Organize to Simplify: Using a Planner

Organizing and planning are my jam. I can’t count the number of times friends or family members have said to me, “You should be an event planner” or “You should be a professional organizer.” Part of me would love to do nothing but organize messes and plan shindigs all day long.

As a teacher, I was always organized and planned ahead. Well, almost always. I’ll be honest – every teacher has those days (or weeks) where the plans hit the trash or you’re so overwhelmed with work that things just get placed here or stacked there. It’s a mess. But for the most part, I knew where everything was (in it’s proper place, thank you very much) and knew what I was teaching days (or weeks) in advance.

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12 Days of Christmas: Seasonal Organization Tips

The weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas can be some of the busiest of the year. From schedule changes and parties to end of year progress and report cards - it's easy to find yourself swamped and overwhelmed. Today my blogging friends at Focused on Fifth and I are bringing you Seasonal Organizational Tips to get you through the busiest time of the year. 

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5 Reasons to Ditch Timers and Parent Signatures from Nightly Reading Logs

For years I assigned nightly reading as homework for my students. The intention was good - research proves that the more a child reads, the more successful he will be in school and in other areas of life. However, my methods behind the assignment were poor. Like many teachers, my reading log required students to read "x" number of minutes each night and needed to be signed by an adult before returning to school at the end of the week.

After a couple of years of doing it this way, I became discouraged. Students weren't completing the assignment correctly, notes had to go home when logs were returned unsigned, students "fudged" their work over and over again, etc. It became painfully clear that my well intended assignment wasn't getting its intended results.

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Back to School Bash

It's back to school time. Many teachers are well into their new school year, while others are still prepping for those littles ones still to come. No matter where you are in the back to school hustle and bustle, the bloggers from The Primary Pack would like to help get your school year off to a positive start.

With the 3-2-1 Back to School Bash, each Pack member is providing three tips for back to school, two giveaways, and one freebie. Click through the hop to gather each tip, download freebies, and collect letters to enter the grand prize! So, let's get started!

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Managing Behavior: Reaching Your Most Difficult Students

Over the years, I've had my share of difficult students. (Haven't we all?) And each time, I try new ways to be proactive in avoiding meltdowns before they happen, work harder at creating a positive and support environment for her, as well as finding support for us both. 

Today I'm sharing six steps that have been consistently effective in managing a difficult student. My hope is that these will bring some help to you as well. 

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Organize to Simplify: Utilizing Help

Do you function like an island at work? Trying to master it all on your own? I'll admit, that was my journey through much of my teaching career. While I wouldn't consider myself a control freak, I took my responsibilities as an educator seriously and wanted to make sure everything was... you guessed it... just so. 

While that approach worked well in filtering distractions and getting my work done, it also resulted in severe fatigue and isolation. Not so great when trying to go the distance in a 35 year career. This week, I share with you three simple tips for simplifying your work load - organizing help.

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Organize to Simplify: Organizing Your Time and Creating Routines

Now let's talk about organizing your time. What does your typical daily or weekly schedule look like? Do you have set routines or does this week look dramatically different than last? I truly believe that one step in simplifying your life as an educator is to have routines and stick to them. Developing routines will help cultivate a positive classroom environment while decreasing your work load.

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Summer Stock Up: Collecting Resources for Back to School

Like most teachers, I used part of my summer to prepare activities for Back to School. I spent weeks scouring Pinterest, revamping old resources, and creating new ones to fill those first few weeks back. I tried to have a good mix of new activities and beloved old faithfuls.

To help save you the hassle of searching high and low for resources, I'm participating in a Summer Stock Up with several other teacher bloggers who are doing the work for you.  Each blogger is featuring at least one resource that will ensure your Back to School goes smoothly. Plus, we're giving away a portion of each resource for free. There are fifteen categories guaranteeing something for everyone!

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Organize to Simplify: Four Steps to Organizing Teaching Resources

It's week three of our "Organize to Simplify" series and I'm glad you're with me! Have you worked through the steps from the first two weeks? I'd love to hear how the process is going for you this summer!

Today I'm going to share with you four ways to keep your own teaching resources organized. If you've been teaching for any length of time, you know how much "stuff" one can accumulate in just a year.

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Organize to Simplify: Three Ways to Simplify Planning for a Substitute

It's inevitable. You wake up and feel like death warmed over. Or your child has been up all night sicker than a dog. Or perhaps your car dies before school while waiting in the Starbucks drive through (this actually happened, friends). Whatever the reason, you have to be out of the classroom and need a sub unexpectedly. Planning to be out is never easy, but scrambling to throw together lesson plans for a sub you weren't expecting is far worse. 

There are three things you can do to make planning for a sub easier. Even better, each of these steps can be completed over the summer so that you are well prepared from day one of the school year. 

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Organize to Simplify: Lesson Planning with Understanding by Design

Today I have the great privilege of guest posting for The Cornerstone about the ultimate lesson planning approach. In my post, I'll give you a complete overview of the "Understanding by Design" method and explain how it transformed not only my lesson planning process, but also the quality of my instruction as a whole. I hope you'll join me there and then come back here to leave your thoughts!

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