Sunday, June 7, 2015

How to Manage Your Teacher Treasures

One of the perks of teaching first grade is that students give you all kinds of little homemade gifts. One of the downsides of teaching first grade is that students give you all kinds of homemade gifts...

...and you are not allowed to throw it away. 

There may have been once or twice a student found a picture they'd given me in the trash. I had to look very alarmed and say, "How on earth did that get in the trash?!" 

One trick it took me way too long to figure out is to dedicate some space to displaying all the notes and pictures. In theory I can even have the kids hang the pictures up themselves. This works well during the year, but what about at the end of the year? My mom (a former primary teacher) suggested I make an envelope for the particularly precious treasures I wanted to keep every year.

Organized clutter is still a space hog.

Well, I'm a somewhat sentimental person, so the envelope kept getting full. Every year when I went to add to it, I also tried to thin it out a bit, but it was so hard to part with anything! As you can see, my envelope became a basket. 

A few days ago I was driving to school to pack things up, and I listened to Angela Watson's podcast: Classroom Clutter.  (You should definitely check out her podcasts! I didn't learn about them until a month ago, so now I'm going back and listening to everything I missed. Perfect for when you're in the car or folding laundry!) She said a few things that really resonated with me. One of the ideas she had was to take pictures of artifacts rather than saving the actual item. I thought this would be a very practical way to manage all my little treasures, so I actually did it. It was a little painful throwing out some of those pictures, but when I noticed that some of the older ones were already fading and hard to read, I knew it was for the best. These digital records will last much longer and take up much less space!

managing clutter
Can you really have too many notes calling you the best teacher? I think not. Do you really need record of them all? I think so.
But what do I do with all this stuff?
Look at all the work that went into this! This was not an assignment, just sharing her love of learning with me! I love it!
What do you do to combat the common teacher-pack-rat syndrome? I need all the tips I can get!

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