Teacher Education

6 Ultimate Organizational Tips for Teacher Educators

A webinar featuring Patrick McKee from Foothill Consortium Induction Program

Patrick McKee, Director of the Foothill Consortium Induction Program, draws from his extensive experience as a teacher, assistant principal, principal, university instructor, and TK-12 induction director to help teacher educators become more effective through better organization.

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Cherokee Lee: Hi, everyone, and thank you so much for joining today’s webinar on the 6 Ultimate Organizational Tips for Teacher Educators. My name is Cherokee and I’m a GoReact employee, and I’m just so happy to be here with all of you today and especially happy to be here with Patrick McKee, our presenter, and just glad that I get to introduce him. Patrick, to give you a little bit of background, has worn a lot of hats in his career. He and I have been talking prior to this webinar and he has a lot of roles to speak of. He’s even authored a couple of books on literacy development and mastery of sight words. He’s been given awards, one of which is including, let me make sure I get this right, the San Bernadino County Education Medal of Honor for Excellence in Education. And he is now the Director of the Foothill Consortium Induction Program. So he has a lot of responsibility and he’s just here now to bring you all of the organizational tips that you’ll need either for the summer or the upcoming school year. He’s a great resource for that.

So we’re really fortunate to have Patrick here with us today. If this is your first webinar here with GoReact, I’d like to give you just a couple of housekeeping items. Patrick will speak to us for about 30, 35 minutes today. And during that time, we would love your participation in the chat. So below the video feed, you’ll see a chat feature, some of you are already in there now saying, “Hello,” which is great. We want you to utilize that, this is a place of learning and we want to engage with each other and engage with the content here today. So please do that. Also, at the end of Patrick’s presentation, we’ll have a live Q&A and we’d love for you to ask any questions that you have, anything that you want to have answered, put in that Q&A at the bottom of the feed. And then at the end, we’ll go over all of those questions and Patrick will answer anything that you need. So be sure to use that. But without further ado, Patrick, why don’t you take it away?

Patrick McKee: Thank you so much, Cherokee. Good morning, everyone, and I love seeing the chat already. If everyone could just include what Kathy started off. Hi from Indiana and it looks like we have representation, Virginia, North Carolina, Utah and I am in California. So thank you so much, Kathy, for starting that off as well as Cherokee for the introduction. I want to go ahead and share my screen with you so that we can begin this morning. As Cherokee had mentioned, and as mentioned in the registration, when colleagues asked you how you spent your summer vacation, you’re going to be able to tell them that you attended this webinar and gained strategies to become better organized with everything including your time and your paperwork. And so this morning, we’re going to go over those six strategies. However, before we do that, just jumping in a little bit, extending what Cherokee has already shared a little bit of background about myself.

I began my teaching career as an elementary school teacher in the state of California teaching third grade, fourth grade and fifth grade, separate years, and then transitioned to administration first serving as an assistant principal and then as a school principal in two separate school districts. First, I was at a Title 1 school where we successfully exited program improvement under the NCOB framework. And then I served as a California distinguished school principal, advancing that site to be recognized as a California Gold Ribbon School. Currently, I serve as both a director of both the teacher and Administrator Induction Program and in the state of California, that pathway is what all teachers take once they get what’s called the preliminary teaching credential. They go through a two year induction program to support them in the first two years of teaching as well as all school administrators. So we support both teachers and administrators.

And then I also enjoy opportunities on the side teaching at the university level. And as Cherokee mentioned, just a little fun fact, I also love writing and my niece inspired me. She early on was needing a little bit of support with reading so I published two books that guide teachers on how to teach students to read, and you’ll see both of those titles there. So that’s a little bit about me, I want to begin with a little bit about you. I’m going to ask you a couple prompts and with the prompts, I’d like you to just share in the chat, after I give you the prompt, if you could share, if this is something that always happens to you, sometimes happens to you, or maybe it never happens to you. And that’ll just guide me this morning on our audience here today. So here’s our first prompt. So think about this. Someone sent you an email or maybe they gave you a piece of paper. You just know it. However, you just can’t figure out where it is.

