This week I am celebrating half a drawer in a file cabinet. What’s there is not as important as what’s not. Here is the photo of said drawer.
These files (seen below from a different perspective) are all of the files I have at school. Just these. No others! Really!! Half the drawer is paper files. The other half contains 2 baskets of math related stuff for practice.
What’s in these files? Strategy sheets and games. They are used and reused inside write on/wipe off sleeves that we use during math.
I love these sheets for many reasons. They are low risk, easy to use and fun for the students. For me, they mean less paper, less marking (I snap photos and record on information as I observe on checklists) and they eliminate the “I’m done,” phenomenon of a fixed page. One set of photocopies. Multiple years of use. We rarely (other than our notebooks) write on paper during math class.
I also love them because they are useful. Well used. Supportive of learning. A way for students to represent their thinking.
But . . . I am getting away from what I am here to celebrate. I am celebrating that I have no other files. NONE. This is it. No files full of “I may one day need this” papers. No files of “I should keep this just in case” papers. So. Little. Paper. Hurrah!
These files are in a two drawer file cabinet that is turned sideways and used as my “desk” On the side I utilize the magnetic properties of the cabinet to post schedules and class lists/checklists. On top, my day plan. A basket of sticky notes. A jar of pens. And once the year begins, usually, a pile of books.
I do have some papers in a few other places before this looks strangely impossible.
Relevant student documents for current children in my room are kept in a binder. I also have 8 magazine boxes full of BLM sheets that I use frequently. For example, wonder webs, Fact/React sheets, recording sheets for various things in Reading Workshop, etc. I keep multiple copies so we have these on hand when we need them for a particular activity. School schedules are posted on the side of my file cabinet (hurrah for magnets) and information for a Teacher on Call is posted on the inside of a cabinet.
Right now I have no floating about papers that end up in my letter box and take much too long to deal with. It’s the beginning of the year. I have cleared a space for these on top of a cabinet and am hoping that I can deal with them in a timely manner so they don’t overwhelm me. Paper makes me crazy. I have heard in a few places that we are either “pilers or filers” (not sure where this originated). I am clearly a piler so files mean that I will put papers in a place and never find them again. My math center (half a drawer of files) will be different because I need these things throughout the year and it is only one filing system to keep on top of.
So, this week I celebrate this little half a drawer of files. I celebrate that I bravely recycled a bunch of other papers that I hadn’t looked at in years. I celebrate that I “get” my relationship with paper (only took 20 years of teaching!) and that I feel “paper free” and happy beginning this new school year.
Half a drawer in a file cabinet. My celebration of pared down paper. 🙂
Anyone else out there with “pitching paper” stories? It’s beautifully freeing!
Thank you to Ruth Ayres and the #celebratelu community! Being part of a community that regularly shares gratitude and celebrations truly transforms my weeks.