later you'll forget about it because you didn't write it down... basically, if it's covered up very often at all, it's already not doing its job as a calendar. I do like Google Calendar a lot, but I don't have a smartphone and therefore Google Calendar is not always with me.
If you are looking for a printable calendar, like I was, there are a few beeeautiful freebie options on the internet. The tricky thing about that is that most of them are only released by calendar year. Not only does it not match, but I also don’t usually have the January- May calendar to use yet early in the fall and it makes it harder to plan ahead.
Problem solved- a school year calendar that’s colorful, but not too much color ink to print.
Now that the freebie is done, you can purchase this calendar for $2 here!
Make sure you go through the school calendar and add the big dates- school breaks, meetings, etc. I also like to number the weeks of the school year for my planning!
I’m adding this to my new teacher tips…
Monday Made It at 4th Grade Frolics…
and linking up with two of my favorite blogs, Ladybug’s Teacher Files and Fun in Room 4B for their Optimum Organization linky party this week!
A little organization before the school year can go a long way toward keeping you organized during the school year! What sorts of things do YOU do to pre-organize for your new class each fall?