Time to Get Organized!

Hi and welcome back to Attentionology for K – 5 Teachers!

Time to Get Organized! – Whether you are preparing to pack up at the end of a school term, or already looking ahead to setting up for a new school year, it’s always a good time to get organized!

Benefits? Creating an organized classroom not only helps us as teachers; it helps kids organize to focus.

I “bumped into” a site that offers cool quick colorful tricks for organizing. I’m passing them along to you… they are “brought to you by Quill.”

Organization Hacks That Triumph Over Classroom Clutter

“Triumphing over classroom clutter” reminds me of an expression that is usually associated with the start of a new year…“starting with a clean slate.”

This expression comes from the English tradition of sweeping the soot off the hearth at the beginning of the month named for the two-faced Roman god, Janus.

Tradition has us waving goodbye to Janus’ face of the old year and welcoming the face of the new one ahead.

Teachers’ new year begins not just in January, but at the close or start of any new school term.

Time to get organized! Time to de-clutter.

Make this effort a class project that offers a lesson in attentionology.

Point out the connection to your K – 5 kids, in age appropriate ways, between de-cluttering and creating a new sense of organization and focus.

You and your class can make a resolution to pay the best attention ever to every task at hand in school.

Look Sharp Door Decor – Welcome students back to school with door decor that makes a point of the new school term needing to be sharp!

Hang a door hangar that features newly sharpened pencils. Tell the class that the pencils symbolize creating a classroom with a sharp focus.

If your budget allows, distribute newly sharpened pencils to each of your students.

Distribute paper for students to write lists of ways to organize to focus.

Use a door hanger to hold decor.

Welcome students back in the new year with door decor that features newly sharpened pencils.

Teaching with “Organization Hacks” to De-clutter – Students in grades 4 and 5 will likely grasp the analogy between de-cluttering a desk, for example, and de-cluttering one’s mind.

Ask kids if they think that mind-clutter contributes to short attention spans that inhibit full learning.

Set aside class time and ask students to actually clean out their desks.

Assign students to “Clean Teams.”

Team assignments may include:

  • straightening out your classroom library books
  • reorganizing instructional resources in learning centers
  • emptying old papers into recycling bins
  • tidying up scrap paper collections for reuse
  • sharpening pencils
  • wiping desks and counter tops clean

Challenge students to think about other ways to create “organization hacks that triumph over classroom clutter.”

When the physical cleaning up and clearing out is done, ask students if participating in that task has helped clear their minds for a new term of learning.

Discuss other ways to refresh the class’ focus. The key is to create sustainable classroom clean-up strategies.

"Class, let's shake out clutter and clear our minds for learning today!"

“Class, let’s shake out clutter and clear our minds to create a clean slate in the new year.”

Dramatize De-cluttering – Help younger children grasp the concept of de-cluttering their minds with simple dramatic gestures.

Hold your arms up with elbows to each side so that your hands cover your forehead.

Invite the children to follow your lead.

Make a whooshing sound and pull your hands away from your face, explaining to the kids that you are clearing your mind.

Ask them to do the same. “We’ll start a new school term with clear minds, ready to pay close attention in class and get good work done,” you can say.

Encourage the children to repeat the dramatization and say the words you’ve said aloud together. Your dramatization will help kids remember their resolve.

These activities teach kids that making a commitment to paying attention in class is an action, not just some words.

Please send comments on how you “triumph over classroom clutter.”

Remember, you don’t need to be a magician to work magic in any instructional setting.

Talk with you again soon,

Barbara ♥ The Lovable Poet

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Barbara Cleary has been serving as a resource to hundreds of educators for more than 25 years. An award-winning writer, producer, teacher, and trainer, Barbara’s focus is on offering easy, fun tools and tricks that support K-5 curricula and assist teachers with classroom management.
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Situation: Students are acting sluggish in class.

Solution: Show "The BIG E," for ENERGY, an enlarged letter E (or other first letter for the word energy in your alphabet), available in craft stores. Remind the class that energy is a must-have item to get good work done. Tell the class to show you "The BIG E!"

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