And you spent the last 20 or 30 minutes looking for that email or looking for that piece of paper that you just know is somewhere. So if that’s ever happened to you, always happens to you, sometimes, or never, if you could put that in the chat and we’ll see that you’re surrounded by people… There you go. Sometimes, always you’re surrounded by others who have the same experience. Don’t be shy. Excellent. One of the things we’re going to be talking about today is how to help support you when this ever happens to you. Thank you so much for sharing that in the chat. As you share that one, I want to give you another prompt. So think about this prompt now. You get a reminder email from someone important, maybe it’s a principal, director, someone important, and you think to yourself, “Reminder? I don’t even remember getting the first email.” Has that ever happened to you? In the chat, always, sometimes, or never that you get a reminder email and you’re like, “I don’t even remember getting that first one. How are we at a reminder already?”

So you see others have experiences as well. Lot of sometimes. Thank you for sharing that. And then our last question before we dive into these strategies today, it’s always sometimes or never, you’re ready to get some much needed rest at night only to begin thinking about the papers you need to grade, the lessons you need to plan, or maybe those emails you have to get to and that much needed rest goes away because all you can think about is work. Has that ever happened to you? Laying awake at night thinking about grading, thinking about emails, thinking about phone calls you have to make, always, sometimes, or never. All right. Those of you who are saying always and sometimes, I hope after this morning you’re going to get more rest with some of the strategies we talk about. Thank you so much. As Cherokee had mentioned, we want to use the chat this morning. We want to have this as an opportunity for you to engage with one another and to know you’re not alone on this journey, that there are others who have same experiences as you.

And this morning, we’re going to talk about these six strategies. And I do hope that the walk away is that from those six, hopefully all six, but a few of them you can take away and put into practice immediately in your different job functions. So with that, we’re going to go ahead and begin with ultimate tip number one. And this is perhaps the most important tip I’m going to give you this morning. And the first tip is you’ve got to be you. Be you. When you hear ideas that I talk about this morning, I want you to consider how the ideas can be adapted into your style and into your personality. The overarching organizational tip this morning is to find a system that works for you. So for example, some people like to write things down on paper. That’s me, I still like to write post-its and pieces of paper. But sometimes people like to use electronic means. So if you hear topics and ideas that I share, consider how can I adapt this to my style, to my personality?

Remembering with this, there’s not one right way to be organized. There’s not a right way to file things or swore things or even calendar things. But the important thing that you need to ask yourself is, “Is my system working?” If it is super, nothing you need to change. But if you find yourself getting overwhelmed, lost, frustrated, or maybe just spinning your wheels looking for things or trying to find things, then your system might not be working. So then you might want to consider how you can adapt some of the ideas and strategies I want to talk about this morning. Another piece with just being you, please do not compare or judge yourself based upon how someone else does things. Sometimes using someone else’s system can actually backfire and make you even more frustrated or potentially more disorganized. So instead, I encourage you this morning to reflect on the ideas I share and decide what works best for you.

In the end, when you have the systems in place that match your style and match your needs, you’ll be rewarded with the ultimate tip… I’m sorry, the ultimate gift of being organized and the ultimate gift is time. When systems are in place for all aspects of your job and your life, you gain time. Think about how much time we’ve all wasted looking for something or finding something, piece of paper, set of car keys, or that one email that we knew we sent. But when you have organized systems in place, you get out of that tailspin and you can actually get ahead. So when you’re faced with challenges, curve balls, you can actually breathe because you develop systems to take care of you and when life gets in the way. And eventually, time becomes your friend. So I know that sounds pretty good to have time be your friend and to get ahead on different things, but you’re here because you’re probably thinking, “So how do I do it?” So I want to begin with the real world example and the ultimate time stealer in my opinion, emails.

So we’re going to begin with a little activity and I want you to get out either your phone that has a calculator on it or a scrapped piece of paper, you’re going to do a little math to wake us all up here this morning. And with this math problem, you can use your phone, again, a piece of paper and we’re going to do a little math problem. And then the answer to this problem you’re going to share in the chat like you did a moment ago. So let’s go ahead. I’m going to open up my chat window and here’s the math problem. I want you to estimate the number of emails you get in one day. So just think, how many emails do you think come to your inbox? We’re in the summer, so think about a regular work day, how many emails do you get on a regular work day? And then I want you to multiply that number by five and whatever that number is, I want you to multiply it by 30. And once you have that number, go ahead and put it in the chat.

