Advice from Great Educators

I decided to work on another blog post about working smarter, not harder.  This time I decided to ask a few people who seem to ‘work smarter’ for advice.  Read their advice below.

Tara West, an elementary teacher and curriculum designer, states "Try hard and remember that our 'best' is most likely well beyond what's expected of us.  Make a list of the items you would LIKE to complete.  However, make that list knowing that you may or may not accomplish it all that week- and that is okay.  Start chipping away at the items that you know need to be done first.  Then, move onto the items that will be quick and easy.  Lastly, move towards the items that are a little more daunting. I would a lot of times find myself starting with one of those big tasks, not be able to finish, and then leave myself with a long list of items still needing to be completed!"

Misty Miller, a 7th and 8th grader Jr. High math teacher, states “Be organized. It will take some time at the beginning to find a place for everything and get it labeled. It will take some time to build the habit of putting everything back away when you are finished using it. In the long run, you will save yourself time by being able to locate everything right away instead of searching for it for days because ‘you know it’s here somewhere.’ You will also save yourself some stress because you won’t have to look at the mess.”

Rachel Vincent, a third grade teacher, states “schedule what you will do during your prep times.  What exactly do you need to accomplish before school, during your planning time, and after school.  I make a weekly schedule for each of my planning times so I can get a lot accomplished during the school day.  For instance, I know every Monday, I will prep our take home folders and every Wednesday, I'll be planning for the next week.  This method has saved me so much time that I rarely take work home with me!”

Dave Robb, a 4th and 5th Grade teaching specialist, states “Don't try to be a superhero. Remember that while you have a special set of awesome skills, so do your colleagues. It is important to work collaboratively- you don't want to realize later that you have all been staying at work late to complete the exact same task. Be prepared to ask for help from others, and to offer it when needed!”

What ways do you try to work smarter, not harder?  


Working Smarter Using Google Forms

I know I’m not the only teacher out there who has a difficult time trying to complete everything that is required, such as writing lesson plans, upkeep of my grade book, completing required paperwork, analyzing data, and much more.  Every year I try to think of ways to work smarter and not harder.

I decided to put in my time during my summer break to create Google Forms to make data collection and analysis a bit easier when I start school in September.  I have more than 30 Google Forms created.  Of course I do not plan to use all of the Google Forms I am creating, but as a Certified Google Educator I never know when I may have to use a different form to help another teacher or when doing a technology presentation.

One way Google Forms can help me work smarter is I can use the forms and spreadsheets to quickly collect information about the students.  I can see the students’ strengths and weaknesses.  I can decide if I need to reteach the lesson to the whole class, work with a small group of students, or just work with one or two students.  I can enter data using my Google Form when having a one-to-one conference with a student.  I can even give a whole class spelling test online.  Instead of students writing the words, they end up typing the spelling of the words online using a Google Form.  I can then use Flubaroo to grade the test for me.  Isn’t that awesome?

Another way I have enjoyed using Google Forms is when planning independent small group station activities.  I have students open a Google Form and complete various activities related to the topics they are studying in class.  On the Google Form, they can access a YouTube video and after viewing the video they can respond to question about what they learned.  Other times I just have them respond to the stories students are reading in class.  I love how I do not have to bring home papers to grade.  I can just open the Google Spreadsheet at home and read all the responses.

One new way I plan to use Google Forms this year is to make students more accountable for their actions.  I can have students enter quick information if they did not hand in homework.  I can also have students check-in and check-out when they leave the classroom and return.  The spreadsheet will automatically show me the date and time the information was entered.  There are so many great ways to use Google Forms.

Google Forms on TpT

As you can see, there are many ways we can work smarter and not harder when using Google Forms in the classroom.  If anyone wants information on my “Google Forms Club” to access all my Google Forms, you can go to my TpT store and check it out.

How do some of you use Google Forms in your classroom?  Leave a comment below and let me know how you try to work smarter and not harder.

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