Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Accumulating with a Purpose

"That's not for our house, right?" says my husband, as my pile at the rummage sale grows.  See, I  have a little hoarding problem.  Not like an actual disorder, but enough that my children watch the show and see the similarities to home.   And while the pile going TO the rummage sale is larger than the pile FROM the sale, I still can't help but walk out with something that I need.

"It's for my classroom," I assure him.  And it is.  And even better: it's not just stuff I think I might need ... it all has a purpose.  Last year, I inherited a classroom that the previous teacher had simply walked out of.  There were still Christmas gifts in gift bags on the shelves. No kidding.  There were also 4 filing cabinets full of stuff that I pulled out and threw away.  In fairness, I think she honestly thought that I was just going to pick up where she left off, but it would've taken me longer to find her purple mimeo-graphed material than it would be to create my own.

On the other hand, she had every manipulative a middle school teacher could possibly need, and buckets full of rulers, compasses, protractors, measuring tapes, stop-watches, counters, and so on... and so on...  That part was GLORIOUS.  As I struggled through a ridiculous year, every time I threw up my hands and said, "let's try something different!" there was just what I needed on one of the shelves.  yay!

So, as I buy things this year from my classroom, I'm not randomly stocking the "I might need this someday" pile ... I'm only accumulating things I genuinely think I'll need and use.  Today's haul:

A baker's rack with a butcher block top - this will live just inside the door.  It's going to hold hand sanitizer and tissues and all those pesky "home room" forms - yearbook order forms, and free circus tickets - so students who were absent at distribution can just come and pick them up.  Right now I'm thinking the bottom two shelves will hold all the boxes of tissues that the students turn in at the beginning of the year.  Last year I kept them on a high shelf, and it was always such an ordeal to get one down, and we always seemed to need one at an inconvenient moment.

The wooden drawers are a particularly key piece of this plan.  You see, I asked the custodians to remove my desk.  Say what? Yep.  I won't have a desk any more.  I found that at the end of the year, I didn't have anything in my desk except what I started with.  Now that we're all digital, I didn't even have papers to store.  Just a bunch of paper clips and discipline referral forms.  Instead, the surface of my desk collected things that I would then sort through every day.  But I can come up with a different plan for that.  I decided the space the desk takes up would better serve as space for a work table, for groups or for tutoring.

When all the teachers were moving rooms at the end of this past year, I grabbed a rolling library cart and a table-top podium.  This is where I will "station" my things.  I'll be able to handle attendance and lesson plans, plus the shelves will give me a place to put papers I've taken up as well as papers I'm giving back.  All I really needed was a place to keep paper clips, rubber bands, and staples.  Voila!  Little wooden drawers! and I can paint them whatever color I need!  (Husband suggested color coding by contact, but I decided that labeling would tax my brain less than trying to remember if blue was staples or if red was rubber bands!)  The best part?  They're actually pretty shallow, which will be excellent because my shelving is not very deep, and this will sit nicely on top of it... maybe just a bolt through the back to anchor it?

There's also a bucket of clothes pins.  They're nice, plastic clothes pins, and they have holes on the ends.  Last year I hung a bunch of stuff from the ceiling, but every time I put something up or took something down, I exposed myself to dusk and who-knows-what falling from the ceiling tiles.  I'm hoping I can hang these, and not have to take my life/eyesight into my own hands every time I want to hang projects this year.

oooh, and the fun part?  Those desk pads behind the drawers?  They're quadrille paper!!  How cool is that?  I don't know what we'll do with them, but surely some nice, large graphs!  what a bargain!

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