[semester equivalent = 2.00 credits]



Mary Ann Johnson



As a teacher, there are so many different things you have to keep track of and organize.

Do you feel a bit overwhelmed? Would you like to be more organized?

Have you ever had a student who did his or her homework but just couldn’t find it?

Would you like to know more about helping disorganized students?

Would you like to know about more online resources that can help you organize classroom volunteers, documents, pictures, and other online resources?

This class will teach you about your personal, and organizational style and how to reach your goals. You will learn three effective strategies that can be used to organize your desk, your classroom, your filing cabinet, and even your workspaces at home. You will learn how to use online resources so you can work smarter, not harder. You will also learn how to help disorganized students and families. 


(This course is not available for Group Collaboration. Each assignment must be completed individually.)

LEARNING OUTCOMES: Upon completion of this course, participants will have:

  1. Learned what is holding you back in organizing your teaching and working spaces.
  2. Learned about online resources that can help you organize classroom volunteers, documents, pictures and other forms of media.
  3. Determined what zones you and your students use most in the classroom.       
  4. Defined your goals and activities for becoming more organized.
  5. Created a map of how you would like to organize your classroom.
  6. Learned how to make time tangible and use this skill to improve time organization for you and your students.   

Completion of all specified assignments is required for issuance of hours or credit.  The Heritage Institute does not award partial credit. 


Completing the basic assignments (Section A. Information Acquisition) for this course automatically earns participant’s their choice of CEUs (Continuing Education Units), Washington State Clock Hours, Oregon PDUs, or Pennsylvania ACT 48 Hours. The Heritage Institute offers CEUs and is an approved provider of Washington State Clock Hours, Oregon PDUs, and Pennsylvania ACT 48 Hours.



Continuing Education Quarter credits are awarded by Antioch University Seattle (AUS). AUS requires 75% or better for credit at the 400 level and 85% or better to issue credit at the 500 level. These criteria refer both to the amount and quality of work submitted.

  1. Completion of Information Acquisition assignments 30%
  2. Completion of Learning Application assignments 40%
  3. Completion of Integration Paper assignment 30%


CREDIT/NO CREDIT (No Letter Grades or Numeric Equivalents on Transcripts)
Antioch University Seattle (AUS) Continuing Education Quarter credit is offered on a Credit/No Credit basis; neither letter grades nor numeric equivalents are on a transcript. 400 level credit is equal to a "C" or better, 500 level credit is equal to a "B" or better. This information is on the back of the transcript.

AUS Continuing Education quarter credits may or may not be accepted into degree programs. Prior to registering determine with your district personnel, department head, or state education office the acceptability of these credits for your purpose.



Organizing from the Inside Out. It is available new for $10.20 and used for $1.

  • Organizing from the Inside Out, Second Edition: The Foolproof System For Organizing Your Home, Your Office and Your Life
    ISBN# 0805075895
    by Morgenstern, Julie
    Holt McDougal

    Buy from Amazon


Used text cost at starts at about $1



Assignment #1: Background Profile.

For a Group Collaboration, each member will do a separate Introduction assignment.
Introduce yourself with a background profile in 1-2 pages.
What led you to choose teaching as a profession?
Describe your current professional situation.  What brings you the most joy in your work with students?
What led you to choose this class and what outcomes do you hope to have through this class?
Send to Subject line to read ‘Organizing #1.’  

Assignment #2: Read Chapters 1-3.

If done as a Group Collaboration, each member should submit answers to the first three questions, and one member should add the summary after the group discussion.
Read Chapters 1-3: “A New Way of Looking at Organizing,” “What’s Holding You Back?” & “Living or Working with a Disorganized Person.”
Respond to the questions below in a 1-page paper .
Which areas in the classroom are most disorganized for both you and your students?
What problems do you notice from either your organizational system or your students' organizational systems?
Describe the 3 levels of obstacles for organizing space.
Which obstacle do you think is the most difficult for teachers and why?
Which obstacle do you think is the most difficult for your students and why?
Send to Subject line to read ‘Organizing #2.’  

Assignment #3: Read Chapter 4.

If taking this course as a Group Collaboration, each member should complete this question.
Read Chapter 4: “Analyze: Taking Stock.” Answer the following questions in 2-pages.
I (or my students) can never find my (their) __________. I (or my students) have no place to put ________. There's no room for __________. I (or my students) are tired of ___________. I (or my students) can't _________ because of the clutter. I (or my students) am losing time or money because of ____________. The disorganization makes me (or my students) feel ____________.
What is and is not working for you in your classroom organization? Which items are most essential for you for teaching, grading and planning? Why do you want to get organized?
Send to Subject line to read ‘Organizing #3.’  

Assignment #4: Read Chapter 5.

