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July 14, 2021

Helping My Future Self - Another Binder

I think we have all established that I love binders.  I'm a binder girl.  I really like being organized.

Last year during distance learning I had 2 powerpoints continually being updated on my computer.  One with all the weekly focuses (Essential questions and I can statements), and another with all the weekly checklists.  Maybe you had the same kind of thing happening for your classroom?  

It was the very big reminder of everything we do on a weekly basis with and for our kids.  I wrote down everything, meaning I had to preplan everything for the kids that couldn't log on to know what the class was doing.  I gave them access. I kept track of everything.  I call it being organized, my own kids might call it a little extreme...  

By Thursday of the week before, I would update our Virtual Checklist with all the must dos that the kids would have to turn in the following week.  Each day there were reminders of independent activities to tackle and what needed to be turned in.  

I would also update the next week's Focus with our new Essential Questions and I Can Statements.  Every Monday I would send both PDFs to my families via email and then go over them with the kids. The kids would fill in the I Know I Can Because... section on Fridays in their Color Teams.  

I started thinking that having a print out of the Focus would be beneficial for when I have to update my whiteboard this year. I guess last year I helped my future self.  So last week I printed them off and stuck them in sheet protectors in a new binder.  I'm planning on keeping it handy at school when it's time to weekly update the board.

Now where did I get all the essential questions?

Math - My grade level team came up with the questions. It helped to focus us when we were planning out our common formative assessments, which also helps when we do intervention and mix up our classes for WIN time.  

STEM/Science - My district came up with them for each week of our units. Backwards planning to reach our goal.

Social Studies - They are the essential questions that came with our curriculum, and then the I Cans are specific to the weekly lesson. 

Reading and Writing - I took what my kids needed via our units.  Again backwards planning, what was the big picture, and adding a little each week to reach our goals.

All the individual subject info is over in my Pacing Binder.  I showed that off last week. This is just a spin off with a weekly view, while that has everything by subject.  There's a purpose for both.  

I know I stuck to typical pacing last year.  Yes, I couldn't go as deep, and there wasn't time for as many examples or projects, but still the same pacing.  So going into this next year, the essential questions and I can statements will be close to what I can expect again.

After all this printing, I started thinking of the Weekly Checklists that I made last year. What activities and page numbers, what formative check ins I had them do, what states/capitals we learned... It's all written down already based on the week of the year. Even the beginning of the year read alouds. So I printed off a set of those, and stuck them in those same page protectors so the weeks of both corresponded with each other.  

I know I can't be alone in this, and maybe it can remind you of everything you also accomplished last year.  For a while I just wanted to forget last year, it was so hard. We already know we learned a lot of our own strength and flexibility last year.  We learned so much stuff, use that to help you. 

And if you didn't keep track last year, maybe you can keep track this year.  Maybe a quick jot on a powerpoint this year can help you in the future.  Help your future self too.  Keep track of those essential questions and I Can statements that you spend way too much time perfecting.  Use your lesson plan book from last year to remind you of what you accomplished.  

Okay, motivational speech over.  I hope you have a wonderful day! 

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