Mid year, my campus received laptop carts for each classroom. With the addition of portable computers, anxiety emerged at rapid fire speed. I’ve witnessed what miniature humans can do to a classroom library. So being the methodical neat freak that I am, I settled my nerves with a little bit of good ol’ fashion organization. With some training and consistent feedback, my little people did an outstanding job caring for our precious machines. I only almost had a anxiety attack once when a computer fell off a desk. #pretendingitdidnothappen

The cart came with 5 computers which were pre-labeled with a  number. Just my style. So I labeled the charging station slots with the same numbers to help my muchkins return their fragile machine to it’s home. However, the pre-labled numbers on the actual computers couldn’t be trusted. A small sticker on the back of a computer would go unseen by 9 year old eyeballs. These computers needed a slightly more in your face reminder. Besides, what graced the desktop upon receiving the cart was aesthetically unacceptable. You know what I’m talking about…

Here we have this standard Macbook desktop image. It’s a nebula for those of you wondering. I can only confirm this because I googled it. And googling it solves life’s conundrums more often than not. Anyway my fellow Mac users, let me be the first to say, “I won’t allow it!”

And let’s not forget about my PC friends. Though a more recognizable image, it’s still gonna be a no from me.

So to please everyone’s eyeballs and nurture my need for organization, I created numbered desktop wallpapers.

I used a sign out sheet to track students’ use of computers and keep them accountable. At a quick glance, anyone who needed to know could figure out who had a particular computer. If computers were not returned to the correct charging slot or if computers were not returned to the cart at all, the sign out sheet revealed the forgetful kiddo. The sign out sheet also served as a waiting list. If all the computers were in use, students would write their name, but not a computer number. This way when a computer became available, a mob of children didn’t trample the computer cart.

I kept the sign out forms in a folder, which was stored inside the computer cart. My third graders filled out the form and I signed my initials when the computer was checked out and then again when it was returned. After my students became independent, I assigned a student job to manage the computer center. My “Computer Caretaker” eventually took over signing computers in and out.

I also posted login reference sheets in the computer center to remind students of their username and password. We use a variety of web-based programs and often students’ usernames and passwords are generated for them. I am the adult in the room and I can’t even remember the specials schedule, so I can’t blame the little people when they can’t remember their username. I just got tired of looking it up for them everyday wanted to instill responsibility and accountability and the reference sheets were a lifesaver.

Please note, the login reference form may not be an effective tool for keeping the computer center clean, as seen here. #FYI #threenager

Find all of my computer center organization resources here!