How to be an Organized Teacher!

10:45 AM

During my first ever teaching interview, I was asked the most common interview question ever- What is your biggest weakness? Being so nervous, I accidentally told the interviewers, “My biggest weakness is not being organized.” Nope, not true, at all. Ever since I could remember, I have been making lists, organizing my bookshelf and Disney movies in alphabetical order, using a planner, and organizing my desk to be perfectly organized. I buy every list I see from the Target dollar spot, because you can never have too many. You should see my color coded closet…  And…I actually enjoy organization. When I started teaching, I realized I now had to learn how to be organized as a teacher. Now, after five years, I have it down . So, I am going to share with you my 4 steps to become a more organized teacher.

Step 1: Create a Curriculum Map

My first year teaching, my team was fairly new, and we did not have a curriculum map. I was so lost! I ended up creating my own halfway through the year. Total lifesaver! Since then, it is the first thing I do when I step into my classroom every August. It does take time and collaboration from your teammates. But, once I offer to take care of it, my teammates are all for it! It hangs on the board right by my desk, so it is handy when I need it. I use Excel to create it, then copy it into Power Point to make it better looking. 

The top one includes all subjects organized by the month. I also add any fun projects or themes that we do during that month.The bottom one I created to use with the reading curriculum, because there are more skills to cover each unit and week.

Step 2: Plan Smarter

To keep things simple in my classroom, I try to use the same type of assignments and centers every week. I just change the skill every week. For example, I use the same handwriting and circle maps to teach the letter of the week and practice handwriting. As I plan, I plan all my activities that stay the same for the whole month at one time. I print everything I need, make copies, and then put them into the weekly bins.  As I add more to the plans, or make changes, I add the copies to the weekly bin. I got these from IKEA, 4 for $1. I added an adhesive label, and use a sticky note to label the week. When the week comes up, I put the copies into each daily bin. This works great in case you have a last minute sub!

Here are the weekly bins:

Here are the daily bins:

Before I leave on Friday, I transfer all of the upcoming week's bins to the daily bins. I use my Erin Condren teacher planner, so that I know what activity goes with which day. 

Step 3: Clean Desk, Happy Morning

Throughout the day, things gets crazy and things build up and my desk looks like a twister ran through it. I’m sure you can all relate! Before I leave every day, I make sure to clear off and clean my desk. Anything that needs to be filed away, goes in these drawers to file away later.  It takes five minutes, and it is sometimes the last thing I want to do. However, it is so worth it to come in the next morning, and have a nice clean desk to work at! This is probably the simplest tip to be feel more organized!

My desk at the end of the day:

Then, it's ready to go for tomorrow! Everything for the next day is in the yellow bin, with the Reading Teachers Guide and my lesson planner underneath. 

Step 4: Making To-Do Lists

The other thing that I do every day before I leave, is sit down and write down a quick to do list for the next day. Many times, I would come into my classroom in the morning, sit down at my desk and completely forget what I had to do that morning. Then, it would come time that I would need it and I wouldn’t be prepared. Every afternoon, I sit down, think about what I need to do for tomorrow, check my plans, and make sure I am prepared. This to do list is just for what needs to get done ASAP before my students arrive.
I got this cute to do list pad from Staples!

Now, I also use this template to make my weekly to do list. This includes my daily must do’s- like check email, write date on board, and clean off desk. It also includes tasks that need to be done weekly, like file papers and make my newsletter. This really helps the piles of papers not stack up, and my classroom stay organized and tidy. 

You can get it for free here from Teachers Pay Teachers.

If you are feeling unorganized and never feel like you can catch up, try one or two of these tips! Hopefully it will help you make the most of your day, so you can focus on what’s most important- teaching! 

by Sweet for Kindergarten

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