Sunday, November 22, 2015

Managing My Time...

I'm baaaaacckkk!

So sorry that it's been so long since I posted, but starting this new position has been quite the experience for me. As I stated in my last post I was not doing a great job at scheduling my time throughout the day and had been totally overbooking myself. It took me a while to figure out how to manage my time better.

However, I think I am getting the hang of it and I am able to schedule in coaching, modeling, and observing...FINALLY! :)

The secret I finally discovered was to narrow down the focus of who to work with for a month and then send those specific teachers a link to a Google Form where they could fill out information for me. This streamlined all of the emails and info I was getting about schedules and requested support so that I can see everyone all at once in order to better manage my time.

Here's what the form that I sent to teachers looks like for the month of December:

I love that I can customize what is on the form and can require certain questions to be completed before submitting to me. I can change the format of the response (i.e. multiple choice, checkboxes, text, etc.) which helps me to personalize the form even more.

The best part is what the responses look like on my end. All of the responses are automatically put into a Google Sheet, which is essentially the Google version of Excel. In fact, you can download the Sheet into Excel (or other options) which makes it super convenient for when I don't have internet access.
**names have been removed from the response sheet to protect privacy**

I can then take the information from the form and schedule my time in my calendars. This is another area that I just revamped in order to manage my time better. I carry and use daily the Time & To Do Planner from the wonderful Ms. Houser, which I absolutely love! 

Where I was wasting time was with the calendar I need to share and post with the staff. I was spending at least 30 extra minutes retyping my schedule into a word document to print and post. It dawned on me that I already had a Google account created and just tweaked it to make it suit my needs now that I know what exactly those expectations are and my 30 minutes spent on this went down to approximately 10 minutes!! Woo hoo!!

The Coach Log that I have due every other Tuesday is another area where I needed to learn how to manage my time better. This was taking me at least an hour to complete every other week because it needs to be completed in hours spent on each component daily. By using Google Calendar I created a calendar for each of the components I need to complete and can quickly look to see how many hours I spent on each task by looking at the colors assigned to that. 


I love finding ways to make my life easier and not waste time. What have you found works for you? Do you often find yourself tweaking things to make your life easier?

Sunday, August 30, 2015

First Week

So last week was our first week of school and my first week in the Reading Coach role when students were involved. I started the week super excited and eager to get into classrooms! However by the end of the first day on Tuesday this about sums up how I was feeling....
And this is why...
Yup on Tuesday I walked over 5 miles just at work!
By Thursday night I was in tears.
I realized that I had scheduled my day at work so much that I was coming home and had worked from pretty much the moment I walked in the door until 8 or 9pm every night in order to be prepared for the next day! I am the type of person that wants to help everyone, be everywhere, and do as much as I possibly can and I think I tried to do too much each day as I started this role.  I came to an understanding after having a mini tear session that I needed to make more time for me if I want to be effective in this position.
So I made time for what makes me happy...exercise!
Friday night I went for a run even though I was completely exhausted.
On Saturday my love and I went for a 13+ mile bike ride!
 And guess what?! I am feeling much better about my position and remember why I wanted to become a Reading Coach to begin with. Instead of just impacting one class of students, I now get to have an impact over many students and that is what it's all about. I just might need to remind myself of that every now and then!
How do you find balance between your job and your life? What do you do to relax and reenergize?

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Prepping for PD

How did you spend your weekend? I spent mine having some fun, but mostly gearing up for the work week. We spent last week in teacher work days and this week the kids come back to school. While my daily schedule this week is wide open at the moment, I'm sure that will change quickly as I start getting into classrooms more!

What is already blocked off on my calendar for this week are three, yes THREE professional development trainings that I am running this week. Knowing that I had three trainings that I was in charge of this week, I had to get started this weekend if I wanted to be ready. Procrastination has always been my downfall so I am thrilled that I was able to get two of the three done this weekend!

I prepped for my presentations on Reciprocal Teaching and Words Their Way. I love, love, LOVE these two books and I'm super excited to be presenting on them this week.

