How Should You Organize Your Teaching Resources?
We would say this is the age old question but, honestly, this hasn't really been a debate for very long in the grand scheme of things. What debate are we talking about? The question of should we save our resources digitally, physically, or both??? Well, it really depends on what you're comfortable with and how you work. Do you like to plan all of your lessons at your desk or teacher table? Then, the choice between digital or physical may not make much of a difference. But maybe you like to plan from home, or on the road, or sitting in your overstuffed read aloud chair, then digital may be just a bit easier. Maybe you like to have digital and physical copies of your resources because you never know where or how you will want to plan this week. Still can't decide? We've started a pro's and con's list to help you out! Definitely, make sure to add your own thoughts before making your final decision. If you're feeling brave, share your thoughts in the comments below so that other teachers can learn from your wisdom too!
Digitally Store your Teaching Resources
Thanks to Google Drive or Dropbox, you can access your files anytime, anywhere! One of the things that we love most is that you can search for your files! - No more spending hours sorting through papers in files trying to find that one poem that your students loved reading last year and you could have sworn you put in the "poetry" folder. With just a few clicks on the keyboard, you're off and ready to go!Space! Lots of resources can mean lots of physical space. And if your classroom is anything like the ones we've been in, storage is usually at a premium.
You can't physically sort through your resources. We get it - sometimes you just want to be able to feel the papers as you search for the perfect resource to supplement your lesson.
Physically Store your Teaching Resources
You can physically touch the resources that you have - making them easier to browse through if you're looking for inspiration. Some of the storage ideas are TOTS cute!
Keeping physical copies of all of your resources can take up a tremendous amount of space. Can't access them from everywhere - like, for example, when you're home sick trying to push through writing plans for the next day. You can't just type in what you're looking for and have it miraculously appear! Unless you have a robot assistant, in which case we are totally jealous and want to hear all about it!
Both Digitally and Physically Store your Teaching Resources
You kind of get the best and worst of both worlds. Also requires more work to keep both updated and organized.
Space and time. You still have the same issues when it comes to the amount of space that all of your resources consume. And time because it all takes time to keep your resources organized and easily accessible and when you have to keep them organized in two different formats that can take even more time.
So, what do we think? What do we use?
We vote for digital. We like to keep the amount of space that is used for storage in our classrooms to a minimum. Less stuff = less clutter. (At least in theory.) Plus, we love being able to search for what we need. It saves us so much time and if one of our teammates needs something, we can quickly email them the resource saving us both time. And bonus, we don't have to worry about getting that resource back or losing our only copy.
Tips & Tricks
We love using these Iris Project Cases for storing our resources. They look great and are super portable. Plus, we love that they even keep our papers protected when they're tossed in our giant Mary Poppins style teacher bag. Organize them in a way that makes the most sense for you! We find that organizing our resources by month, and then inside by subject, helps us because we typically teach the same topics around the same time each year but you may find that organizing them by topic is a more efficient method for you. Want to take your organizational skills up another notch? You can even store the read alouds that go with a particular lesson or holiday in the containers too! This way they are protected and you will be able to find them easily!
We like to re-save our resources as individual files when they're sold on TpT as a part of a larger packet. This allows us to search for a specific page and not just a large PDF with a variety of topics. We, also, like to rename our resources. We name them things that we might search for later for example if we are saving an informational text page about pandas that features a glossary that we created, we might rename the file "informational text panda text feature glossary by edunista.pdf". Then when we save this file in our informational text folder on Google Drive, we can easily search for this resource by text feature, glossary, informational text, panda, or by the author! This can save so much time and helps us remember resources that we may have forgotten we have because not only will this resource show up but other similar files will too!Here are a few videos that we found that explain how to save individual pages of the PDF in more detail. Click here to learn an easy way to do this using a Mac. If you are using a PC, this video explains how to Print to PDF and this video explains how you can add a PDF printer to your computer if it doesn't show one. Hope those videos help!