Teachers (classroom & home schooling) now is the time to be thinking about setting great habits for the 2017/18 school year. Once your students arrive on the first day of school things take off at high speed and it can be difficult to keep up and stay organized in your classroom.
Did you know that Heart of the Matter specializes in “Teacher Organization”? Did you know that we have the privilege to work for the Waterloo Region District School Board in relation to “Health and Wellness”? Check-out our website to see the services we provide for teachers.
As an Ontario College of Teachers graduate, I (Rhonda) understand what it means to be a teacher, balancing family life with my day to day teaching workload.
Our last blog explained some tips for setting up a classroom. For many teachers, the classroom set-up is the easy part. They can label and get everything ready to go for September, but is it the November “bomb exploded in my classroom” that poses the problem. Maintenance is the key.
I acknowledge that once the school year starts, you are on a treadmill that never seems to slow down or stop to let you off!
Those pauses need to be scheduled in or else they will never happen. Can you commit to staying an extra hour once a week to simply “put things away”? This is integral in keeping the classroom organized for the long haul.
Filing or the duty of hole punching items to get back into that binder, aren’t our favourite tasks. Set your timer for one hour, once a week, to simply put stuff away. Get those handouts back into the binder of originals, take the “extra” construction paper back to the supply room, return those borrowed items to that teacher. Keeping on top of these simple tasks will go a long way in keeping your classroom and your head clear.
Take this time to evaluate what is hanging on your personal bulletin board. Are there items that can be taken down? Once it is too full – you will begin to look past everything and it loses its effectiveness.
At the end of that hour, one of two things will happen. You will look at what you accomplished and you are happy with the results and commit to doing that again next week OR you will get over the hump of getting started and you will work a little longer to finish off.
My favourite tip for maintaining a neat and organized classroom is to play the “Mystery Item” game. I give Deb Reeves, a beloved teacher friend of mine, credit for this idea that she plays in her classroom every day.
At the end of each school day, she mentally chooses something that she sees “out of place”. The children have several minutes to go around and find the item that she secretly picked. She could pick a piece of garbage on the floor, a bin that is out of place, a book that is not in the right spot in the library, etc. After several minutes, whoever picked the mystery item gets a small prize (a jellybean or a sticker). The children are all keen to win a prize and they buzz around the classroom as fast as they can, picking up garbage, straightening items on the shelves, putting away the game that was left out, etc.
When the children head for home, the classroom is tidy and the teacher doesn’t have to spend a half an hour tidying up the day’s activities. This is a brilliant way to incorporate the children in the clean up process. Many hands make light work! This is a perfect example of “working smarter, not harder”. Thank you Deb Reeves for coming up with this great idea to help with classroom maintenance!
If you are a teacher that would like an organizing boost either before school gets started, or once things get rolling, please contact us! Some of our our best days are with teachers in their classrooms!
Check out our website to see the services we provide for teachers!
Food for Thought: