Monday, September 28, 2015

Ditch That Textbook Week 4: Ditch That Mindset Part 2

In chapters 15 and 16 Matt talks about cheating and "minimum effective dose." What are your thoughts about these 2 concepts and how do you "work smarter, not harder" in and out of your classroom to balance the different parts of your life? It seems that every book we read gets around to the importance of being a connected educator. Please share your Twitter handle (if you haven't already) and/or a resource you have found helpful: a Twitter handle or hashtag, a blog, a Pinterest user or specific board. Did something else in this section of the book jump out at you? Share your thoughts with the group.

This week marks our halfway point in the book club. If you have colleagues who would like to join, please tell them it's not too late. New participants just need to start with the introduction in week 1. For next week we will be reading the first half of section 3, chapters 23-27.

126 comments:

  1. I think it is easy to feel overwhelmed, especially with the rapidly evolving technology landscape we are a part of. I was one of those teachers that always had a set of papers with me (at family outings, sporting events, etc) "just in case" I had time to grade. I found myself staying up late at night and working on weekends to finish lesson plans and grading. The concept of Minimum Effective Dose certainly resonates with me. I had to nod my head in agreement as a read Matt's comment, "The truth of MED really hit home when I watched my students pitch corrected papers in the trash... Marking all those papers and worksheets consumed hours of my time, and my kids barely looked at my notes before tossing them in the garbage can." Being able to provide instant feedback while students are in the process of completing an assignment is far more valuable than waiting until the student turns it in. How many times have you been surprised with the amount of work (or lack thereof) a student turns in when compared to the amount of time you've given them to work on the assignment?

    Our teachers are using Kidblog as a blogging platform this year. We love how Kidblog supports the writing process with pre-write, draft, edit, publish, and comment features. Our teachers are using conferencing and peer to peer feedback to engage students and strengthen the writing process along the way.

    My Twitter handle is @MJSHScience

    One resource that I always seem to find something useful in is my weekly edSurge newsletter (delivered to my email). It contains links to trending topic articles, s'cool tools, subject specific resources, etc. related to education technology. You can check it out at: www.edsurge.com

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    1. Sue,
      I would love to know more about Kidblog if you could get me more information or a contact that I could talk to... Thanks!

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    2. Great thoughts, Sue, and so true! My students are blogging this year, too. It is much more fun for them to get to read what everyone in the same grade writes. They like to comment on students' work who are in other class periods, too.

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  2. I will be sure to check back to read the posts on this week's blog as there will be valuable and useful information shared. I was affected the most by Matt's comment about remembering KISS (keep it simple stupid) and making sure it adds value. Technology has really helped simplified my life immensely. Turnitin.com can be very helpful in multiple ways. First, it is a place for papers to be stored rather than carrying them around. Second, it is a place for students to easily find their papers as it becomes part of their portfolio. Third, basic grammar skills are graded by the program which can save time. It also allows a rubric to be uploaded to be used as each assignment is graded.

    To continue on the topic of saving time, I remind myself that not every assignment is to be used as part of the grade in which communicates the students' proficiency level of standards. Sometimes assignments are guides for further learning or practice. I especially value rubrics for specific feedback, rather than writing the same thing on every student's paper. With the use of rubrics, exemplars, peer editing, and rewrite opportunities, the final grading becomes much easier and less time consuming.

    I also took of value Matt's comment about "why say something in seven words if it can be done in four". Students will only hear the initial comment and will be tuned out if something becomes more of a "lecture". That gives them more time to be active participants in their learning.

    I love how technology has made me a connected educator. I use Twitter for professional growth ideas (@vrzemaitis), as well as Pinterest (https://www.pinterest.com/vrzemaitis/). Connections that I found most rewarding on Twitter was @alicekeeler, @jmattmiller, @burgessdave.

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    1. Hi Val!! Miss seeing you around town!

      I absolutely agree with your comments. Why make it harder?? With the flood of ambiguously worded standardized tests over the past 15 years, many educators have bought into the propaganda that assignments should be vague and seemingly without purpose. Over and over I hear, "Let's see what they can do with this!" and then teachers are disappointed with the outcomes. This puzzles me so much. Why not be absolutely CLEAR about the assignment, your expectations; show them examples of exemplary, good, poor work; have their help in crafting a rubric!

      Turnitin has been an invaluable resource to me as an English teacher. I love how kids can visually see what has been cut, pasted, plagiarized. I allow them to "fix" their mistakes; this gives us opportunities to discuss what they did and how to revise it.

