This month we have brought you so many amazing ideas to help with organization in your classroom. Today I have one last organization tip for you.
One way I help keep myself and my class organized is through my parent volunteers.
Over the past three years, I have been blessed with AMAZING parent volunteers. I have about one per day who come in and do a variety of tasks for me. Some prefer to work with kiddos and some prefer clerical work, like copying and filing. Then I have a handful of parents that I use for sending materials home to cut or assemble.
During Meet the Teacher I send home this form so I can see who my parent volunteers will be for the year.
I have a few different ways I help keep them organized when they come to my classroom.
First off is my parent volunteer organization station!
This is where pretty much everything my parent volunteers will need is stored.
Student Mailboxes for filing.
Teacher Tool Kit filled with supplies they may need.
Basket filled with even more supplies!
Stickers for homework folders, copying directions, stapler, tape, and more!
My parent volunteer rolling cart is to the left of the counter.
This year I bought a new rolling cart, specific for my parent volunteers. I love that it has six large drawers, instead of the 8 or 10 smaller drawers. Each drawer is labelled so they know exactly what goes where.
Copy: This is where I put all my masters with the instructions and they take that to the office to copy. I also use this handy dandy copying check list to make it easier for me and for them when making copies. I simply circle each thing that I would like done, paper clip it to the original, and put them in the copy drawer.
When a parent comes in, they just take the draw and go. Last year I would put a ream or two of paper in the drawer or basket, because we had to bring our own paper to the copier. But this year the office is stocking up our paper, so I don't have to worry about that.
File: This is where I put all the notes, classwork, or any other information that needs to be sent home. My parent who assembles my homework packets puts them right in this drawer so it's ready to file.
Grade: This is where I put completed worksheets that are ready for me or a parent to grade. If I feel an assignment is appropriate for a parent to grade, I'll write that on my directions page to them. I do have two parents who I know really well and can trust with grading. One of them grades all my math facts pages, and the other grades my weekly spelling and reading tests. I've trained them both on how I want them graded, and know that I can trust them to not discuss any grades outside of school. And none of the grading leaves my room.
Enter: This is where all assignments are put once they are graded and alphabetized. I take these assignments, look through them, and enter them in my grade book. Then I put these either in the file drawer or a separate pile for me to pull students back to reteach certain skills.
For Later: This is a random drawer. When I first started teaching at my school, I had a co-worker who was so over the top planned. She always copied things and gave them to me several weeks in advance! Instead of piling these papers up in a closet or on a counter somewhere, I put them in this drawer. And now when I am on the ball and copy things several weeks in advance, I put them in this drawer.
Extras: This is where we put extra papers after they are passed out. This way if someone is missing a paper, they know they can look in this drawer and grab one.
I also use this parent volunteer sheet, so that when they come to the classroom they don't have to interrupt the class to know what I would like them to do, I have it all written down and laid out for them and they can get started.
For my parents who help at home, I send the materials and directions in a zip lock bag so that all the materials stay nice and don't get lost. I always include one sample of what I would like it to look like. I always send home any materials they might need - glue, scissors, paper cutter, etc. Never assume they have all the supplies!
I also made a sheet when I had my regular volunteers, so instead of rewriting everything everyday that they needed to do, I had it pre-typed for the week. Monday was always check in progress reports, grade and file spelling pre-test. Tuesday was always pull back these students to work on math facts. So if it was something that was staying the same, I just printed it on the paper and kept it in my parent volunteer basket. That helped especially in the morning when I had recess duty and forgot to fill it out the night before. So that's another idea if you have an overflow of parents or if you have very consistent jobs for them to do.
Parent Volunteers can literally save your classroom. I have had years with no parent volunteers, and years with more than I could possibly find a use for. It really just helps the classroom stay organized and run smoothly if you know how to utilize them properly. Last year I had so many that I just didn't even know what to do, so I came up with these systems to help me keep me organized.
How do you use parent volunteers in your classroom?
Any other suggestions or tips for how to keep them organized and useful?