Jasper Roberts - Blog

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Decluttering my Classroom

The past two school years, I have packed up my room completely, in case I would not return to the same building in the fall. Last year, I thought I did a really good job purging things, and I had a lot that I gave and threw away, but I ultimately still had to rent a storage unit during the summertime, in addition to the carload I brought home. When I returned this fall, I left many boxes unpacked in my classroom, and guess what? 

If you guessed that they were still packed this spring, you would be right. 

So I decided to really take a critical eye to what I had in my classroom, and what I actually used, and I purged so much that I was able to pack it all up in three trips in my Mini Cooper. No storage unit necessary!

Here’s how I did it:

I asked myself the following questions and really thought realistically and critically about it. 

Why was I holding on to bulletin board letters from eleven years ago? Why did I need three old staplers that barely worked? Did I really need three FULL bins of stationary and random pens I’d picked up at professional development, conferences, and the like? 

Other than my books, this is all I brought home, plus one bin of classroom decorations!
But…what if I needed them? What if I suddenly found myself some day, needing a “j” bulletin board letter, a pen, and stationary with my maiden name on it?

Answer: I wouldn’t. I don’t. I need to stop hoarding office supplies. So if you’re ready to take this plunge, and believe me, I feel so much better actually knowing where things are, ask yourself if you really need all those index cards and old crayons (you know, the ones kids never want to use and you were planning to save for a future pinterest fail project), and then head to my TpT store to pick up this organization freebie!

  1. Be ruthless: Haven’t used it this year? Toss it or donate it.
  2. Be realistic: How many of one thing do you need?
  3. Be organized: Store stuff and label the boxes so you, and students, know where to find it
  4. Be purposeful: Have a system for how students will get and use these materials, and stick to it. They will appreciate it!
  5. Be wise: Purchasing stuff at a cheaper cost may seem like a good idea, but it may backfire when your bookcases fall apart in the middle of class and terrify your students (yup. Thanks Walmart bookcases). Invest in classroom furniture that will last, take care of it, and laminate EVERYTHING! :)
I left one of the snapshots blank to add your own. I chose to use it for my classroom library, as that is a place where I can definitely tend to hoard things! I highly recommend you weed out your library every year, and have a system so you can see which books students checked out frequently, and which were not chosen at all!

Monday, May 2, 2016

TpT Teacher Appreciation Sale!

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!

How is everyone doing? We have about three and a half weeks left in the school year, and it has certainly been a whirlwind since I've come back from maternity leave! We're using the Digi-ISN's almost daily in class, and it's going so well, I almost can't believe it! Are you ever shocked when lessons/units you plan work?

The most convenient thing is that even when we don't have laptops, I can print off the one or two worksheets we need and put it in the ISN for safekeeping!

Here's an example. We didn't have laptops due to testing, so I printed these off and voila!

We're reading Night in eighth grade, and The Little Prince in seventh grade, and novel studies are my absolute favorite unit for teaching theme and characterization. I love having students study the changes characters make throughout a novel!

In the rest of my seventh grade block, we are studying and analyzing poetry, and it's been a real adventure getting them to dig deeper into some of the poems. I love when they unlock the meaning, it's such a cool moment.

Other than that, I spend most evenings up all night with baby, so I'm dragging most days, but luckily I have an awesome group of students who I definitely missed while I was on leave!

Are you interested in a digital classroom next year? Check out some of my resources during the sale on TpT!