Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Cleaning and Organizing!

Last year I was hired after the school year had started. After applying to over 300 positions in Washington state alone (my home state) and receiving NO offers, I broadened my search nationwide. I used a great site called Teachers-Teachers. I actually got offered two jobs from postings I found on that site, one in Utah and one in Arizona. I accepted the UT just an hour before AZ called. If you are willing to teach anywhere, sign up on that site! It was very useful to me, and I know of several other teachers who found their jobs with Teachers-Teachers.

Anyway, the room I had last year was small, oddly shaped, and contained no exterior windows, which can be a good thing or a bad thing. A teacher on our team retired this year after teaching for 30 years in the same school! His room was the biggest, so I made my claim on that room, and now it's mine! Mwuahahahaha! Idk, I felt like it needed an evil laugh, probably because the new member of our team now has the small, oddly shaped room. Seniority rules!

Last week was the first week I went back in the building. The last week of school I dumped my stuff in my new room, and the week after I helped my former colleague sort through most of his stuff. We got rid of A LOT. I thought going through what he left behind would be simpler than it was. Warning: These next few pictures are not for the faint of heart. Proceed with extreme caution!

These are the bookshelves I combed through:


I found some gems, some great resources to be passed along to fellow teachers, and I threw out a bunch of old, pages missing, falling apart books, and I had a HUGE pile of donation materials. How huge? I'm glad you asked.
AN ENTIRE ROLLY BIN!! Most of it went to the work room, and people have been picking through the collection and taking what they wanted, bless them! The rest will go to a warehouse our district has that is full of teaching supplies. New teachers get to go and take what they want/need.

I filled seven large trash cans (the big ones they keep in the cafeteria) with outdated materials, ripped posters and maps, and other useless items. Teachers have a tendency to be pack rats, but I want to break the cycle! If it wasn't something I would use and I knew someone else couldn't use, I tossed it. I'm sure a thousand craft projects were wasted, but I hate it when I hold onto materials because I think, "Oooh! This will be wonderful for a decoupaged coffee table that doubles as an interesting conversation starter as well as being educational and intriguing reading material..." because years later I find these materials, and let's face it, those craft projects won't get done. My motto? It's all going to end in fire, so let's throw it out! Seriously, if it's not being used, why hold onto it? I do have things I hold onto for sentimental value, but I need to end my rant.

So, after gleaning what I wanted and storing away things NOBODY is using, but the district spent money on it so we have to keep it, I started organizing the student library.
It looks smaller in this picture than it really is. I sorted by fiction/nonfiction. Then the fiction I sorted by genre and hardcover picture books and paperback picture books. We're in fifth grade. If the picture book didn't fit into some other category, is was sorted by hardness of cover. The nonfiction I sorted by history and science units and other categories like animals, biographies, etc.
Ta-da! The before picture is the second one on this post. Big improvement, right? It's not done. A couple bins are overflowing, but two bins don't have any books, so some more shuffling has to get done. I also need to label the bins (Dollar Store) and the books. I need to make sure all the books have my name. I am going to put stickers on the books according to what bin they belong in. For example, Realistic Fiction took up two bins, so I'll have Realistic Fiction 1 and Realistic Fiction 2. With the mailing labels I got for $2 in a clearance cart at Office Depot (be very jealous), I am going to print off the same title as the bin. So Frindle will have a Realistic Fiction 1 label on it and will go back into the Realistic Fiction 1 bin. 

I am going to create a system with clothespins for the students. They will have three clothespins with their student number on it, they will clip the clothespin onto the bin they got the book out of, and hopefully that will help ensure that each book makes it back to its proper place. 

The little bookcase has all my Dear America books on the top shelf. I will need to find a way for the pins to pin to something for people wanting one of those books. The basket at the top will be the book hospital for lost or broken books. 

I'm so happy with all the organization! The other bookshelves are still works in progress. I hope to do a huge classroom reveal in August complete with before and after pictures. Anyway, thanks for reading! Keep calm because the first day of school is five weeks from today. Breathe! It will all get done. :)

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