Tuesday, October 15, 2013

My Folder Fiefdom

neatly and neurotically organized by Lori

Fiefdom--an area over which a person exerts authority or influence

Ok. Suz often pokes fun at this, but there is one section of my life that I can claim complete and total organization. I wish it were my house, but it’s not.

This may sound crazy, but I am a digital organization DIVA. It’s true! My thought is that if it regularly takes you longer than about 2 minutes to retrieve a digital file, something is wrong, bad, wrong. My work PC is so pristine that I cringe at the very thought of someone saving anything on my desktop. That’s right…even you Suzanne. Because my PC is super organized, it also helps keep me organized in my classroom. When I tell you that I don’t really use filing cabinets, I’m not exaggerating. There’s really no need because literally just about everything that I have is put away—nice and tidy—in one of my digital folders.

Many of us have used the tried and true binder system. You know…you start the year with a big 2-inch binder. Slowly, everything you create for your class—lesson plans, handouts, supplementary materials—all goes into the binder. Typically this gets organized by unit or by grading period. It works. I do the same thing, but I add a digital component.
It may seem slightly neurotic, but I can find any item in a matter of seconds.

During the years that I taught Pre-AP English I, I compiled a digital folder for each six weeks. I’ve done the same thing for Pre-AP English II and now I’m currently building the same system for 10th grade English. I wish that I had started this system sooner, but I didn’t start thinking about digital organization until about my 3rd year of teaching.

This is so useful when I think about the other side of my job as the content specialist. Since I have to generate lots and lots and lots of content for tutorials, acceleration programs, staff development, whatever—I create a folder for everything I do.

It’s also incredibly important to think about the way that I save a particular item because I want individual files to stay organized within the folder. [I can already hear Suz laughing!] For example, for summer acceleration, I saved all of the Reading lessons in the same way, but I numbered them using an underscore so that it’s easy to see and the magical computer will keep them in numerical order like this:

This makes it so nice for retrieving at a moment’s notice—just ask Suzanne (or anyone, for that matter) how quickly I can send her something when she asks. And even though she makes fun of my obsessive digital folder system, something tells me that her own network folder looks just a little bit different this year!

If your hard drive is a hot mess, my advice is to not clean up what’s already there. Instead, start attending to the way that you save items. In my mind, each document should always, always, always go in a folder. Otherwise, you are left at the mercy of the alphabet and playing that awful mind game of What-did-I-name-that-document-and-where-on-earth-IS-IT?!?!

Stop the madness. Put it in a folder. And yes…in the midst of working on this very post…I stopped, saved as ‘Folder Fiefdom’ and put it in my ‘CC Blog Post’ folder.

Because I rule.

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