And if you’re thinking that’s a pretty large number, that’s okay. So take the number of emails that you get in the day on average, multiply by five, multiply by 30. So thank you. Jonathan, start off with 1,000. Karina, 1,800. Leanne, 3,000. 3,000, Jean. Elizabeth, 1,500, big numbers. 4,500, Kimberly. All right. Think about those numbers. And if you’re still working on that, you think about the numbers, 3,000, 4,500, even 1,000 or 1,500, think about those numbers. I think you need a system with numbers like that. That’s going to dive us into ultimate tip number two. Ultimate tip number two is touch it once and do something with it. Be it an email, piece of paper, when you look at it, do something with it. If it’s an email, respond. If it’s a piece of paper, file it. I learned this strategy years ago and it’s really become a time saver for me. If you think about it, if you open up an email, remember those 1,000, 3,000, whatever that number you had, when you open up one of those emails and you don’t respond, it sits in your inbox.

And then if you look at it later in the day and you’re like, “Oh, you know what? I’m going to answer that tomorrow,” that one email then became an email you looked at twice. So that number you put in the chat, multiply it by two. Now, it’s the next morning and you’re looking at the email again. The third time. That means you’ve read the same email three times. Those numbers in the chat, someone had 4,000, that’s now 12,000. Maybe you had 1,000, it’s now 3,000. So the amount of emails we get is already huge. But if you don’t respond to it immediately and you read it again and again, it only multiplies or it triples or even more than that. So with that, we have to find a system, a pattern that we’re going to use within our lives so that does not become our function. And the same goes for any papers that cross your desk, the minute it crosses your desk, touch it once and do something with it. Now, you might be asking yourself, “Okay, that makes sense. But how do you do that?”

And now, let’s talk about the how of that. Carve out a specific time during your day to focus on emails, maybe it’s before school, maybe it’s going to be during lunch, maybe it’s going to be after school or a prep period, sometime in your day where you’re going to set a time and review your emails. Once you decide when you’re going to focus on emails, make sure you’ve informed, if you’re a teacher, your student’s parents. And that back to school night, that can easily be done and say, “You know what? I checked all my emails before school or I checked all my emails after school or during period two,” whatever system you’re going to decide for yourself, because the positive spin on this one, especially if you’re a classroom teacher, is you’re going to let your students’ parents know that instructional time is sacred and your focus during the day is actually on your students and on teaching. So you do not have your email open and you’re not responding to emails. You do it either before school, during a period, or after school.

So that’s a positive spin. But the most positive spin for you is that you’re also letting know that you will be available for them. You are going to be available before school, after school and you are going to get that back. And the ultimate positive spin is you’re carving out the time for yourself. You’re making this good for you so you can actually have time for this. So now that you have that time you selected, whatever time that’s going to be, respond to each of those emails on the first read. So if you have a response, respond to them and then file that email away. If you don’t have a response, still respond to them with something like you see here on the slide, “I received your email and I’ll get back to you this afternoon.” And then this afternoon, get back to them and then leave it in your inbox knowing that that’s something you’re going to get back to at that time that you decided, or maybe it’s going to be tomorrow.

Set up a schedule and a time for yourself when you’re going to get back to it so you don’t keep reading that same email over and over again. Now, the only disclaimer you’re going to see here is I wouldn’t suggest this strategy with something that’s a sensitive high profile or a heated email, you want to really spend time on those and read those before you do an initial response. Those are rare, that’s a small percentage of your emails. When you think about the general number of emails you get, this system will really work for you. And instead of having maybe 6,000 or 3,000 emails waiting for you, like you see in the screen right here, you’ll have just a few emails in your inbox each time that you go back to take a look. So I mentioned a second ago, file it away, look at it and file it away. Related to responding emails the first time, it’s important in your inbox that you create file folders. So just like pieces of paper you put in that metal file cabinet, your inbox for your email works the same exact way.

You need to have a way that you’re going to file those emails out of your inbox away into some filing system. So each of us has key groups of people we work with, maybe it’s administration, parents, teachers, district office staff. So just as you would create file folders in that file cabinet, create file folders in your inbox, matching those individual groups that we had just mentioned. This is where the magic happens. Once you answer that email, file it in that file. So if you answer an email for a parent, put it in the parent file. If you answer an email from your principal, put it in the principal file, and you’re just moving each of these emails out of your inbox into the file where you know where you’re going to find it. This way, the only things left in your inbox are the emails you still need to respond to. So that pile of emails in your inbox just gets shorter and shorter and shorter because everything’s going into its file cabinet.

