As summer begins to wind down and the first week of school approaches, we often find ourselves losing sleep thinking about all of the things we need to do to get organized. Before that first week approaches, here are 18 steps to organize yourself with technology:
- Declutter your inbox: Delete any emails you don’t need from previous years, organize the emails you want to keep, and create folders for new emails you will receive.
- Organize your contacts: Create a 2017–18 contacts folder in your email—as you get parent email addresses, be sure to add them to this new folder.
- Store important files: Back up files to online storage areas, such as Google Drive and Dropbox, and access your files from any device.
- Keep a digital to-do list: Use sites such as Google Keep to make organizational to-do checklists. These lists can be accessed from any device.
- Connect with parents: Use websites such as Remind or ClassTag for pushing out class information to parents all at once. Begin by creating a letter inviting parents to join—it’s simple to use, and parents can sign up on their own.
- Organize your classroom library online: Start with a list of titles and authors—during the school year, students can create online video book reviews of your classroom library for others to view.
- Create an easy numbering system: Assign numbers to students for usernames for the technology websites you will be using in your classroom. Be sure to keep a list of all of the students’ names and numbers in case anyone forgets!
- Connect with fellow educators: Join or visit an online educator community so you are prepped and ready to easily download or update lessons for the year ahead.
- Update your Google Classroom: Archive all of your Google Classroom pages and begin organizing your new class(es). Invite students into your class if you already have class lists.
- Get funding: Already have a great idea for a project you want to be funded? Use sites like donorschoose.org to create a project that might be funded right away.
- Keep an online calendar: Sites such as Google Calendar allow you to sync your calendar to your phone—so you’re always aware of upcoming meetings, open houses, parent teacher conferences, and other important dates.
- Get inspired: Use Pinterest for classroom setup ideas and take pictures of your classroom organizational ideas. That way, you’ll have them for next summer when you are setting up your classroom again!
- Welcome your students: Get your class website ready to go and insert a video welcome message from you. Send the link to parents and students to ease the anxiety students might have about the first day back to school.
- Offer support: Begin creating a list of educational websites to offer parents when they need support for their child. Add this to your website or Google Doc to easily share with parents.
- Create “technology coach” badges: As the school year starts, choose 2–3 tech-savvy students to be your technology coaches and help other students in the class.
- Set limits: Create technology rules for the classroom, or begin with a few and have students create the rest.
- Go fully digital: Begin digitizing all of your lesson plans, project ideas, templates, and other tools that you will use for the school year. Create organized folders with the school year and topic ideas.
- Take advantage of deals: Check out the many stores that offer discounted school supplies to teachers for back to school. Dollar General, Staples, Walmart, and Michaels are some that offer discounts and special teacher days.
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