The Reciprocal Teaching training I whipped out in a breeze on Saturday because our district had already provided a basic outline and I just needed to edit it to fit for implementation at my school. However....the Words Their Way PD I had to make from scratch! I thought this was going to be the easier one to set-up because it's going to be the shortest of the presentations this week, but this one took me a while!!! I took info from book and also created some samples to model with the teachers how to grade the inventories, which wound up taking way longer than I thought it would. In the end I am extremely happy with how it turned out and I cannot wait to present it along with the Reciprocal Teaching PD on Tuesday. These will be my first trainings at this school that I present all on my own, so I am a bundle of nerves and excitement all rolled into one at the moment.
The final step in prepping my presentations was putting them into these folders with prongs that I bought at Walmart (side-note: never go into Walmart the weekend before school starts!!!) I have seen other trainers set-up their materials in various ways such as in binders or with small binder rings, but I want to give this one a try. I hole-punched the printed notes slides from PowerPoint and put them into the prongs. Then in the side pocket I placed any other materials that I will need for the presentation. I am hoping that these will last me for years to come, just in case I need to do a refresher training!

 Now to get that running records training done by Wednesday and I'll be good to go for this week at least!
How do you set up your materials for PD at your school?

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

A Peek into My Office (A Work in Progress)

Today I was able to get into my office and work on organizing my desk and shelves. Yay organization!
I started with my desk area. Mostly because I was super excited about all of the cute desk supplies I bought this summer!
 I will be working with K-5, but I am waiting on my other binders to come in before I can setup my 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade binders. I think that waiting for supplies as a teacher is like waiting for Christmas morning as a kid!
The apple case with containers will hold all of my paper clips, etc. but I didn't have them with me today. I absolutely adore my Tervis Tumblers, I have one for both colleges I attended for undergrad and grad school, plus a water bottle one that I carry with me throughout the day! And of course I had to have a picture of the one I love the most!
Next up was my shelf area. (I have no idea why this picture looks like the Leaning Tower of Pisa, I must've taken it at an odd angle!)
I am a binder girl through and through. All of the training materials that I received over the past 6 months each went into their own binder. I personally don't like file folders for training materials and find that I never look back into the folders because they aren't convenient for me to find what I am looking for.
 I received so many books and materials during my training that I am hoping I can find another shelf to use, because I cannot stand when supplies are piled up like this, but what's a girl to do?!

How do you organize your office and coaching/teaching materials?

Monday, August 3, 2015

New Favorite Website

Today I went to my new school for a training all about technology and guess what?! I walked away with a new favorite website!

This site provides teachers with articles to use with their students on a variety of subjects, such as science, art, sports. But that's not the most exciting part! Within the same article you can adjust the Lexile level!! The kids can also take quizzes on the articles and there is even a written response section. And all of this is free. There is a pro (paid) version that includes more awesome stuff, but the free one is good enough for me!

Anyone have any literacy websites that they have found that are full of wonderful resources to use?

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Organized...I hope!

This week marks my unofficial start as Reading Coach at my new school as there are some trainings that are being held prior to the teachers officially returning. Normally at this time I would start to get overwhelmed by everything that needs to get done before school starts and how I would fit everything into my limited time.

Back in the spring while working full-time, finishing my Master's degree, planning a wedding, and training for my Reading Coach position I felt a little very overwhelmed. One day I came across The Together Teacher by Maia Heyck-Merlin. I can honestly tell you that this book helped me transform my organization system and helped me start to plan out my time much more wisely.

One of the systems that I want to implement with more fidelity is using a flexible binder for all of my coaching notes and my calendar.
 Here's a peek into my binder!
 While I use Google Calendar and Tasks for my to-do list (I love that I can access it on my phone, iPad, and computer) I also understand that it's not always appropriate to pull out an electronic device so I also plan on printing my weekly schedule to put into my binder. I have the weekly calendar in a sheet protector within the Calendar/To Do section so that all I need to do is print, slide the new one in, and I am ready to go.

What do you do to stay organized? Comment below!

PS- Happy Sunday. Hope the weather is better where you live. We've had rain for over a week now!

Friday, July 31, 2015

Five Things to Know About Me!

1. I am going into my seventh year as an educator. I taught five years in 1st grade and one year in 2nd grade. And like any teacher I am addicted to school supplies!
2. I have two adorable dogs! Drama and Bella
3. Bella likes to help me do work...or at least she thinks she's helping!
4. My favorite place in the world to go is Disney World!
5. I received my Master's Degree in Reading K-12 this past spring.