I'm joining up with Jodi and Friends at CFC for the Clutter-Free Classroom Project! You can read all about the project by clicking the link at the side of my blog. To see what's happening during Week One of the project, click on the link at the bottom of the page.
I was nervous about taking pictures of my classroom for this project--and even more nervous about posting them for all the world (okay, maybe 14 random BlogFriends) to see. I guess it is a bit like some 12-Step Program... it's a good start to admit that there is a problem!
I took a few pictures to make myself feel like I really try to be organized. Look how neatly they put away their textbooks! Gosh, that may be where the organization begins and ends...
Some of the pictures I took made my classroom look better than it does in reality, but the truth is the pockets and piles of clutter make the whole space look disorganized. My classroom is an odd mix of hyper-organized areas and extraordinarily cluttered spaces. (Sometimes I wonder if I just wanted to have all points on the spectrum covered!)
With 34 kids and 36 desks desks (double tables), the classroom is very small. There is very little floor space, and I need to "walk like an Egyptian" to navigate through the few spaces in between the chairs. Since I was focusing on individual areas, I didn't get any photos that would give a good sense of the "whole classroom." But I did get a good sense of the task that lies ahead.
I don't have a desk--just a little area with some items that look just... haphazard. I need to get rid of some things... although most of these things are those little treasures that kids give to their teachers. I need to figure out how to keep the sweet thoughts, but put the items elsewhere (Uh Oh. Where IS elsewhere?)
There is an area behind the Promethean Board. I "store" my ELD group materials here because we work on the carpet in this area. This is just so... not okay!
I keep my materials for Centers in these crates (although much of it was in my car for reorganizing when I took this photo). Still, there are things that should have been put way long ago!
Here is the area where students turn in their work. They actually take responsibility for most of the turning in, checking in, and organizing. While the necessary materials are here, a little organization would go a long way!
Here is the game cupboard after the kids "put away" the games. It's not awful, but it's not good either. I am considering designing a "blueprint" to show where the games go so that all of the boxes will fit on the shelves--and you can still close the cupboard doors!
Here is the clutter magnet! There are so few "open spaces" in the classroom, this desk is often piled high. It's right next to the door, so things are often dropped off here when entering the room. I also tend to pile things here to take home, to take to the office, to take to other teachers, or to give to kids or parents. This area needs a clean-up. More importantly, this area needs a SYSTEM.
So... here's the real truth. The desk in the picture above looks a bit disorganized now, but it looked a lot worse two weeks ago!
Before I left for Winter Break, I brought home everything that was left out (along with all of the other delights that seem to accumulate when gift-giving and cookie-baking has occurred). I hate returning to a "messy room," so, somehow in my mixed-up noggin, I decided I would bring it home and "sort"though it. BIG MISTAKE! It seems as if half of my classroom is currently in my house! There were seventeen boxes when I started...
Gradually, I began to sort through the piles... and this pile has been scaled down a bit.
BUT NOW THERE ARE MORE PILES
ALL OVER MY HOUSE!
This is my motivation for joining up with the CFCP. I really do not want to appear on the next episode of Hoarders. But it is increasingly hard to navigate through the house when you have to step over the paper cutter, tiptoe through the markers, clips, and math manipulatives, and then hop right-left-right to avoid knocking over the piles of 16 Beverly Cleary and12 Wimpy Kid books. (Not to mention the 88 never-read books in the closed--SEALED--box that is used as a base to hold a larger pile of things!)
It's too hard to work in a 1000 square foot "apartment," when I share it with the hubs--and my teaching life.
I'm ready, Jodi.
It's time for a change.
Click on the image below to see what other teachers are doing.
Or, maybe you'd like to do a little decluttering of your own...