Dear Journal…I Finally Found a Way to Stay Organized!

As an intervention specialist who works with 4 different inclusion teachers and meets with students in 6 different rooms daily, I have to be very organized. As a traveling teacher, I find I am always needing something I don’t have with me and running back to my classroom isn’t always an option. None of the rooms, except my own, have a desk or a place to call “my own.” I sit my belongings on tables, bookshelves, counter tops and window sills. I carry a pencil, a pen, and a highlighter – which are usually all lost by the end of the day.

I have tried all different kinds of ways to document, organize, plan, and take notes in the inclusion classroom. I have made charts, tables, and forms on the computer. I have tried writing notes during class and then typing them up later in Word or Excel. I have used folders, binders, clipboards, and bags. Every system seemed to work for a few days, or a few weeks, but I always abandoned them. Sometimes, I think it is possible to be too organized.

Finally, in November of this past school year I found a system that lasted for 3 nine weeks and I plan to use it again this coming fall.

This method is not high-tech or expensive. I use a basic composition book – I opted for one with a faux leather looking cover versus the marbled black and white, because our 8th graders each carry two of those.


I carry it with me all day long and I write everything I think of or need to remember. This includes but is not limited to:

OAA scores, alternative schedules, team notes,

staff meeting notes, IEP/ETR dates,

a day by day plan for each inclusion class,

brainstorming ideas for my Resource Room class,

documentation for my intervention study hall,

small groups for our Rock the OAA days,

lists of missing work and retakes.

I use Post-It Index tabs across the top for my most important pages.

I also keep a supply of sticky notes on the inside of the front cover. Sticky notes are good for daily TO DO lists or notes to students.

I also carry a clipboard with worksheets, study guides, and other important papers.

I wanted to scan the pages and show you some samples of my layouts, but because I write in pencil and because it is very worn, it is hard to read. For that reason, I am going to type up some samples on Notes and show you some ideas of how to lay out the pages.

This is a sample of my documentation for my Intervention Study Hall. I keep brief notes on what we work on each day. This is my “secret weapon” when a student says we didn’t work on an assignment or that I didn’t help him. It also helps me remember what we did when students were absent.


This is a sample of a two page spread for my “This Month” tab. I talk to the inclusion teachers and pencil in the main lesson(s) for the day so I always know what is up. It is also helpful to have this two page spread to glance at because I can see if there are too many tests on a given day and I can plan for my intervention study halls.



This composition book lasted me for 3 nine weeks and there is still room to spare. I can picture 15-20 years from now a whole bookshelf of worn books full of notes. I decided at the end of the year to write a list of my IEP students in the back of the book – just to remember their names. (I wish I had this thought 16 years ago!)

Tweedle Dee bought me this composition book at the Dollar Tree for Christmas. How sweet is that?


She obviously noticed how important my other journal was, as I always carry it in my purse. (You never know when you might think of a good idea). I turned this journal into my “All Access Pass” journal. This is where great ideas begin….


7 responses

  1. […] Sharing my love for journals and organization […]

  2. Finding organizational systems that work is a tough job for anyone, and often deeply personal–especially for those of us who walk into the back-to-school aisles, Staples, or OfficeMax as if we were walking into Mecca. I have two things that work well for someone who likes to change things after they are written down. The low-tech Arc system from Staples lets you remove and replace notebook pages in whatever order you’d like. For my computer files, SugarSync is great. It can be connected to a smartphone, iPad, laptop, or accessed via the web. Check it out if you’ve got the time at

    1. You said the magic word: “Staples”!!! I will check out both suggestions. Thanks for reading and sharing.

  3. Oh. My. Gosh. I’m completely worn out after scanning your notes! Thanks for sharing your ideas!!

    1. Worn out!?! Not sure if that’s a good thing or not!! Being an intervention teacher IS kind of exhausting. I am a queen of multi-tasking. It’s how I work best!

  4. I love being organized and when it comes down to things you want to write in notebooks, it always requires some fine tuning over time. I have so many notebooks that I started in some way and bailed on not too long into it also haha

    1. I used to be the student who would rewrite all her notes every night so they looked perfect. I am over that now…too busy with the rest of my life. You should see my notes now…..they are a crazy, scattered, scribbly mess but I figure it’s all about brainstorming…and storms can be quite messy!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: