Sunday, May 20, 2012

Week 2's challenge for the clutter free classroom is to "set the stage for escorting all of the unwanted stuff out the door." "Develop a plan for De-cluttering" and "Compose a list of non-negotiable rules."  

Set the stage:
I grabbed copy boxes for "need to sort/think about," "freebies," and "recycling."

* Work, work, work! Start small, using music to make the process more enjoyable and time the work.
* As I am working and purging, create a list of tasks students can help with when arriving early.
* When my ability to get rid of stuff starts to dwindle--stop for the day. (Ever notice the longer you work to get rid of stuff, the more you start to hold on to? Maybe I should be on an episode of hoarders...:))

Rules for what I must get rid of:
-If it's not mine, it has to go (I have a tendency to hoard professional materials from the library in fear that when I need them, someone else will have checked them more!)
-If I don't have a plan for using it (this will be tough! Don't we love to hold on to things, just in case...)
-If it doesn't fit into my grade-level (this will be tough since I am looping, but I'm sure there are things that just don't fit in either 4th or 5th grade curriculum.)
-If I have NEVER used the resource in my teaching career and don't foresee it being useful next year. 
-If I know I can access it in my personal computer files or online (since we update things all the time anyway, I rarely just make copies of a worksheet or resource I have made for students, so why hang on to the copies?).

-Take control of the mess on my desk: create a functional space for upcoming lessons (worksheets, materials, etc.) closer to my desk but separate so that it does not take over my desk
-Reduce file cabinets and get rid of one
-Purge professional materials that I know I'm not using
-De-clutter wall space (I am considering the lovely idea of visually pleasing black backgrounds for my bulletin boards)
-Reduce unnecessary picturebooks from my collection (My first strategy for this is to sort my books into two piles---I've EVER read it to a class and I've NEVER read it to a class. If I can see myself reading a NEVER book to my class next year, I can keep it. If not, I will be sending a gift of great books down to a lower-grades classroom.)

Lastly, I love the clutter-free classroom's rules to remember:

  • You can't organize clutter. (This reminds not to buy a ton of things to ORGANIZE what I have, but to get rid of things that I do not need and focus on organization later.) 
  • The less you have, the less you need to manage.
  • Your trash is {quite possibly} another person's treasure. (If other teachers came into my room and said "Hey, I could use that," I would have no problem giving it away. So, this week, instead of moving materials into our mailbox room, I sent an email with the resources I was trying to get rid of--very simple--some word study folders and a book report newspaper set. Both were taken up within the hour and I was pleased to be giving up something someone else might use.
  • There is no value in an object that isn't being used. (This is harsh, isn't it? I think it means we have to get rid of gifts kids have given us and other cutesy things that are just sitting around with no purpose.)
  If you want to start organizing your classroom, don't forget to head on over to the clutterfreeclassroom blog  for awesome tips and inspiration.

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