It’s the same thing as piles of paperwork on your desk are getting smaller and smaller, smaller because you’re putting it where it belongs. Trust me, this is going to really help you breathe when you open that inbox because instead of seeing hundreds of thousands of emails, you only see those few that you’re still working with. And the greatest suggestion I can give you related to emails is don’t play tennis. If you’re served a strong email, it’s okay to respond. However, if they respond back with another hit, don’t volley. Call them. Pick up the phone and call. Don’t hide behind the email as this will always come back to bite you. Be brave and call someone who might be upset or might have a frustration because that phone call humanizes the conversation. Once you volley, your time’s going to be spent cleaning up the match. And when we think about the school year, that can take months or even the rest of the school year. So there’s not time to clean up those volleys. So in the minute tennis starts, stop playing tennis, pick up the phone, humanize the conversation.

And the last survival tip related to emails during this entire process is the self care piece. If you have work emails on your cell phone, not a bad thing because it can make your job easier if you’re out and about during the work day. However, remove the notifications and look at the emails at the time you decided you’re going to look at it, not all the way throughout the day. Not when you’re alerted, when you decide. You also don’t want your lessons when you’re teaching to be interrupted by that dinging when you have those notifications, you don’t want your driving to be interrupted or those meetings you’re a part of, you don’t want those interrupted by the dinging of those notifications coming through. What this does is it helps you remain in control of your emails instead of having the emails controlling you. And remember, email responses can always wait until tomorrow. Don’t answer emails after hours or on weekends, turn that notification off. Have your weekend, have your evening.

And I promise you because, I’m sure this has happened to you, every time I’ve looked at an email at nine o’clock at night or 10 o’clock at night, I regretted it because there’s more work potentially that had to come along with that. When you are done with the day, you’re done with the day and take a look at those emails at the time that you have already decided. And this is going to be really important for you and in that self care piece. No price tag can be placed on getting a good night’s sleep, worry free sleep. Now, we talked about ultimate tip number two, which is when you just touch something once, do something with it, the same goes through with paperwork. I mentioned paperwork a moment ago. If you have something that needs to be signed that crosses your desk, sign it and give it back to whoever needs to it signed. You have something to grade, grade it and either file it or give it back to your students.

If there’s a document that you want to keep, create a filing system of where you’re going to put that in the filing cabinet and get those papers off your desk. The same as you would do for emails, do that for papers. And if there’s stuff you really, really need to get to, remember, piling it is okay. If you didn’t know this, there’s actually a technique to piling. I’m going to talk about that in a moment. But those important tips, when paperwork is coming across your desk, sign it, grade it, return it, file it. And if you need to, pile it. Let’s talk about the pile it part because that might be the part of why you’re here this morning. Those piles that might be getting out of hand or you’re just looking at that causes more stress. So if you didn’t know this, piling actually requires technique. Using either file folders, dividers, post-it tabs, when you get paperwork, place it into three different piles. And if you have a system that works better for you, four piles, whatever works best for you. Let’s start off with three piles.

As you see here, pile one could be urgent and important. Pile two is important, but it’s not urgent. And pile number three could be not important and not urgent. Then place all the papers you have into those three piles and then create some type of file folder or post-it on top of each pile. So this is my urgent pile, my important pile or my not important, not urgent pile. So everything you get just goes as you get it into these different piles. And you might have them in file folders, there might be a tray on your desk that you’re going to put them in one, two, three, whatever system works for you, how you’re going to separate things into three different piles. Remember, piling requires this technique. Set a time every day to review the urgent pile. Once a week, set a time to review the important but not urgent pile. And then maybe once a month or every couple weeks, you’re going to take a look at the not important, not urgent pile.

Again, it’s about setting time for yourself to take a look at things, getting the things most important done that you need to get done, but not wasting your time looking at that piece of paper over and over again and say, “I’ll just get to it soon, I’ll just get to that soon.” It’s going to go in that separate pile. This all connects the ultimate tip number three, calendar everything. It’s important to spend time at the beginning of the year putting everything you need to onto your calendar. And this might be something you already do, put all your IEP meeting dates, your assemblies, your staff meetings, everything you need to accomplish for the year, put it onto your calendar, report card due dates, assessment, benchmark dates. But I want to extend this even further because you might say to yourself, “I already do this. I already have all those events on the calendar.” But the piece that might be missing on your calendar is putting events that require work.

