Clutter Clean Out
Common Core is upon us and for many teachers, it’s a whole new way of thinking about curriculum delivery…and a whole new level of stress!
New standards are here to stay, and the faster we incorporate them into the fabric of our teaching, the sooner we can positively influence student learning using these new goals. Change is hard – sometimes really hard – but getting your classroom in line with the Common Core State Standards will lessen your stress and let you focus on effective lesson planning and implementation.
So let’s open up those closets, pull out those storage bins, take the lids off those supply tubs and get started. Here’s your mantra for this project:
“If it’s inside my door, it’s Common Core!”
As you are cleaning out, approach each storage area with Common Core standards in hand plus sorting boxes or bin. Laundry baskets from home will work!
No area in your room is exempt. Let the light shine into:
- Filing cabinets
…even your teacher desk!
I’ll give you a temporary pass in just one area: Your computer files. We’ll touch on how to whip those into shape in a future post.
Sorting and Sharing
As you pull out supplies, put on your Harry Potter sorting hat and place them into the appropriate bin:
Bin 1: Common Core aligned – my grade level (Keep)
Bin 2: Common Core aligned – Different grade level (Share)
Bin 3: Old and Tired (Pitch or store away from school)
How do you know if an item is Common Core aligned for a different grade level? Keep the decision simple: If it’s content-specific but no longer taught in your grade, then someone else can use it. For example, coordinate grid games, maps and practice sheets are now part of 6th gradeís Number System domain. Time to share!
You don’t get to say, “Maybe we’ll come back to this – I’d better hang onto it.” That’s how classroom clutter syndrome starts. You have to be “all in” for this to really work. If you change grade levels in the future, you’ll be able to take advantage of the amazing and inexpensive resources available online to quickly get your support material up to speed.
From Clutter to Clarity
Don’t put anything away yet! We must organize it first…that’s the whole point!
Your first step is to take Bin 3 to a second-hand store. If you absolutely must store it, remove it from your classroom (remember our mantra above). Take it home and put a date on it. If you don’t use it in the next year…pitch!
Next, throw a Common Core garage sale. Place your “different grade level” items on a table in the hallway or work room so fellow staff members can take advantage of your treasures. The table can be anywhere but your roomÖonce it leaves your classroom, it doesn’t come back. Anything left at the end of the day goes into the second-hand box.
Now we are ready to put it all away…Common-Core style! Join me next month when we start to organize absolutely everything by content area, domain or unit. And I do mean everything! In October we’ll start with non-paper supplies, with a special focus on math manipulatives.
See you then!
Betsy Weigle provides more Common Core insights and organization how-to’s with a K-6 focus on her Classroom Teacher Resources website…over 350 pages of classroom-tested advice. Stop by to say “hi!”