Literacy Daily

Latest Posts
  • Topics
  • Teaching Strategies
  • Teacher Preparation
  • Student Engagement & Motivation
  • Professional Development
  • Classroom Instruction
  • The Engaging Classroom
  • Teaching Tips

A Marie Kondo Approach to Literacy Instruction

By Stephanie Affinito
 | Mar 20, 2019

kids-readingIf you love organization or Netflix, you’ve probably heard of Marie Kondo. This tidying-up expert has transformed households across the world by asking one simple question: Does it spark joy? Rather than view living spaces with disdain and focusing on what to remove or change, Marie focuses on what we love and need to live the life we envision for ourselves. As I completed the process in my own house, I thought, what if we were to do the following:

  • Design classrooms based on the literate learning we hope to achieve?
  • Privilege materials that ensure meaning making and spark joyful learning?
  • Cull excess papers and worksheets devoid of intentional instruction?
  • Weed classroom libraries to ensure relevant, current, and diverse texts for the readers in front of us?
  • Decorate classrooms with student work rather than commercial products?

The following guidelines, inspired by the KonMari Method, will help you create a joyful, productive space:

  • Visualize. Imagine your classroom exactly as you would like it (layout, color scheme, books, writing materials, community spaces, classroom library, etc.). Dream within your physical space but outside the box with possibilities. What kind of literacy practices do you want students to engage in, and what kind of space do you need to support those practices?
  • Tidy your classroom by category, rather than location. Possible categories are textbooks and workbooks, stored books, files, wall hangings and decorations, manipulatives and materials, writing supplies, arts and crafts, worksheets, classroom library books, and sentimental items. Gather items in the middle of the room to comprehend their volume and ensure they reflect the importance we want them to have.
  • Gauge each item’s value. Touch each item and ask if it sparks joyful learning: Does it foster authentic reading, writing, learning, and meaning-making opportunities? Does it have a meaningful purpose for instruction? Value your teaching expertise over all else, and remove items that do not serve your teaching goals. Share them with colleagues or donate to those who need them.
  • Organize for engagement. Once you’ve decided what to keep, store materials in ways that invite students to engage with them. Use clear bins that are easily accessible and neatly labeled. Create homes for each of your items and ensure students can easily understand and access your organizational system. After all, this is their classroom too.

Finally, celebrate learning! Be grateful for the opportunity to grow readers and writers. By using KonMari’s approach in our classrooms, we can cultivate authentic literacy practices and bring joy to teaching and learning.

Stephanie Affinito, an ILA member since 1999, is a literacy teacher educator in the Department of Literacy Teaching and Learning at the University at Albany in New York. She has researched literacy coaching as part of her doctoral studies and focuses much of her current work on how technology and digital tools can impact teacher learning and collaboration. You can find her on Twitter at @AffinitoLit.

Leave a comment

Back to Top

Categories

Recent Posts

Archives