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40 Hour Workweek

Productivity Strategies   |   Jun 11, 2023

Summit sneak peek: K-12 teachers share their favorite timesaving tips & tricks

By Angela Watson

Founder and Writer

Summit sneak peek: K-12 teachers share their favorite timesaving tips & tricks

By Angela Watson

The 40 Hour Teacher Workweek program was first created in 2015 (with a total update in 2020), and we’ve now had tens of thousands of teachers complete the course.

With so many different personality types and teaching contexts, the amount of new ideas to spring out of the course was inevitable. I’ve always been impressed by the tweaks, offshoots, extensions, and transformations teachers have done as they’d made my ideas their own. And now, I’ve finally got an awesome way to feature them and share their phenomenal work!

The first 40 Hour Teacher Workweek Online Summit is happening July 10th and 11th, and you’re going to hear some sneak peeks from it today.

This event is:

  • Entirely online
  • Completely FREE
  • Beneficial for all K-12 teachers
  • 30+ presentations and roundtable discussions are included
  • Opening and closing keynotes by 40 Hour founder Angela Watson (that’s me)
  • All session presenters are current K-12 classroom teachers + 40 Hour members
  • No fluff, filler, icebreakers, or pitches: each session is just 15-20 minutes long
  • Chat with other teachers during the live sessions to get personalized advice

Some of our presenters will take you on a video tour of their classrooms to share organizational tips and classroom routines. Other presenters will screen share their way through tutorials on how they organize digital files, save links, manage assessments, or plan lessons. Still, others will give a fast rundown of all their best timesaving tips for grading, differentiation, email, and more.

You can join us LIVE for FREE on Mon. July 10 through Tues. July 11th.

Sessions run every half hour from 9 am-5 pm ET. (Convert to your timezone here.)

If you can’t attend a session or want to watch and rewatch at your convenience, the Forever Access Pass will get you the recordings, plus a notetaking guide, a summary of key ideas for each session, full transcripts, and special bonuses. It’s just $19 right now (the price will increase once the event begins.)

Please share this free event widely with teacher friends and colleagues! 

Listen to the audio below,
or subscribe in your podcast app

Tip #1: Use learning contracts to transfer ownership of assignments to your students.

Bailey Ondircek is presenting a session called “You don’t have to “perform”: Lesson structures to increase student autonomy.” She’s sharing how you can diversify your lesson structures and increase student autonomy based on the findings of her own practitioner research study. She’s sharing four innovative lesson structures designed to empower students and enhance their motivation. Here’s one of them: learning contracts.

Learning contracts are exciting to me. So the way a learning contract works is it is a plan that the student makes for how they will learn about something that they are excited to learn about. I love doing this type of lesson structure after students have filled out a KWL chart because once they’ve already marked what they know, what they want to know about a topic, and then what they learn after something like a guided learning lesson, there are always unanswered questions in that want to know column because maybe my video where my guest speaker didn’t address exactly what they’re interested in.

So the purpose of a learning contract is to give the student the opportunity to investigate that and to prepare class time in order to do so. The way that this looks in my classroom is I have a form learning contract, which I’ll make sure is included in your materials, where students say what it is that they want to learn, how they’re going to learn about it, and what sources they’re going to use. Those sources could be low-tech, like books, magazines, even people that they have access to maybe outside of school time or even within the school, or in the state of Utah, we have a resource called Utah’s Online Library that’s kind of a curated research database for students to use in K-12 schools. So that’s, that’s my big go-to.

And then students decide which of those resources they’ll use in order to learn what it is that they want to learn. This is really a difficult research skill for my upper elementary school kids. They have to learn some grit through this process. So at first, it’s really tricky and it’s very unfortunate for them when they realize that sometimes the information that they’re looking for isn’t easily accessible. So it’s a great activity, especially at the end of unit for students to learn something that they were hoping to learn and didn’t. And also to teach grit and research skills, especially with reading and writing.

I love this lesson structure, again at the end of a unit and it’s definitely one that gets better with time toward the end of a school year. So I would use this periodically throughout the school year to help students with their language arts, with their research skills. And I would use it anytime at the end of a unit when I know that there are questions that students have that I haven’t answered yet.

Tip #2: Carve out time buckets for life, career, relationships, and self so you can ensure your life isn’t just about work.

Here’s a quick and easy tip from Maggie Whitacre. She’s a 7th-grade U.S. Studies and 21st Century Communication teacher in Minnesota, and her session is titled, “How I learned to finally invest in myself (and you can, too!).”

