Monday, August 3, 2015

Get Your Desk In Order!

What are your tips or tricks for a smooth sailing school year? It's a pretty broad question. I have tips for my students, myself, my team, and my family to keep us on the right track for 9 months of the year. I could probably write a book about it--but instead I'll stick to my favorite little blog! Stay tuned throughout this week as I post about getting students organized to save time and headaches throughout the school year. You are all about that too, right?!

 One thing that I feel really strongly about is teaching organizational skills. My teaching experience in 6th grade is in the elementary classroom. So we are prepping these kiddos for junior high (woof!) which is another feat on its own (bless you middle school teachers)! Whether the organizational skills stick or not with each student is up to them but having organization really makes the school year go smoother with fewer hiccups and blizzards of loose papers. AND your students are at least organized for one year...and hopefully most of the skills stick! If I had the power I would gift myself and everyone awesome organizational skills but unfortunately that is something that a lot of us have to learn! Darn! I'm definitely in the remedial group on this skill;)! I have found that with lots of modeling and keeping up on things my students are so much more organized than they ever were before AND it also helps keep me organized (30 sets of eyes will do that to ya!).

At the beginning of the school year I spend a lot of time talking about binder organization, notebook organization, and DESK organization. Yes. Desk organization. OCD much? BUT it totally works. All of my students' desks look the same because we work on being organized together -pencil boxes and books have their own assigned desk spots too. Some students require more of a posse of helpers than others to keep it all together which is a great bonding experience for everyone. On the same note those students develop more and more independence with "keeping it all together". I created a desk snapshot so students know how their books, binders, folders,  and notebooks should all be organized.

It takes a lot of repetition and a TON of effort at the beginning but I don't have students losing things which saves all of us time throughout the school year. Being tedious and repetitive pays off...and it's not as bad as it sounds (connotation sometimes!).  The first days of school we check our desks ALL THE TIME, then it becomes, once or twice a day, daily, and then a few times a week. We discuss how everything has a place--from pencils to text books. Because my students use binders and folders every paper has a place--so no loose papers! Also, that random toy from home...yeah, it doesn't have a place in your desk. And your 10 books, 5 of which are scrunched in the back of your desk...those do not have a place and let's narrow this down a little. Oh, your Ratios and Proportions Unit Test? That goes in your math binder. Are you catching my vibe, friend? Things have places in other things to keep all of our things organized. Plus the "clean desk fairy" often comes by and leaves notes or prizes unannounced, which is an extra incentive.

I'll basically do anything to save time and to keep my kiddos and classroom running smoothly--won't we all?! I keep a poster of this at the front of my room so we are all on the same page at the same time! :) When we are packing up at the end of the day I try and always take a moment to have my kiddos glance in their desk to make sure everything is in there. Here's to a smooth sailing 2016-2017 school year! It will be May before we know it!


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