Saturday, May 19, 2012

Clutter-Free Classroom Challenge--taking the plunge!

Yes! I am accepting the challenge to make my classroom clutter free and I am so excited! The challenge started in January thanks to the Clutter Free Classroom blog and I just found it last weekend. I spent an hour or two reading through all of the weekly challenges to try to catch myself up. Then, I spent this week trying to organize, and more importantly PURGE the clutter.

Challenge 1 is to take pictures of your classroom and clutter. I mostly focused on my clutter since the classroom is a little bare anyway since we took down all instructional materials to ready ourselves for EOG's. Here goes my classroom clutter---this was so embarrassing that I had to peruse a few other blogs to see other classroom clutter before I was brave enough to share my own!

Check out that mess! The  top especially bugs me and I would like to add that lots of things became unorganized in this cabinet when I was out for a day and the kids had "indoor" recess. The games and puzzles are all over the place. Look at all those extra baskets from years of picking them up at the dollar store unnecessarily---I get excited about brightly colored plastic organizers, how about you?
My desk. I would love to say this is atypical, but that would be a LIE! I try to clean and shuffle things around daily but I always have stuff I don't want to forget about on my desk because otherwise---I'll forget about it. I also use my desk to hold copies of things we will need tomorrow or in the next few days...not a good system I will have to admit. I am often laying my keyboard over the top of a small stack of papers. This has got to change!!!
My handy dandy file cabinet. Doesn't this look organized? My first year of teaching, I was so crazy about file folders that I color coded them by subject--orange for literacy, blue for math, red for social studies, and green for science. This file cabinet holds 4 drawers all as full as this one! I used to go to my file cabinet every time we started a new unit in math and I used it to hold literacy stuff (like novel guides) that I didn't want to toss. This year, I probably opened my file cabinets for resources all of 5 times! So, I know this file cabinet is full of wasted space AND I have another one that is full of professional resources, multiple copy packets that I can use from year to year, etc. that I plan to condense to one file cabinet.
Yuck! Except for my beautiful teacher appreciation flowers :) I detest my nonfiction book area. I don't think it is functional for the kids and I'm not sure what to do about it. One of my biggest "clutter" issues is all of the books I have. They span 5 large shelves across my room. I wish a book thief would visit and take some off of my hands because I absolutely do not know how to purge books.
This is my shelf where I put other copies that we will need in the future. I tried to use this to keep the extra copies off of my desk, but my memory is starting to go more and more lately and sometimes if it is not on my desk, I completely forget to do that one part of my plans.  The bottom contains our whiteboards and markers. The middle holds old copies that I am still hanging on to (can you hear the guilt?) The top part contains stuff we are actually using, except for the little pinkish shelf and the white plastic organizer---I can't for the life of me think of what all those papers are in those and I know that's a problem!
Crazy amount of professional materials, binders, and picture books. And to the side, a plastic set of drawers that began as an organizer for small group reading materials--copies, guided reading books, etc. Haven't opened that but a few times this year too.

So now you've seen my mess. Care to share yours? Link up with the clutter free classroom's challenge or check out the linky parties and see other teachers' clutter and progress. :) This challenge has MOST DEFINITELY inspired me to get to crackin' :)

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