Tuesday, July 25, 2017

How To Drastically Reduce Your Planning Time


Teachers: use your prep periods more effectively with this super simple and effective tip by A Word On Third!



It's our second Happy Teacher Tip Tuesday! To link up, check out this link for details, write your genius, happiness-inducing, tip-filled post, and link up below!


This classroom tip has drastically reduced the amount of work I do during my free-time. I still put in some work each day after school, but for the most part, I have my weekends 100% to myself, I get home at a reasonable hour (think 4:30-5:30 instead of 7), and I am five times more productive. This makes me a MUCH better teacher since I'm not burnt out anymore. An old colleague of mine taught me this strategy, and I have never looked back.


Every year before school starts, I plan out my prep periods when I get my class schedule. I also post it somewhere in my room where I will see it when I'm working without kids in the room. Here's an example of my prep schedule from last year:


Basically, I make sure every 40 minute period goes to something that will help me for the following week. I also leave my classroom so that it is 100% ready for the next day. If something happens and I come in late, I don't have to rush or feel flustered because my room is all set for the kids. I have prep periods devoted to planning and prepping each subject I teach, reviewing student work, etc. At the end of the day, I stay for at least one hour to finish anything I didn't get done that day. Usually I stay for two hours, but after that point, if I have more to do, I leave it for the next day. Some weeks I stay until 6 on a Friday, but some weeks I finish early and get to leave at 4 on a Friday!! WHOO HOO!

Think about it... have you ever attempted to clean your home, get distracted by something that belongs in another room, walk to the other room put it back, only to start cleaning something else in that second room? Next thing you know, you have 4 cleaning projects going at once, I find that that kind of unfocused effort in getting things done can easily happen during our prep periods and derail them if we aren't careful. If there's something I really want to get done that isn't on my planning schedule, I just write it down on a post-it for myself.

Do you guys do something similar? If not, I really recommend trying this. It's so simple, but so effective! I've gotten loads more free time with this. Any time you can make a system for yourself, you will save time. Of course, things will pop up, and you won't follow it perfectly all of the time. But even if you follow it half of the time, you'll have made a small investment for a huge pay-out.


Share your tips with everyone to add a little more happy into our days! Link up your blog post below by clicking "Add your link." I can't wait to read your posts!



Tuesday, July 11, 2017

How To Be A Happier Teacher Immediately



It's our first Happy Teacher Tip Tuesday! To link up, check out this link for details, write your genius, happiness-inducing, tip-filled post, and link up below! I had to post about a wellness tip first, especially since it's summer.



This is our chance to make healthy habits stick by the time the start of school rolls around!


In one of my last posts, I wrote about the book Sleep Smarter, which was a game changer for me!! Now I wake up in the mornings ready to go, full of energy. That was monumental for me, because I've NEVER been a morning person. It's NOT about sleep quantity here--it's about sleep quality! And contrary to popular belief, you can't repay a sleep debt. When I got my sleep in check, I quickly started feeling like Super Teacher! Better sleep = better productivity. I get much more done each day, and I get it done well. Here are my 4 Happy Teacher Tips to make you sleep happy and teach happy!

1. Go screen-less! 
The blue light from our tvs, phones, iPads, etc. can trick our bodies into thinking it is daytime. We produce more of the cortisol hormone which isn't good for bedtime. Get off the screens 90 minutes before bed, and use blue-light blocking glasses when you can't. You can also download software to take the blue light out of your screens after a certain time like f.lux. I think this change made the biggest difference for me. My phone lives downstairs at bedtime now.

2. Get sunlight in the morning.
You can mix this with exercise by walking first thing, but even eating your breakfast in the sun is great. Even on a cloudy day, this will stimulate an increase in cortisol. You actually want that first thing in the morning! Cortisol isn't bad, but it IS bad at the WRONG TIME. So go walk your dogs before work. They'll thank you for it.

3. Make it dark.
Black-out curtains are fabulous, and really improve sleep quality. However, you want to limit the light from electronics in your bedroom too. Alarm clocks can make your environment very bright! Many alarm clocks also have screen dimmers--use them.

4. Be consistent with your schedule.
Having the same sleeping and waking times each day (even on weekends), will allow you to wake up ready to go every morning. No more groggy Mondays! Having a bedtime routine will help you with this. Even leaving work at the same time will too. If you HAVE TO leave by 5, are you really going to scroll through your Instagram feed for 20 minutes after your students leave, or are you going to make your copies?


If you're interested in learning more about sleep, I recommend starting with this article and snagging a copy of the book I mentioned above! I can't tell you how much happier I am each day.

Share your tips with everyone to add a little more happy in our days! Link up your blog post below by clicking "Add your link."


Thursday, July 6, 2017

Don't Miss This New Link-Up To Help You Get Happy!

A Word On Third's Happy Teacher Tip Tuesday Link Up


Starting on Tuesday, I'm hosting the Happy Teacher Tip Tuesday link up party so you can snag some awesome teacher tips from other happy teachers. We all know how hard it can be to survive the juggling act that is teaching, so my hope is that you can use these tips to become a happier teacher yourself!


If you're a non-blogging reader... 

Expect to read wellness tips, time-saving tips, sanity-saving tips, and organizational tips! Every other week, I'll share my favorite tip for you, and you can read other linked-up blog posts to read other teachers' tips too. From classroom furniture design to making the most of your prep time or what lunches can be easily packed, the one thing all of these tips will have in common is that they can make you happier.  If you don't blog, please feel free to participate by commenting your favorite tips at the bottom of my posts.


If you're a blogger...

All you need to do is write a short blog post with your teacher tip(s), include the above graphic linking back to the current H.T.T.T. post on my blog, and link up! Share your post so everyone can benefit from your awesome-sauce tip, and then read other tips to get some more happy in your life! It's definitely polite to comment on at least one other blogger's post, so I'm going to ask that you do that too.

I've added a new navigation tab on the top of my my blog called Happy Teacher Tip Tuesdays with all the graphics you'll need. Check it out!



I can't wait to learn all of your tips on Tuesdays! This Tuesday, my tip is going to be about improving your sleep. I'm so much happier because of it!