Thursday, September 1, 2016

3 Keys Thursday: My Favorite 3 Tools for Starting Fall Semester

Dodgerton Skillhause via Morguefile
Beginning a new semester is always a messy proposition -- at least for me. As new ideas proliferate and mix with old papers, I end up with piles which, if not put in some kind of order, threaten to bury all those great ideas before I even get started. Since my styles haven't changed, I know just which tools I need to get me through the transition from summer to semester. Here are a few of my favorites.
  • Flat surfaces. I hinted yesterday that my sofa is one of my organizational tools, but the truth is, any flat surface will do when it comes to packing my bag for school (or packing anything for anywhere, for that matter.) To make sure I don't forget anything, I lay everything out, separated into piles by course (a general psych pile, an early child development pile and a freshman seminar pile). Then, each pile goes into a hanging file folder that goes into my bag, and off I go!
  • Steno book. This is a new addition to my arsenal. The two column layout allows me to put two classes on the front of each page and my third class and my writing projects on the back. This keeps all my to-do lists in one place, held together by the spiral at the top of the book. In the past, I've used single sheets divided into sections, but they quickly become crumpled in my bag and the lists invariably intermingle. I'm very optimistic about this new approach, especially since my writing, which gets short shrift during the semester, has its own column among all of the teaching stuff.
  • Planners--this year's and last year's. When it comes to my classes, I use my planner as a combination calendar/journal. I write all my due dates (color coded by class) on the month-view pages and use the daily pages to keep track of my progress. Then, when it comes time to set due dates for the coming semester, I simply go back to my notes to create my course calendar. As a global person, I'm much less stressed out by the details of due dates when I have a reference point, and, once I've updated this year's planner, I can set aside last year's version, grateful for its assistance. I'm not quite ready to get rid of it yet, so I'll store it with my reference materials.
Having the right tools is key to getting off to a good start. What are your favorites?

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