Rule #5: Be Camera Ready
This is coming from an extrovert who NEEDS people to feel complete! It's easy to get up and go to your computer after grabbing your coffee (or Vanilla Chai Tea in my case) and get to work. I personally start to feel like an unmotivated slob if I stay in my pajamas all day! These days, I get up and get ready like I would if I was leaving my house to go to work, except everyday is a jeans day! Since we are using Google Meet and Zoom for a lot of meetings these days (every day for me), having makeup on makes me feel like myself. Obviously, makeup is not important to everyone. The idea is to just keep your morning routine to be your best self!
Rule #4: Use A Digital Calendar
I love my paper calendar (right now it's a Passion Planner), but I haven't been using it as much since we are using Google Meet for all of our PLC's. When I'm home, it's much harder to keep up with time. I need my digital reminders so I don't miss any important meetings! The beauty of using Google Calendar is that you can add conferencing to all your events as well as notification shedules. I'd recommend setting them up with all your events so it's there if you need it.
Rule #3: Don't plan too far ahead
Things are changing so quickly right now, you don't want to stress yourself out by planning to far ahead and realizing those plans have to change. Our teachers have been planning for the week, including one day to catch up on everything that's due or work on a "May Do" choice board to give options to those who are done without overwhelming them with additional requirements. Haven't used Choice Boards yet, check these out!
Rule #2: Give Yourself Grace
My friend Kasey Bell wrote an awesome post about "Grace Over Grades" that really hit home for a lot of people, including me. It's not just about giving our kids Grace though, it's also about giving yourself grace! We have never had to live in a remote world like we are now, so we are all having to find our own groove. We don't even know how long it will last, so it's hard to set goals past today. We're taking one day at a time, and that's okay. We're all in it together!
Rule #1: Enjoy The Little Things
If you've ever seen the movie Zombieland, you'll know where this comes from. LOL! Not saying that we're in the same situation, but sometimes it feels like we are preparing for a zombie apocolypse! In all seriousness, this is a rule we should always follow. Think of the blessings that come out of difficult times and it will help you get through the day.
Here are a few ways I enjoy the little things...
How are you staying sane during this pandemic? I'd love to hear your thoughts! Tag me on Twitter @specialtechie
Another Twist on PD!
At the end of February, I was scrolling through Twitter (like I do every day) and stumbled upon this brilliant idea by Paula E. Auble. I immediately responded to see if she had a blog post written up about it, but she hasn't started her own blog yet. So...this was a chance to see if Paula would give "blogging" a chance! Our #PD4uandme chat discusses blogging every month, so I figured this would be another way to encourage others educators to give it a try. I asked Paula if she would write a guest blog post to get her awesome idea out there for the education world to share and here it is!
Check it out and pass it along! Make sure to reply to her on Twitter if you try it in your own school because, sharing is caring! ~Pam & Paula
PD in A Cup by: Paula E. Auble
As an Instructional Coach at a public high school, I am constantly looking for ways to help support our teaching staff, preferably without adding more meetings if possible. I wanted to find a way to expose teachers to some of those articles, blogs, websites and videos without asking more from them.
Coincidentally, I recently attended an amazing Train the Trainer workshop with Anne M. Beninghof where she had QR codes cut out and sitting on the tables in the morning before the conference started. Some linked to articles, others to videos - and we could look at them on our own time as we were snacking on breakfast before the conference started, or later in the day during breaks. A colleague and I loved the idea and immediately discussed how we could bring this back to our staff during our professional development time. However, our school’s PD model focuses on differentiation for staff as often as we can, so we are rarely together as a whole group. Even then, my goal was still to try to help teachers fit some personal professional development into THEIR schedules. I wanted to find a way to take this idea TO the teachers and make it as easy and accessible as possible. I’ve seen PD in a Box and Learning in the Loo and so many other creative ideas and I wanted to find something that might work for my campus.
Sitting on my desk was a plastic cup with our school name and logo on it - and it hit me.
Well, the cup didn’t actually hit me, but the idea for PD in a Cup did!
So I gathered articles, websites, strategies, and videos and turned them into QR codes. I started with relevant resources to support our school’s focus on PLCs, evidence-based grading, and then kept going to share ideas on checking for understanding, other instructional strategies and found some inspirational videos.
I typed up directions explaining the cup would be in the teacher workroom for a week and then a new cup would follow each week. My campus has five teacher workrooms so I made five different sets of QR codes and directions and plan to rotate them weekly. I can do another round of rotations for the next 5 weeks after that.
Inside the cup I also included an instructional reflection question they can think about or discuss with peers (teachers in our wings have weekly lunch meetings). The first one was “What are some ways that you have formatively assessed students this week and given them feedback?
I included a “Fill Your Own Cup” question to have them reflect on how they are taking care of themselves. Each week I will swap out the reflection questions for new ones. I gave the whole campus the same questions so they can discuss them with other colleagues in departments or friends in other wings.
I also included a QR code to a Google Form where teachers could give me feedback on what was in the cup and ask for things they might like to see in future cups.
Maybe some teachers will never look at anything in the cup, but maybe some will. Maybe while a teacher is sitting at the table waiting for their copies, they will read or watch something they might not have otherwise. Maybe something inside can spark a conversation, inspire growth, or encourage someone to try something new. Who knows, but I’m excited to find out!
I placed one in each workroom and hoped for the best. I shared this idea on social media and am thrilled to see other Coaches now talking about it and planning how they could do something similar for their own teachers. After twenty-two years in education, I still get excited to learn something from other educators and I’m eager to see if PD in a Cup can help excite others to learn as well.
Teachers are busy. So if I can gather some ways to support, educate and inspire them in an easy, convenient way - that they can fit in to their own time and space… I’m going to try it!
Feel free to try it, tweak it, and use it too. ~Paula E. Auble
I'm an Instructional Coach at Daniel Island School in Berkeley County South Carolina.