Spring Cleaning

Spring is the traditional time of year for cleaning out the clutter and dust bunnies.  It is the time for new beginnings and fresh starts, unless you are a teacher.  Most sane teachers are just hoping to keep things under control until "that-which-shall-not-be-named"  is finished, and then survival mode kicks in.  Not me!  Even after 25 years of teaching, spring brings a chance to reflect, assess, and to try new ideas out.

This year, my spring cleaning urges kicked in when everyone was frantically running to get butcher paper to cover their walls before "that-which-shall-not-be-named" occurred.  Usually, I cover and drape my room with hurriedly stapled butcher paper; this time I carefully removed the content material and put it away.  I left just the fadeless butcher paper and bright borders.   Even though the walls are empty, they are neat and clear.  It is clean and organized, not muddled and cluttered.  My room is a clean slate of brilliant blues, greens, and hot pinks. 

And that is when the questions started zipping through my teacher brain.  How can I start off next year better than I did this year?  Is there possibly a way to arrange the desk, tables, bookcases, and computers more efficiently to allow for better flow--one that I have not tried before?  And of course, why did I think that this was important enough to file away, ten years ago?  Since pushing furniture around and cleaning out the closets is frowned upon right before or even during "that-which-shall-not-be-named," I started making my list.

At my age, lists are a necessity, not just a symptom of OCD.  All of my springtime brilliant ideas for the perfect classroom will not survive the brief summer in my menopausal brain. So here is my list for the perfect classroom.  Please note that this is just a list, not a complete commitment or contract that states I will actually follow through on these ideas.  These are just ideas, things I want to improve upon, or try again.

Ms. OCD Teach's List for The Perfect Classroom
  1. Clean out and get rid of anything that hasn't been used in the last 5 years -except samples.
  2. Tall bookshelves from home moved to school closet (need to find a way to get them there).
  3. Use closet and shelves to organize TE kits and resources, CD players and audio books for check out.
  4. Oh, clean out closet.
  5. Reorganize Read180 books by Lexile and into cardboard magazine holders.
  6. Find another metal bookcase (or steal it from an empty room) to hold Read180 books.
  7. Color code bookshelves for Lexile levels and put color coded stickers on non Read180 books
  8. Cut up Read180 book posters and make Lexile notebooks instead.                          
  9. Move desk and fridge to the other side of the room, shift computers.
  10. Make sample Math notebook - with foldables and examples
  11. Make student/parent friendly CORE standards - checklist form for self assessment
  12. Quotation bulletin board for journals
  13. Math warm-up routine bulletin board
  14. Study Now! bulletin board
  15. CORE standards pre-written on sentence strips for pocket chart
  16. New student materials in envelope (thank you Pinterest)
  17. Pencil cans and pencil sharpener on my desk (just in case next year's crop is like this year)
  18. Job chart (just in case next year's crop is like this year)
  19. Student Behavior/Intervention Notebook (just in case next year's crop is like this year)
  20. Get business cards made - for me, and as reward cards for moving Read180 levels
The list will change and mutate through the summer and beginning of the year, but at least my good intentions are out there in the universe.  As this blog progresses, I will keep you updated on the mutations of the list, post pictures of my classroom, share ideas, and the successes (or failures) of the year.  After year 25, it will be good to shake it up, reinvent, or find my inner teacher again.  

Coming up next...THE GREAT CLEAN OUT!  (and yes, I will provide before and after pictures)


  1. I'm so glad you got started! :) I know you have a bunch of great stuff to post!

    Life In Middle School

  2. Hi there! I found your blog through Life in Middle School. I love your attitude about constantly evolving and tweaking even after 25 years- I think that's the sign of a great teacher, always wondering how could I do this better? I love the idea of business cards- great for open house and parent conferences.... or even to staple to progress reports,etc.
    Welcome to the blogging world- enjoy!
    The Organized Señorita

    1. Thank you! It was time to jump back in and get involved again. Years ago, one of my favorite principals made sure we had business cards. It was amazing how much confidence they gave me. I have been pondering them since seeing those recent Vista commercials.

  3. Welcome to bloggyland Mis. OCD Teach!
    I am a middle school teacher in NY. I'm looking forwad to learning from you, and of course, let me know if I can help you out in bloggyland!
    Coffee Cups and Lesson Plans

    1. Thank you so much! I might take you up on that bloggyland advice:) This newfangled technology had me fuming. Luckily, Lauren is awesome, and so available to help. She will have some questions to answer for me Monday morning.

  4. What a great list. I think I am going to print it and use it as my own end-of-year checklist. One request - could you add a "Follow" button to your blog? I would love to keep updated with all your great ideas.
    Welcome to Bloggy Land!

    1. That was my request to Lauren late last night - how to I get the "Follow" button to magically appear? Please check back in a few days, I am a quick study and Lauren will help me figure it out. Happy end of the year!

    2. Okay Amanda, I think I added a "Follow" button. Please check it out and see if it works. Let me know! Thanks!

  5. Hi there! Welcome to Blogland! I'm new too...started about a week ago. I look forward to reading THE GREAT CLEAN OUT! :)
    Creating Lifelong Learners

  6. From one OCD middle school teacher to another, welcome! I can't wait to see your tips and tricks because I have a feeling I'll be stealing many of them! :)

    ~Miss Lifesaver

    1. Being OCD is a strength, not a disease:) Thank you for the encouragement.

  7. Welcome to blog-land! It is exciting to see a new teacher with fresh ideas join in the sharing of ideas:) I usually get the spring cleaning bug this time of year and make lists of all sorts of things I want to get done. However, next year I will be in a new position outside of the classroom - so it doesn't really make sense for me to start all of the projects and organizing I usually do. But now, I can live vicariously through you and envy all the cool things you do to improve your classroom!



  8. Thank you, and congratulations on your new position!

  9. I've been wanting to create some CC lists and check list charts over the summer too. Ditto for the sentence strips.

    And moving corners and shifting computers is always so much fun because the way they are linked up. You have move them 5 inches at a time. (Or as I did one year, unplug everything and then beg Mr. On Our Campus Computer Tech to reattach them!)

  10. Well, I have to move them and my desk. The techs put the new drops right by my desk, and now I can't open the drawers. So, I guess the organizational gods were trying to send me a message.

  11. Hi!

    Lauren sent me over (She's one of my favorite blog friends!) BTW, I think having OCD tendencies is an asset to the job... Usually!

    So glad to find your blog... and looking forward to visiting again!

    : )
    Finding JOY in 6th Grade

    1. Thank you, she is just one of my favorite people! Nice to find another 6th grade teacher sharing ideas.

  12. Hi! Welcome to blogging! I started my page last year so I could keep a virtual scrapbook of my lesson plans. I never dreamed I would have people actually look at my ideas! It's really cool to connect to other teachers and share ideas. Looking forward to learning from you! By the way, I wish I was just a little OCD...I'm working on it, but it sure is hard!

    1. Thank you so much! I have to admit that as of right now, sharing is all I want to do. It might lead to more later, but I am looking at it as a way of sharing and keeping myself on track.

  13. Welcome, from Australia, to the wonderful world of blogging. It's nice to see someone like me who has a desire to let the age-stigma pass them by and get involved in the sharing of our wisdom and experience in this electronic format. I trust you get as much out of it as you will give to the profession. And it's great to see another Middle School aficionado in the blogosphere too.


  14. Thank you David! It was time to change with the times. And after today (not the best day a teacher has ever had), I might just move to Australia:) It has always been #1 on my small lists of places I would love to see.