Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Helpful Children!

Yesterday I made my first official foray into the book room. I was wearing a nice outfit, and I didn't have a ton of time, plus I steeled myself not to think too hard about the enormity of the task before me. So I just took a few minutes to survey the damage and conceive a battle plan. I unpacked a couple boxes of brand-new boxes and tried to organize part of a single shelf.

Then I left, because a)too overwhelming and b)I had to be back in my room. On the way though, I ran into my friendly lunch girls from last year, the sweet students who helped out and hung out and sometimes let me steal their tater tots.

They smiled and exclaimed hello. I said, hey, want to help next period with the books? They said, okay, sure!

So a group of them met me in the hallway and I led them into the disaster area. There are two rooms to this mess, which used to be a locker room. The main room has the huge shelves and there's a slightly smaller room next to it with showerheads still intact.

The showerhead room is lined with full file cabinets, and the rest of the walls are lined and piled with stacks of books, buried behind other stacks and piles of books. I saw that many of these books were math texts. I knew that I would never be able to do anything with the morass of shelves unless I had some space in the other room.

My method for organizing is usually to take everything out, throw it on the floor and make a giant mess, and then sort through it and put things together again. I'm actually hoping to do a slightly smaller-scale version of this with the books and piles and stacks. Yes, I am crazy, actually. Glad we're all on the same page now.

So anyway, I told the girls--seven or eight of them--to get in a fire line (my favorite!) from me, at the far end of the showerhead room, to the door. Methodically we passed the math books to the landing outside the book room door.

We were there about twenty minutes, and got most of the math books out! It was amazing to see such progress. I'm so grateful to these girls! They got a little dusty and sneezy, but they were happy to help. The pile of books outside the door is HUGE. I need to take a photo to appreciate the difference.

So now the littler room is still nowhere near being clear (there are six large boxes of a teacher's social studies materials, for some reason, those need to go asap), but nearly all the remaining piles are EL @ books. And I will have the space to organize those piles, finding mates for all the assorted anthologies and workbooks. Then, once those parts are finished, I'll tackle the junkpiles between the shelves. Eventually I'll get to the shelves themselves. Someday. If I'm lucky and keep getting innocent children to help.

Thanks, girls!

Today I had my middle class before and after lunch. I kept a couple kids to chat for a sec, and I mentioned that if anyone wanted to stay and help out, they could.

So four boys decided to stay and help out. First a couple of them took the broom around to tidy. Then I gave them the pile of book order catalogs. I have three (maybe four?) sets of catalogs that needed to be separated. I gave them bins (I bought twelve more bins/crates yesterday after school, along with gloves and masks for future book room work) to put them in, and they happily chattered and separated. How sweet!

Then, after school three of the same girls from the book help came by to help me my paperwork. All the tests we have to give are supposed to be graded by Friday, input in the notebook, and submitted to the AP by Monday, written on separate forms. If I didn't have, you know, a full-time teaching job to do, that would be so easy.

So far I've run the scantrons, and this morning I put all the scores into my notebook. So the three girls, in about twenty minutes, got names and scores input on the other sheets. I kept working on grade one class's book 2. Two more sets of book 2, then three sets of book 3. Yeah, so much for teaching or homework grading. I'll have to keep assigning homework that doesn't require me to collect and/or read anything. Get ready to read and respond in notebooks, children!

I think it's Tuesday by now. But I'm not sure. This year so far has been too busy for me to decide how I feel about it, and the kids are starting to show their true colors (many of those colors are LAZY), but I suppose, based on the above, that it's not bad.

Keep it up, kids. You might be the key to maintaining a shred of my sanity.

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