#008: How to Quickly Pack Up Your Classroom When Your Time is Limited

end of year organization May 21, 2020
A teacher asked me this week how to pack up your classroom if you only have a limited amount of time.

Margo was being allowed into her classroom for 3 hours to pack up. Talk about being overwhelmed! She felt frustrated, stressed and exhausted just thinking about it. Who can blame her?!

As teachers are slowly being allowed back into their classrooms to pack up for the year and get students' personal belongings ready to be picked up, their time to do this may be quite limited. Where do you begin this daunting and emotional task?

In this episode, I break down how to be fast and efficient in your end-of-year packing up. I've got some tips and tricks to help you get the job done without leaving yourself a hot mess to face when back-to-school time rolls around. 

Click here to listen to the podcast.

Over the years, I've found a few simple tricks that make packing or even just regular classroom cleanup simpler. Maybe they'll will help you, too.

Here's a peek at...

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#007: Your New Back-to-School Plan

organization teaching May 14, 2020

As hard as it is to start thinking about next school year, now’s the time that important conversations are being had in your school and district about what the new normal will look like.

In order to have a voice in those conversations and truly come out better in the fall, you need to start thinking about what next year, ideally, would look like in various situations.

Click here to listen to the podcast.

When your entire school year or even just a good part of it becomes up in the air before school even starts, stress and overwhelm can take over. 

If you truly understand what the new options for school are and have a grasp on what that means in real time for you and your students, you'll be better prepared to be part of the conversation and to plan for whatever model you end up with in your school.

Here's a peek at what else is inside this episode:

  • 3 Possible Teaching Scenarios for next year:

    • Online School
    • Regular Classroom [Modified]
    • Hybrid Model
  • How to prepare to...
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#004 Your New Normal: Balancing Virtual Teaching, Mom Life and Self-Care

So let’s chat today about your new normal. Balancing virtual teaching, self care and, for some of us, mom life.

As we work from home in these trying times, we have to continue to keep up with our work while still managing our own families and home life while figuring out all of the details of this new way of teaching [and taking care of ourselves]. 

Here's a few tips to help you apply what we know about organization, routines and habits to this new life you're living.

Click here to listen to the podcast.

First off, you need and deserve a break. If you aren't giving yourself a mental and physical break every day and week, you are going to wear yourself out and make yourself sick. And that means… you’ll be unable to help anyone else. I know that's not a newsflash, but it needs to be said. We all need to admit it. Working all the time is not sustainable, and working all the time when you're in a stressful situation, is even worse. I know it can feel like...

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#003: Time Management for Teachers: How to NOT Work ALL the Time

Imagine having your grading and planning done on a regular basis so that you can leave work at work instead of taking it home.

You know what it's usually like... grading papers at the dinner table, while falling asleep on the sofa, etc. I know not taking work home seems like a pipe dream. Don't worry, I have a plan. Shocking, right?!

Click here to listen to the podcast.

First off, you need and deserve a break. Teachers are some of the hardest working people I know. I'm just gonna put it out there and tell you the truth. If you aren't giving yourself a mental and physical break every day and week, you are wearing yourself out. I know that's not a newsflash, but it needs to be said out loud. We all need to admit it. It's not a sustainable life.

In fact, when we get the mental and physical rest we need daily and weekly, we're more productive, happier and more focused at school and at home. I know taking a break seems counterproductive when you have a lot to get done. But, it's...

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#002: Simplifying Healthy Meals: Menu Planning for Busy Teachers

Today is all about menu planning for efficiency, saving money and time and for better health. Now let me just set the stage for you for a minute. If you've ever stood in front of an open fridge and wondered what's for dinner [or you're sick to death of sandwiches for lunch] this episode is for you.

You can listen to this episode here.

It doesn't matter what you do for a living, but as teachers, I know we live life at 100mph in the classroom and at the end of the day, we're TIRED! It's hard to come home and have to feed a family or even just yourself. If you have a spouse that does all the cooking... go thank them. Go make them a drink! You are blessed!

For the rest of us, I'm here with Lisa Seigle from A Menu for You. Today, she's going to teach us about menu planning and how it can solve your what she calls your "Dinner Dilemma" so meal times are one less stress in your teacher life. 

Lisa is a wife, a mom and an almost empty nester. She's a home cook who took her love of...

