organization, Paperwork, Special Education Classroom, Tips

Your Organization Doesn’t Need to Be Pretty, It Just Needs to Work!

After drooling over Aly from Just a Primary Girl’s classroom, I impulsively bought the Trofast from Ikea. I had no idea what I was going to do with it, but I just needed to have one.

Cue 6 weeks later. The storage system is sitting in the front of my classroom, begging to be used. When I was trying to figure out how to store all the different pretty workbooks my kids have, it clicked! There are 9 drawers on the Trofast. I have 8 students. I assigned one student to a bin and now we store their workbooks and any other uncompleted work in their drawer.IMG_3019.JPG

I use Aly’s Spelling Activities for Any List, so we pop those workbooks in the drawers. I also put my Fall Writing Journals in the bins, and Delightfully Dedicated Special Education workbooks. Some of the bins have leftover work in them as well. I had a student out for a week, so all the work he missed is in his bin.

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Everyone in my classroom is color coded. I bought a roll of duct tape in each color (such a great investment). Instead of trying to make pretty labels and printing them in color and finding a way to attach them, I stuck a piece of colored duct tape on each bin. Not the prettiest, but everyone knows which bin is theirs and staff can easily pull work.

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Look how easy this is! When my paraprofessional has an extra 10 minutes with a student because his inclusion ended early, she can pull out his orange bin and have work appropriate for him at her fingertips. The silver drawer is filled with generic extras (basic math, cut and paste worksheets, writing journals) that work for several students. If a student bin is empty, my para will know to go to the silver bin to find work.

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Your color coding or labeling does not have to be pretty-it just has to work! How else do you use a Trofast bin in your classroom?

Paperwork, Tips, Work Life Balance

What To Do When You Make a Mistake

We have all been there. You misplace a document, you miss a deadline, you completely forget about something. It just happened to me this week. A colleague gave me something to give a parent, and I totally forgot to pass it along! My instinct was to panic but I had to take a deep breath and remind myself of 5 important steps.

Own the Mistake

The worst thing you can do in this situation is pretend like the mistake didn’t happen. Even if you make the mistake go away for the time being, there is a very high chance it will rear its’ ugly head at a later date. You don’t want to be in that situation.

Tell the People Who Need to Know

Immediately disclose the mistake to your supervisor or another individual who oversees the area. In my instance, I reported the mistake to the coordinator who gave me the paper in the first place. If you tell them before it gets to them some other way, it will help you in the long run.

Offer a Remedy

If your mistake causes someone else more work, it can quickly become a source of frustration. When you suggest  a solution to a problem or offer to assist in any way needed, you can help alleviate some of the tension. Show the person impacted that you are willing to go the extra mile to help!

Learn From the Mistake 

If the mistake occurred due to your lack of organization, revisit the method you use to keep track of things! If the mistake occurred because you are unsure of how to do something, ask for clarification or additional training. For example, it would be easy to make mistake using an online system if you had no idea how to do certain operations within the system!

Move On

Am I the only one who lies in bed and thinks about that mistake I made 4 months ago? This isn’t healthy and it doesn’t help! Once you fix the mistake and learn from it, move on! Don’t beat yourself up; we are all human!