Wednesday, July 11, 2012

How's my classroom lookin?

Well, it's July.  Firmly in the grip of summer.  Not supposed to think about my classroom, or teaching, or students.  Nope, not in the month of July.

I went into my classroom today, to work on decluttering.  I thought, with the garage sale coming up, there might be items there I could part with.  I think I'm much more of a hoarder at school.  (I think most teachers are, but maybe that is just me trying to feel better about my own tendencies.)

So I opened the "toy cupboard", a place where students can look for quiet games and books when they are done with a quiz early.
before: maybe a bit cluttered
I was determined to look at everything with a critical eye.  On first pass, I organized the books into categories, but didn't really part with things.  And it was obvious that I needed to pare down the quantity of books--or a student couldn't find a book quietly.  (Isn't declutter the step that must precede organize?)

I decided to open up and really assess.  Many of these books I have had for years.  Titles that were appealing-- "Math Wizardry for Kids" or "Overcoming Math Anxiety"-- but that didn't get used.  My goal was to cut the number of reference-style books in half.
after: there's even room for a decorative mug of bookmarks!
I won't say it was easy.  But I stuck to my goal, and that made it more clear-cut on some books: in order to keep "The Number Devil", some other title had to go away.
the discard pile
Most of the removed books are already in the garage sale pile and a couple are going to a middle school teacher.  Funny thing, I can imagine doing this same exercise again in a year.  I will keep an eye on what actually gets used from that cupboard, and think about what else I can let go of.  (Gosh, I sound like a Born Organized person there!  Where did that come from?)

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