Happy New Year!
Every time a new year rolls around, I suck even more at making resolutions for the year. I’m one of those people that don’t technically follow through. I’m not a person you’ll hear say, “New year! New me!” because quite frankly, I like myself. I don’t need to be new.
Then, I saw this quote Friday night (yes, Friday night… I’m super wild and crazy) in my Teachers Pay Teachers Conference notes from this past summer:
And, then I thought to myself… I do need to be different (I know this quote means to be different than everyone else… But I do need to do certain things differently as well). There are a lot of changes I want to make in my classroom to become a better teacher and provide a better learning environment for my kids. And, one way I need to be different is…
I need to leave my school bag at school.
Gasp. Shock! No way. I did this a few weeks ago and it was so exhilarating. It was a small victory to say the least and I celebrated it by not doing schoolwork 🙂
Yes. It’s happening. Maybe not every day, but a good majority of the time… That bag is staying at school in the closet.
Why?! Because I need to give my kids my best self. I need to give my fiancé and my dogs and my family and friends my best self. I’m not giving my best self when I am lugging home a school bag, which let’s be honest, doesn’t usually get touched anyway. And, then I look at it throughout the night and feel guilty about it.
But, here’s the thing…
Here’s my plan to make it happen (and I’m documenting it to keep myself accountable):
1. To-Do Lists that are manageable. I’m going to create to-do lists that I can actually complete and feel good about. One way I make to-do lists is through the Wunderlist app, which you can read about here. Through this app, I never will lose my to-do list and I can add to it at home as well. By keeping it manageable, I will never have more than FIVE things on my list. And they can’t be CRAZY things that I know I won’t get done.
For example, a good example would be: Cut out laminating that I need for Friday.
A bad example would be: Cut out all laminating (because we all know laminating is much easier than cutting laminate).
Another good example would be: Grade today’s center papers
A bad example would be: Grade today’s center papers, math papers, and morning work. That could be nearly 100 pages of work to be graded.
2. Grade the necessary when it’s necessary. Grade and check as a class what you can. For example, my class and I already check our morning work together. Our morning work is required through the district. It’s a math review from our Envisions curriculum. By checking it together, this is a good chance for me to see what my kids know through math talk. After we check (they check with a crayon), I do a speedy fast check around the room to sticker their work (but really I’m taking mental notes about who missed what, who colored on their paper instead of checked, etc.). If there’s someone I need to conference with about their work (whether it be academic or following directions), they place their paper on my small group table for me to remember to pull them over later. If they get a sticker, it goes right into their take home folder. Remember, I teach first grade so I don’t record grades.
3. Use Plan Time Efficiently. This is a big note to myself to stop talking to my coworkers. Our plan time is at the very end of the day and so by that time, I’m craving some adult interaction. I’m very fortunate to work with a team that I love and enjoy, but however that means I just want to talk talk talk. If I want to stop taking things home, then I need to make the most of my plan time.
4. Have your kids help you out. Remember, I teach first grade and I am
not crazy. We have a weird moment of time at the end of the day when we are waiting for bus dismissal. It’s about ten minutes and I usually play Go Noodle for my bus kids (car riders are dismissed before this). During this time, I am usually straightening up my desk and putting things away and what-not. Sometime, I’ve pulled out laminate that I need to cut and my girls flock to me and always want to help. At first, I was very Mother Hen about letting them help me… “You should be up and moving”, “You should enjoy being a kid, not doing my work”, but they always insisted that they wanted to help.
So, I gave them some rules to cutting… 1. Don’t cut the paper 2. Cut slowwwwww 3. Don’t cut the paper 4. Throw the trash in the trashcan, not on the floor or else we can’t see the laminate and it’ll be all over our floor forever 5. Don’t cut the paper.
And, that’s worked for me! Seriously, let your kids help you if they ask! They love to do it. Think of what they are able to help you with and have them help!
5. Ask for volunteers. I was blessed to have so many parents offer their help at Back To School Night back in August. I did have one parent rip and staple all the pages from our Envisions workbooks for me by unit. But…. I am not used to people asking if they can help! I need to learn to say, “Yes, I do need help.” This could be a huge timesaver.
6. Stay organized. If I could learn to file away things the day of, I would not have a ginormous pile of things I need to file away. It is sad really how unorganized I have become this school year.
7. Figure out your big rocks and small rocks. This goes along with number one, but I used to create daily lists of my big rocks and small rocks. Small rocks needed to get finished by the end of the week (or maybe even the next week) and big rocks needed to get finished by the end of the day. Here’s an example of a quick big rocks and small rocks post-it I created one day:
(Cupcake was a paper I needed to copy… I wasn’t actually copying a cupcake… Although eating a cupcake would still count as a big rock to me! Hehe)
If you want a Big Rocks/Small Rocks Planning List, click the picture below for a quick freebie!
Thanks so much for reading! What’s your school resolution?