Wanting to dig deeper into productivity led me to a time management expert named Laura Vanderkam. Like Angela, Laura’s work goes beyond efficiency tips and focuses on ensuring that we spend our time on the things that truly matter most to us. One idea she encourages is to plan your upcoming week on Fridays. The reason being that our Fridays, specifically Friday afternoons, are arguably the least productive time of our entire week.

I love this idea and I love how she takes it a step further, encouraging us to make plans for three different buckets of life, career, relationships, and self. I use that template to plan the upcoming week, like thinking big picture as well as daily. So thinking like, okay, it’s a Monday evening, tomorrow’s Tuesday, what’s one thing I wanna accomplish in regards to my career, in regards to relationships, in regards to like my own self for the next day? What does Tuesday look like in those three areas of life? It’s a good reminder that all three warrant our time and intention.

Tip #3: Share the grading load with a coworker.

Andrea Clark is currently a 5th-grade teacher at Munich International School in Germany, and her session is called “Co-grading with a colleague: a more enjoyable and manageable approach to assessment.” She shares her struggles with grading, and how sharing the workload with a colleague has helped.

I have been working with the IB grading system for four years, so I have certainly had time to figure out a way to stay on top of my grading, but no, I basically just figured out a way to avoid it as much as possible and then frantically get it done as quickly as possible. Punishing myself in the process and delaying giving students back the feedback they want and need.

Last year, I took my first steps toward tackling this problem as a longtime listener of Angela Watson’s Truth for Teachers podcast and a graduate member of the 40 Hour Teacher Workweek Club. I have long been using many of her strategies for making teaching and all of the tasks associated with teaching, like grading more efficient and effective. I realized that I didn’t need to grade everything all in one sitting. I just needed to get it done as quickly as possible. I rarely had time to sit down and grade everything all at once anyway, so waiting for that magical period of time where I would have no interruptions was never going to happen.

I figured if I just graded one thing a day, eventually I would get them all done. It could take a long time, but at least I would be slowly chipping away at the stack and I can usually get more than one done in a day, but I could always do at least one, and it worked. I felt better about grading. I got grading done more quickly and I didn’t feel guilty or stressed by the process.

This year, I continued with that process and have added in a new dimension to make it even more efficient and enjoyable. I couldn’t have done this last year since I wasn’t on a team of teachers. This year I work with four other fifth-grade teachers and at least one of them shares my frustration and dread of grading, so we figured out a plan together. Co-grading with a colleague. In short, every time we have a shared planning period, which is several times a week, we sit together in the same room and grade something.

How does this work for us? Well, one of us will pop our head into the other’s classroom and say, “Do you wanna grade those math projects during third period today? Or when do you have time to grade those essays today?” And the other says, “Yes, yes I do. Or how about fourth period?” Then we pick a room to work in, bring our stuff to grade, sit down, and get started.

We usually work on the same assignment, but that’s not a requirement. It can make moderating each other’s grading easier if we are both on the same assignment. “Hey, I gave this student this grade, would you give this student the same grade?” But it just requires a little code-switching to move between assignments if we’re not working on the same assignment. Since we teach the same subjects and give the same assessments, we both know what all of the assignments are.

Our rule is always to grade at least one thing, and sometimes it’s one thing between the two of us. If we only have 5 or 10 minutes together, then we’ll use that time to grade one thing and be done. It feels manageable to grade one thing together and we can check it off the list quickly and we can feel like we are moving in the right direction. We’re never upset that it was only one thing.

Hey, it’s one more thing graded than we had done five minutes ago. If it’s a particularly hard assignment to grade, we grade each student’s assignment together. Sure, it can take twice as long, but we feel more confident with the grades that we are giving since we have to come to some sort of agreement, and it usually doesn’t take twice as long since we get in a rhythm and start to know what to look for.

This strategy is also effective when we are not motivated to grade. We can drag each other through the process and then actually feel better since we did get something accomplished. Sometimes we talk about a lot of the students work and sometimes we don’t. Some assignments are more straightforward to grade than others. She’s better with nuances in grading English assignments, and I’m better with nuances in grading math assignments. Sometimes we even get to listen to music.

There have been many benefits so far for us, including we’re holding each other accountable. Sure, I can sit in her room and do something else, but when she proclaims that she’s graded four lab reports, I have to sheepishly admit that I wasn’t actually grading at all and I’m just too competitive to let her win like that. We can also help each other make sure that we don’t fall too far behind with a grading.

