10 Timesaving Tips

In the fast paced, over scheduled, busy world we live in today stress seems to be at its highest. The teaching profession continues to have more and more pushed into it and teachers are finding it hard to find the balance between teaching, planning, and all the other professional and personal things required of them. Then add eMINTS on top of that, and it could possibly be “the straw that breaks the camel’s back” unless those teachers are proficient at managing their time and commitments. To be an effective eMINTS teacher, you have to figure out how to juggle it all. Here are some strategies that may help to reduce your stress and become more productive and resourceful.

  1. Manage Yourself: You really aren’t managing time you are managing yourself. Find out where you are wasting time and make adjustments to your practices. (ie. email, searching for files, etc.)
  2. Goal Setting: Set goals and make rules for yourself to keep you on track. Get some routines established and set some habits. (ie. Goal – keep up with email. Rule – check email at 3 specific times a day and no more.)
  3. Write To-Do List: Start planning your day by creating a to-do list. It can be on paper, on your phone, computer, or on the fridge but not only in your head. Prioritize the list and delegate out things that others could take care of for you. Break large tasks down into smaller, more manageable tasks or steps. Schedule the things that are most important to you and don’t let those items be skipped.
  4. Urgent Items First: A friend once shared that she “eats her frogs first”. The frogs being those things she doesn’t want to do…she puts them at the top of her to-do list (thanks Stephanie). Put the “urgent” items at the top of your to-do list and work your way down.
  5. Put on Your Blinders: Block out distractions when working on high priority projects; turn off your email, put your phone on silent, shut your door (turn off the lights).
  6. Breaks Are Necessary: Take a break when you feel distracted. Stress can get you off track so when you feel it coming on think about taking a 10 minute walk, get up and stretch, or do anything that might re-energize you.
  7. Add NO to Your Vocab: Learn to say “no”. A phrase I learned from an Oprah show years ago that was freeing for me… “I’m sorry….I wish that I could but I just can’t”.
  8. Be Flexible: Practice being flexible and allow time for interruptions and distractions; you never know when they will arise and letting them add to your stress will be counter-productive.
  9. Reflect: At the end of the day, take some time to look over what you have accomplished and how you managed to do all of it. Think about the strategies that worked for you and the ones that didn’t and cut yourself some slack if you didn’t get everything done – just move those things to your next to-do list and give yourself some time to prepare for the next day.
  10. Use Technology Tools: Here are a few technology tools that may help you out (but be ready to drop them if they end up taking you more time).
  • Microsoft Outlook: manage your Email and Blogs (see previous post), create your to-do list with Tasks, create Notes for important things you want to remember, and use the Calendar to manage your time. many places of employment are now using the Microsoft Exchange Servers making your account available not only on your desktop machine. Check with you tech support staff if you aren’t sure. You never know, you could be checking your mail and more on your mobile device.
  • Microsoft OneNote: Create a virtual notebook to keep tabs on your life. You can create lists, make drawings, include pictures, insert screen clippings, insert sound and so much more.
  • Google: Email, Tasks (in Gmail), Calendar, Reader - Think Outlook but online; accessible from any computer connected to the Internet. Google offers tons of tools that you may find helpful – you can see them all at their products page. Sign up for a Google/Gmail Account to get started. And “There’s an App for that” ;)
  • Sticky Notes or Stickies – Create virtual sticky notes on your desktop (think Post Its for your computer). They can be found in the Accessories folder on a Windows machine and in the Applications folder on a Mac.
  • Evernote: they say “Capture Anything, Access Anywhere, Find Things Fast”. You can even download it to your Windows computer. And “There’s an App for that” ;)
  • Spaaze: “An infinite virtual cork board, is a new visual way to organize pieces of information.” Add bookmarks, labels, notes, YouTube Videos, images, and files. You can now publish your board and even collaborate with others. (currently in beta)

What tips, strategies, suggestions or tools do you have that others might benefit from knowing about? Feel free to share them in a comment.

Brooke Higgins is an instructional specialist for the eMINTS National Center and writes for her own blog, Higgins Help.

Clock Image – “Every year is getting shorter, never seem to find the time.” Flickr- monkeyc.net. Web. 9 Dec 2010. <http://www.flickr.com/photos/monkeyc/112342184/>.

Real World Math is a Plus

Looking for real world, intriguing problems to get your students thinking?  Then you should check out Plus Magazine.

Plus Magazine offers puzzles, articles, podcasts, and reviews from top mathematicians. The puzzles and problems feature real world applications and highlight careers in math, science, and engineering.   You can also subscribe to the Plus Magazine Podcast.  This web resource could be used to offer challenge problems to the whole class or to spark an idea for a more in depth math project!  When students connect math to the real world, it is a Plus!

