A One-Hour Calendar Setup Activity That Can Save You Planning Time (and Sanity) During the School Year

This is a one-hour activity I recommend all teachers do before they start planning for the school year. I find this is one of the best things teachers can do to get their heads in the game and develop a feel for the flow of the year to come. It’s also something you can do before you ever set foot in your classroom. Think of it as a favor to your busier, less-rested mid-school year self.

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What to Do if Your Lesson Ends Early (AKA: “The Flotation Device Activity”)

For a new teacher, thirty minutes of no-lesson-plan time feels like a week and a half in normal-people time. The earlier in the year this happens, the more panicked you will feel. Maybe you should have planned more diligently. Or maybe you did plan­. Maybe you stayed up late cutting out each individual pepperoni slice for your “fraction pizza” lesson, but you didn’t have the experience to know the activity would only take fourteen minutes.

Either way, here you are, watching the first few kids finish off the assignment. You look at the clock. Thirty minutes until the bell rings. You start hoping there’s a PA announcement, a fire drill, a real fire—anything to keep you from having to answer the dreaded question “So what are we doing next?” (more…)

As a new teacher, you’re not just on information overload. You’re on SUPER-IMPORTANT INFORMATION overload. Here’s what to do about it.

What’s the difference between information overload and super-important information overload? Glad you asked!

The amount of information is the same: somewhere between a-tiny-bit-more-than-you-can-process-right-now and infinity. In the super-important version, however, each piece of new information comes with an urgent warning or moral implication meant to bump it to the front of the priority line. The result can be a paralyzing cocktail of panic, confusion, and shame. (more…)