Monday, August 2, 2010

Can You Help Me Get Organized?

As a teacher with learning issues, I struggle constantly with keeping on top of all of the tasks and paperwork that comes with my job. I'm approaching my fifth year as a teacher and I still haven't figured out a system that will work for me. So I thought I should ask my PLN - the wonderful educators from around the world who make me feel smarter.

Can you help me? Do you have any favorite tools (Web 2.0 or otherwise) that you just can't imagine getting through your day without? More importantly, how exactly do you use that tool? What is the feature that you just can't live without?

If you have any suggestions, would you be willing to fill out this Google Form:

All of the responses will appear here:

I greatly appreciate any help you can offer. I am determined to find some ways to make my job easier this year!

Thank you!!


Nick Senger said...

I once heard former teacher Sandy LaBelle speak, and she has some very practical organizational tips for teachers in her books at

They're not high-tech solutions, but some are very good.

My most-used organizational tool is my word processor. I use Apple's Pages, but I Word works just as well. I use it for lesson plans, writing them in sequence, numbering them Lesson 1, Lesson 2, etc. I find that better than the little square boxes of a lesson plan book. Plus, I can edit them easily for next year, and make notes on what went well and what didn't.

I also keep all of my school documents on so I can access them from home, school or my smart phone. Things like class lists, unit plans, letters to parents, etc, I keep in folders named 2009-2010, 2010-2011 and so on. I also have subject-area folders with assignments, handouts, videos, mp3s, and other class resources.

Looking forward to hearing the other ideas you get here.

Paula Montrie said...

This is a great post - I've enjoyed reading all of the suggestions in the spreadsheet, and I love seeing Google Spreadsheets in use. Thank you!

I have a couple of low-tech suggestions in my spreadsheet entry that help deal with all the paper clutter that still comes through, despite the fact that our school's Moodle platform has eliminated a lot of of that.

cnansen said...

The best advice I was ever given was to schedule time for yourself (including your family) on your calendar. Then if someone wants to schedule something with you at that time you can honestly say "sorry, I already have something scheduled at that time."

Anonymous said...

Karen: What a WONDERFUL Post! Could everyone perhaps enter their Twitter ID specifically in the form? I'd LOVE to add y'all to my PLN on Twitter! This would make a wonderful #edchat topic, Karen, if it hasn't been done already. I'd love to see a lot more suggestions compiled into one document, too! Thanks for doing this!

Peggy George said...

What a great topic for us to collaborate on! I have always been a very organized person but it has gotten so much easier with technology. I'll definitely add to your spreadsheet. :-) One of my favorite resources (not tech) is a book called "Crazy Busy" by Edward Hallowell. He writes about our ADD world and all of the things we do that keep us "crazy busy"and then he gives lots of practical suggestions for what to do about it and become more stress-free while getting more done.

Here are just a few examples of his advice: "Set boundaries around your time instead of just reacting to demands. This will help you establish your rhythm." "Don't feel you must be perfectly organized. Just get well enough organized so that disorganization doesn't keep you from reaching your goals." "Don't spend more time than you must to get good at what you're bad at or don't like." "Always watch out for the hijackers of your time, attention and energy."

I'm looking forward to reading the suggestions of others!