If one of us is almost done, it motivates the other to catch up. We are checking each other’s grading biases since we’re in the same room. If there’s a response that she wants a second opinion on, we can have the other one take a look at it. This allows us to make sure we aren’t giving too high or too low marks to students that we know really well. Having a second or objective perspective is helpful in moderating our own biases. We can reflect on the assignment together.

If the rubric is frustrating or the assignment didn’t go the way that we wanted or our students are really struggling with a certain question, we can make corrections on it going forward and improve the rubric for next time. We can make the assignments better by grading them together. If something goes wrong with my class’s assignment, it might be me or my students, but if it also went wrong with her class, it’s probably the assignment, and finally, we get to spend time together on a regular basis.

Teaching can be incredibly isolating even on a team, so it’s nice to get to check in with each other and make sure the other one is doing okay. It makes us better teachers, better teammates, and happier people.

Listen in to find out how to make this work if you’re not on a team, not at an IB school, or don’t have shared planning time with another teacher. 

Tip #4: Give fewer assignments and fewer grades.

Amanda Lay is a middle school ELA teacher who’s presenting on how to use Project Based Learning or PBL and alternative assessment methods to save time. Here she is talking about deciding what to grade and how to grade it. 

We really want to focus on authentic means of assessments such as performance-based tasks, portfolios, and projects. So you can see how project-based learning and alternative assessment really align together. But how does this all tie back to the 40 Hour Teacher Workweek? Well, at the top I said that this was one of my biggest takeaways, and it is one of the main contributors to avoiding burnout for myself.

In the first few years as an ELA teacher, I spent countless hours grading student essays, writing meticulous comments only for students to receive their work back, look for the final grade, and completely ignore all of the other feedback I had given them. And so when I was going through the 40 Hour program in the 2021 cohort, the November Core Concepts really stuck out to me because November is all about grading and assessment. So I’ve taken a couple of the core concepts from November to sort of unpack with you today and align with what I’m talking about.

The first core concept that I’m gonna speak on is that the 40 Hour Teacher Workweek November concepts tell us we should be giving fewer assignments. Now, a lot of ELA teachers say that’s easier said than done, but as we look at some project-based learning and alternative assessment examples, you’re gonna see how it allows for you to assign fewer assignments to your students. And you’re able to focus on meaningful and authentic learning experiences for your students. You’re no longer giving busy work and you’re no longer spending countless hours grading and giving feedback.

That ties into our second core concept that we’re going to look at as a teacher, particularly a literacy teacher, you should only grade an assignment if it is a true and important measure of what students can do. And I loved this quote about alternative assessment because it rings very true to me as someone who has used this in their classroom. And it really is wonderful for all kids because it allows you, the teacher to truly understand what the students are capable of as learners in your classroom. It’s very hard for students to BS their way through an alternative assessment or a project-based learning project. And there’s not a lot of ways for students to cheat on these assessments or at least it becomes a lot more difficult for them to do so. So this becomes a really true assessment of what your students are able to do.

Tip #5: Give yourself (and your students) something to look forward to when you return to school after the weekend.

Katherine Pielak teaches high school in Indiana, and her session is called “Bringing more joy to the classroom through adapted games, intentional timers, and the Modern Classroom Project.” She’d asked me for guidance on which of these topics to focus her presentation on, and I recommended she cover all three! Anything that prevents burnout and makes teaching and learning more enjoyable is super important to talk about. Here, she’s sharing a practice that’s helped her students communicate more effectively and participate in class. 

After the pandemic, I recognize that there was more and more need for students to come together, shake off a lot of the social anxieties, be able to communicate with one another, again, on a low-risk level. And so I started actually with what I called Fun Fridays. And we would use Fridays to play some games to build trust, to build eye contact to build those elusive speaking and listening skills, and to help bridge some of that digital distance.

This includes student-to-student and also student to teacher. I don’t know if you were teaching during and after the pandemic, but certainly, I noticed a sharp contrast in students’ desire to talk to one another, and even for us to trust that social and emotional distance. I have also used these game moments as a way to build creativity and to produce that critical thinking that especially colleges are looking for beyond the formulaic foundational skills.

I want to encourage my students to think more critically and creatively. And it’s also a low-risk way to work on skill transfer. And I’ll be more specific about all of those as we move through here. Lastly, the reason I switched from fun Friday to Monday is I needed a way for me to get excited about coming to school on Monday morning.

