Teaching Tips

I know my title isn't very descriptive but they are are so random that 'tips' is the best I can think of. These are basically things I've just discovered this school year; I'm just excited that I have new tips that I haven't already blogged about.

For the last several years, whenever I make a handout, I also make a matching powerpoint so that students see the same thing on the board as on their paper. And every now and then making these show up and disappear and slide around when necessary. This year I've had trouble with my SMART board letting me write on powerpoints. My tech person found that you can click print on the powerpoint file and select the SMART Notebook Writer (which apparently automatically installs when you install the SMART software) it will copy all of your slides to a notebook file (one slide per page) automatically. I've been using that for the first month or so until I realized, why create a powerpoint at all? I can just print the handout directly to a notebook file and cut out creating a powerpoint file that I can't even use? Duh Ms. Miller.

As much as I love being organized, I've need been able to keep up with a planner. I have a really good memory and it'll be real bad when it starts to fail me. But of course as a teacher, I always have a million things to keep track of. I'm a big fan of post-it notes but they flutter away pretttty easily. My solution thus far (although I am VERY intrigued by bullet journaling) has been email. I start a new email to myself at the beginning of the day basically making notes of things I need to do and also a note of what I plan to do and need to make for each class period. My plan is seventh hour so I accomplish some of the to-do things and sum up what must be done for the next day. Then I just e-mail it to myself so it's on my phone and laptop when I get home. Then I can use the e-mail to start the next day or else I write myself a new one so I know what I need to print and copy.

Another thing that I can't believe I just thought of is my Excel file of curriculum notes. I created a tab for each course (color coded obvi) I have and then headings for each unit. Then as I notice or think of things while teaching, I add them to my notes. These are things I want to change or redo or add to- not really things like grammar or spelling because I try to fix those asap. Since this is the first time I've done this (duh) my plan is to use that this summer to actually be productive in a specific way. And maybe for the first time, not reinvent the wheel. And if I can't get right to the Excel file, I just type it in my email so I remember to do it later.

If you've read my blog for any amount of time, you've probably noticed that I LOVE SORTING. What I've finally realized this year is that when you notice students struggling with something, especially something that seems simple to you, a need has just been created for a sort. One example for me has to do with functions. Students could not seem to tell the difference between f(10) and f(x) = 10, knowing when to plug in and knowing when to solve. Just like that, I knew that next year I needed a sort to keep this confusion from happening. And I just add that to my cute little Excel file.

Consider yourself tipped off.


  1. nice post.

    regarding notes to yourself, google keep is nice. keep.google.com

    there is a keep app for phones and/or you can get it on any browser (including mobile). keep lets you syncs lists, notes, voice memos, everywhere.

    1. Thanks for the suggestion. I just really like the idea of my email holding everything instead of a new app.