Saturday, December 06, 2008

Middle school teacher offers 10 classroom organization tips

Organization can become a luxury in the classroom, according to Cossondra George, a Michigan middle school teacher, who said she has found 10 organization secrets that can help any teacher. Those include having a designated spot for students to turn in work and one where absent students can pick up work they missed. Teacher Magazine
Here's the author's top 10 “stolen” organization secrets.
1. Have specific places for students to turn in work. I use plastic stackable baskets with bold clear labels for each class period. This stops students from tossing a paper onto my desk and having it sucked into the black hole, never to be seen again.
2. Have a designated place for absent students to collect their work when they return to school. The last thing I do each day before leaving school is take care of work for absentees. I look at my attendance book and identify each student who was not present in each class period. I put exactly what we did that day—with any homework and handouts— in a basket marked both with ABSENT WORK and the particular class period. This puts the primary responsibility on the student, who knows my expectation that he or she will find the appropriate basket and act accordingly. It makes my life easier; if the question “What did I miss yesterday?” is asked, I point.
3. Have a NO NAME folder. Unless you teach in Lake Wobegon, your students will, on occasion, turn in work without their name. Certainly, my middle schoolers will! Later, when they note a missing assignment, you can ask: “Did you check the No Name folder?” I frequently hold up my red No Name folder with a declaration like, “Mr. No Name has an A in math! Do you?”
4. Use an online grading program. If your district does not use something like Pearson’s PowerSchool student information system (the one we use), fight to get it. Such systems make it possible to share grades and other information via the Internet with students and parents. This makes for fewer parent phone calls, fewer students asking questions about their grades, less time spent preparing lists of missing assignments, and best of all, no last-minute panic at report card time. Parents and students appreciate having instant access to what is missing and what is due. But do not get behind on grading. You expect students to turn work in on time; have the courtesy to assess and return that work promptly. And frankly, I find myself much more accountable when grades are posted for parents to view.
5. Have a board in the hall outside your classroom where you write what students need for class each period. This method of reminding students what to bring each day helps teach them to be organized. Students can be overwhelmed with different classes and different teachers. Thinking of everything they’ll need for the next hour during the four minutes between classes can be tough. A quick glance tells them whether they need their book, reminds them what homework is due, and helps them get it all together in a hurry.
This list is very helpful and practical! I will definitely borrow #2 and #5, I already have #4 in place. The list goes the rest here.


Anonymous said...

Great ideas! I have an orgaized challenged 8th grade child. I made notes from this so I cna have him start working on a plan, if he follows these same simple rules, he should be able to start and end his day at school with feelings of accomplishment

Studying Teaching said...

Great post! Been reading a lot about organizing my classroom. Thanks for the info here!

Promethean Planet


The following is the opinion of the writer and is not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, club, organization, company, or individual. Any view or opinion represented in the blog comments are personal and is accredited to the respective commentor / visitor to this blog. This blogger reserves the right to moderate comment suitability in support of respecting racial, religious and political sensitivities, and in order to protect the rights of each commentor where available.