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Thursday, August 2, 2012

Day #4 of "The Keeping of the Stuff" - Using a Camera to Stay Organized

Well, here I am (finally) to talk about another way to help keep your Teaching Stuff organized. So far I've talked about my Theme Unit Numbering System and my unit boxes.  However,  even with all that stuff fairly organized, there are other items that I have that I find troublesome to keep together.   Even worse, sometimes I find that even if I can keep them together, I sometimes go months before realizing that I'm not really utilizing any of them because they are "out of sight, out of mind".  Basically I forget that I even have them.

Because I think that it's a shame to have so many good resources and not utilize them, I have learned to use my digital camera to keep these teaching items more "in sight" and thus in better use.  Whether it be my actually "real" camera or the camera on my phone, I find that this can be an excellent tool to help a)organize my things, and b)utilize them the best way.

The primary way I use my camera is to help keep track of items that I have.  For example, I have several large clear plastic containers of general-themed teaching items.  One is filled with games and activities that deal with "Numbers and Counting", one is "Shapes and Colors", and one is "Alphabet".  Since these are things that can not really be filed in the number filing system, they live in their own container in the garage, and sometimes are forgotten.  Therefore, this summer I took pictures off all of these items.  Here are a few examples:

I then can paste these pictures onto a document using any word processing software and print it out:

I then file them in my planning notebook that I refer to when I am making lesson plans (more about that on another day).

If I have an item that I want to go with a specific unit or in a lesson plan, I can paste that picture directly into the lesson plan where it would be used, since I plan my lesson plans on my computer.  I can also insert the pictures into a document that I call "Items Available for (insert theme here)."  This is what I do most often with my big books.  Although I have a list of them in database that I can search by theme or unit number, sometimes I don't remember the actual book until I see the cover.  (This is especially true for preschool books, when you might have three or four books titled "Bugs", or "Apples".) Therefore, I will paste the pictures onto a page like this:

This is especially helpful if you have a big book with different charts or themes on each page.  For example, on the page above you can see an "Insects" poster on the bottom left corner.  This is one page of a book that has a different theme on each page, and I always forget I have it because a)it lives in the garage in a big container and b)it doesn't get filed in the "053/Insect section".  To solve this, I took a picture of each page of the book (it has about ten pages) and inserted each picture on a document listing materials with that theme.   If I needed to, I could type in that this chart was in such-and-such book to help me remember where it is.

By using my camera in this way, it helps me keep my teaching objects close to mind and well-utilized.

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