Thursday, January 24, 2013

2013 Clutter Free Classroom Challenge!

2013's Week 2 challenge for the clutter free classroom is to "share your plans," including generating a list of "non-negotiable rules." I started working on a Clutter Free Classroom in May of 2012. You can see some old, SCARY photos of my messy classroom. I am happy to say that some of these problem areas were improved tremendously last year, but now that I am over half a year away from that work, I know that I can go through the same process again and make even more improvements. (PS-If you want to check out any of my Clutter Free Classroom Posts, it's one of my labels, so they are easy to find.)

I LOVE the clutter-free classroom challenge because it BEGS us to STOP, take a look around, notice the pile-age and get to work on our environment.
A lot of my plan may look familiar, circa May 2012. 

Plan and Strategies:

* Have one goal/problem area to target each week. If I don't get it done that week, don't get upset. Move forward to the next week. (I am ALWAYS too ambitious with my to-do list :( )
* Work, work, work! Start small. Use music to make the process more enjoyable and time the work.
* 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...:))
* As I am working, continue to make lists of tasks that students can help with before the bell rings and after school

Rules for what I must get rid of:

(1)-If it has dust bunnies on it, LET IT GO. (Ha ha, makes me laugh. "Of course I will use this next year." Yeah right!)
(2)-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 pull worksheets out of my folders and make copies anymore, so why hang on to the copies?).   

Old Rules from Last Year that I No Longer Need: (Success!!)
- 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!)
-Get rid of it 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...)
-Get rid of it If it doesn't fit into my grade-level (this will be tough since I have looped, 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. 
What I Accomplished Last Year:
1)-Taking 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  (This space is mostly functional, but could use some work.)
2)-Reduced file cabinets and get rid of one (Check! Now I'm going to work on doing it again and reducing the one that's left even more :) )
3)-Purged professional materials that I know I'm not using (Let's do this one AGAIN! Still have plenty on my shelves that I have not touched this year.)
4)-De-clutter wall space (This happened!)
5)-Reduce unnecessary picture books 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.) (Got it down to one shelf, and made some donations to the lower grades' teachers!)

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

1) You can't organize clutter. (This reminds me not to buy a ton of things to ORGANIZE what I have, but to get rid of things that I do not need and buy organizational items when I know exactly what I need.)
2) 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, when I was de-cluttering, instead of moving materials into our mailbox room, I sent an email with the resources I was trying to get rid of. They were taken up within the hour and I was pleased to be giving up something someone else might use.)
3) 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. And, blog up and join the LINKY party (at anytime, no real time limit. Jump into the organizing fun!:)

1 comment:

  1. Looks like you're all set to "refine" what you started last year!!
    Karen :o)
    Mrs. Stamp's Kindergarten



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