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KoolKinder18 KoolKinder18 is offline
 
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Spending too much time at work
Old 12-06-2018, 07:22 PM
 
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Hello everyone,

I'm looking for some advice/tips on having a better sense of balance between work and life. I feel like I'm spending more and more time at work lately. I even bring work home to do even after leaving. Most days I'm at work 1 hour early and I stay after 2-3 hours daily. I'm having a hard time with planning/prepping everything just during our given planning blocks (not enough time). Our aides are only part-time and no parent volunteers.


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Old 12-07-2018, 05:39 AM
 
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I use the same bulletin boards year after year--they're new to the students. Same for the most part with lessons, activities, etc. I re-invent very few wheels.

I know from PT that many teachers have demands on their time I do not have (detailed lesson plans they have to submit to admin, mandatory parent contact logs, etc.). If that's your sitch, I think all you can do is simplify...use generic forms for contacts and fill in the blank lesson plans, maybe?

I'm sorry you're so swamped. It shouldn't be that hard and I'm sorry it is.
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Old 12-08-2018, 03:42 PM
 
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Quote:
I use the same bulletin boards year after year--they're new to the students. Same for the most part with lessons, activities, etc. I re-invent very few wheels.
I do this as well. As much as I reuse I can, until I'm sick of it and want to change things up.


There are so many things that are wants, but don't necessarily make a better learning environment for the kids. Picking and choosing makes a huge difference.


I pick one thing each year to change/improve. If I have a curriculum change that counts for a couple of years. There's always more more more that can be done, but it's impossible to do it all.


I choose one day to stay late. The rest I try to get out an hour or less after the kids go home. I rarely take things home, and if I do it's something extra that I'm playing around with, not a necessity. That way if it doesn't get done it's not a big deal.


My plan book is very very simple. I make a template myself so all of the things that are permanently scheduled are already in there. And then I just write in very simple plans. For example, under language arts it might just say "sight word 'to', Dudley Duck (our alphafriend), Gingerbread man". Math will just say "triangle, class chart". I don't have to turn in detailed plans, though, so that helps.


I cut out a lot of activities that involved extensive prep. They are just not worth it.


I hope you are able to find a balance! It's hard but it can definitely be done without compromising your classroom and effectiveness.
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Old 12-08-2018, 11:32 PM
 
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Are you in your first year of teaching kindergarten?

Because I am and I've put in a lot more hours than I did last year when it was my second year on that grade level. I'm hoping for a much less demanding year next year.
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Old 12-09-2018, 06:13 AM
 
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ElizabethJoy, that's a really good point. My first couple years, for sure I spent way more time planning and prepping than I do now. I think the biggest learning curve in those first years was figuring out how long any one lesson, project, game etc. would take. I'd either over-plan (and not get to everything) or under-plan (and have to scramble to fill).


And, even now, kids can throw all that out the window. I have a fine motor menorah project that has always taken two days. This year, I have a really great class, they're on task like ALL THE TIME and they finished it in less than one day.


Quote:
My plan book is very very simple. I make a template myself so all of the things that are permanently scheduled are already in there. And then I just write in very simple plans. For example, under language arts it might just say "sight word 'to', Dudley Duck (our alphafriend), Gingerbread man". Math will just say "triangle, class chart". I don't have to turn in detailed plans, though, so that helps.
Once again, I read Sbkangas' post and was all, "Yep, me, too." My lesson planner is the same.


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Old 12-09-2018, 08:37 AM
 
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The first year at any grade level takes time. You are learning the curriculum. You are writing lesson plans, figuring out pacing and creating/gathering materials.

Lesson Plans: Lesson plans get easier after the first year. We have to have detailed plans that we turn in online.
  • If you keep a digital copy of your lesson plans, then you can use them each year-just copy/paste and tweak each year based on your students' needs and pacing so you are not reinventing the wheel every year.
  • Create a template for your lesson plans. Fill in the routines and things that are the same each day and curriculum materials so you don't have to type them in each time. i.e. If you have a routine for sight words-type that in the template. Then you just have to type in the new words... Type in the titles of teacher manuals in the template. Then you just have to type in page numbers each week.
  • Do you have grade level colleagues or are you by yourself? Our K team has our digital lesson plans set up so we can see each other's plans.
  • Does your district have pacing guides for your grade level? If so, get a copy. They can help you plan ahead.

Bulletin Boards: Stop looking at Pinterest! Cute bulletin boards don't make for a better teacher. I used to change most of my bulletin boards monthly. I used different borders depending upon the themes we were doing. It was so cute, but time-consuming to keep up with it. Keep in mind that you don't want your classroom to be visually distracting to your students so avoid cluttering up the walls with too many posters.
  • Keep it simple. Use the same solid color borders and stick to one or two colors for background paper. (Most of the time the background paper gets covered up anyway.)
  • Decide which boards stay the same all year like alphabet strip... I try to make all the high bulletin boards permanent. If you have tall bulletin boards, you can section off the top part for stuff that stays up all year. Then reserve the lower section, where students can reach, for student work. Have students choose the work and staple it.
  • If you have an extra board, have your students be responsible for a board.
  • Create anchor charts with your students. You can display them on the Smartboard when needed or print out and put in plastic sheet protectors in a binder for student access.

Centers: Again-keep it simple. Every center activity doesn't have to be theme-coordinated. You don't have to new center activities every week.
  • Pick several core activities for math and literacy centers. Teach the core activities so the students can do independently and then switch the materials used and letters/words/numbers.
  • i.e. For Word Work, do a word building activity. One week students use magnetic letters. The next week, they use letter tiles. Then they use foam letters. After that, students use letter Unifix cubes. The activity remains the same-you just switch the materials used and the pictures or words. Does that make sense? By doing this, you don't have to spend a lot of time finding/making/teaching a bunch of new center activities at the beginning of each week. Plus you are helping your students become confident and independent learners.
  • Think about how you are going to organize your center materials before it is time to put away the materials.You want to organize them so you can easily find what you need next year.
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