Organization is a must have in education. I see students everyday who are disorganized. Unfortunately, I am a traveling teacher; which means I travel every period of the day (5 periods) to different classrooms. I consider myself a highly organized person (possibility due to my mother). These are a few tricks of the trade that I learned teaching and most of all helpful when traveling.
1.”I don’t have a pencil”
Problem: Students don’t bring pencils or pens and it is so frustrating. I lent out pencils and pens that NEVER got returned.
Solution: I tied a pen to a clipboard.
Reasoning: That way students can not walk off with the pen without me noticing my bright orange and green clipboard. Another latent function of the clipboard is that it is so awkward and bright that they are embarrassed and usually bring a pencil or pen the next day.
2. “I lost the handout. You know the one with the _____ topic on top.
Problem: Handouts can pile up and become a mess in students lockers, cubicles, trapper-keepers, and backpacks.
Solution: Help them and yourself with a helpful unit numbering system. Everyone of my units starts with a number 1-10. Each handout is also assigned a number 1-25. Each and every handout I give out has the unit dash handout number. For example Unit 1 and handout 4 is 1-4.
Reasoning: This system is so beneficial in that many teachers have started to adopt my system. I do notebook checks with the handouts to make sure they are organized. After each unit, I have my students put them into a folder so they are at no time carrying/packing more than 25 handouts. Usually a unit is less than 10. Another latent affect of this handout numbering system it helps ME with storage and reference. I often say take out 1-4 or homework is 1-4. I also have a file system in a cabinet where students can go and get a number they missed (from the current unit). I know this system is genius.
3. “I turned my handout in…. you must have lost it”
Problem: Students claim they turned in work and it “disappears.”
Solution: I have 1 turn in bin for my whole day located on the top of my cart…. After each period I take the handouts from the bin and put them into a specific folder for each period. One side of the folder is for work that needs to be graded and the other side is graded school work.
Reasoning: This system keeps me organized. Helps me monitor late work and it allows me to focus on teaching and not searching for papers.