EVERYTHING is better when it’s ORGANIZED and that includes your desktop screen!
Does your desktop look like mine did? Folders and files that I knew I needed to get to quickly or that were super important ALL OVER the screen? It can be chaos, and every time I looked at it I felt like such a mess. I had files I use at home, shortcuts and files for everything I need to get to quickly for school, and all the files and folders of all the things for Teaching and Learning in Mrs Gentry’s Class content. IT WAS A MESS and my eyes would begin to cross looking for the needed material. Am I alone?
It was definitely time to get it under control. So, I made these Calendar Desktop Wallpaper Organizers, and I hope they might be as helpful for you as they are for me!
Each month has a new beautiful image – for my mindset and serenity (I’ll take calm anywhere I can get it LOL) – and a monthly calendar, with three organizational, labeled boxes on the screen for you to keep your files in place. For me, it was a great starting point and reason to organize the files into folders and create shortcuts to get to groups of files, websites or software I use frequently, or even a place to keep the beloved desktop sticky note lists. Here’s a few of the wallpaper images for 2021 below for an example.
Each month comes with three options for images.
Option 1 includes labels for “Work, Daily, and Home”. Option 2 includes labels for “Work, Home, and To-Do”. The To-Do section is where those desktop sticky notes will go. Option 3 does not include labels. This one you can use blank, or upload the image to Powerpoint, Google Slides, or Canva in the size 1920×1080 px. Once the image is uploaded, add your own text labels to personalize the organization for your needs, and then download the new image as a new .PNG file to your device.
If you’re in the same boat I was, you know what a crazy mess your computer files can become. Opening my computer to work and finding a beautiful, organized, easily accessible screen has been a game-changer. I’m no longer telling my students, “Give me a second while I find this …”, and I’m no longer going cross-eyed while I do it!
I’m always looking for ways to stay organized and save time with my teacher professional duties. This year I needed resources to keep my blended learning lesson plans, resources, and grades organized. Almost everything about what we’re doing as a teacher has changed in some way this year, so of course this part of the job would change also. I knew what I didn’t want and I knew that I wanted to use my time more efficiently, and I knew that what I have always used in the past wasn’t going to work, but I didn’t have anything that seemed like it was going to work.
The paper planner books just weren’t organized for blended learning. Honestly, no template I found was organized for blended learning, at least not for the schedule that my students and I are on this year. I have an A and a B group. I see both of my groups two days a week and plan “At Home Learning” resources for their other three days of the week. I’ve also always only taught ELA for my grade level and this year my students are with me for all subjects.
It took a few weeks to figure out exactly what I wanted and needed the lesson plans to look like, and how to plan more efficiently. But I’ve found it and am so happy with it that I want to share it with you.
What I’m using is a digital chart in Google Slides. We have a separate slide for each subject, and each slide chart covers an overview for the entire week (both in class plans and at home resources on the same page). My teammates who have previously taught math and science for our grade level fill in the math and science weekly overviews, and I fill in the ELA overviews for each week. Our team shares the file each week and links all of the needed resources for each piece of the plan. It seems so simple right? That’s the beauty of it, it is that simple and you wouldn’t believe the amount of time and stress this lesson planning routine is saving me. You can get a free copy of this resource here.
Organizing and Grading Assignments
There’s a lot of assignments to keep track of for the blended learning model. I was drowning in the process of opening individual student assignments in Google Classroom and keeping track of what is complete and what is not. I knew I needed a space for all of the assignments, both in class and at home, to check them off, enter grades, and enter notes for whatever I needed to keep track of (parent contacts, absences, etc.). It also needed to be a shared document so that I wasn’t texting and calling my collaborative teacher on a daily basis to ask about assignments for our shared kids. (I’m sure she was getting tired of me.)
For this one, I used an idea I’d seen on Instagram (@aprimarykindoflife). It was simple (you know I love that) and so organized. I made separate Google Sheets for In-Class assignments and At Home assignments and we posted them to our Google Classroom (sent to a fake student) so that they are always easy to access. We just add assignments to the sheet as we go and check them off daily/weekly, and now that it’s a routine, it takes so much less time than the gradebooks I’ve used in the past. Click on the image below to get a free copy of my Work Log.
We post our assignments in Google Classroom by the subject and week. All of my assignments are posted on the Classwork tab in my Google Classroom and organized by these topics: Morning Check//In, In Class This Week, At Home This Week, Daily Resources (everyday items not by the week), Old Assignments, and Technology Help. We drag all “this week” assignments to the Old Assignments topic at the end of each week to make it easier for our students to find their work.
Student Google Drive Organization
Not all of my students have internet access at home. For this reason, I have my students mark all of their At Home Work assignments (all in Google Apps) as “Available Offline” when they are in class at the beginning of each week. We’ve taught them how to download their instructional videos also. Once they’re at home, they can log into their chromebook and open and complete all of their assignments without needing internet. To get to their Google files, they go through their Drive and open the folder that our Google Classroom creates for them. The problem is, it does not create new folders for each week. So, as you can imagine, by the 8th week of school, there are A LOT of files in their Drive, and the students have a hard time finding the exact assignments they need for that day in the 100s of files in their Drive.
So what we did was had them add a Folder inside their Classroom folder on their Google Drive. The new folder is labeled Old Work. Once they complete an assignment, they move it to the Old Work folder. This way, when they open their Classroom work folder, they only see work they still need to complete. No more, “I couldn’t find my work” excuses for missing work. And now, because we took the time to organize (and learn how), no more making and posting missing work lists because, “If you can’t move it to your Old Work file, you must still need to do it.”
Classroom Lesson Slides
Finally, keeping your daily lessons organized is key to using your time effectively and fitting in as much learning as possible with this new crazy schedule. With your lesson and instructional materials all in one place, you’re not flipping through tabs or your drive trying to find your instructional materials. And better yet, you’re not repeating directions because it’s all there (unless you like repeating directions).
You can grab your own copy of these Classroom Lesson Slides here.