When are you going to work on the report cards? When are you going to work on the IEP? When are you going to review student assessment data? When are you going to look at those piles that you just created? Look at the example here, there’s a calendar notation that Mark has an IEP in two weeks. Not only is his IEP on a calendar, and you might already be doing that, but there’s also this reminder that they’re on the 16th, that is two weeks away. So I want to calendar myself that something’s coming up as well as the actual event. This serves as a reminder I need to start gathering things for that particular meeting. But the second sample that you see below that is that you are also going to carve out time to work on things. When are you going to work on the IEP? When are you going to work on report cards? Just as we would carve out time to attend a staff meeting or attend an IEP meeting, why not carve out time to work on projects like those IEPs, like those report cards?

Calendaring what you’ll be doing during your prep period, calendar what you’re going to do after school, calendar what you’re going to do before school, it’ll help you stay organized and stay focused and stay on track. Think about this, making appointments for yourself to get things done and honoring those appointments for yourself is just as important as honoring those appointments you’re making for others. You’ve got to take care of yourself first and set up the time of when you’re going to do things because when you take care of yourself first, you’re going to best be able to take care of others. Now, ultimate tip number four, develop your brain dump system. I don’t know if any of you ever heard of a brain dump before, but this is going to really help you get that much needed rest. Let’s think about this scenario. You’re working on report cards and then you remember while you’re working on report cards your principal needs a copy of the lesson plan for your upcoming observation.

So you stop working on report cards and then you start emailing the lesson plan over to your principal. And then you realize, “Oh, I have that intervention meeting this afternoon, I need a translator for that parent.” So you stop emailing your principal and then you’re going to contact the district office to get that translator. And right when you’re in the middle of that email, the bell rings, the kids start coming in the door and then you start teaching your lesson. And later on the day, you’re thinking, “Wait, did I get my report cards done? Did I email my principal? Do I have a translator?” And you get lost maybe on what it was you actually accomplished. Situations may be totally different, but this may have happened to you. You’re in the middle of one thing and then you remember you need to do something else so you get in the middle of that. Then you remember you do something else and you get in the middle of that. This is real. This is why we need a brain dump system.

When ideas of things you need to do come to mind, stop and dump those ideas. Creating your own system of either post-its, journals, or an electronic system like Google Keep, write down the things that are coming to your mind as you’re working on something else so you can stay focused on the task on hand. Then go back to those brain dump pieces later on. So let’s consider that scenario I just mentioned a moment ago. You’re working on report cards, then you remember your principal needs a copy of that lesson plan. Dump it onto a piece of paper, you’re going to Google Keep, post-it, whatever it is, send principal lesson plan and go back to report cards. And as you’re working on report cards, you remember you need to get a translator. Dump it, put it on that post-it, get translator, go back to the report cards, because now, the bell’s going to ring, the kids are going to come in and you have two post-its, “Contact your principal, contact translator.”

You have these post-its to remind you and then you can decide which one’s going to be the urgent piece you’re going to get to when you have your next moment. But you still got what you need to get done for the report cards. You got focused on that one thing, got it taken care of and you have those two reminders on those post-its or whatever system utilized, and that’s your dump. You didn’t throw it away, you still have them. So this is a way to be able to remember what it needs to do when all these different ideas are coming through your mind. And it’s the satisfaction you’re going to gain of knowing you got done what you needed to get done, and you also remembered the things you needed to do later. So just a little side note, how does brain dumps also connect to staying organized while you’re teaching? Students can sometimes lead us down pathways that are going to be side trips to the lesson we’re trying to teach. And this is wonderful. You’re teaching a great lesson, they have all these different questions and they want to extend their learning.

But you also know you have content you have to cover. During instruction, I like to call the brain dump piece a parking lot. When students ask questions that begin to steer lessons in a different direction, put those questions in a parking lot. That means you or they are going to write their question down and put it somewhere. Maybe a creative bulletin board and you’ve got little die cuts or little cars and they can write their questions on cars, or maybe they can write their questions on post-its and put it on that bulletin board. Or maybe they’re going to put it under desk somewhere so you can finish teaching the lesson. And when the lesson gets done, go to the parking lot, go to their questions. Now, many times that question may have been answered later on your lesson so you can pull that car out of the parking lot and you don’t need to answer it. But then when there is time at the end of the lesson, go through all those different post-its, have kids say whether the questions that are still remaining and go through them.

