Friday, May 6, 2011

Out With The Old and In With The New

 We have been in the house all winter long. It has been a long winter. Things have gotten unorganized. I don’t do well with unorganized. (I think we have already established that I have some OCD issues…….let’s just pretend OCD is cool)

I have spent the past couple of weeks (and many long nights) giving the school room a MUCH needed makeover. 
Now that I have been using the school room for the past 7 months, I have found what works and what doesn’t work. I have determined what I will keep and what goes. (a functional school room makes a WORLD of difference for the teacher)

When the closet looked like this it was nice, but it wasn't functional (to see the “old” school room set up go HERE)

The drawers for each kid were too deep so that once I crammed everything in I had to dig through it all to find what I needed. I don’t like digging. That, and there just wasn’t enough filing space.

So I hauled this big black monster in from our garage. It was not fun. Too bad I am not the swearing type. I think I would have said some choice words. But since I don’t swear, I tried doing what my dad always does when he gets frustrated..... I threw a hammer. Oddly enough, that made me feel MUCH better. :)
It takes care of ALL my filing needs. It rocks!! (Even if it is a monster)
There is a “workbox” method of organizing school curriculum. I like the concept, but don’t like how big the system is. So instead of boxes I switched it to drawers. (It is less clunky)

I got these wide slender drawers for the two older kids. Eventually all five of my children will have a set up like this.
Each drawer represents a subject. There is a picture on the left side that tells what subject is in each drawer. (I put everything they need to accomplish that day in the drawer) On the right is a strip of Velcro. (I will explain this in a bit)
On the closet door I have a “personal tasks” chart and a “school tasks” chart. Each task has a picture and title, and is attached to the chart with Velcro.
Here is an example of what the school chart has on it. (It is a good idea to laminate the chart and pictures)
Once a child completes a subject for that day, he/she will take the picture off of the chart
The child will find the corresponding picture on their school drawers
They place the picture on the right side (where the Velcro strip is)
This helps them visually see what they have accomplished and what they have yet to do.  It is awesome!!
So as soon as their school drawers look like this……..
And their personal and school charts look like this………… they are done for the day!
Above each chart, I have this list of pictures and subjects to choose from when I am creating their schedule for school each day. (I found an AWESOME homes school blog where I was able to get these pictures and chart. Go HERE to check it out)
And since I am teaching four out of five kids, the charts all look like so
So now I have moved the “old” drawers for the kids onto the shelf in the closet. They help store all of the things that I fill the smaller drawers with. I still use two of them for the two younger kids. They are not quite ready for the full blown drawer system yet.
These other things still help me function really well as a teacher. They will stay as they are.
My next post will be about changes I have made in  how I teach school. Things that have worked this year and things that have not worked.
I have also inherited some great children bible study books. I am really excited that the kids are old enough for these now.
A friend of mine was throwing out this write on poster so I took it. Since the kids are memorizing the Ten Commandments, it works really well for them to refer to each day.
My friend also let me use this. It has little pictures of marbles that Velcro on to each circle on this jar picture. When the kids and I set goals, we can put a “marble” on the jar. When the jar is “full” we get a prize for completing our goal. Very cool!!!
And of course there is Frankie. We will keep him “hanging” around for a long time. He has been so helpful for the kids to learn the bones of the body. (Plus they think a skeleton in their school room is just cool)
I have also loved the file folder games available in this holder. It works great in our room!! They will stay where they are.
And there you have it! The school room/school closet makeover. I think we are all set for Summer school.........I hope!
Now I need some sleep!


Kathleen Mangum said...

Looks amazing. Is my house next?

Andrea Lee U.R. said...

Sure! We will bust out our laminators and have a party. :)

Rebecca Hansen said...

Oh my gosh, Andrea, I love so many of these ideas!! I think today I'll get started and reorganizing all my stuff! I won't have a 'school room' in our house we're moving into next month, so I'll have to be extra organized with what space I will have. We're gonna be exchanging some emails about this, haha, you are officially the preschool organizing guru, I want all the help I can suck out of you, you rock!
love your guts!

Andrea Lee U.R. said...

I wish I lived there. We could have some fun setting up Courtney's stuff. It really isn't hard at all, it just takes some time. (But as a mom, time is hard to find.......hence the late nights)
Let me know how I can help!!
Love you too!!

leslie mae said...

Looks great Anne!! You should google "refinished filing cabinet tutorial" We redid our ugly beast. Painted it white and decoupaged pretty fabric on the drawer fronts. LOVE IT now!!

Lynda said...

IT looks great!

Cecily said...

Andrea, that is amazing. Simply amazing! I love the throwing the hammer idea. :) NICE WORK!!! LOVE IT!!!