Lesson organization can be a challenge? Do you feel a constant need to keep your classroom and teaching materials organized and neat? I NEED to be organized in my classroom.
Let’s discuss how I keep my curriculum units organized. I use three different methods: binders, file folders, and Google Drive.
I keep almost all of my lessons and units in binders with the exception of my English/Language Arts lessons. I love how binders keep everything intact and neatly organized, even when I drop it off my desk, carry the binders to different classrooms or from home to school.
I use my label maker to label each spine so I know what each binder contains at a glance.
The first page inside my binder is for the curriculum expectations for that unit. I store important information in plastic sheet covers. Now I have the specific expectations for each unit at a glance and within reach during reporting periods.
In the binder, I use different types of dividers to section the various parts of a unit: pre-assessments, daily lesson plans, and worksheets/activities, enrichment/extension activities, and extra practice. I write out these different titles and within the daily lesson section, I use another type of divider with numbers so I know the chronological order of my lessons.
I switched over all my English Language Arts lessons into file folders a few years ago for two reasons: I did not have enough space in my house or classroom to accommodate the binders for all my ELA units, and the resources that I use for an English lesson do not always fit neatly into a binder.
Within my folders, I keep mentor texts, anchor charts, lesson plans, worksheets, assignment sheets, exemplars. With the various sizes and shapes of all of these different items, it seemed to be a better fit to store ELA units in file folders. I also had an empty filing cabinet in my classroom that was just collecting dust and was not good for storing binders.
When I first started teaching I would carry a USB drive or email myself the files I needed access to at school. Sometimes these items would not open properly on school computers or I would forget my USB at home. Now I upload my items that need to go between work and home to Google Drive. I can open it from any computer with access to Google Chrome and I never have to worry about forgetting my USB drive again!
Securing Your Resources
Invest in a good external hard drive, and back up your files at least once a month (weekly is better). Many colleagues have lost their entire hard drives with all of their teaching materials because their home computers crashed. If you do not want to buy an external hard drive then consider getting an online storage account with a reputable company.
This type of organizational system did not develop until my fifth or sixth year of teaching. It takes time to try out a lot of different methods before you find a system that works for you.