This not only helps keep your lesson focused and organized, but it also ensures that you’re going to place value on the thoughts, ideas and questions of your students. It still values them. You’re telling them, “All your questions are important and we’re going to get to them. Let’s get to the content first.” The brain dump is the over-thinker secret weapon and the cure for things like poor organization, procrastination and attention difficulties. It also helps with insomnia. If you’ve ever laid awake at night thinking about all the things you need to do, well it’s time for that brain dump. Write it down. It clears your head in mind and lets you get that much needed rest. That happens to me. When I’m thinking about, “Oh, I forgot to send this email or forgot to do this,” I have a little pad by my pillow and I just write down the idea. And it’s amazing when you get that idea off your mind, you can go to sleep and get that rest that you are much deserving of.

Ultimate tip number five, and you might be doing this already, but we’re going to extend this thought, color code everything. When thinking about organization, we would be remiss not to mention this tip because color coding helps you visualize without reading what it is you color coded. It’s a huge time saver and it really is the organizer’s dream. Think about those paperwork piles. Consider putting those urgent piles into a red folder or putting a red post-it on top or a red sticky, or maybe the urgent pile could be the blue or the yellow. Think about the items on your desk. Is there ways that you can color code the different things so your attention’s drawn to the color so you don’t have to read the content? Think about everything in your life that you could potentially color code as an educator. Your lesson plans, you can color code your lesson plans with different ink by different content areas.

All those file folders, you could have different colors for IEPs or your tri-annuals, your annuals. Your Google Drive folders can all be color coded. Intervention groups could be color coded. There are so many things in your life that you can color code. And the minute you start color coding things, become a whole lot easier. Even your seating chart as an example. Your seating chart, what if you’re trying to remember that Johnny has certain accommodations? Maybe you have Johnny in a different color on your seating chart so it will remind you of the different accommodations you need to provide for Johnny. By color coding every aspect of your life, it’s going to help you become more effective. And as a teacher, even better support for the students that you serve. Now, we’re in the last ultimate organizational tip, tip number six, set labeled alarms for everything. And when I say everything, think of all those schedules, every single thing that is going to come across your plate.

Now, most of you have some type of iPhone or Android device that lets you set a timer or a label. And this is just a picture of an iPhone. When you go in and set the alarm, you’ll see that there’s a label and you can create a specific sound that’s going with a specific alarm at a specific time. So this is how you do it on your phone. But now, let’s think about all those different schedules you have to remember as an educator. And this is just the beginning. When does recess begin? When does recess end? When does lunch begin? When do I have duty? When’s dismissal? When do I have to send Johnny to speech? When do I have to send Susie to the nurse? The amount of schedules you have to manage as an educator is enormous. So how do you manage all of those? So what I am proposing to you is creating alarms on your device with specific labels and specific sounds. So extending this a little bit further, not necessarily that you need to remember all those sounds, but also engage your students in this.

Teach your students which sound belongs to them. Perhaps you’re going to teach Johnny that the doorbell sound means he needs to go to speech, or maybe teach Susie that whatever sound that you hear, a bird chirping, is when she needs to go get her insulin in the health office. So when that sound goes off on your device, the student goes up, hits stop on the sound and takes care of what they need to go take care of. Now, first thing you may be thinking of, “Wow, Patrick, that’s a lot of sounds going off during my work day. That’s a lot of interruptions. Isn’t that even more interruptions?” Remember, these are already interruptions. The students are already going to speech or going to the health office, recess is already happening. These interruptions are already happening. All you’re doing is learning how to manage, organized and navigate those interruptions. Think about that phone call you get from the nurse if you don’t send the student up or the speech teacher if you don’t send the student over.

The phone’s already going to ring, the alarm’s already going to happen. So this is the way to put yourself in control of the interruptions instead of having the interruptions control you. Creating alarms for everything helps you become ultra, ultra organized, but here’s an important reminder, very important, turn the alarms off on your vacation time because you don’t want all these alarms going off when you’re trying to relax over the summer or on spring break. All right, so those are six ultimate organizational tips, but I wanted to give you one bonus tip this morning. So now, we’re on six plus one. The bonus tip for all of you who are teachers is about grading because maybe you heard about the piling of different things, but you might be thinking about, “But what about grading?” The bonus tip is don’t grade everything, grade for mastery. Remember, your job is to teach the standards and the curriculum is the means by which to do that not the other way around.

