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Getting Organized from the Get Go!

Organizing from the start is the key to a great year with this idea by Norma, a Kindergarten Teacher in El Paso, TX.

Here’s a low-tech but highly effective organizational system I have used in my many years of teaching. This idea is so fabulous; I wish I had it in place from my very day of teaching on.  To get and stay organized, I keep a large 3-ring binder on my desk at ALL times. Inside this binder, I store items such as:

• A master class list of student’s names (useful for many tracking purposes from homework to collecting field trip money)

• A map of the school plus a map of all the fire exits

• A daily and weekly class schedule

• A list of my colleagues’ e-mail contacts

• A list of students’ home e-mail addresses and phone numbers

• Student information sheets we collect at the beginning of each school year

• A list of emergency phone numbers

• A confidential list of health concerns (allergies, medications, etc.) from the school nurse

• A list of field trip contact names and numbers, plus a list of dates (as these are scheduled ahead of time)

• A list of important dates including Back to School Night, Parent-Teacher Conference dates, dates for standardized testing, etc. (I keep this master list of important dates in my computer and can easily update and print out a new list as the year progresses.)

• A master copy of forms I routinely send home such as a request form for classroom volunteers, a field trip permission slip, a Parent-Teacher conference sign up sheet, etc.

In addition, I include a plastic pocket page protector for each student In these pockets, I store correspondence to and from home, phone call documentation, copies of e-mails with parents, copies of report cards, annotations of progress and concern, summaries of conferences, copies of teacher observations, etc.

I also punch holes in manila envelopes and use these to collect money for class trips and book club orders.

I label dividers to separate each section of my organizer notebook.

I also use this folder to store a set of master activity pages that can be duplicated and used anytime in the school year in the event that I am absent for an extended period of time.

This binder system is really quite easy to set up and has saved me lots of time and energy through the years. I never find myself scrambling for information and rest assured that it helps my teaching assistant and substitute teachers as well.

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This article was part of the August 2010 Classroom Connection Newsletter. Check out the other articles from this edition:
Let Parents Know They Can’t Argue with Results
Here’s How to Start the Year with a Smile!
This Day One Activity Is Easy as Dough-Re-Mi!
First Day Jitters for Real
Rave Reviews for the Best Seat in the House
Getting Organized from the Get Go!
Fine Tune Transitions with a Bit of Music
Inch-by-Inch, School is a Cinch!
Focus on Picture Perfect Desks
Start Your Year Off on the Write Foot
Hunt No Farther for a Great Classroom Ice-Breaker
One Way to Devour Learning
Q & A: Managing Split Level Classes
Q & A: August

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