Color Code Your Week

Let's talk organization!

Having taught Kindergarten for almost my entire career, I need to be organized. Organization is one of my loves, so it works out well! Although the beginning of the year is a great place to commence your organizational routines, try not to get overwhelmed. It's a busy time. Start one organizational routine at a time, rather than trying to get it all ready for the first day.

Start simple with the basics and add procedures as the need arises. It is good for the children to be introduced to them slowly, and saves you going crazy trying to have everything 'ready'!

Look at your routines and systems and critically analyse them - are they helping  you and creating extra time for your real goal - to teach. Or are you doing them because they look good? If so, get rid of some and simplify.

In my first years I got very caught up in things looking pretty. What experience has taught me is the value of time. Although I am a visual person and feel calmer in an aesthetically pleasing environment, there are only a certain number of hours in the day, a set number of minutes to teach. Use them wisely! Find a balance between pretty/decorative/cute and functional/purposeful! This will come naturally with teaching experience. If you can combine the two - perfect!

This organisational tip is simple, but practical. It will save you precious minutes each day. Only minutes - but they all add up. I regularly use a day planner that is broken down into 10 minute chunks (perfect for kinder) - it is a great exercise in seeing where your 'minutes' get swallowed up, and also how valuable a few spare ten minute slots really are!

This system helps saves my sanity. And if you have taught kinder before, you will be aware of how the 'little things' can add up and begin to spoil the day. When things are organised, systematic and consistent  - I am well on my way to creating a calm classroom!

This organisational procedure helps me organise ME as the teacher. You could apply it to the strategies and routines you use with your students also.

I have a system for using colors through the week. A different colour highlighter is used for each day. I utilise 5 colours in post-it notes, folders and files. I easily remember the colors as I keep them in RAINBOW order! I use pink/red interchangeably.

I keep a set of all 5 colour highlighters  in the top drawer of my Core Drawers and at my teacher desk. 

You can colour-code anything and everything! It primarily saves you time when you are trying to locate and sort information. Color code your file folders full of day and morning work. Color code your  student checklists. Once you start using a color system, you will be amazed how more organised you feel, when you can quickly process information at a glance - by just looking for a color. 

I take five folders to the copier room when I am running off my work for the week in advance. The work gets placed straight into these folders and then the folders go straight into the first file of my filing cabinet. I HATE piles of paper lying around! 

Use a different color sticky-note for each day. But you will need to think of the day that is appropriate to the page/file/memo you are sorting. If I received a memo for an event that was happening in school on a Monday, I would stick a pink/red post it on it. This way, when I need to quickly locate papers/info for planning my Monday, I will easily locate all the pink 'stickied' items! 

This is my teaching bag - see how much easier it becomes to locate info related to Monday!

I also use sticker dots in different colors to attach to the corner of pages. 

I came to use this system because of the procedures in my school for collecting and recording payments. Payments were sent to me in the classroom and then had to be forwarded to the school office. 

On a checklist, I would need to record the date that students paid for various school events. The office staff would then look at the list each day as it was sent and record payments. This is how the list would start to look! Imagine trying to determine the new payments for the day. 

And compare how easy it becomes when you add a little color coding! On a Thursday, for example, you could just quickly look for the green marker and find your new payments.

Although you may not use a system like this for collecting and recording payments and notes, you can still apply a color coding strategy to other documentation and checklists.

I have found it to be an invaluable component of a job-sharing arrangement. With two teachers in the classroom, trying to ensure a cohesive and fluid running week, color codes make things easier! When memos and notes arrive - give them a quick swipe with the appropriate color marker, and then teacher responsible for that day can easily see new information that applies to their workload. 

You can grab a copy of this Basic Student Checklist as a Free Download !

Color coding different aspects of your day will save you time. With extra time on your hands you can be a more effective teacher! Thanks so much for stopping by, my friend Patti has some tips to share also!


No comments