I was reading an article for grad school the other day on a pretty basic topic that I don't consciously think about all of the time. While I was reading it, I was thinking, I know this, and its just ingrained in my teaching - I don't need to make a effort to do this." There are pieces you read that go much deeper into theory and pedagogy, and you have to have some of those basic "good skills" down in order to be able to take this piece by Tom Drummond, for example. You can't exactly use the advice put forth there if you are constantly running around, throwing paper up onto the easel on one side of the room and trying to get children to engage with puzzles on the other side of the room while washing the snack dishes for lunch and making sure no one is doing the potty dance.
The point is, organization is what makes everything work - it is what allows us to get deeper into topics and ideas and work with children because we have the time. Yesterday, something happened that, I felt, was a revelation of an idea. Many of the younger children in my classroom do not write their name, and I also like to try to get some of their words about their work onto the paper. That said, I don't write on the front of a child's paper - I think of that as their workspace. So I write on the back. But when a child begins telling a narrative rather than a few words about what it "is", I cannot remember all of that for ten the child is done looking at the front of the work so I can draw on the back.
So, in steps organization to save the day, my time, and my focus. There are now small mailing labels on sheets tacked to the wall in the maker's area with a pencil on a string next to it. So if a child begins to paint before I put their name on their painting, no sweat. I just write their name and their thoughts at the end and stick it on the back. We're sculpting and keeping the product? That's cool - I just write their name on a label as they sit down to sculpt and I add their dictation later, then put it right on the parchment paper next to the clay. No more trying to write on the back of wet paintings; no more searching for a pen that I left on the other side of the room - and a lot less waiting for the children. That potentially means more time for me engaging with children in other ways.