Organized Teacher: Desktop Action Files

Since I am moving to high school from middle school, I decided that I need to review and revise my classroom systems. This year’s focus will be about learning the ropes of teaching high school. I will not have time for an unorganized desk.  A teacher’s desk (or any desk for that matter) can often become an abyss of paper, school supplies, cold coffee and sticky notes. This does not have to be the case!

Borrowing from my stint in the business world, this post is about creating a set of action files for your desk that help you tame the paper that comes across it.  It is just as important for teachers, homemakers, those who work-from-home, or anyone with a desk to keep papers organized.

Action Files Clip Art

While similar to a “tickler” file system, my desktop file system is customized for my particular classroom needs.  I generally housed my go-to folders in a file sorter like the one you see above so that will stay the same. Personally, I like file sorters with closed sides in case a paper gets the wise idea of jumping ship before I deal with it. Considering all the choices out there, you may find a different style file sorter much more to your liking.

To set up your system you will need:

  • one file sorter,
  • 10 jacket pocket folders (or any # and style of file folder you prefer),
  • glue stick,
  • scissors,
  • transparent contact paper,
  • plain printer paper.

The categories I chose are ACTION, READ & EVALUATE, FILE, COPY/SCAN, LAMINATE, MASTER FORMS, OFFICE, CLINIC, TUTORIAL ROSTERS, and ATTENDANCE ROSTERS.  My action file categories were created in a word document, look like chalkboard style labels, and printed out on plain paper.  Of course, your action folders may have different titles/labels based on what you need to stay on top of throughout your day.

Action file categories

Two chalkboard-style “labels” per page.

After printing it’s assembly time!

action files supplies

Each page gets cut in half yielding one label for each jacket pocket folder. You may find that you want to trim excess white paper from around the printed image. After timing mine down, there was probably 1/4-in or less on white space around the image. Next, using a glue stick, glue each label to the front of the pocket folders. The transparent contact paper will need to be cut into 16-1/2 square x 12 square pieces. If you purchase the kind with the grid on the backside, cutting your pieces is so easy! Working from

The transparent contact paper will need to be cut into 16-1/2 square x 12 square pieces. If you purchase the kind with the grid on the backside, cutting your pieces is so easy! Working from one end to the other, carefully adhere the contact paper over your printed label. Make sure you work slowly and smooth the paper as you go to avoid bubbles. Repeat the process of gluing and cover a label to each folder until you are done.

Ta da! The finished product is now labeled and at your service.  Enjoy it!

action folder ready to go

Now for the most important part of this system.

You must use it!

Each time a paper comes across your desk and you are not able to handle it at that moment put it in the appropriate file. Set aside a few minutes each day to process items in the ACTION and Read & Evaluate files. Set aside a few minutes once or twice a week to file anything in the FILE folder. Take your COPY/SCAN and LAMINATE folders with you to planning. Whatever you do, do NOT ignore your system. No matter what folders buy, labels you choose, or system you decide is

Whatever you do, do NOT ignore your system. No matter what folders buy, labels you choose, or system you decide is best if you don’t use it, the system is of NO benefit to you.

I’d love to see what type of system YOU use. Share a picture and short description in the comments below.

Blessings & happy organizing!

Jennifer

 

 

 

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