      I am hopelessly addicted to Doctopus and Goobric. I'm a single mom, so anything that makes me a more efficient reader, feedback-giver, grader is a plus!!

      I recently started following Jennifer Gonzalez's blog, The Cult of Pedagogy. She offers a free E-Book called "20 Ways to Cut your Grading Time in Half" to new subscribers. http://www.cultofpedagogy.com/new-subscribers/
      I've found her ideas both creative and affirming.

      And yes, technology has absolutely changed me as a teacher, a learner, a maker. I am grateful to those administrators who took a chance on me. I love my Twitter PLN (@yellingwithlove), especially my Sunday night 8pm #aplitchat. Join us if you're an English teacher. So much GREAT STUFF!!
      I'm also on Pinterest (https://www.pinterest.com/lizchatwell/).

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    2. I love your comments on turnitin.com. I think every educator should be using this. My kids were obsessed with the voice comment option, too.

      I also love that you allow it to help kids learn to paraphrase and cite correctly, too. An educator once accused me of allowing my students to "cheat" on papers because I showed them how they were not paraphrasing correctly, and I used the originality reports to do so. At first, this person convinced me I was doing something wrong until I took a step back and saw that my kids could cite and paraphrase at mastery level. :)

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  3. I believe that we can get inundated with all of the things out there that are at our finger tips. On top of that, some teachers feel a sense of responsibility to grade every single thing a student does. Sometimes I get that way because I don't want students to feel like they're wasting their time with no reward. I've learned to get over that. I've also realized that if I don't make time for my life outside of teaching, I will get a negative feeling for my profession. Sometimes we just need some time to decompress; a break from something we love but don't want to lose our passion for.

    I don't follow a specific Pinterest user, but I do use Pinterest often to find ideas. I am not as creative as I would like to be, but I can certainly tweak somone else's idea to fit my needs in my classroom. I look for specifically secondary ideas, though. It makes it easier to go through ideas without having elementary ideas (although cool) distracting me from the task at hand.

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    1. I completely agree with your comment about making time for life outside of teaching. I got very burnt out my first year of teaching because all of my weekends/nights were all devoted to grading/lesson planning/etc...... I had to take a step back and weigh what was going on and what I could do to be happier.

      I too don't follow any specific Pinterest user. I search often for ideas and tweak to fit my elementary music curriculum.

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  4. I believe wholeheartedly in the MED. It has allowed me to be an efficient and organized teacher, mother of three, wife, and daughter. I have to juggle the time that I devote to each. Sometimes this means focusing on one person or group, and the others will get their turn. I have said to one child or another from time to time, "this is not your week," and in the end they gain independence and learn to manage themselves. This is somewhat how Matt Miller urges us to be intentional with our time and give our students some independence in learning rather than grading every assignment that students complete.
    Sharing my twitter handle @farandlow seems to fit at this point, for it is technology that has increased efficiency as automated grading relieves some of the burden of time spent with paper. I use exittix.com for quick feedback with my 8th grade math students almost daily. I have only used Twitter within the last year, and just as I make choices about time spent with the people in my life I must determine what receives my attention with intention. I have enjoyed a couple of sites @teachthought and TeachersPayTeachers. Teachthought is a quick inspiration for me as the posts often have a visual that sums up a journal article. When searching for specific content activities, I look for the free items on TpT and have adapted several products, resulting in quality while saving time.

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  5. I feel like my second year is going better because I am holding students more accountable. Last year I felt like it was my job to make sure they do their homework and to an extent it is but now I am more towards, they know it has been assigned and now it is their turn to be responsible. I also agree with Tammy Farlow in that I don't grade everything that is turned in. I pick and choose what's graded based on whether or not it was an effective way to gauge their learning. I love looking through Teachers Pay Teachers, it gives me so many great ideas on things I can do in my room.

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  6. When I first started teaching I felt like I had to grade every math problem I assigned. It took a couple years for me to realize I was spending all my time grading and letting life pass right by me. I then started assigning fewer questions, but the ones that I needed to know the students knew how to do. This helped. I appreciated that statement Matt made in chapter 15 about making time for other worthy events. It is easy to get caught up in this profession and spend all our time doing it and neglecting others. Take the time to enjoy others and other things. It does not mean you are less dedicated to your profession, just taking time for youself.

    My twitter handle is @tomstoner24 and my PLN is very important to me. I feel I would not be the educator I am without all I have learned from them over the last few years.

