Thursday, March 17, 2016

Don't Re-Read... Re-Listen!

Kids always ask me if I get tired of re-reading the same book year after year, sometimes 3-4 times in that same year with different class periods. Yes. Yes I do! Since I've already read the book several times, it's hard to motivate myself to legitimately re-read a book, chapter by chapter, so I don't accidentally give away information that's forthcoming. I annotate all over my books and on notes pages, so I already have the information I know is important, but it's really not the same to teach it from memory a year ago, as it is to re-read like the kids.

Confessions of what I've done to avoid this, especially when pressed for time, and it comes between planning/grading, or re-reading:
- SparkNotes/Shmoop...::I know, I know, don't throw things at me::
- Skim
- Just review my annotations

None of these work that well for me.

Last year I decided to get the books that I teach on audio. This has been a HUGE time-saver!! Think about it: going for a walk with the dog? Listen to chapter 2. Driving home from (or, in emergencies, to) work? Listen to the last few pages you didn't finish in class. I, for one, would rather read books for fun that I haven't read yet when I'm at home, rather than re-read TKAM for the gajillionth time. This is just one of the ways I've learned to maximize my time to get all of my work done, but have a life outside of school that I love.

Additionally, I try to find free audio links online for the kids and post it in Google Classroom so they can do the same, because really, who wants to be inside when it's 65 degrees out in March? ;)

What other tricks or tips do you have to maximize your reading and personal time? I'd love to hear them!

Happy Teaching,

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Way led on to way...

...and I doubted if I should ever come back! But I did. Wow. My last post was in August...that was so long ago! As is the life of a teacher...

I have had so many post ideas since the beginning of the year, but as you all know, when something isn't a habit in our schedules it tends not to happen. I've made it a goal this month to get back to blogging. Thank you to anyone who has been reading.

Like many people, I created a litany of New Year Resolutions back in January, and also like many people, some have stuck, and some never got going. (Obviously one that didn't get going-until now-was the blog!) Others HAVE stuck, or at least got moving, and they were thanks to several new changes.

1. Maximize work at work, and less work at home, thanks to:
Click Here for Tips!
I joined this club back in October, but the daily time organization system has stuck well into the new year, and I finally feel in control of the endless "to-do."

2. Be accountable for goals and my time at home. Got a personal PAPER planner that I love to plan, goal, dream, and scribble in from InkWellPress. I always used a paper planner until I graduated college and started using Google Calendar. I now use both. A paper planner lets me write down my goals for the month, and record them daily. I got the blue wooden chevron design.
Start Planning Here!
Big Sky Fitness!
3. Exercise more in the winter. I joined a new gym and signed up for teacher yoga classes after school. I was already a member of a gym, but I never felt welcome by the employees, or other people working out. It felt very "corporate." This new gym I joined is only in CT right now, but if you can't get yourself to the gym, it might be the actual building that feels uninviting, not the lack of motivation to exercise (although that is still certainly the case with me sometimes! Who really WANTS to work out?!). I also signed up for another 6-week session of yoga with four other teachers and we practice right after school in someone's classroom. Newer yoga teachers are often willing to offer discounted classes for teachers to get their businesses started. Our current teacher was "new" three years ago, but still charges us a discounted rate!

Whatever your goals were back in January, pick one to even just think about today. Happy half-way through the year!