Saturday, September 14, 2013

A Very Useful Organizational Idea

I didn't have one of those amazing student teaching experiences that some people rave about.

It's been years since I was a student teacher, but I still remember all the challenges pretty clearly. I am organized. I'm a "place for everything and everything in its place" kind of person. I worked at a Montessori school in college. But when I was placed for student teaching, I ended up in my polar opposite's classroom. This teacher was very kind, welcomed me, offered to let me hold the class rats and guinea pigs, and told me I could just put my stuff "anywhere." The disorganization in the room was unreal.

Throughout the few months I was there, I always felt pretty awkward. Our personalities and styles could not have been more different. My master teacher was a very nice person, and I do remember her fondly. She was always very encouraging and nice to me, but it just was not a great learning experience and we were not a good match. Thankfully, she encouraged me to spend some time observing other classes in the school, and I found lots of inspiration in other classrooms.

The one, fabulous tip that I did get during my time as a student teacher? Make a class list that's alphabetical by FIRST name. The teacher I worked with made her class list  on little strips of paper. And then she left them all over her room for handy reference. (or more likely, because she hadn't thought of a place to store them! Giggle!)

I've made these kinds of lists every single year since then. One year I made eight lists to a page, in portrait.

Class List 2011

The next year I had more students, so I made them in "landscape" setting, with four lists to a page.

Class List for Website

I chop those lists into individual strips, and store them in a few strategic places around my room. I keep a stack of them on my teaching easel. I put a pile of them in the baskets my parent helpers use. And I keep several in the wall pocket that is hanging right by the classroom door. I can grab them at any time!

I use the lists for lots of different things. Sometimes I will attach to a pile of papers that students have turned in. I can quickly check off the students who have completed an assignment. I use them for checking off students whose parents have returned forms, and I keep the list attached to the forms. When I have yard duty, I might take a list so I can jot down a few notes while I'm outside (like check off who can skip) and I've also used them for checking off who has had a turn on the computer. Endless possibilities!

I use one of my little class lists once a day at least. They are so convenient and useful! One fabulous idea from student teaching!

Happy weekend, friends!


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