Amazing Kids

Amazing Kids

Saturday, November 16, 2013

When Change is Good

Yes, she's mine....and I am almost done restoring her! :)
Monday morning my kids came into a classroom that had been significantly rearranged. I had moved my room around this summer, but the new layout just wasn't working. On many occasions this school year I was fumbling for materials, frantic to find a place to store important (or ungraded) papers, and digging through piles to locate my projector remote. So this past Sunday was spent in and out of my classroom before and after church with my family, lunch, and a trip to my dad's to store my 1973 VW Super Beetle for the winter.  
Just getting started provided a more positive mindset.  Making the decision to get rid of materials I had chosen to avoid last year gave me direction. Each loaded cart hauled to the storage room (AKA Curriculum Cemetery) lightened my step and made my smile a little bigger. Those cupboards in the back of the room that had been filled with unused materials were replaced with organized classroom supplies and updated teaching materials. My table made its new home at the back of the room right next to the counter (and cupboards!) so the kids would have more room up front. The clutter that had grown like an unwanted fungus on my table was removed.  It was a tiring but victorious day.
I am happy to say that because of the success of Sunday, the week that followed was filled with positive events as well. Lesson plans were at the ready, copies for kiddos were in their places (not covered up with a zillion other things), and my table was open for more effective conferencing and for kids to concentrate undisturbed. Plus that, the projector and Apple TV remote were always in plain sight! My kids were engaged and less distracted and chatty. They were more responsive to each other and to me.  On top of that they seemed to raise their own levels of expectation of themselves. We were ALL back on top of things. We were all just a little happier! The credit belongs to creating a more inviting and organized space.
 Happy Kiddos!
While I had to remind myself several times this week that yes, I DO have a place for that and I know where it is, I have to say the results that came from the hard work of organization are a grand thing. Getting rid of unnecessary things that brought stress made even the busiest week (including conferences!) more manageable. One day of focused and no-holds-barred cleansing did a world of wonders for me and for my students! It offered a gigantic boost to my confidence, my competence,  and (most importantly!) their engagement and learning.  I am now ready for my next project!
How do you let go of things that are causing you stress or keeping you from having your head where it needs to be? Have any tips? How often do you toss things? What goes into your decisions to get rid of materials or keep them? I'd love to hear how you prioritize things in your classroom as you prepare units and lessons! Please share!

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