Disclaimer: I intended on posting this in the early days of summer, but time got away from me. I think the info is still useful, but you be the judge.
Disclaimer 2: This is not all that rocket-sciencey. It’s just how I try to organize new ideas and information for my classes during the off-season.
Disclaimer 3: I know it isn’t Monday. Either I’m really late for last week or really early for this week. I must write when the blog-muses bless me with their presence.
Last summer (2012) I knew I was in the midst of a burnout and wanted to make some serious changes to my classroom routines and lessons. So I started reading books and blogs about grading, teaching, structuring classes, classroom management, etc. and said to myself “Self, how in the world are you ever going to remember all this?” After a bit of thought (read: first idea that came to mind) I decided to keep it simple and portable. Simple meant non-electronic. I love my phone and computer, but when an idea hits I just want to jot it down, not try to type it on some micro-sized keyboard or wait for a program to open. My ideas don’t hang around very long. I gotta seize them when I can get them. Portable meant I needed it with me at all times. Even next to the bed when I slept and in the car when I was travelling. (During which time I always pulled over to write down a thought. Never did I try to write and drive at the same time.)
So, here’s my solution. This one is actually the version I’ve been using this summer (2013) but nothing really changed.
I warned you, it wasn’t rocket science. Heck, I’m not even sure it qualifies as a Made4Math, but it’s one of the few original ideas I’ve ever had, so I’m going with it.
It’s just a simple notebook, umm maybe 5×7 or thereabouts. I threw some small post-it notes on the edge to serve as section dividers, and labelled each one with the classes that were in my schedule for the year. We are on trimester, so each color represents the different trimester. As I came across ideas or thoughts, I just jotted it down under the appropriate tabbed section. Easy-peasy.
I also elected to have a “Miscellaneous” section for all those ideas that weren’t content specific, like behavior management or classroom organization.
I expected to toss it after school got started, but found that it was helpful as I gathered information that would be useful in later terms.
At the end of the year, I went through and was happy to see that I had used a great majority of the stuff I had written down. In years past I would have forgotten most of those ideas the day school started.
At the end of the year I was able to simply rip out the pages that were written on, remove the labels, and start the process again for this school year.