I can honestly say that I’m one of those teachers who just can’t shut off over the holidays.
I spend lots of time thinking about all the things that are coming up in the new year, or in the next term. What are the new resources that I’ll need? Can I find any great online resources or tools to support learning in my classroom? Can I make connections with other educators to further my own knowledge and understanding? How can I streamline my paperwork?
One thing I’ve been working on over these Summer holidays has been the last question on the list. I’m terrible with paperwork – absolutely and utterly hopeless. My papers get thrown on a pile and left there until the end of the term/semester/year. (Another goal is to learn to be clutter-free, but that’s a whole other story.)
My solution is Evernote.
By now you’re probably going, ‘Yeah, Stef, you’ve talked about Evernote before.’
And I have. Inspired by Bec Spink I experimented with Evernote very briefly last year using a checklist to track students who were returning their communication folders and readers each day. I intend to keep using that particular checklist in 2012 because it only takes a couple of minutes and gives me a very accurate record. Here’s a screenshot of what my checklist looks like (ready for first term):
I’m going a bit further by using Evernote as a digital portfolio of student work and assessment.
My goal is to, ultimately, have a very complete record of student capabilities when it comes time for report writing and parent interviews. (It’ll also be handy so that I don’t have to cart workbooks to and from school – always a bonus!)
I’ve set up notebooks for each student in my class so that I can add the following items throughout the year:
- writing samples (once a month)
- reading samples, audio (at least 2)
- running records
- assessment pieces across the curriculum (as completed)
- anecdotal records
- behaviour logs
The majority of this work will be collected as a photo (taken on my ipad) and stored as a new note in each student’s notebook. I’m also going to make use of the audio note taking to record students reading.
The brilliant thing about Evernote (and other cloud storage programs) is that it syncs across multiple devices, so that I can add new notes and access everything from my iPad, my iPhone and my laptop. So, if I forget one of the devices somewhere (or I forget to charge my iPad… it’s been known to happen!) I can still access all of my files.
I’ve also started using it to store all of my PD notes, meetings, and ideas for my classroom.
I’m sure I’ll be adjusting my plans (adding and adjusting) as the year goes on. But having these tools available to us as teachers really gives us a lot of room to experiment and discover what works and what doesn’t work.
So that’s one of my goals!
Did you set any goals for teaching this year?
Do you have any other excellent tools for being organised (or even just tips)?