Publishers infuse more information into their curriculum that can ever be reasonably taught. And many times, their practice pages and activities do not match the level of cognition of the standards. Spending time reading through your standards, paying particular attention to the verb selected and how the standard must be applied will help you in deciding what curriculum and instructional strategies should be used. This ensures you’re not wasting any time on curriculum that’s not aligned to the standard that you’re supposed to teach. Instead, you’re focusing on those essential standards that you do need to teach. And then remember, your job is to evaluate students’ mastery of standards. Your job isn’t to grade their practice, practice is just that, it’s practice. Students are learning and learning processes should be free of evaluation. So that supports them to develop that growth mindset that they know that they’re practicing. It’s okay, they’re going to make mistakes and not everything’s going to be graded.

For homework, consider things instead like credit, no credit because whether or not they complete it can be based upon a variety of different factors including home factors we may not fully understand. And typically, the completion of homework or classwork is more of managing whether or not that behavior got completed versus whether or not this standard got mastered. So spend your time instead grading that summative learning where you’re evaluating whether or not they’ve gained mastery of those standards. And for our education specialists out there, that equates to meeting the goals and objectives that are defined within their individual education plans. So there you have it, the six plus one ultimate organizational tips for educators. Be you, touch it once and do something with it, calendar everything, develop a brain dump system, color code everything, create alarms about everything, but don’t grade everything. And if you follow these six plus one organizational tips, you’re going to think of this quote from Benjamin Franklin, “For every minute spent organizing an hour is earned.” Thank you for joining me this morning and may you enjoy all those hours that you’re going to earn.

Cherokee Lee: Wow. Thank you so much, Patrick. I am blown away by this presentation. I know that this applies to a lot of people, but it definitely felt like it was just for me at certain points. I thought this was just a really empowering way to take back your own structure, your own life and to clear your mind. I’m not a teacher, I’m going to apply a lot of these things in my own life. So thank you so much, Patrick. What a great resource.

Patrick McKee: You’re welcome.

Cherokee Lee: Please feel free to put it in the Q&A. We did have one that one of our GoReact representatives already answered, let’s see, about Google Keep. But I’ll just pose it to you just so that it’s recorded. The question was is Google Keep a part of the Google Suite and how do you access it?

Patrick McKee: Very good question. Google Keep is something I’ve had some colleagues use before, it’s not something I actually do. I’m going to be very open here. I want to tell you, I’m so old school. These are my friends. I am still on the post-its and not Google Keep, but I believe Google Keep is inside the Google Suite. So you want to go to that waffle in the very top and sometimes you have to add it in. So you could take a look there. And there are other things, even on the iPhone on the note section which you can use as well. So just a variety of different things out there. But what I want to just advertise with post-its, there’s nothing better than taking that post-it when you completed that task and being able to have the opportunity to ball it into trash and throw it away like a basketball, because it makes you feel that sense of accomplishment. I just don’t get the same feeling when I erase something off of a digital log. So really up to you on what works best.

Cherokee Lee: And it’s funny, I was talking to some of my colleagues and I had read an article that said that when you check something off of your checklist, it releases endorphins. And I’m sure that the endorphins are even more when you actually throw away a piece of paper.

Patrick McKee: Very much so.

Cherokee Lee: So that is excellent.

Patrick McKee: Research behind all that. But I have to say, crossing out things, throwing things away, there’s something within there. But again, number one strategy, be you, if the digital way works with being able to see things delete, just knowing that satisfaction, give yourself credit for what you need to accomplish and then give yourself credit for accomplishing it.

Cherokee Lee: Absolutely. Let’s see, we don’t have other questions yet. I’m going to give it just a second and make sure that we get any questions in there. I don’t know if you’re seeing the chat, but we’re seeing a lot of thank yous. Let’s see this one. “Thank you for practical advice for saving time and being organized.” Someone said, “Great presentation. I just want to make sure that you’re getting the praise that you deserve here.”

Patrick McKee: Thank you so much, Cherokee. And I just opened it and thank you, Jordan, for sharing just the contact information. If I can be of any support as you’re thinking of some different ideas, thank you, Jordan, for sharing that, feel free to reach out.

Cherokee Lee: Great. Well with that, we will close. Thank you again, Patrick. Wonderful. And we hope that all of you will join us for our next webinar. We’ll send out an email just to get you more great content. But for now, just so excited for you and just to get organized in your lives. And I’m excited for me as well to get organized too. So thank you so much, Patrick, have a good one.

Patrick McKee: Thank you. Have a great day.

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