Back-to-school season has all of us thinking about how we can maximize our resources for the school year! I have worn out likely hundreds of dry erase markers in my career as a teacher. Listing objectives and agendas, drawing charts and graphs, and recording whole-class brainstorming takes a toll on those felt tips over time…not to mention my writing arm! Some years I had a dedicated classroom in which I could prepare the chalkboard or whiteboard before school or at the end of the day for the next morning but other years I was tasked with traveling between classrooms and trying to beat the students to the room so I could frantically write on the minimal, available whiteboard space before they arrived so as not to waste any instructional time. I am happy to say that after 20 years I have found a better way!! Most people agree that Google Slides is a priceless tool because of its versatility…Kasey Bell of Shake Up Learning often refers to it as the Swiss Army Knife of G Suite. I have recently started using a SINGLE SLIDE to replace all of that whiteboard writing altogether! I created one slide to simply resemble the arrangement of information on my whiteboard. (Get your template here and go to File>Make a Copy.)
Once I had my template in Slides, I copied and pasted it until I had one for each class period. Continue reading
In a workshop that I was leading this week, one teacher was so excited about the work we were doing she blurted out, “I am more excited about planning for next year than I am for summer vacation!” While we all need our summer vacation to recharge and have fun, most of you can probably relate to this. All teachers reflect throughout the school year, but especially when a new year is in sight and we have some downtime to really consider how we want to make the changes that will have the most positive impact on our students. If you’re like me, you love your thoughtful and meaningful lesson planning to look great as well. I am not ashamed to admit that I have been known to order a new lesson plan book (and sticky notes and colored sharpies and…) in the spring prior to a new school year. But my pretty, color-coded planner is not where all the hard work gets done. In fact, my planning is anything but pretty because I am usually surrounded by piles of resources such as state standards, district curriculum maps, books, journals, and past years lesson planners. BUT as so many of these resources are now going digital, so too is my curriculum planning.
For me, the best things about planning digitally are:
Flexibility…being able to edit endlessly and save copies of multiple versions with the click of a button!
Efficiency: Linking the resources you plan to use all in one document and cutting/pasting from a variety of sources is a huge time-saver! Continue reading