Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Is There a "Best Way" to Organize??

At the beginning of August, I will be moving to another city, the one in which I will student teach for the upcoming school year. I am soooooo excited about living in a new city, but now I am navigating through possibly the most dreaded aspect of moving- PACKING!!! I know I do not move until August, but I do not want to be a last-minute packer. I want to have time to sift through everything I own and make sure that I’m only bringing what I need (even though it seems like I need EVERYTHING in my apartment!!). The first stage of packing has been to organize all of my books, notebooks, and folders and handouts that I have saved from my instruction courses. After beginning this daunting task, I have realized that I saved basically everything!! This, of course, is a double-edged sword! I have an unbelievable amount of material to sort through, but I also know that there is quite a bit of useful information in there somewhere.

So, to make a long story a little shorter, I am now faced with a dilemma: now that I have weeded out all of the unnecessary material, what is the best method of organizing what I decided to keep? I have lesson plans, graphic organizers, test writing tips, information on classroom management, handouts on the Big 5, and other classroom-related materials. I think my organization will go in one of two directions:

1. Organize based on the course in which I received the info (ex: C&I 232- Urban Education, C&I 222- Reading Assessment, etc)

2. Organize based on topic/theme (ex: Comprehension, Fluency, Classroom Management Strategies, Writing)

I definitely think I’m leaning more toward option #2 or organizing based on topic/theme. Although this seems like it will take the most time to organize, I think it will best serve me in the end. If I organize based on the course, I will still have to sift through that specific course material to find the graphic organizer that dealt with Comprehension. I’m sure these are not the only two ways to organize material, but they are about all I can come up with!


  1. I went through the same thing after completing my master's. I bought file folders that come in different colors and labeled them with different subjects/topics such as classroom management, IEP's, Reading, Parent interactions etc. If I thought that certain folders/themes kind of went together I made sure to do those in the same color such as subcategories of reading instruction or something like that. I have a few portable file folder boxes which are great for storing files when you move. Once I got them organized i transferred them to the file cabinets in my classroom. I definitely think it works better to sort through everything and group documents according to subject/topic/theme. That way if you feel like you need to brush up on teaching routines or transitions you go to your classroom management folder and there it is! I tried to be as specific as possible with the folder labels even if that meant making more. It's SO worth the time it took!!

  2. Thanks for the suggestions, KT! I actually went through everything tonight and organized based on theme/topic. Right now, my sections are Comprehension, Phonics/Phonemic Awareness, Fluency, Vocab, Writing, Lesson Plans, Reflections, General Teaching (test writing tips, behavior management, learning styles). I feel like I could break down topics like Comprehension down even more, to include subcategories like: characterization, story structure, inferences, connections to text, etc. but I think I'll save that task for another day!!