Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Mini Teacher Post

I've been sitting on these pictures for months, and since I don't have time to do any of the crafty things I'm dying to post about right now, I'm just going to dump these and get on with it. I hope you're okay with that. I'll try to bring some crafty on this weekend to make up for it, okay?

And I know some of y'all are still waiting for that Menu Plan post. And someone had the gall to request BOY  Valentine bookmarks. And okay, I'm sort of thinking that's a great idea so I'll probably get right on that. Plus I have so many Valentiney things I want to do. So I'm just saying, I didn't forget. I'm just a little backed up.

On time. Geesh. Keep your thoughts clean, will you?

Okay, now that that's settled, let me explain what you're looking at here. This is the top drawer of my desk at school. It's where I keep all the photocopies that I make ahead for the next week, or, if I'm really on the ball, the next month. Seeing this drawer full makes me happy. It makes my heart sing.

That's right, you heard me. I get my thrills off a tightly packed file drawer full of worksheets. No lie.

That's because I firmly believe that all photocopiers are from the Devil. Yep, just like Ferris Wheels and Tea Cups.

Copy machines never work when you need them. Like when your students are lined up outside your classroom at 8:10 and you have to be in there to let them in at 8:15. That's when the copiers get all moody and haughty. I know all you teachers out there know exactly what I'm talking about here. Back me up, will you, because people are starting to think I'm a nut job.

And I am, but that's beside the point.

Copy machines do not operate under pressure. They see a sweaty, stressed out teacher and they're all "Oh, I have a cramp. I'm going to eat a piece of paper and see if it helps. Nope, that didn't work. PAPER JAM! PAPER JAM! Please open door A, pull down Lever B357.6, rotate knob L, and close door to clear paper jam."

Repeat 5 times.

"There. That's better. Please wait 8 minutes while I warm-up again."

GAAAAAAHHHHH! I loathe copy machines.

Which is why I tiptoe into the teacher work room after school, pretend like I couldn't give a rat's hairy behind if I get a photocopy or not, and proceed.

Like I ding-dang don't care.

And it works.

So, I still haven't really explained what that picture is all about now, have I?

Okay, I'm going to tell you, but you have to keep it to yourself. It's my dirty little secret.

I hoard worksheets. There I said it. Please don't hate.

If it makes you feel any better, I only copy exactly what I need. Exactly. And I'm the Paper Recycling Nazi in my classroom. If I see a piece of paper in the trash I scream like I've got a severed limb, clutch my hands to my mouth, and very dramatically exclaim "There's P-P-P-P-Paper in the TRASH! What do we do with paper, class?"

They pretty much think I'm a freak, trust me. I have a whole Fraction Man routine that very nicely confirms their suspicions as well. I'm the CUH-razy 6th grade teacher.

Anyway, I was saying, I don't waste paper. I even print on the back of used paper whenever I can, and my kids are pretty much used to it. They bring me used paper and say "Mrs. Scott, would you like to have this?" Trashy, huh?

The really nice thing is that I actually have textbooks too, so I don't have to copy a ton. Textbooks are a luxury, let me tell you. I have worked without textbooks and it bites.

Nevertheless, there are things that I do need to copy, and I like to have those things copied ahead of time. So I'm not at the copy machine's mercy. And desperately at the copy machine's mercy. Because we do things that aren't pretty when we're desperate, don't we?

I'm just speaking for myself here? Oh never mind.

As I was saying, the packed file drawer works much like my Tickler File, except that I have assignments in days of the week hanging folders for one week, and then if I have more copies than for just a week, they get filed in the hanging file for the subject they belong in. I don't just put photocopies in these files either. I put other things that I need to remember for certain days as well. It keeps me sane.

Well, relatively speaking.

As it compares to myself.

This small hanging file jobber sits on a table in the front of my room. This table is my Command Central. The overhead projector sits on this table, and when I'm writing on the overhead projector, I sit on this table too.

It's a strong table.

This little hanging file is my TODAY file. I have a hanging file for each subject, and in it I keep all the photocopies that I need for the day, as well as overhead transparencies or anything else (except books) that I might need for that day's lessons. This way I don't waste any time looking for things. When I was teaching middle school, these hanging files were labeled by class, or period.

I could not function without this file. It's my BFF.

These are my class job assignments. I used to have them on a poster, but I'm always rearranging the classroom, and every time I do that, I have to assign new jobs to kids. One day I got smart and just turned all the jobs and all the kids' names into magnets. DUH! Now I just move them around when we change seats. It was the best thing when I finally figured this out.

