I don’t know about you, but I think with every year that I am itinerant, I am looking for ways to be lighter and more efficient. I love it when I can leave materials at a school. That is literally heaven, but there are still materials that I transport between sites and students. I know some teachers will purchase multiple items/materials, but I really don’t need 3 of the same game. I can take these things back and forth-even in terrible weather. With this being said I still need to purge and de-clutter my materials. Right now my basement is looking very pretty. Typhoon TOD happened and it needs to get organized for September.
Trash to Treasure
I am sure there are items in my basement that can be passed on (or borrowed) to my co-workers or a teacher I team with. I can see the games and workbooks that have not been touched in a couple of years. This could be for various reasons: I am over it, I don’t want to carry it around or I haven’t had a student who could play or use the materials. These are my top priorities to purge. I know these items are still great-but why aren’t I taking them???? I honestly do not want to psycho analyze why I stopped using an auditory discrimination workbook….too much to organize!
So, my plan and recommendation is if it looks dusty- turn that clutter into someone else’s treasure.
- Send out an email to co-workers… looking for a new owner
- Have a yard sale and hope for happy customers
- Give to students as a reward-kids love free stuff…call it swag!
I did this a few years back. I took old and out dated materials( things that were made when I was in elementary school…gems my mentors passed down) and found new ways to use them. I cut up cards and games and made them into something new I could use. I also let the students write on and in the resources (gasp). I know that is shocking, but they loved it and then when it was used-bye bye. It was out of my hands and either in the trash or a kiddos back pack to use at home.
- Think of how you can use parts of it one more time-cut it up, use pieces of a game for a game you create
- Let students write in the workbook (double gasp) and then send that achievement home when it is done!
- Use two resources together.
Purge and Trash
This might be my favorite one of all. I get out a trash bag or paper bag and just sort and stuff!!! I look at old things that are not confidential and get rid of them. It feels so good to unearth something and send it to the great beyond….my garbage and recycle bins.
- Toss old and out of date items
- Toss items that are torn, stained, wrinkled from water (thank you rain and snow)
- Toss well loved items, that have served you well but should really go
- Don’t linger on each item
- Don’t look inside the cover or box too long
- Don’t feel guilty
- Don’t tell yourself you are going to use it- YOU KNOW YOU WON’T
- Follow your gut….practice your inner listening skills
Re-group Your Materials
I feel like every few years I like to think about how I need to store and save my materials that will be used or I hope to use (I too ignore my inner voice…as you can see in the above pictured bingo game). Sometimes I clear the shelves and start fresh. Grouping things by a need or topic. The last time I did this I was very determined, so this summer I am just going to insert what I took throughout the year and maybe start grouping some materials to be taken in September by age/grade.
- Sort by topics- ASL and sign language, Listening, Advocacy, Speech reading, Auditory Discrimination, Social Skills….you know what you have and need
- Sort by building-maybe you know your caseload and can start by putting bins or bags together
- Sort resources by theme- holidays, topics (civil war, weather, transportation)
- Sort and group all of your games and manipulatives in one area
- Sort out all of the still usable folders, binders, and tools that can be reused into bins, containers or pencil pouches-I like to be able to just grab and go if I need new or get a new student
I saved this for last because I think this is the one I am most passionate about now. I am trying to carry less and store less, so this is the easiest option for me….maybe you too? I love that I can save things to my “stick” and just pull up what I need that I have saved and print just the needed copies. I love that there are so many online resources now, especially when I am teaching K-high school, out of the trunk of my vehicle. The web options seem limitless. I am sure so many of us are using the web for things we need instantly or well planned out lessons. I think that I love the internet most when a student brings me something and I know I can support it once retrieved it from my “stick” or do a new search and PRINT. I may have something great at home-but that doesn’t help me when my student brings me revolutionary war text and work that is a bit too difficult and the student needs support right then and there. Thank you Google and Teachers Pay Teachers. I know there are so many more sites, but these are my go to’s in a pinch.
- I love Google images- this has saved me so many times
Organized and Ready To Roll
When you are finished organizing and purging…
I hope you feel GOOD.
I hope you feel READY to roll out in September.
I hope you feel EMPOWERED to have a fantastic new school year.
I would love to hear from you if you have other ideas about organizing or making this job we do easier and more streamlined, you can always comment, follow or email me. There is always room in the tribe!!!!
Happy Summer- Rose
5 thoughts on “5 Steps to Purging, Organizing and Streamlining Your Itinerant Teaching Materials”
Good stuff. Good thoughts. And the importance of really knowing the subjects, not only intellectually, but where you stand in command of the information so you can really discuss with the class. This, for many of us, requires our own research, our own past experiences, and time to consider and share.
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Yes. I think we have to know alot about many things. Being itinerant can be hard.
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I suppose, it is also a matter of what level of teaching. Personally, I’ve always been curious, and as the years passed, what I’ve learned opens up more questions. Currently, I’ve been reading up on our country”s beginnings. Oh, I knew the main details, but in reading, I’ve realized so much more. I am also rereading the U.S. Constitution, but also the process through which it became. As the years pass, one never knows the questions students may pose. That’s where teachers come in. And if we don’t have all the answers, as none of us could, we might be able to share some details, but also encourage them to research. The more you know.
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Right. It is always good to keep growing as a learner and an educator. I don’t think many of us want to be cookie cutter or boring. Learning new things and evolving keeps life and teaching spicy!
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Exactly. Hopefully, more and more teachers have a thirst to understand and learn.
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