If taking this in a Group Collaboration, each member should provide the classroom map and the estimate of time to get things organized.  One member should do the Introductory section leading to that specific map.
Read Chapter 5: “Strategize: Creating a Plan of Action” and respond to the following questions in 2-pages.
Define your areas of teaching or zones in the classroom. Include both areas that you use for planning and grading, as well as zones for students. You also might think of activities such as paper distribution and lesson sequencing as types of zones. For each area of teaching or zone explain the activity that occurs there, the supplies needed and what sort of storage units you have. (If you do not have a permanent position, you can do an ideal classroom or a classroom that you have worked in.)  
Draw out a map of your space to determine the best location of each zone in your classroom. What did you discover through the drawing process?  If possible, take a picture or make a PDF of the drawing of the room and send it via attachment.
Estimate the amount of time it will take you to organize the area. Include how long it will take you to sort, purge, assign a home, containerize and equalize.
Send to Subject line to read ‘Organizing #4.’  

Assignment #5: Websites.

Select and read 3 different resources for digital organization, like managing school resources, videos, volunteers, documents, photographs, etc.   Write a 1-page summary of each website.  Include what you learned that you didn't know before.  You can find many commercial websites listed in Appendix C at the end of the book.
For a Group Collaboration, this work can be divided and summarized by one member.
Send to Subject line to read ‘Organizing #5.’

Assignment #6: Read Chapter 6.

In a Group Collaboration, each member should do all but the last question.  One member can submit the final question individually or after a group discussion.
Read Chapter 6: “Attack: Getting the Job Done.” Spend 2 hours following the steps of this chapter in areas of your teaching or classroom. If you are not currently teaching (summer time, etc.) spend 2 hours organizing a zone in your home where you tend to do activities related to teaching.
Describe in 2-3 pages how the assignment was for you.
Which zone of your classroom did you choose? Why?
What were you able to do in a 2 hour time frame?
What was the most useful tip in this chapter?
Send to Subject line to read ‘Organizing #6.’

Assignment #7: Read Chapter 22.

One member of a Group can summarize the information in this chapter after a group discussion of the following questions.
Read Chapter 22: “Conquering the Clock” and answer the following questions in a 1-page paper.
What is working for you and your students? What's not working for you and your students? Which activities are most important for you and your students? What zones of time do you have as a teacher? What was the most interesting idea you learned about in this chapter?
If it is summer time, you can answer the same questions about students that you have worked with in the past.
Send to Subject line to read ‘Organizing #7.’



In this section you will apply your learning to your professional situation.  This course assumes that most participants are classroom teachers who have access to students.  If you are not teaching in a classroom, please contact the instructor for course modifications.  If you are a classroom teacher and start or need to complete this course during the summer, please try to apply your ideas when possible with youth from your neighborhood, at a local public library or parks department facility,  (they will often be glad to sponsor community-based learning), or with students in another teacher’s summer classroom in session.

Assignment #8: Observations/Reflection.

If you are in a Group Collaboration, each member should do this assignment.
Reread the chapter about “Analyze: Taking Stock” and pay close attention to the red dot labels exercise under number 3.
For a week, follow the activity for an area of your teaching or classroom. At the end of the week, reflect on what you learned.
If it is summer time, or you are not currently teaching students, do the same activity with an area in your house that you use for planning, or doing work.
Describe in 2-3 pages the exercise you did and what the results of the exercise were.
Send to  MaryAJohnson-Advisor@comcast.nett. Subject line to read ‘Organizing #8.’

Assignment #9: Lesson Development.

Assignment #9:   (Required for 400 and 500 Level)  For Groups in a Collaboration,  you can each upload a lesson plan, and one person can do the 250 word commentary for Option A or the 500 word essay for Option B.
Option A)
  • Adapt a lesson to reflect what you’ve learned in this course.
  • Implement your lesson with students in your classroom.
  • Write a 250-500 word commentary on what worked well and what could be improved.
  • Include any student feedback on your lesson.
  • For a sample lesson plan template click here.  (
  • Send your modified lesson and your commentary via email to your instructor.
Send to Subject line to read ‘Organizing #9-A.’
Option B) 
  • Adapt a lesson to reflect what you’ve learned in this course. (Do not implement it.)
  • For a sample lesson plan template click here. (
  • Write a 500+ word article concerning any noteworthy success you’ve had as a teacher with one or more students.
  • Please refer to the guidelines on our blog What Works: Teaching at its Best prior to writing your article.  (
  • When you submit your article to your instructor, please also email a copy to Renee Leon THI blog curator and media specialist. (
  • Indicate whether or not you are OK with having your article considered for publishing on our website.  
  • Submit your modified lesson and your article along with your article via email to your instructor.  

Send to Subject line to read ‘Organizing #9-B.’
Option C)  (Use this option if you do not have a classroom available.)

Write a well-developed letter with personal examples of how you made use of the substance of the book. 
(You don't have to send it to the author, but post it for your answer online.)
Send to Subject line to read ‘Organizing #9-C.’