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3 Simple Ways You Can Increase the Health of Your Classroom

organization Mar 13, 2020

When we think of best practices for having a healthy classroom, you probably think it's just simple common sense. But when we're moving at 100mph every day, we can unknowingly opt for practices that undermine student [and teacher] health. Here's 3 simple, do-able ways you can improve the health of your classroom.

1. [Obviously] Keep the Outside Germs Out

I once did an interesting germ experiment with a 2nd grade class. I prepped sterile petri dishes with plain gelatin, got gloves and a box of q-tips. Students gathered germs from various surfaces in the school using gloved hands with q-tips [playground equipment, door knob and light switches, library, desks, hand rails...]. Groups of students were assigned to various places. Then, they rubbed their q-tips on the gelatin in the petri dishes, put the lid on and labelled them. Once strange things began to grow, [using masks and gloves] we looked at them under microscopes and compared them to pictures of various...

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Getting Your Teacher To Do List Under Control

organization Jan 02, 2020
I'm the queen of lists and teacher to do lists. Don't even get me started!

Seriously, I really do LOVE lists and live my life by them. It's my go-to for staying organized - checklists, to do lists, grocery lists, lists of goals and so much more. I've got lists for all kinds of things. And while I might have mental lists, more often than not, mine are written down. As one of my besties tells her kids, "I have two brain cells left and one them is busy." Yup. that's exactly how I feel so many days. So, I write things down. But, a million notes and lists don't work. It's just too easy to lose track of it all. Trust me, I've tried THAT approach. 

This time of year, the Teacher To Do List can become overwhelming. There's so much to accomplish in what's left of the school year, and so many extra tasks get added to your teacher plate whether you want them or not. Add in all your personal tasks and goals, and it can be a recipe for disaster. That Teacher To Do List can become a mile...

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Advice for New Teachers

True story.

My very first year teaching, was a year of surprises, lots of learning and improvising. I had 34 kids in a 3/4 split that quickly turned into a straight 4th grade. The school was in a very poor, rough area of Los Angeles. I was in a mobile all alone at the furthest end of the school with no classroom phone (this was before cell phones). The teachers at the school were reserved and not exactly welcoming to a young teacher at first. I realized later, the teachers had stacked the class I was given as were regretting that just a bit. Oops.

About 2 weeks into school, I had assigned some reading to the class and they were to get busy while I started working with a small group of struggling readers. Within the first minute of that assignment I had a student pick up his desk, throw it and shout, "I'm NOT going to do this!" To say I wasn't prepared for this would be an understatement.  I stood in shock for what seemed like an eternity but was probably only seconds. Truly, I...

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How I Do My Summer Clutter Clean Out

organization Jul 04, 2019

I have to confess, I LOVE those TV shows where there's a transformation - new you, home redo, clutter cleanup. I'm completely obsessed with them. Just watching them is inspiring for me. I know... I'm a little weird.

Do you love a good transformation, too? I can't be the only teacher who loves that.

It took me awhile to realize why I love those shows so much. Clutter, both physical and emotional, is stressful to everyone whether we know it or not. I also know that physical clutter becomes mental clutter because it's like a visual to do list nagging at us. So, cleaning out physical and emotional clutter is always one of my MUST DOs every summer. Teaching is one of the few professions where there's an end each year and a fresh beginning the next. Let's take advantage of that. 

Are you with me? Here's my Clutter Buster Plan, just in case you're in.  ;)

Because I'm such an organization freak, here's a checklist: 

  • Make a list of all the areas you need to take care of...
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5 Teacher Organization Ideas to Reduce the Overwhelm

organization Jun 19, 2019

Even when it's summer, it's hard not to spend time thinking about school. Honestly, I think a teacher's mind is always thinking and planning for the next year. It's not that you don't relax, because you do (you both need it and deserve it). But, planning and dreaming of all the possibilities each year holds is part of the fun of teaching. 

That being said, this post is all about possibilities for just feeling like you're on top of things. I hope, you find something that excites you for the coming year.

Modern Peg Boards

This pegboard is super sturdy. Lean it against a wall on a table or counter or hang it on the wall. Rearrange the pegs and shelves. I can think of a million uses for "this little peggie" in the classroom from keeping your teacher desk space organized to a student supplies station. They come in all sizes or you can use several together. You could even make your own this summer.

You can purchase one from MadeModVB. (I'm not affiliated...

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