|Photo: Dodgerton Skillhause via Morguefile|
While I'm still searching for the organizational system that keeps the paper pile-up in check at home, I have found a few tools that keep my thoughts (mostly) organized:
- A planner with a day-by-day view and a monthly view. I got a great spiral-bound planner at the dollar store in which I keep track of lessons and due dates. I use the day-by-day pages as a lesson planner and the month-at-a-glance view for due dates, which I've color-coded by class.
- One to-do list. Last year, I created a single sheet to keep track of the details of my planning, but this semester, I've gone back to simple lined paper -- or pretty much any paper I can get my hands on when I need to make a list. Although the single page checklist format worked when I was teaching two classes, it fell apart when I was teaching three. I haven't given up on it entirely -- once I dig out at the end of the semester, I may re-envision it -- but for now, simpler is better.
- My laptop. For my content-driven psych classes, I live and die by my slide presentations. While I wasn't planning on creating these for my freshman seminar, I've found that the visual does come in handy. I can upload my presentations to the course Moodle, email them to myself so that I can download them and use the classroom computers or even carry a flash drive....but I don't. My Macbook is my security blanket -- even when it refuses to communicate with the classroom PCs.
This weekend, I'm hoping to make some headway in the paper pile-up department. I've tried a succession of ideas; some have stuck and some have fallen by the wayside, overwhelmed by the sheer volume of papers produced by three separate sections of students. Regardless of the tweaks I make in that system, however, the three tools above are here to stay.
There's no way I'd have survived the semester without them.