Help this Second Grade Teacher get Organized!

by Pat
(USA)

I've taught 2nd grade for a little over 28 years so far, and I STILL can't seem to "get a grip" on organizing my work area (a table where I can "spread things out") or desk or collecting and returning the student's work!

I have recently, for a few months now, been prescribed medication for adult ADD,(the "distracted & forgetful"-not hyperactive-kind) but I STILL have difficulty with what is referred to in the "ADD World" as "Executive Function"- that is, being organized, prompt, efficient, etc.

I've read and read organizing sites, checked a few other teacher's rooms, read teacher websites on organizing and still don't "have it together" like I'd like!

It's embarrassing! For example on the work table, one might find: 1. excess worksheets-too many run off that are not used 2. various student papers by subject in messy stacks 3. things that I need to grade 4. things ready to run off 5. things that are already graded 6. various permission slips, student info, etc. 7. manuals 8. postal mail-catalogs, etc. 9. office forms 10. scissors, glue, paperclips 11. books etc. etc. etc.

I worry that "Out of sight" also may mean "out of mind". The clock is set purposely a few minutes ahead, but I can STILL be late to lunch.

If I leave myself notes, they can quickly become buried under mounds of paper. Only 4 subjects a day at 2 pages per subject times x number of students = lots of paperwork! I also misplace things the secretary, bookkeeper or nurse might need, such as absentee forms, referral forms, lunch money envelopes, workbook money, field trip, etc. I'd certainly appreciate any help you could give me! Thanks, Pat

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Sep 24, 2010
help you out
by: Alexis

I think you should get like an bin also known as organizer and put little stickys on them saying like graded papers needing grading and stuff like that. I got one from Target! That is just a suggestion if you dont want to you dont have to like i said its just a suggestion!!!

Aug 31, 2010
Comments to Help 2nd Grade Teacher get Organized
by: Samantha

Hi Pat, Now, I'm not qualified to answer to the ADD diagnosis, but I can give some basic guidelines on getting organized.

Getting organized can be broken down into these steps:
1. Remember the purpose of the space you're organizing and organize for that purpose.
2. Declutter - get rid of the extra stuff.
3. Categorize what's left over.
4. Organize it - create a space for everything.

I can suggest bins, crates, stacking bins, baskets, hanging files, etc., but in all honesty, nothing is going to work for you unless you like and use it. And, sometimes you may find yourself re-working your system of organization to customize it to your needs.

You've been a 2nd grade teacher for almost thirty years and it has seemed to work for you that long right? Or, wrong? If you feel it's wrong, then concentrate on organizing the really critical stuff such as you mentioned "...things the secretary, bookkeeper or nurse might need, such as absentee forms, referral forms, lunch money envelopes, workbook money, field trip, etc." Have an important file or folder in a bold color such as red and labeled in big bold letters and pin it to the wall behind or close to your desk. Make sure it's clearly visible so you have to walk by it and deal with it by the end of the day.

Now for the rest of the stuff, I've included some suggestions by the questions in parenthesis in your original question in the next paragraph.

"1. excess worksheets-too many run off that are not used (Why have these? Get rid of any excess... recycle, reuse, etc. just get rid it.)
2. various student papers by subject in messy stacks (Put in stacking bins labeled by subject and separated by class, or utilize a hanging file system labeled the same.)
3. things that I need to grade (stacking bins, utilize a color system to help visualize the 'importance' of these)
4. things ready to run off (again, utilize a stacking bin, you could also get hanging bins for the wall.)
5. things that are already graded (Hand these back to the kids right away. Think about what you don't need to have hanging around and handle it by either tossing, recycling, handing back to students, filing, etc.)
6. various permission slips, student info, etc. (Important stuff should be given priority, see below, use a brightly colored folder. Student info should be kept in confidential files and not out and about!)
7. manuals (book cases utilizing magazine organizers)
8. postal mail-catalog (see number 7)
9. office forms (hanging file system, stacking bins, hanging bins)
10. scissors, glue, paperclips (baskets on a book shelf)
11. books etc. etc. etc. (book shelves)"

Stop worrying about "out of sight, out of mind". Utilize a day planner (I like the old fashioned paper pencil version). Use a planner to write down reminder notes or 'things to do' on a daily basis.

I hope this helps and please and please don't beat yourself up anymore. Try out some organizational systems, then re-work after a time to customize to your needs.

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