There are only two types of people who truly understand the volume of papers that teachers must manage: teachers and the family members of teachers. As the son of a teacher, I swore to myself that I would not have the piles upon piles of paper invade my home the way my dad’s papers used to invade ours growing up.
I wish I were writing a post with a silver bullet to keep papers and grading perfectly organized. I’m not. (But please do leave any suggestions in the comments!)
While I still struggle with paper organization, I have created a nice tool to keep my lesson planning organized: a custom-made googledoc spreadsheet that I use as a calendar.
This is my master planning tool. It’s color-coded by month, and I’ve pre-populated it with important holidays and dates in the DCPS calendar. It’s an easy-to-edit, big-picture view of my year that I can share with colleagues and co-teachers.
When I’m teaching a course for a second time, I often keep the old course map open to look at how I approached different topics. I also make notes to myself in the spaces to the right of the calendar with lessons learned along the way, such as the following note from the polynomials unit of my pre-calc class last year:
Each year I start with a new blank slate and use the calendar to map out my units.
Please feel free to copy this calendar into a new googledoc to use for your own organizing.
What other things do you do to stay organized?
Update 8/21/16: Some people have been unable to copy the calendar from the view-only setting I created for the public link. Let me know if that’s the case, and I can give you temporary editing privileges.