Looking around my classroom, I knew I would be staying late. Books were stale; papers were spilling out of the mailboxes, and post-it-notes littered the carpet. The mess that was overwhelming me today wasn't made in one day, and it wasn't one the class would be able to clean.
As the kids filed out of the classroom, I began. I turned on Spotify to my favorite African Acoustic relaxation music and moved about the room randomly grabbing one thing then another. The gravity of the work needing done was paralyzing.
I decided to work in one area at a time. I pulled the trash can and a chair to the mailboxes. The papers spilling on the floor begged organization. I pulled out the contents of each mailbox one student at a time. I looked at the papers saving only the pages showing promise of more work and tossed all the others!
My team laughed as they looked in and saw me buried in papers and folders vowing to NEVER again use mailboxes in first grade! I grabbed tubs for the writing folders, word study notebooks, and the reading folders. One tub for each subject, mailboxes are a thing of the past in our room!
To reward myself for all this hard work I decided to freshen the books. I pulled all the poetry books and displayed them on our beloved book tower; I replaced the winter books with my collection of graphic novels, a new genre for our classroom. Finally, I cleaned up the existing book tubs and moved them to new shelves giving them a brand new look!
I didn't get home until 7:30, leaving much undone in the classroom and me exhausted, but I know tomorrow my students will be in awe with all the new books and it will all be worth it!