I’m Jodi and I am the author of The Clutter-Free Classroom Blog and creator of all the downloaded resources found here. I am a National Board Certified Teacher with 17 years of classroom experience teaching pre-K, kindergarten, first, second and third grade. I’ve loved each for different reasons. That is the quick summary version. The more detailed explanation of who I am and what qualifies me to write articles and design resources for elementary teachers can be found by scrolling down to the bottom of this page. I am passionate about helping teachers like you be the best educator you can be in a classroom with less mess and less stress. It is my mission to provide you with time-saving tips, tools, and strategies that will allow you to close the classroom door, leave the job behind, and enjoy your personal life on nights, weekends, and school vacations without guilt or sacrificing the quality of your work.
On a personal note…I am a mom of three (a son and identical twin girls). My husband and I collaboratively homeschool them all (now that is a sentence I never in a million years thought I would write and a blog post of its own waiting to happen) and are absolutely loving the experience. We are from the Boston area and are currently taking advantage of the flexibility of a homeschool schedule to enjoy living on the gulf coast of Florida when there is snow or frost on the ground and the air would make my face hurt up north. In the summer and early fall we can be found in New England.
Did you ever take one of those career aptitude tests? In high school, our school guidance counselor administered them to each of us, and according to my answers, I would have been perfect in the role of “beautician” or “forest ranger.”
That was comical for three reasons.
I rocked a ponytail in a scrunchie throughout high school, and aside from a very unfortunate incident involving a bottle of Sun-In, hair products were not my thing.
Nature is most definitely not my thing. In fact, I would describe myself as “an indoor type.” Sure I love the beach, but I try my best to avoid all other unpaved outdoor surfaces.
I am one of those people who has always known I wanted to be a teacher. I can’t remember ever wanting to do anything else (certainly nothing in the cosmetology or forestry fields).
And so I promptly checked the education box under the “intended major” section of my college application and never looked back.
After graduating from college, I quickly learned that in the northeast it was very challenging to gain experience as a teacher without an actual teaching job and even harder to get a job as a teacher without teaching experience. Florida, on the other hand, had many positions to fill (and lots of sun and fun) so off I went with my hopes and dreams (and only as much stuff as I could fit into my wee little Mazda Miata).
Fast forward two years…I moved back to the Boston area with a large moving van jam-packed with the contents of my classroom (towing a much more sensible vehicle that also had junk in the trunk in the form of picture books, bulletin board trims, and collection of mugs with cutesy teacher saying on them.
Over the three years that followed, I was moved from one classroom to another. Both times I moved, I took the place of retiring teacher who “gifted me” everything they had accumulated in a combined 82 years of teaching. Both of them literally walked out the door and left EVERYTHING behind.
I then changed grade levels annually for the five years (2nd, 1st, Kindergarten, 2nd, and finally 3rd) and was constantly adding new resources to my collection along the way…while also holding on to the old ones in case I returned to a previously taught grade level.
As a result, I had TOO MUCH STUFF! I was spending most of the waking hours of my life in a Clutter-FILLED Classroom and it was playing a toll on my health, happiness, and well-being.
I constantly felt stressed and overwhelmed. It impacted my teaching negatively, made me look like a hoarder and caused me to waste so much time reshuffling things and searching for items lost in the clutter.
It was time to get serious about organizing my classroom space and purging, donating or recycling the resources that were not serving a valuable purpose to my students or me.
I read books and articles about home organization. I tweaked and applied those tips and strategies to make them applicable to the classroom. Next, I focused on finding the best ways to organize and manage my teaching environment. Finally, I turned my attention to creating ways to decorate our learning space so it would be inviting and comfortable, yet visually clutter-free, so my students could focus, learn, and reach their potential.
When my son was born, I had the privilege of taking an entire year off to be home with him.
And while he napped I started a blog back before teaching blogs were a thing. I am a trend-setting pioneer in that way.
I had already been presenting at workshops and consulting with teachers on ways to set up, decorate, and organize their classroom by that time, and the blog became an extension of those roles. By request, I began making my classroom resources available to teachers online and was the first to create classroom theme decor packages for teachers.
As part of my workshop presentations I wrote The Clutter-Free Classroom Guide to Organizing Your Classroom so that the attendees would have a resource to take with them. When I opened my online teacher store I listed it as one of my first products and things somehow took off from there. Clutter-Free Classroom is now an official family business (complete with an LLC after the title…fancy huh?) and we are having fun learning the ropes of what all that means along the way.
I have since created a HUGE Classroom Management Bundle and an EXTREMELY THOROUGH Guided Math / Math Workshop Bundle to complement the original guide as well as hundreds of other quality teaching resources to my available collection.
It has been a wonderful journey and I feel so blessed to have the honor of doing what I now do. I am so grateful to my readers and it is a true honor to have the privilege of playing a role in classrooms around the world.
To learn more about my experiences, education, and qualifications for writing curriculum, mentoring educators and designing educational resources, I welcome you to explore the information below. If you are interested in receiving three useful teaching tips and a free resource delivered to your inbox once a week, I encourage you to join the Clutter-Free Classroom Email Club.
Each week we send a free teaching resource for elementary teachers directly to your inbox. Sign up to get them here.
HERE ARE SOME OTHER WAYS TO SEE ALL THAT WE CREATE FOR YOU:
I encourage you to start following me on Instagram.
I’ve been sharing lots of classroom organization and management ideas over there.
I also host a FREE Facebook Group for Teachers. It is a place for you to ask questions and get answers that will help to make the important work you do each and every day easier. Of course, you are welcome to just read along too.
The group was formed with the goal of being a positive place where I could connect with teachers and help to offer solutions to common problems such as:
- getting rid of all those PILES of paper
- creating easy systems for staying organized throughout the year
- finding ways to create a classroom that runs itself
- saving you time so you can reclaim your nights and weekends
The Clutter-Free Classroom Facebook Group – Solutions for BUSY Teachers is a very supportive and friendly community. We would love to have you join us.