I check email on vacation. I leave the technical emails alone but, while my hubby reads the newspaper, I enjoy reading the blog subscriptions that come to me by email. This summer, posts from educators like Cool Cat Teacher
, Tamara Fisher
and Glenn Wiebe
included a wealth of resources I didn't want to forget.
I filed all the emails of resources, determined to get through them when I got back home. Post-vacation jet-lag provided me the opportunity to do that. But as I opened my 10th or so resource, I began to feel overwhelmed. I remembered two problems from years past:
Problem 1: Forgetting the location of resources
Perhaps you know the feeling. You spend the summer learning about new tools. During the school year, you remember a resource that would be perfect in a lesson, but you can't remember the name or location of the site - and you can't find the bookmark.
If I am going to use all these great new tools, I need organization systems so that I can find them quickly while planning lessons. I slightly reformatted unit plans so that resources could be matched with teaching points. As I looked through the websites, lesson ideas came to mind. I immediately linked the website to the unit planning page. See Sample Writing Unit Template
. The template includes the teaching points, a list of resources (both print and web-based), and a list of mentor texts.
Problem 2: Making resources immediately available to students
Perhaps you can also relate to excited parents and students emailing great resources they have found online. When the emails arrive, I become responsible for embedding the links onto a classroom website or Google doc. Sometimes I forward the emails to students, clogging student inboxes and setting a bad organizational example.
While I plan to experiment with Evernote
this year, I have temporarily linked resources to a wiki
. I will instruct both students and parents (students can re-instruct parents as necessary) to add links to the wiki rather than emailing the resources to me. With the wiki, I will no longer have to send individual emails to students. I will also not be solely responsible for adding resources to a list - time that would otherwise spent planning or assessing.
What organizational systems do you use? Do you have any websites you'd like to link to my wiki?