Monday, September 22, 2014

Schedules, paperwork and praise

It's amazing that September will be over so shortly. I feel as though I have spent half the month on paperwork-either doing paperwork or reading it!
It's been a relief and a bit fun using existing posters and things and tweaking them. Here are a few things that routinely make life easier for me.

Schedule: My huge schedule has been so great. Each year, I unstick and rearrange where my classes, lunch and duties fall in a week. It's big enough that I can see it from the other side of the room. The kids also can look to see if the room is empty during their recess if they have something they want to work on in here.
Huge Schedule
 Art Jobs: A few years ago, I had 5 tables and 5 jobs. Things worked well and then I decided to combine tables and make 3 large tables. I bounced the 3 tables around in the 5 jobs last year but decided to create 3 main jobs. (Hope you're still with me!) After some discussion, we decided on the 3 jobs we're using this year and I created the new chart. I penciled in "music volume" under "Noise Monitors" because I have to try it out a bit first. 

Old jobs chart
New chart

Praise: When I was a child,  remember getting "Happy Grams". Very few of my colleagues seem to remember these (perhaps it was an 80's North Jersey thing) but I love to give these yellow forms with a smile on them out. This is the GOOD, FUN kind of paperwork. Other forms that I have given out in years past have been slips that say "Art Rocks and so does_____!" with a little handwritten note.
Happy Grams :)
Now, here is my saving grace! Probably the one thing I can't live without. Forget seating and job charts. Forget my plan book (just kidding).. this shelf keeps my sanity on the busiest of days. I was nervous that this year having two additional classes that I would not have enough slots but I did! I write the HR teacher name and day of the week on colored masking tape and each class has a nice, organized, roomy shelf. The students 2D work goes in colored table folders and right on their shelf. 3D work of small size goes in a copy paper box lid and on the shelf.
Art Storage

...And, the return of my art letters. A-R-T. 
Last year I discontinued using my ART letters on the dry erase board because a retired art teacher who I consider the-most-phenomenal lady came into my room and we discussed so many things. One thing she said is that my removing a letter when the kids are not doing X-Y-Z, it sets a negative tone. Basically, I was keeping tally of the classes that kept the A-R-T on the board and they earned something. 
The kids liked the A-R-T but I wanted to keep the tone positive each moment. After a year of thought, I decided to do the reverse... I am giving the kids each letter as they work wonderfully. The reward is in knowing and feeling how great our 57 min together were. Naturally, I can give little bonuses along the way but generally speaking, the BT art room IS a fun enough place already without additional rewards. I'm sure the kids could think of a ton of things they'd love me to give them though.

Desk, bye bye!
I finally got a nice desk last year and sat at it ZERO times. I didn't need a big clunker just for show so at the start of the year, I got rid of it and downsized to my little table at the front of the room. 
More so than space, what I gained is one less "hot zone" to get cluttered. My new little space is just the right size for my laptop, writing instruments and a few papers. I'm on my feet all day so I can crash here when needed. 

Out with the old....
 Ah, less is more! 

The school year is off to a wonderful start and in part to these little, organizational parts of my everyday. 

What organizational tips help you through your day?

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