Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Another Desk Cave Excavation

Twice a month I work with this third-grade sweetie on her desk organization.  We bring lunch back to the classroom and work in peace while her classmates are trying to hear each other in the noisy cafeteria.  Take a bite, munch, clean a little, take another bite...

We bring over the trash can and turn a chair sideways to give us more room to place items from the desk while we work.  We also use several nearby desks to lay papers on for sorting by subject.

My role is to provide structure on how to organize the desk--sorting papers, deciding what to keep, toss and ask the teacher about.  As the year progresses I reduce my direction and have the student go through the steps with increasing independence.   The question I ask most is, "Do you need this?"

Oftentimes it helps to make a photo/text notebook with one step per page, which the student uses to remind them of the steps involved.  Sometimes a teacher will have the student use the notebook when the whole class is cleaning their desks.
Getting Started--assess the mess and remove all of it.
 Sometimes the mess crawls under the desk, too.
Reach far into the inner recesses of the desk for little pieces of paper and long, lost pencils.
As you pull out loose papers, sort them into piles by subject area--Language Arts, Social Studies, Math...
 This process quickly takes over a large area.
 Twenty minutes later everyone is back in class and things are looking a little better. 
If you have extra time--the student can work on her backpack, too.

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