A new semester. A new procedure.

Interactive notebook


It was with vexing dismay that I realized that my job as teacher was consuming me.  That awareness was the catalyst for a bit of rearranging of my classroom procedures.  I started with what is probably the least important assignment that causes me much consternation: students’ interactive notebooks.

Middle school students are basically disorganized even when told exactly how to organize something, such as a notebook.  Some of my students’ notebooks are in such disarray that I despaired of their successfully studying the contents.  Whereas I was a student who relished learning and inhaled the scent of new notebooks, folders, and writing utensils, many adolescents today mutilate their notebooks beyond usefulness.   As I strove to create hyper-organized notes and table of contents, some students were writing  love notes and resharpening broken pencils to nubs so they could scribble pointlessly in notebooks.  For these students, earning a passing grade on a notebook check was an impossibility.

Today, I transmitted the sole responsibility of notebook organization to my students.  For the rest of the school year, students are responsible for what they choose to record in notebooks.  Each week, I will give a mini-quiz over the information we have covered.  It’s genius really.  Instead of gathering raggedy notebooks to pore over, I will recoup some much needed time for myself; I don’t have to cry at the sight of strangled, de-boned spiral notebooks anymore.

With this new tactic, I predict that I will save myself about twelve hours of grading and TOC-making  over the next several weeks.

Time rearranged = 12 hours

Rearranging stuff

My sister, creator of StoneLeaf & Co., has been rearranging stuff for a long time.  Each necessary shift has positively impacted her and her outlook. She wrote yesterday about how she has been on a journey searching for a purpose and voice for her writing.  She has accepted that her current story to tell is about our mother and the uncomfortable journey of Alzheimer’s.  I respect my sister’s strength to accept her current role.

I am therefore inspired to accept opportunities for growth as 2015 begins.  I don’t know what will need to be rearranged first, but I suspect it will be something mundane: hanging up clothes, painting the edges of the walls in my kitchen, clearing out all the bins I have collected in 12 years of teaching, finishing a book, redistributing my fat to muscle ratio, finding more time to spend with loved ones, etc.

I will probably rearrange some furniture sooner or later too.

I do know one thing.  I am not good at keeping “new year’s resolutions.”  So, this year, I am going to trust God first.  Then, I am going to set 24-hour goals and see what happens as stuff gets rearranged. I hope the result is a better me.

T-shirts folded and rearranged.

T-shirts folded and rearranged.