Assignment #10: (500 Level ONLY)

In addition to the 400 level assignments, complete one(1) of the following assignment options:  Each member of a Collaborative Group needs to do this assignment.
Option A)
Do the red dot activity with a student that is having a hard time keeping his/her desk or backpack organized. Write up the results of the case study after a week. If possible, take some before- and-after pictures of the student's backpack or desk or take notes and write a description of what you witnessed before and afterwards. How did the student feel about the exercise? What changes was the student able to make?
If it is summer, you may adapt this idea to use for a family member or yourself.
Send to Subject line to read ‘Organizing #10-A.’
Option B)
Have your students use the organizing project process (Appendix A) with a zone that they use frequently. (Ex. Binder, desk, backpack etc.)  If you work with younger students, you may need to guide them through the 3 steps without using the worksheets.
How did your students feel about this activity? Do you think this is a valuable skill for students to learn? What impact did the activity have on students?
Send to Subject line to read ‘Organizing #10-B.’
Option C) 
Review chapter Chapter 18, "Kids' Rooms," and  create a set of ideas you could put into a parents' newsletter to help parents benefit from the ideas in the book.
Send to Subject line to read ‘Organizing #10-C.’  
Option D)
Create a presentation or handout for your colleagues on the ideas in this book.  If you wish to make an 8-10 slide power point for the presentation, that would also be a good alternative.
Send to Subject line to read ‘Organizing #10-D.’


Assignment #11: (Required for 400 and 500 level)

(Please do not write this paper until you've completed all of your other assignments.)

  1. What did you learn vs. what you expected to learn from this course?
  2. What aspects of the course were most helpful and why?
  3. What further knowledge and skills in this general area do you feel you need?
  4. How, when, and where will you use what you have learned?
  5. How and with what other school or community members might you share what you learned?

Send to your instructor at their email address. Subject line to read  "(put course name here) Integration Paper"


Instructors will comment on each assignment. If you do not hear from the instructor within a few days of posting your assignment, please get in touch with them immediately.


Mary Ann Johnson, M.Ed Adm. has worked with students of all levels, from alternative high school to gifted classes. She has also been a junior high vice principal and is now working with teachers for continuing education in classes, distance learning and building leadership groups. She is a teacher emeritus who has led seminars for educators which focus on developing a quality learner environment for students and for teachers. Her courses are research-based and resonate with user-friendly and energizing content.



Boushey, G., Moser, J. The Daily Five: Fostering Literacy Independence in the Elementary Grades. 2014. Portland, Main: Stenhouse Publishers. ISBN-10: 9781571104298  Designed to help teachers organize their reading block and more time teaching, this book demonstrates to teachers how to have students become independent learners during literacy time. There are also ideas about organizing classroom libraries and other spaces used for reading time. Teachers have students read to self, read to a partner, listen to reading, write and work on word work while the teacher conferences and works with small groups. This teaches you how to organize your literacy block so you are not having the students do busy work, which you will then need to grade.
Covey, Stephen, Merrill A. Roger, and Merrill, Rebecca R, First Things First,1996, Fireside, pb, 371 pages.  The problems of time management are addressed for people who feel they are squeezed when their personal life goals and the rest of their life are out of balance.  The key difference lies in analyzing  how to balance the clock and the compass.  Sometimes it is a wake-up call that makes this a timely book, and sometimes it is just a vague feeling of dissonance, but you will find some interesting self-reflections in this book with a look at the eight approaches to time management, and how to tell which is the best to bring your life into balance.  Also available as an audio book!
Jones, F. Fred Jones. Tools for Teaching: Discipline, Instruction, Motivation, 3rd Edition, 2013. Santa Cruz: Fredric H. Jones Associates.
ISBN-10: 9780965026321   While this book has a lot of information on motivation and discipline, it has some invaluable chapters on how to organize the classroom space to increase on-task behavior for students. The book includes many different layouts for the classroom.
McGonigal, Kelly, The Willpower InstinctHow Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do to Get More of It, 2013, Avery Publications, pb, 275 pages. It doesn’t take long to see how many ways this highly readable book will impact your thinking about your own effectiveness in accomplishing your goals in all areas of your life.  It is written by a Stanford PhD who teaches a life course that is among the most popular in the history of Stanford’s Continuing Studies program,. She also writes for Psychology Today.  You will find yourself on every page!
Morgenstern, Julie and Morgenstern-Colón, Jessi, Organizing from the Inside Out for Teenagers:  The Foolproof System for Organizing Your Room, Your Time and Your Life, 2002, pb, unknown publisher, but available from 3rd party sources on Amazon.
Morgenstern, Julie. Time Management from the Inside Out: The Foolproof System for Taking Control of Your Schedule and Your Life. 2004. New York: Henry Holt and Company.  ISBN 978-0-8050-7590-8.  This book teaches a variety of skills for time management, or organizing your time, and how to create a life balance that is designed for your life.
Morgenstern, Julie. Organizing from the Inside Out, Second Edition: The Foolproof System For Organizing Your Home, Your Office and Your Life. 2004. New York: Henry Holt and Company. ISBN-978-0-8050-7589-2.  This book focuses on organizing spaces using your own personal style. It includes general ideas on how to organize as well as specific strategies for different types of workspaces.
Powell, A. The Cornerstone: Classroom Management That Makes Teaching More Effective, Efficient, and Enjoyable. 2ND ed, 2009. Due Season Press.
ISBN-10: 0982312709.  Mostly for elementary teachers, this book has all sorts of templates and ideas for organizing workstations, classroom libraries, behavior management and parent contact notes.