And I thought the same was probably true of my teenagers. And so we switched it to Fun Monday. It’s a nice, easy warmup way to begin the week. So I’ll talk a little bit more about what I do. I have lots of different games that I have purchased as well as invented.

I have a lot of students who come in and just want to get on their phones and ignore everyone else, and this forces them into a conversation. And almost always there are smiles all around, even from the students who aren’t generally smilers. So I have been quite pleased with that.

I have students who I typically wouldn’t engage in conversation with intentionally if that makes sense. And this produces a fun way for me to interact with them on a level that’s not academic and on a level that’s not disciplinary. It also encourages the mixing of groups and getting outside of their comfort zones. I shake the groups up all the time, and they don’t have to come together with a very academic, daunting task with people they don’t really know or like — they can play Jenga and it feels a lot more low-risk.

Usually, I choose games that can be done in three to five minutes. Sometimes I will have my belt or my clock-watcher set a timer four or five minutes, and we see what we can do in those five minutes, and then we move on with our content. But after those five minutes, people are smiling, people have let down their guard and I am in a much better mood.

At the end of the day, students are communicating more. They have more familiarity and vulnerability with one another if they have been playing these kinds of games. It’s been a nice way to watch them build relationships with each other, but also with me, right? So I’m wandering around and I’m playing sometimes with them. We’re all laughing together. It does build creativity. It forces critical thinking, especially those argumentative debate-style games. It, more than anything, helps us laugh, and I think a lot of times our world gets so serious and our students are expected to do so much. And it’s just a fun way to let down our guard and be human again.

Tip #6: Delegate responsibility to students through classroom jobs.

Jessica Peak, a 6th grade Earth Science teacher in Idaho, is sharing her 3 biggest timesaving tips for the secondary classroom. Her session talks about grading by response category, and hyperlinked planning documents. She also covers classroom jobs — here’s an excerpt of her ideas about that. 

As a secondary teacher, I’ve always been a little bit apprehensive about implementing class jobs. It felt a little bit contrived like I would be creating jobs for the sake of creating jobs. But then in the pandemic, I was just overloaded. I had half my kids in class, half my kids at home, the little things you have to do multiplied by 10 it felt like.

So I had to start figuring out, “Okay, how can I share the burden with my students?” And I started asking myself three questions to help identify my jobs. The first one was, what necessary tasks do I have a hard time remembering to do? Second, what necessary tasks do I just hate doing? And finally, is there anything my students would enjoy doing? Like I don’t mind doing it, but my students could absolutely do it and they would love it.

That brought forth this list of jobs. My attendance manager and my whiteboard manager take over things I forget to do. After 12 years — I still cannot remember to do my attendance. Also, I have a very hard time remembering to write my learning target and agenda on the whiteboard. So these two managers take care of those things. My plant manager and my graded paper managers take care of things I hate doing. I hate watering plants and passing back papers and I don’t have to do them anymore.

And then finally some things my students like doing. I do a raffle every Friday. I realized my students would love to pull the names and announce them. I also had my students create a job. It’s called the subsistent. And this is a person who helps decipher my lesson, plan for a substitute, and answer any questions they might have. And then finally, I just have a substitute that takes over any miscellaneous jobs or any jobs for folks who are absent.

I choose students in one of three ways. The first way is an application. It’s just a form where I have a description of my jobs. They pick their first choice, their second choice if they have one, and then how they’d be if they why they would be good at those jobs. And then I choose based on these applications.

Now this fills about 80% of my jobs. For the jobs I don’t bill, first I just ask for volunteers. So the day that I announce who has what job, I’ll just say, “Hey, we have a graded paper manager position open. Is anyone interested?” And that usually fills about 95% of my jobs.

But often over all my classes, I have one position that stays open. If it’s not like a necessary position, I’ll just leave it open. But if it’s my attendance manager who I rely on desperately, then I will just personally ask a student and inevitably they’ll do it for me.

Once I have all my people, I put them in one of these charts with flashcards inside and I have this in the back of my room and I write big enough that I can see their names so that anytime I need help throughout a class period, I know who to call on. And there’s just a lot when you’re in secondary. That’s a lot of kids with a lot of jobs and it’s nice to keep it straight with like a big board in your room.

Now I’d like to go into a little more detail on three of my jobs that I’ve found especially helpful to hopefully give you a visual of how you might implement this in your class if you’re interested.

