Thursday, January 14, 2016

Fresh Start...Working Smarter!

Happy Thursday!  It's Shannon here from Shannon Bryant's Brain Train, and I wanted to share 3 ideas for helping you stay organized by "WORKING SMARTER" in the new year!

Ready for my top 3 tips? Well, here they are...
Focus on what matters!

This year I have purposed to try to avoid distractions.  I have adopted a "classroom catch phrase" to keep my thoughts and efforts centered on what's truly important to me.  You can see my guiding questions here:
By channeling my energy and efforts in this way, I have a clear focus for planning, for instruction, and for assessment.  How about adopting your own teaching motto or guiding principle?  Might be an awesome way to begin the 2nd semester!

Keep a running list!

Each day there are no less than 30 things that need my attention.  Some things I am prepared for, and some things catch me completely off guard.  For example, I knew today I would need to grade 45 student timeline projects...
But I didn't know that I was also going to need to arrange a sub for a dentist appt, update our pacing plan, schedule a conference, and then after school, drive my 10th grader to lip sync practice for School Spirit Week LOL.   

By keeping a running list on my desk at all times I can see what I need to accomplish, what I have already accomplished, and when projects are due.  My jot list is just that...a messy jot list of tasks to take care of, but it is a tool I find instrumental in keeping things running smoothly in my classroom and also at home.  When I fill up one list, I start another.  When I cross everything off, that list goes in the trashcan...and I sigh and smile and savor that sense of satisfaction...for a few seconds at least!

Avoid self-sabotaging and silly mistakes!

Yesterday, just before beginning my Science lesson, I realized that the 3 class sets of copies I had made last Friday afternoon were--in fact--stapled and the WRONG ORDER!  You have got to be kidding me...seriously!  As I stood there frantically undoing staples, re-sorting papers, and trying to maintain order, I realized that I was undoing a mess of my very own making.  
So what is my solution?  Well, I am not perfect, so some of my mistakes are certainly unavoidable.  BUT, the mistakes I make when working in haste can definitely be avoided.  My goal for the new year is to plan at least 2-3 weeks in advance, check and recheck BEFORE beginning a task or pressing start on the copy machine LOL, and being present in every lesson and every decision...after all, it's not the papers that are's my interactions with my students and my enthusiasm for the material.  Even little things deserve my full attention...especially if I want to avoid frantic mornings like this one was!  
I hope these ideas help and that your 2016 is off to a great start.  In this spirit of great organization, how about a printable calendar freebie from me?!  Happy New Year, sweet readers!  Thanks for stopping by!  

Be sure to check back here at the Peach daily for more organizational ideas!