Sunday, July 25, 2010

Let's Get Organized

Did you obtain your super-cool, new, 3-ring binder yet?

I heart binders.  The main reason is that they are so flexible and forgiving.  You can add to them.  You can subtract from them.  

It's OK if you didn't.  You can still play along.  This week we are going to be building (insert announcer voice) THE ULTIMATE TEACHER ORGANIZATION TOOL.  

There are several components to it.  Today we are going to focus on the PLAN BOOK part.  

I've tried keeping lesson plans in one of those traditional books.  I've tried doing them on the computer.  Both had pros and cons.  What I have found to be best is to customize and create my very own binder that houses lots and lots of information and tools to keep me on top of things.

You can create your own on the computer, copy a favorite version you have found or better yet, purchase the one I created at my store for only $3.00 by clicking here.  I told you I was busy creating this weekend.


Whichever option you decide to go with, you will probably want to include the following components or some form of a variation of them.  I like to start with the big picture and work toward the details from there.  I start with...

LONG RANGE PLANS:
This is a snapshot of the year, but with less details.  It's great for recording special projects, themes, author studies, etc.

YEAR-LONG PLANS:
Create a row for each week of the year (should be 40) and columns for the different subject areas.  I made one sheet that I can print several times so I can use specific categories for language arts like spelling, word study, comprehension skill, writing, etc.

WEEKLY PLANS:
This takes on the look of a traditional plan book.  The left column has the days of the week with space to write the date and the number that corresponds to the day of school.  This feature comes in especially handy in the spring when you start your countdown to the next summer vacation.  C'mon, you know you do!  

All you need is one template.  You can then copy/print as many as you need for the year.  Hint: add in the recurring items like specialists, lunch, snack, etc. before copying to save yourself time.

Now that we have the plan book foundations down, let's move on to the "extras."  These are items that are normally found in a commercially-made plan book so I keep them in this section of my binder as well.

CALENDAR:
It's important to have a calendar that is separate from your planning calendar to record meetings, conferences, assemblies, holidays, and those sorts of things.  The one I designed has empty boxes to fill in the dates so that I can just print new ones for the next year.  If you are going to take the time to make one I suggest doing that to save the hassle of recreating it next summer.


STUDENT INFO:
I number my students so I like to have a column for numbers next to the name.  I also include parent names, home addresses, email addresses, phone numbers and cell phone numbers.

MEDICAL INFO:
I use this section to house specific medical concerns about students as well as general school info regarding policies and the nurse.

STUDENT TRANSPORTATION:
I designed two versions of this.  I plan to leave one in my plan book and hang the other by the door for easy reference.
BIRTHDAY CHART:
It's nice to have all the birthdays at a glance.  I do have a chart in my classroom for this purpose, but I also include coworkers on the one in my plan book.

ATTENDANCE:
We actually do our attendance online, but I found I missed having my own records in writing so I keep this as well. It's helpful to reference in a conference or student meeting.
GRADES:
I also have a grade book on my computer, but again prefer to have the original on paper.  This allows me to correct papers anywhere and record the grades.
COVER:
You need a cute cover.  There are the three I designed to include in the teacher plan book set.  I used the middle one for myself.  I am making a collage of personal photos for the back sleeve.

Be sure to include your name and contact info in the book so that it can easily be returned to you if it is misplaced.  

When I sent you off to get your binder yesterday, I probably should have told you to get page protectors and tabbed dividers as well.  You might want to think about getting those.  

It's time to get cracking on the first section of your binder.  Decide which of the components you feel you need to include and design away.

...or have I mentioned that you can click here to purchase ALL of the items pictured for only $3.00 and I'll email them to you speedy quick.  


16 comments:

Catie Hummel said...

I just wanted to let you know that I absolutely LOVE your site, I think you are BRILLIANT. I am a beginning teacher, 1st grade, and I am absolutely desperate for ideas!! I think I want to be you :-)

Anyway, thank you for the idea!! I will be buying this one from your store! :-)

I would LOVE LOVE LOVE any more ideas about starting a classroom, organizing, etc. :-)

I read your blog every day now, and am very impressed!!

Thank you,
Catie

Catie Hummel said...

I just wanted to let you know that I absolutely LOVE your site, I think you are BRILLIANT. I am a beginning teacher, 1st grade, and I am absolutely desperate for ideas!! I think I want to be you :-)

Anyway, thank you for the idea!! I will be buying this one from your store! :-)

Thank you,
Catie

Catie said...

I just wanted to let you know that I absolutely LOVE your site, I think you are BRILLIANT. I am a beginning teacher, 1st grade, and I am absolutely desperate for ideas!! I think I want to be you :-)

Anyway, thank you for the idea!! I will be buying this one from your store! :-)

Thank you,
Catie

Littlest Learners said...

@Catie: Thanks so much for your kind words. The BEST thing you can do as a new teacher as start off organized because you have a blank slate. I loved teaching 1st grade. Congrats on your new job.

Ambs said...

These are alll SUPER cute! I end up keeping 2 plan books because my principal is particular about how plans are turned in to her.... UGH. But I NEED all of this info with me!!! Learning How also has a not as cute version with all the same stuff in it :o)

Mrs. Cagle's 5th Grade said...

I heart you, and your stuff. I was debating creating my own, but your stuff is so cute there's no way I could do it as easily.

My $3 will be there shortly. :-)

Sunny said...

I love this. I am constantly amazed at how you are able to do all of this with two babies and a 5 year old at home. You just might be my hero!

LaKeesha Burton said...

WOW! You are an awesome educator! Your student's and your child are so lucky to have you in their lives. Thank you for offering up so many unique and creative ideas. How in the world do you do it all? YOu inpsire me! Keep up the GREAT work!!

gracegrant said...

I love a new calendar almost as much as a new set of markers! Question: Can I type info on what you send or is it just print and write?
And how cute are those graphics???

Cyndy said...

Such great pages! I've been debating making my own... I just wanted to make mine match the theme in my room... is that ridiculous?? How hard would it be to buy yours and then change out the clip art? Would that be possible???

futureflstar said...

You are fabulous!
I'm thinking since I got a "lakeshore" planner for free(for all that money I spent) and I also purchased one(not smart) I might take pages from both to combine into my binder. I would guess this can't be too hard? I do love your stuff though....so I may break down LOL.

Anonymous said...

Odd that your sight will not let a PDF document that you would e-mail "ship to Canada". I thought this would be a great purchased but got stonewalled when I tried to order it because I put Canada down for where I lived. I would undertand if there was something to actually ship but my understanding was this was e-mailed to you.

eager2teach said...

Hi! I just purchased the kit and was wondering how long it usually takes for you to email it out? Thanks so much! As a first year teacher, I am looking for any and all ways to stay organized and I think this will help a great deal!!

Enza P said...

I love your site, and have gotten a ton of ideas!!! I have just purchased your plan book items and cannot wait to put mine together!!!!

Sneaker Teacher said...

I just came across your site and ordered your package. I think it looks AWESOME and I cannot wait to get it. I put the link on facebook for all of my teacher friends!!!!

Ginger Snaps said...

These are really cute! I always make my own cute templates for school!