First is my attendance manager. What I do is I have a little tray at the edge of my desk with a binder that has seating charts for all my classes. When my attendance manager enters class, they wait for everyone to come in and then they go to the seating chart, and on any desk that is empty, they just put an A on, there’s no sensitive information. It’s just a seating chart with first and last names. And then when I have a chance, I grab the folder and I enter the attendance into PowerSchool. It just takes the load off and it’s nice.

Then I have my whiteboard manager. So there’s already a requirement at my school to post your daily agenda, and so I just kind of beefed that up. So I had my daily agenda channel and we use Microsoft Teams. And I just put in my learning target and my agenda. These are two things that we’re required to put on our whiteboard. So I do one requirement and then my student does the other requirement. So she just comes in first thing in the morning, opens up to the daily agenda that I posted the day before, and then she copies down the learning target to the whiteboard and the agenda to the whiteboard. I don’t have to remember to do it because Ella remembers every single day.

Finally, I have my graded paper managers. So I have a spot in my room where I have all of my graded papers that’s just a tray on a counter. And when my graded paper managers finish assignments early, they just check the bin and then if there’s anything in it, they’ll go pass out those papers for me. Additionally, if I just have a big stack that needs to be handed out immediately I usually assign three graded paper managers. So I split the pile up among those three and I get my papers handed back in three minutes or less.

Tip #7: Get ahead in your lessons by batching the task.

Jana Sucre Fortune teaches upper elementary in the Republic of Panama. Her session is called “Save time with selective grading, batch planning, and classroom jobs that matter.” Below, she explains how she gets ahead in her lesson planning by batching the task, 

The final tool I would like to share with you from the 40 Hour Teacher Workweek is batch planning. It took me a while to really get it down, but now that I have, I can never go back to the way I used to plan.

Batch planning means that you take one or two long sessions of planning and you plan for a select time period, not just one week. You plan for a month for a unit or another set period of time that makes sense for you. You need to be extremely intentional in this time, but it’s so worth it. Take one class at a time and look ahead to the things that you want to do for each week. Focus on one class or subject until it’s totally done for that time period, and then do the same for the next class or subject.

At first, thinking about taking an entire day off to plan felt really counterintuitive. Didn’t I join the 40 Hour Teacher Workweek to spend more time with my family, not spending an entire day locked in the office to do lesson plans? Well, I started small and it’s okay to start small and grow as you’re comfortable with it. When I started batch planning, I did two weeks at a time. And as that was going well, I started to do one month at a time. Then I did a reading unit, which is about five to six weeks.

As I started seeing the benefits from those planning periods, it was so clear to me that these days were making a difference, and it was so very worth it to spend that time upfront to save me from having to do it later on. The last planning session I had was near the end of the third quarter. I took two half days and went to school on a day off and focused only on planning.

Since there were no school on those days, there were no coworkers coming in to chat. There were no bells ringing, no students needing my attention, no administrators needing to ask me questions. My own kids weren’t there. There were simply no distractions. I planned the entire last quarter. In those two days, I printed and prepped the materials I needed for the first two weeks.

If you’re not able to have an entire day or two half days or whatever where you can be completely alone in the area, make sure to set boundaries. I know boundaries can be really hard to set and they can be uncomfortable, but it’s also really important to do.

There was one day when I needed to have focus time after school, which as you know is a particularly popular time to stop by and chat with coworkers, have debriefs from the day, share stories of what happened, and I decided, I know I need to focus during this time. I know people are gonna stop by. I know I’m going to be tempted to go out, so I just took a sticky note and wrote on it. I’m easily distracted, but I need to work today. Please don’t come in unless it’s really important. In that time, I got a lot of work done, and of course, all my coworkers understood. No one was even the slightest bit offended and I felt accomplished as school was coming to an end.

My husband mentioned that he noticed I had been more relaxed on the weekends. He asked if I felt the 40 Hour Teacher Workweek had helped me this year, and I could say with absolute certainty, I knew it had because I was finally free of the Sunday night panic.

He thought a moment and said, that’s right. You’re really calm on Sunday nights. Now this is totally different. Your time matters. You get to go through the time period without needing to think about planning. As you approach the end of the time period, you set aside another long period or two to do the planning for the next unit or month or whatever time period. It just makes sense for you.

