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Saturday, January 19, 2013

More About Organization.... It's progress, not perfection

In December I took part in some blogs about resolutions and mine involves organization. Here are some pictures of what sort of disarray I left my room when school left out for the break.

I resolved to make a landing station like I saw on Growing Kinder's page. Here is what I came up with. Let me tell you, I love it. 

My pens, markers, dry erase markers, all those different colored Sharpies that I am so fond of... all on here. I got the pom-poms added to the dry erase markers we use in centers, I am still in the process of organizing the drawers. The previous teacher had reserved one drawer per day and I just gave one drawer to handouts/worksheets for all week, with each day in a separate folder in the drawer. So far, I love it. I have a drawer just for "homefun." Homefun that goes in the those crazy difficult folders that I worked so hard on. Homefun folders are for reading homework. Not other papers to sign or morning seat work that students should finish at home. One drawer is reserved for copies that need made, one is for papers that go to my teaching partner or to the other building, since I am stuck over in the 3rd and 4th grade building away from the primary teachers, I need a place to put things that I want to share with them or that I want to copy on that machine since it does double sided copies and the one down the hall from me doesn't. Posted immediately above the drawers is the copy of our PE/music schedule for Fridays. On Friday we alternate and we go to PE one week and music the next week. My partner and I got mixed up one week and went to the wrong classes, it was not a pretty sight. So now I have the schedule there and when we discuss it and try to remember where to go I go to the schedule and make sure we get it right.  One drawer is reserved for things that need laminated. Another drawer is for scratch paper and sticky notes. The previous teacher had a drawer for report cards and the report cards that were adopted for this year don't fit in the drawer, so I made a place for them on the shelves. I did reserve a drawer for assessment for report cards. By the time I finish the organization, my first year of teacher will be over. Does anyone else see the irony. 
After the organization. It looks organized to me, but I can see how it might still look cluttered.  The books are in one place, a place for my purse, a place for report cards...
HOMEFUN! Reading homework. Reading outside of the classroom is SO IMPORTANT. I am sad that I always run out of time. I want to read more with my students individually. I have some students who don't speak English and I know that their parents can't understand the notes I send home and are not able to read the English words in their child's books. Some families don't speak Spanish, so even the interpreted notes are beyond their understanding. But the bottom line is this: the most important thing a parent can do to help their child in Kindergarten is to read to them, with them and encourage children to read. So I created a separate folder just for reading homework. Not to be confused with papers that should be left at home, or papers that just need signed without any commitment or participation.  This folder needs the attention of the parent and the parent's participation. This folder is supposed to go back and forth between home and school EVERY DAY, just like the folder for behavior and other "homework" papers. These folders are not what I had hoped for, and the first week they have been in use they have required substantial time, I have spent my entire break (30 minutes) checking all the folders. Next year I will do two things differently... I will have a separate folder for guided reading/reading homework; I will also have a different kind of folder, something that closes, something that the books and papers won't slide out of.  Live and learn. I think that is what the first year of teaching is all about. 

I do know that organization takes time and I've been giving a lot of time to school and not enough at home. I also know it is working for me, and things are falling into place. I am so happy about that. 

I have fantastic students. I have great parents. I can't believe that the year is half over. I know that the students who read and are read to and that practice alphabet and site words will be ready for first grade. I am doing everything I can to get them ready.  Parents, if you need flashcards or other materials, please stop by or email. 

Looking forward to another great week in Kindergarten! 

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