Monday File Clean Out

I’ve been meaning to clean out my files. However, it’s one of those jobs that keep getting put off. I have 16 years of curriculum, lessons, and grad school materials sitting in my filing cabinets. I have four cabinets in my home office and two more in the basement. Two of the four in my office are lateral files and hold probably double of a standard file drawer. We won’t include the stacks of folders on my closet floor right now!

Anyway, I have wanted to move the lateral file into the corner space in my office. It’s been empty since last June when our middle son moved to a town two hours away and took the dresser that stood there, storing some old clothes. But, to move the filing cabinet, I need to clean out the files. It’s too heavy to move with everything still inside.

I thought that it would be a perfect time to go through my old lesson files and weed them out. I’ve been at it for over an hour this morning and have barely made a dent.

Sitting next to me, are writer’s circle files. They are files I extracted over a month ago but have not done a thing with yet. There’s a file on pour quoi and myths, a file on past student work (I’ll get back to those treasures in a minute), a huge – catch all – file for general writer’s circle materials, a file for creative writing ideas, graphic organizers, journaling, brochure making (we did this in writer’s circle), expository writing, persuasive writing, Seuss type story writing (please do not jump on me for this), as well as a file on a amaryllis bulb data project from 2016 that was from a project I did with the third grade students in 2016. This file must have “snuck” in the writing pile somehow. I haven’t touched those files. Yet!

Once inside the top lateral file drawer, I started pulling the files out. The files I cleaned but saved were:



Pollinators (general)

Karner Blue Butterflies


Peace Gardens


New Lesson Ideas

Citizen Science


Experiential Learning

Curriculum Development

2018-19 NWIS Garden Club

Place Based Education

and more……..

You get the idea. Lots of lesson outlines, resources, media for handouts, and ideas. Most of it will be saved. But, some got pitched. I also pitched things on professional development, outdated resources, emails, and non-essential pieces saved for a reason I failed to come up with when I was in the midst of pitching.

Here’s the thing – I’m only half way through the first drawer! UGH! This is a big, big project that I’ve gotten myself into. However, I want the file moved, and I know that this is the only way it is going to happen! So, I plan to spend a couple of hours a day weeding out my garden of ideas and past lessons.

But, I have already found some treasures. There was a group of Acrostic Poems from the last time I taught about bulbs at the Northwoods International School in an adjacent town.


T errifc

U seful

L ovely

I nfinite

P urple

Student unknown, 2019


P erfect

L ovely

A mazing

N ovel

T ulips

S uper

By Priscilla, NWIS Garden Club student, 2019



B eautiful

U nique

L ovely

B eauty

S uper

By Caroline, NWIS Garden Club Student, 2019

As I went to put these in the proper folder, I found more student work I had saved.

These made my morning worth it!

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