At the beginning of school this year, and unfortunately for the last nine years before I was making lesson plans one week at a time, Sunday nights would often end up in a panic because I still didn’t know what I was doing the next morning. Now, thanks to batch planning, I know what I’m doing a month ahead for a unit ahead or even a quarter ahead even that means that I have more time to focus on the selective grading. It means I have more time to focus on my children. It means I have more time to focus on my husband. It means I have more time to spend with my parents on the weekends. It means no more Sunday night panic.

Batch planning has been one of the greatest tools I’ve learned. It takes a long time at the very beginning. Remember that, okay, you’re taking one or two long sessions to plan ahead for a long period of time so that you don’t have to think about it each week. If you are anything like I was, I hope that you’ve learned some new tips to help save your sanity too.

Tip #8: Create theme days for specific tasks so you can focus without feeling pulled in so many directions.

Sawyer Henderson is an English teacher in Georgia whose session is called “5 strategies to streamline your workload, boost your confidence, and get more done in the high school classroom.” He’s talking about how to batch the tasks on your own to-do list.

A key cornerstone of the 40 Hour Workweek is creating effective to-do lists. However, this is a strategy that I found myself having to come back to every now and then to make sure I was making the most effective to-do lists I could.

This is an example of the current system I use. Now when I have to do a task, I mentally go through the following questions. I ask myself, is this task batchable? In other words, does it reoccur over and over and should I consider allotting this to a particular day of the week? I think you’ll actually find that most tasks are batchable. I also ask, is this task immediate? Is this something that has to get done the same day or the next day? If so, it should go on the list ASAP on a particular day of the week, or is this task something I could do later this week?

These are tasks that may be allotted to a particular day, but it could be moved to a later section on your to-do list and may not be assigned to a particular day of the week. The same is true for later this month or long-term tasks. These tasks could either be put on your later section of your to-do list or you may consider having a completely separate section for times in the year when you could accomplish them, such as in-service days, professional learning days, weird schedules, et cetera.

So let’s go through some examples together, and this is just the mental process I do for each type of task. Note that many of these come already from Angela’s 40 Hour materials.

The first is RTI data or really any data collection living in Georgia. Many educators have to collect data for RTI or our response to intervention for students who are struggling behaviorally or academically. But even if you don’t have to follow RTI, chances are you have to log some sort of data. So RTI data I would consider to be batchable picking one day a week to do this will make it easier to remember and more time efficient. The same goes for IEP data or 504 data batching. These tasks on a particular day like a Monday or a Tuesday will save you time in the long run and it helps make sure it gets done.

Copies: I’ve actually found that making copies for the upcoming week all on the same day saves me so much time. So this task is batchable. That way I’m not wasting my planning or lunch every day to wait in line at the copier to make copies for the next day’s lesson plans. On Mondays, I set aside my planning to run copies for the whole week, so I’m ready to go and I don’t have to waste my planning at a later time.

Meetings: Some meetings are an interesting task. They could either happen on a specific day like you have a parent-teacher conference or a 504 meeting, but they may also be batchable. So for example, at our school, we have PLCs or professional learning communities once a week on Tuesdays. Since I’m a department chair, I also get to attend our leadership meetings every Wednesday because I know my planning period will be taken up with these meetings every week, every Tuesday and every Wednesday. I go ahead and add them to the to-do list and think of other activities that could be easily added to the same days that don’t require as much cognitive demand.

So maybe I also set time to do extra copies on those days or input grades into the computer system or respond to some other emails or something like that. The next task is stakeholder communication. So these are kind of the same as meetings. So consider adding in your communication emails or follow-ups. Today’s where you have meetings since they may not be as cognitively demanding compared to an activity like grad or lesson planning, which might need your full focus without interruptions. These are also, in that way, batchable.

So I put this one on here just as a reminder that there are certain items which have to be done maybe only once or are not batchable. So we have early releases typically on every final exam week at the end of each semester. So I’m not having to print these off each week. This may be a one-and-done type of task, but each time you have a task that has to get done, but only once again, consider where would this task be best accomplished.

For example, if you leave Thursdays open for grading during your planning period and you need to have a clear focus to do this, it would be unwise to put this task of printing off forms on this same day because you’ll probably lose focus when trying to do this. So it may not make sense to make it immediate. Maybe you schedule it for that next day or on a day when you make copies since you’re already going to be going to the copier or at a time when you have a meeting and we’ll already be walking in the hallway heading to that meeting location.

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Angela Watson

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Angela is a National Board Certified educator with 11 years of teaching experience and more than a decade of experience as an instructional coach. She started this website in 2003, and now serves as Editor-in-Chief of the Truth for Teachers...
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