One real benefit of the 1:1 environment is that we educators spend a lot less time around the copy machine (which means less time disassembling said machine, in search of some random sheet of paper stuck in a never-before-seen gear!). A lot more of what we do, and what we expect our students to do, occurs in the digital realm — less wasted paper, faster turnaround time for comments… there are many ways this helps us do our job better.
With this boon, come a few new issues – one of which is the topic of this post.
Now that we are pushing out more and more documents to students, the question is, how do we keep all of these “papers” organized? On a number of occasions, students have puzzled over where to find a particular document and how to get at it. I created an ELA Student Docs” folder, which I made public so that anyone with the link can view (and hence make a copy) of any item in it. This worked well for a small number of docs. As the year moved along, I added subfolders – one per unit, and then the folders had subfolders… and, soon, we were back to confusion again. So, how to keep these things orderly?
Here are two simple solutions.
For Jeremy’s science class, he has a main folder which is public to view. Inside this folder, each unit has its own subfolder:
What makes his system work well is this next simple step: As he adds items to the current folder, he numbers them — the first item starts with “1.” the second with “2,” etc. This makes it so that the items are always in chronological order — students know to get the most recent item in class, or he can simply tell them “number x” when they go to find something.
Another option for organizing your items to make them easier to find is to create a separate folder called “This Week’s Items” within the main folder that you shared with your students. By doing this, you have a “go to” place for all current work. If students need to access older items, they can be found in the standard unit folders.
Inside this folder, create one subfolder for each day of the week.
Now, in class, all you need to do is tell students to go to that day’s folder to access the items they need for class and for homework. Inside the day’s folder, they can see everything referenced in class and at home for that day. Once the week comes to an end, shift the items from the “this week” section back to the main unit folders.
Keep in mind that, with both these systems, we maintain websites that keep an ongoing record of both class activities and homework assignments — with active links to all the handouts used on any given day. This is an important part of the organization system, as it gives students and families a way to read about classes they missed, and to quickly search for / find items they may need from previous weeks:
Any other tips for how to stay organized? Send them our way! We’re also eager for other educators to do some “guest posts” — so, send along suggestions, tips you’d like to share, etc.
Derek & Jeremy