Teacher's Guide to Organizing Your Computer Files, Part 1

I am fastidious about keeping my computer files organized.  EVERYTHING must go in a folder, and most of my folders have more folders within folders.  Ask me for anything I may have on my computer, and I can find it in seconds.  The packet I made for Back to School Night two years ago?  Check.  The unit on money I bought on TPT last spring?  Check.  Those Halloween-themed writing prompts?  Check.  

I have teacher friends whose computer desktops are filled with random files and TPT products that have yet to find a digital home.  

Every teacher needs the following digital folders in her computer to organize the hundreds (thousands?) of teacher resource files we all have floating around on our hard drives:

RECOMMENDED TEACHER FOLDER #1: Lesson Plans by Season (True, nearly all the files in these folders are not formal lesson plans, but in fact either printables, center activities, or templates for art projects, but I've always just titled my folders "Lesson Plans" because it covers everything I may use in a lesson for that topic.)

Within that folder (Lesson Plans by Season), I have a subfolder for each holiday I have resources for.  When titling folders by month, I always put the number of the month first, so that the folders will be in order from January to December (otherwise the folders would default to alphabetical order - and seeing April listed first, and then August and December would just throw me into an OCD tailspin).  Since Easter is always in a different month, that's the only folder that isn't placed in sequential order of the year's holidays.  Same goes for the 100th Day of School.  

Does it matter if the Valentine's Day worksheets/resources are for math, spelling, writing, etc?  Unless you literally have dozens of files relating to Valentine's Day, the answer is NO.  If it is a Valentine's Day-themed resource, it can all just go together in the Valentine's Day folder. And as long as your files themselves are labeled appropriately (which may be a whole other blog post), you should be able to find what you need within that one folder.  

RECOMMENDED TEACHER FOLDER #2: Lesson Plans by Subject

This folder is going to have a LOT of subfolders.  Every subject you teach (which, for us self-contained elementary classrooms, is all of the subjects) needs its own folder within the "Lesson Plans by Subject" folder. 

Each of these subject folders should in turn have a number of subfolders within them as well.  For example, my Phonics folder: 

My Phonics folder contains subfolders for all the phonics rules we learn in first grade:

  • Beginning consonant sounds
  • Ending consonant sounds
  • Long vowels 
  • Short vowels
  • R-Controlled Vowels
  • Variant Vowels
  • Digraphs
  • Dipthongs
  • Inflectional Endings
And within those folders, then another series of subfolders, as you can see in the screen shot of my Short Vowels folder above, which includes Short A, Short E, Short I, Short O, and Short U. 

More to come on ways to keep those computer desktops clear of your TPT resources!