Friday, March 9, 2012

"teacher edition" overload.

Does anyone else's stomach drop when you hear the words "new textbook adoption"? Forget about having to learn an entirely new set-up and approach to utilizing the new textbook's content, that can be learned in training. I'm talking about dealing with the boxes and boxes and boxes of new materials that are about to start bombarding your classroom door. About this time last year, my stomach dropped. We had just adopted a new English/Language Arts textbook system. I call it a system because this new adoption was far beyond anything I had seen before. I kid you not, 12 (count 'em) t-w-e-l-v-e boxes (and those boxes were no petite flowers either) showed up at my door about a week before school was out. Fantastic. I thought I had gotten the materials for our entire grade level - you can imagine my shock when I found out it was all for little, ol' me.

Our new system is fabulously thorough, but it has a TON of materials. We have six reader textbooks for each student, six smaller, desk readers for each student, 22 big books, six teacher edition textbooks, a box of blackline masters, a box of vocabulary and retelling cards, and four tubs of leveled readers. The textbooks and small readers are easy enough to store and pull when I need them. My biggest issue was with the boxes of blackline masters, vocabulary cards, and retelling cards.

First of all, the boxes took up a great amount of space. Usually, one box would fit on my bookshelf while one had to sit on the floor or on our reading table.

The other problem was that I was having to search through two separate boxes to find each day's lesson's materials for each reading group. I would first find the blackline masters to see if I wanted to use anything for our reading lesson...

...and then I would search for the day's vocabulary, sight word, and retelling cards in the other box...

The blackline masters were at least divided by lesson! The cards, on the other hand, were all jumbled together making planning and gathering materials nightmarish at best. After several weeks of struggling with our new materials, I finally decided it would make my life so much easier if I could just grab one folder per lesson and have all of the blackline masters and cards gathered in one place.

I took the two boxes and some file folders home one weekend expecting to have to spend my entire Saturday dividing all of the cards up into their respective lessons - imagine my shock when it only took me 45 minutes to accomplish my task!

In each lesson's folder, I placed the respective sight word cards,

vocabulary cards,

retelling cards,

and blackline masters.

So that all together, we had a lovely little array of each lesson's materials.

All of the materials were then neatly stacked, ready to be housed in a file folder.

I then placed all of the file folders into a SINGLE tub, and made a nice little label (inspired by Jen's coupon labels over at I Heart Organizing) for the tub. The one tub now fits perfectly on my bookshelf, next to my teacher edition textbooks.

  • I have simplified my planning routine for our ELA and Guided Reading block. Rather than searching through two different boxes for a variety of materials, I simply pull one folder with all of the materials I will need!
  • While the project seemed daunting, it only took about one hour, total, to accomplish.
  • I have minimized the amount of space required to house all of our reading materials - by eliminating two very large boxes and replacing them with one small tub, I have freed up an entire bookshelf and some floor space!

1 comment:

  1. We have Journey's as well and it is information and resource overload. I like this, thanks!