Organizing your games and activities

Looking for ways to organize your digital games and activities? This blog post includes organization suggestions for music teachers as well as any classroom teacher!

I've had such a great summer so far, but I know that with school a month and a half away, I should probably start thinking about the start of the school year. I'm not ready to sit down and write year plans and song lists quite yet (see this post about that process), but I am ready to organize so that the process of writing year plans and song lists is easier.

I know where all of my files, games, and activities are on my computer, but when I purchase a game or activity from another seller, or when I download one for free, it can get lost in a mess of files and folders. Then, even though it's a great file that I should use with my students, I either forget about it or don't know how to find it. So today, I'm going to write about organizing those games and activities.  This will be a three-part blog post; next time, I will write about choosing games and activities, and lastly, I will write about implementing games and activities. Please keep in mind that this process for organizing only works on Macs; see the end of this blog post for info about organizing files on a PC.

I have had a folder in my Dropbox for a year or two called “files to use.” This is where I put anything that I purchase or download that I want to make sure to use. Because my mind works like this, I then put sub-folders into that folder, categorized by topics like rhythm, melody, instruments of the orchestra, etc.

I'm going to focus on rhythm today, and how I just organized that folder even better! Before I did the work, here is what it looked like:

Notice that I have folders for ta and ti-ti, tika-tika, etc., but then I have a bunch of other random files that aren't categorized. Of course, I may forget to use them because they're just sitting there in a mess of other files!
I heard about an amazing way to organize clip art (I will admit, I have a bit of an addiction to all things clip art!) so I decided to use this idea to organize my files. Here is the video I watched, but I'll explain each step in how I organized my games and activities. Keep reading until the end, as I'm sharing the pictures I'm using as a Dropbox link, so you can organize too.


I first went through each file in the folder and made sure it was in the right folder. Some of the games and activities covered more than one rhythm, so I created a various folder.  Then I created pictures that I could use on each folder, so I could quickly visually see what was in each folder. For my beat folder, I opened up the beat jpg I had created (which you can download at the end of this post), and then hit command A, command C, which selected the picture and then copied it to my clipboard.  Then, I clicked on the beat folder so it was selected, like shown below:

 Then, you can either right-click and choose “get info,” or click command-I, so “get info” pops up, like shown below.

 Then, I clicked the small folder icon (next to the word “beat,” in the upper left hand corner), and clicked command-V so it would paste. Now, the beat jpg is decorating the folder!

I did this with all of the sub-folders in my rhythm folder. When I was done, it looked like this:

  …so then I had to drag all of the pictures so they were lined up neatly, like this:

When I was specifically looking at my ta and ti-ti folder, I realized that I had a mess of holiday files. I wanted them organized so when it is winter time, I can find all my winter files easier! I created folders for each holiday, then copied and pasted those pictures. Now it looks so much more organized!

Interested in organizing your digital files? Click this link to download all of the pictures. Let me know if you have any questions. It seems confusing at first, but once you get the hang of it, it's very easy!   Update: If you are a PC user, Malinda at My Musical Menagerie wrote this awesome blog post about doing the same process on a PC!   In my next blog post, I'll discuss how to take all of these games and activities and choose which ones to use throughout the year to further your students' learning! 

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Hi, I'm Aileen

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