This is another one of those brilliant ideas. This is my Missing Assignments list. It's just a section on my white board where I keep track of assignments that I don't yet have from certain students. I used to nag my students when they owed me an assignment, but that drove me crazy, and it didn't work. When I started writing the assignments down on the board, the kids paid attention.

I list the assignments and the student numbers for the students that have yet to turn the assignment in. I don't use their names because I want to be somewhat discreet about it. Everyone still knows who number 6 is, but it's not so in your face. And let me tell you, it works. Kids see their number up there and they get right on it. It's the neatest thing. 

My favorite is when I post something new and watch all the kids scramble to get their assignments to me. I don't allow them to erase their numbers either. I tell them that their number has to stay up there until I grade and record the assignment. It's torture for them, but I'm a control freak and they just have to live with me.

They're getting used to me and my strange ways.


  1. Oh, number five is a bit of a shit, hey? Their number is up there a few times!! Must be a boy. lol

    I totally love how organized you are!! You rock!

  2. I'll bet you are their favorite teacher! You are so organized! I'll bet everyone who has to deal with copiers says the same. My day job is in a law firm and you know when a document has to be sent out THAT day, that's when the copier starts acting up.

  3. Working in a bank - email is the best. I just stay farrrrrrrrr away from the photo copier!

  4. As you were describing your reaction to paper in the trash can instead of the recycling bin, I suddenly flashed back to "Mommy Dearest." Just don't start beating those kids with wire hangers....

  5. I am a former teacher, who is getting back into it, slowly...I love all your organizational things-LOVE!!!

  6. I bet those kids think you are the BEST teacher ever!!! I would just LOVE to have even 1/4 of your organizational skills!

  7. You don't have to be a teacher to understand the torture that is the copy machine. You just have to work in an office. I can't wait for the space age when we are all paperless:-)

  8. This is the type of stuff I wished they taught in college. I quit teaching because it was PURE CHAOS, but tips like this really would've made a world of difference. Thanks for sharing!!!

  9. You manage your classroom much like I did. I always prepared lessons weeks in advance and did my copying after school or on weekends for an entire unit.

    I trained my students to place unwanted papers in a basket on my desk and diligently sorted through to salvage paper that could be used again. Everyone at school thought I was crazy. I retired in 2005, and I am still using that paper (I print on the back of it) and have enough remaining to see me through the next two years. If schools really wanted to save money, they would require this type of recycling from the students and the staff.

  10. Great ideas! I need to file all of my copies but I have so many and so many different standards to file them under....

  11. awesome job organizing! I work at a school, and one of the things I do is make copies for teachers.

    You are absolutely right, those dang things freeze up right when you are sweating to get something done,and there is a line of OTHER people sweating to get stuff done.

    some of the teachers have stuff copied a day in advance. Some a week. I've yet to run into one that makes copies for a MONTH in advance! I bow at your organized feet! ;-)

  12. Again, you are awesome. I too hoard paper sheets. I'm (well, on hiatus right now) a Girl Guide leader (Girl Scout equivalent) with five year olds, and I have organzied colouring sheets up the ying yang. When I gave over my command stuff to the new leader of my Unit, she was all, um... what do you expect me to do with 4 Rubber Maid Totes full of paper, binders, challenges, etc....


    We'd get along great in real life, I think.

  13. You are so organized. I'm sure that save you lots of time.

  14. I TOTALLY did that copy trick when I was a teacher too! I used my Monday morning break (or the Friday before) to have EVERYTHING copied for the week and any extras. I kept things in a pendafile instead of a filing cabinet, but the same idea.

    But, I also did "packets". I would photocopy everything for a unit and staple it in one giant packet. That way I wasn't constantly handing things out and it taught the kids to keep track of things. I would collect it periodically and grade to a certain point then give it back.

    And, I taught without text books too! It's nice to have them :-)

    I wish I would have thought of your "missing assignment" board -- would have saved a LOT of time on my part!

  15. Thanks for posting this.. I am a second year teacher in dire need of organizational ideas... and skills, for that matter.

    I understand completely about the copy machine. I just can't even begin to explain.... <>

  16. I loooove your organization style! I'm trying to be more organized at work now because I have two coteachers instead of one and there is a lot of stuff to keep straight! I just organized all of my photocopies and it made me so happy :)

  17. We use Easy Grammar and Saxon Math in our homeschool:) We love it!!