Back to school is just around the corner. Before you know it you will be back in your room straightening the desks, making copies and sharpening pencils, but before you jump right back in to the chaos and commotion that school can bring take just a moment to organize yourself. A few web tools will do this for you. Use these tools on Mac or PC and find high functioning apps for many of the mobile devices as well.
You know it’s important to take notes and document what goes on in your classroom. Are you good at this task? I’m not. I know people use journals or even take notes directly on a calendar, but for me that’s all a big fail–until I started using Evernote. With Evernote I can take notes, add images, post audio and pdf documents that can then be tagged, or categorized.
A few things I do with Evernote:
- Keep notes about parent and student phone calls.
- Record notes about behavior and interventions.
- Keep up with to-do lists and other things I don’t want to forget.
- Take notes from conferences.
- Document professional development, committee meetings, and other events I participate in related to school.
Between my personal and school computers it seems that the file or assignment I am working on is never where I need it. With Dropbox I easily add a file to a folder on my desktop that in turn saves on the Internet that I can then access any Dropbox folder on any of the computers I am using. How cool is that? And get this– I can also share files with students, which makes turning in assignments online super easy.
Ever save a website under ‘favorites’ on your computer only to realize you saved it at school instead of at home or visa versa? Have you ever lost all of your saved favorites because of computer reimaging? Diigo is a social bookmarking site that lets you save your favorite websites externally, so you can get to them from anywhere. In addition to merely bookmarking sites, you can add tags, or categories, as well as notes on why you like it or how you’d use it. The tags make the websites easier to search later and the notes help you remember why you saved it in the first place. Other features include the ability to share your favorites with friends, colleagues, and students as well as view others favorites. This one’s a time saver!
Connecting with one another and sharing ideas is an important part of being a teacher. Often times what we teach can seem so specialized that it becomes difficult to collaborate with others in your building. Twitter is an excellent way to meet up with other teachers looking for the same things you are. Whether you want to talk about YA books, technology use in the classroom, or even classroom management, I can guarantee you can find your place on Twitter. One of the most beneficial things on Twitter are the chats that people host for all different topics at all different times.
I read a lot, and I like to keep track of what I’ve read. Goodreads, a social networking site for bibliophiles, is one great way I to keep up with my books. Keep a record of what your reading, write reviews, share your recommendations, and even participate in a book club. Goodreads provides a cyber-venue for all of this. I especially like how I can create shelves and sort my books by genre. I send my students to this virtual library, and they get ideas about what to read. Goodreads is a good tool!