Carmen Marty is an instructional specialist with the eMINTS National Center.

Is Delicious Bookmarking a Thing of the Past?

Several days ago there were reports that the social bookmarking site Delicious would be permanently shutting down and would no longer be available for use.  Delicious is a very popular bookmarking site among many, including those in the education field.   Evidently the rumor that came out was premature and that is not completely accurate.  Yahoo! has said it will not shut down Delicious, but will find another home for the social bookmarking service.

If you want to read what Delicious posted on December 17, 2010 about the “rumor” you can go to the Delicious blog which is found here http://blog.delicious.com/.  The blog attempts to explain the situation and how it will be handled in the future.
If you are a current Delicious user and would still like to export your bookmarks to another service there are many options available.

Some other free bookmarking sites that are available:
Xmarks:  (formerly knows as Foxmarks) http://www.xmarks.com/
Diigo: http://www.diigo.com/
Google Bookmarks: https://www.google.com/bookmarks/l

Angie Esser is an instructional specialist for the eMINTS National Center.

4ALL: Give the Gift of Books

Are you looking for a great way to donate to charity this holiday season?

You can help get books donated to children in need. The Literacy Site makes it easy to give the gift of reading this holiday season. You can click on the “Click here to give” button and 100% of sponsor money goes to supplying books to children in need.

Carla Chaffin is an instructional specialist with the eMINTS National Center.

Students on the Move

wobbly disks 2Do you have students that wiggle and fidget? Do you wish your kids could sit still?

The students at Webster Groves Computer School are participating in a new program called Students on the Move. Wiggling, fidgeting, and even Yoga are built into different learning activities! You won’t find straight, quiet lines in the hallway. Kids are encouraged to jump, skip, and hop their way down the hall. Teachers report encouraging movement actually helps the children settle down when it is time to get focused.

Watch this clip to find out more!

What might be some ways you could incorporate movement into your learning environment?

Carmen Marty is an instructional specialist with the eMINTS National Center.

HD Link: Behold

Courtesy of Behold
Are you tired of the time it takes you and your students to find high-quality free images?
Check out Behold™! Behold™ is a search engine for high-quality Flickr images. It searches images based on visual concepts in pictures. For example, when I typed in “city” I got several pages of fabulous pictures but not all of them were quite what I was expecting. Behold™ offers a way to refine your search by choosing from a menu of filters for what the image should “look like.”
So, in addition to my original search for “city” images, I also chose three different filters: building, people, and silhouette. Each time I changed the filter, my results changed.
For more information and video tutorials, visit http://www.behold.cc/about/. To get started, go to http://www.behold.cc/. You will be amazed at the quality of the images!
Cara Wylie is an area specialist with the eMINTS National Center.

Tuesday’s Tool: Engaging Presentations with Prezi

Bored with the same old presentation software? Want to spice up your presentations and involve your audience? Prezi might be the alternative for which you’re looking.

Prezi is an online zooming presentation tool. The projects students are able to create on Prezi are more interactive for viewers and focus on the information. The presentation is set up to follow a path to lead the viewer through in an interesting and engaging manner. Emphasis is placed on focal points of the information and anyone going through the presentation will understand the importance of the message being conveyed. Prezi is a new and interesting way to present ideas. Check it out!

Carla Chaffin is an instructional specialist with the eMINTS National Center.

Monday’s Message: December 13, 2010

There isn’t much to post this Monday. Be sure to check in with Networked Teaching & Learning for daily tips, tricks, and resources for the 21st century educator.

Registration for eMINTS Winter Conference 2011 Now Open: Online registration for the 2011 eMINTS Winter Conference is open, now through January 28, 2011 – or until sessions are filled. The Conference dates are Feb. 23-25, 2011 with a new location in at the Stoney Creek Inn in Columbia, MO. This year’s conference offers MORE:  more sessions, more presentations, more pre-conference hands-on workshops and more inspiration from nationally-recognized keynote speakers, Jamie McKenzie and Bernie Dodge. Find details and register online now at: http://www.emints.org/events/winter2011/

4ALL: Convert PowerPoint Presentations to Video

Are your students bored with PowerPoint? Do they respond better to video? Well, there’s a free converter you can download today!

Convert your Power Point presentations to video. This program will allow you to turn your static slide presentation into a video for streaming online. Best of all, it is free! (Did we mention that it was free?)

Carla Chaffin is an instructional specialist with the eMINTS National Center.