Thursday, April 21, 2016

Rearranging the Books


It was Thursday (or day four) of my week in the 11th grade English class. Period 4 was the creative writing group.

Like many English teachers do, Ms. E has a bookcase filled with various novels. Students are allowed to borrow these novels on reading days (Mondays) or after quizzes (when they're supposed to be doing something silently). Ms. E's bookcase looked like it got many borrows, with various books stacked haphazardly when students returned a book without fitting it back into the shelves as neatly as it had been when they took one.

I didn't think much of it. But, apparently, someone couldn't stand the look of it.

London walked in, took a look at the shelves, and decided that she could stand it no longer. She was going to fix them. The period hadn't yet started, but she did. She pulled books off the shelves and onto her table. Her tablemate arrived, and she pulled her into the task as well.

They did have an assignment. (Of two short stories we had read, they were to figure out how to adapt one into a movie.) London promised she'd get it done.

(I could have stepped in and said no. But I didn't see the harm in letting her straighten the books.)

They'd barely started their task when I noticed something. I mentioned that when one alphabetizes books (as the girls decided to do), they're generally alphabetized by author's last name. But they had started alphabetizing by title, so they kept on doing it that way.

Well, it wasn't like there was any rhyme or reason to it before...

It took them about half the period. (If I had known the bookcase was going to get a makeover, I totally would have taken a picture of it before. Ah well...) At least it turned out neat...


This is a vast improvement over how it was before.

The girls hope that Ms. E is going to notice, but they think she might not. She should. Things like this get mentioned in my note.

Have you ever been so annoyed by someone else's clutter that you took it upon yourself to straighten up? How are your bookshelves organized (or are they)? 

Today's A to Z Challenge post brought to you by the letter...

Knitted R, monogrammed R, gift card holder

41 comments:

  1. At one time I had all my bookshelves arranged by subject matter but they've gotten pretty mixed up over the years. Now my digital books are sorted on my Kindle by subject but I barely keep up with it.

    @Kathleen01930
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    #AtoZchallenge

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    1. I wish there was a good way to organize my digital books. I don't even want to think about how many of those I have.

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  2. The bookcase looks great!
    Your questions:
    1. No, someone's else's clutter generally doesn't bother me (probably should).
    2. My bookshelf is supposed to be organized? Uh, oh.

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  3. You seem like a lovely teacher, the type who inspired me back in the day. They did a nice job organizing! I took it upon myself to hang up my guy's laundry when we moved in together. My husband still has a "once warn" pile of articles he'll wear again, but at least he uses a hamper now. Hanging clothes, however, is not a skill he possesses. Shirts end up mangled and barely hanging on. o_O What can you do?
    Awakening Dreams and Conquering Nightmares with a Pen
    Happy blogging!

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    1. Not my class. Only "mine" for the week...

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    2. Even a week can make a difference in a developing mind. :)

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  4. How "novel." To sort by title. Inventive. Yes, where I work being obsessive-compulsive is an aid, so all of us tend to straighten things as we go through our blood center.

    I once taught creative writing. It was fun. Most of the students became truly engaged in creating something out of nothing.

    In my THE STARS BLEED AT MIDNIGHT, I have my hero tell an evil mummy-child, "The Great Mystery created everything out of nothing. But in you, missy, the nothing shows."

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  5. I tend to sort other people's clutter, but I'm kind of oblivious to my own ;) I sort my books by language and then by series.

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    1. That's funny. I hate my clutter, but can be oblivious to others'.

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  6. Young girls with initiative. Good for them. I hope the teacher notices and thanks them publicly, but like you said, she probably won't.
    I work with someone whose office is the most disorganized place -- heaps of papers, files everywhere (floor, etc). I don't know how she can focus with all that mess around her. Now and then when I go into her office, I straighten a file or a book here and there, but to clean it all up ... I wouldn't even know where to begin. Plus, she swears she knows where everything she needs is located in that mess.

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    1. For some reason, the messy do know where their things are. Even though it looks like disorganization to the rest of us.

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  7. I don't think I would re-arrange for someone else but it seems like the girls did a good job. I get annoyed with my own clutter but I just can't seem to get the initiative to get things organized! I guess it just doesn't bother me enough yet!

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    1. I guess because they're in there day after day it finally got to them.

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  8. I think it was a good use of their time. I've often been tempted to fix messes I've seen. Even if I don't know the person making it.

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  9. Hmm, uh, yes! Ross! Once a year, we re-do his closet. His desk, well I can't even. As he says, "I know where everything is'

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  10. LOL when the kids were younger I would "reorganize" their rooms when I couldn't stand to walk by them any more with the clutter, etc :)

    They did a nice job with the organizing the books!! I'm sure the teacher appreciated it and was glad you included it in your note :)

    betty

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    1. Maybe. She did appreciate the details...

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  11. No, but I get annoyed enough at my own clutter I have to straighten it. The girls did a great job with the books. It looks fabulous :)

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  12. Good on her, the shelves look great! Books are something I like to look quite neat although it would take me so long to alphabetize all my books so they aren't in any real order
    Debbie

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    1. It took them about a half hour to do. With two people and lots of space to work.

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  13. I think this girl should be commended for doing this. She took the initiative and cleaned something up. Even if it is not done by the author, she still cleaned it up. I have a library and it is organized...has to be

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    1. Author would have made more sense. Especially since there were several series. Like Divergent.

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  14. That would be me. I like things tidy!

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    1. I do, too. But I can ignore bookshelves that aren't mine.

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  15. You did a great job. I organize books by subject. Thank you for the kind words you left on my blog for the loss of Spooky.

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  16. I need these girls to come organize my bookcase! They did a great job. You are a very brave woman! I remember how my classmates treated substitutes back in the late 80's and I can't imagine how what it must be like now!

    Shelly @ http://hangryfork.com

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    1. Sometimes it's okay. Like today they're pretty much ignoring me. But they're seniors, and the teacher stated in the lesson plan they already have senioritis, so I can live with that.

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  17. I would totally be that student! I'm better at organizing other people's messes than my own, lol. At the pharmacy I work at, I am constantly straightening and re-alphabetizing the medications. I often wonder if my co-workers are really that oblivious to the disaster our shelves get in sometimes! My bookcase is separated by genre and author last name.

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    1. I would do that when I worked in retail. The bookcase didn't hit my threshold, though.

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  18. I wish you could send London to my house to straighten a few things up. Is she a bit OCD?

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    1. Yeah, she is. At least, she said she was.

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  19. As long as the books' spines are facing me on the shelves so I could read the titles, I'd call that "organized."

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  20. I sure have. Use it or lose it is my philosophy. They're lucky I only cleaned rather than gave it all away to charity.

    I’m exploring different types of dreams and their meanings.
    S is for Sleep Paralysis
    Stephen Tremp’s Breakthrough Blogs

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    1. Remind me not to invite you over.

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  21. I had one of those bookshelves in my classroom, arranged by alphabetically and by height because I am an OCD-ridden freak. My students knew this and would occasionally 'rearrange' it for me.

    It's great that you mentioned what those students did in your note. That bookcase looks good. :)

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  22. That looks real nice. My mom always wants to organize my clutter when she visits. Then I spend months after she goes back home trying to figure out where all my stuff is. lol

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