    I have a pintrest account (pintres.com/tomstoner24) though I must admit, I have never placed anything there. My wife runs that one through my facebook account)

    I just started writing a blog. It is rough right now, but I am trying. It is tomstoner24.wordpress.com

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  7. As far as working smarter not harder, I always go back to what professors and coworkers always told me: The best teachers "steal". Although, I don't really think of it as stealing, as I really agree with Miller when he talks about teachers needing to share everything. I find some of the best ideas from talking with coworkers at lunch, or searching the internet when I begin planning a lesson. I think one way to plan smarter IS by using all of the resources that are out there for teachers. I also really agree with not grading everything. I need to remind myself this sometimes, and try not to think of myself as a failure when I don't get to every last thing on my Sundays!! I have tried to make a deal with myself and only work on Sundays. If I spend several hours one day of the week, then I can enjoy my evenings with my husband and dog during the week and take the much needed break after a long day of school, with only occasional necessary work in evenings!

    My twitter/instagram is hanniebee5, pinterest is hdeshon01

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  8. This is my second year teaching and just this weekend I realized that I was WAY over working myself. I was going into the school around 7:15am (we are contractually obligated to be at the school by 7:50) and staying until 5:00, sometimes later. I was working through my lunch break and prep period. I HATED my life. I was absolutely miserable. I came home and crashed on my couch and then I planned/prepped/graded for the next day. After reading this section (and listening to my strained mind/body/soul), I realized this is NOT how teaching should be. I need to find my minimum effective dose. I have already began this by not grading all my papers today. I looked to make sure most of my kids were getting the concept and mentally noting who needed some extra practice with the skills. I am going to take this concept to heart and re-find my love for teaching this year.

    It's so funny that the cheating concept came up in this chunk of the text. I had a student last Friday take a test and was told he could use his notes and book to help him with answers. He told me, "I don't know the answer to this question, I'm going to leave it blank." I told him that he could use his book and notes and he responded, "That's cheating! I can't do that!" So, even though his teacher said he could use resources on this test he was in the mindset of cheating and he didn't want to do that. It's sad to think that students have had that ingrained into their minds. Now days, people always have access to all kinds of resources, why not use them! Don't make them memorize information simply to memorize it. I say, if you can find the answers, go for it. I loved the quote, "We're providing them a great disservice if we prepare students for our own generation rather than theirs." If they are going to have these resources at their fingertips, why not let them use it. When I was growing up, resources were not so readily available so I needed to learn for the sake of learning. It's amazing how times have changed and we have not changed with it.

    I loved this piece that said the students haven't complained because they didn't have a professional development session on a new technology tool. I thought that was so true! So many people are afraid to "play around" with new apps/programs/tools because they feel they might do something incorrectly. We need to be more like the students in the sense that we need to try things and realize that pressing the wrong button isn't going to make the computer/iPad explode. Take a risk, do some research on your own, the whole world is out there waiting.

    As far as my favorite resources go, I love Flubaroo! I use it every single week to grade my vocabulary tests that I've created through a Google Form. It's absolutely amazing and saves so much time! I also love Kahootz for assessments. They are a fun and interactive way to easily see how much the students actually know. It is a customizable game-like program that can be used for anything. It creates a report at the end of the game so you can either simply see how the students are grasping the information or you can take the quiz for a grade. It's great!

    My Twitter handle is @EducatorEmily11.

    I heard George Couros speak at a conference this summer and I instantly started following him on Twitter. He has some great resources that he shares. His handle is @gcouros, I highly suggest you follow him for some amazing topics and ways to connect with other educators around the world.

    Not that this is a "professional resource", but I seriously LOVE Kid President, both videos on Youtube and following him on Twitter (@iamkidpresident). I use his stuff all the time to motivate students as well as myself. These videos are great for all kinds of topics! If you haven't see any of his videos, I recommend checking them out!

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    1. I agree with Kid President. What a positive resource! He is so awesome.
      Thanks for mentioning Flubaroo. Google Forms and Flubaroo can really save pre-assessment and post-assessment time!

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  9. MED just resonated with me. As a busy mom of two, teacher, coach-- watching kids look at just their grade after I spent hours making corrections and comments and then tossing their papers made me so sad and upset that I wasted all of that time where I could have been doing something else. Honestly, it makes you miserable and you start to carry that into the classroom. I get to work at 6:30 and then leave around 3-- then I find myself STILL Working into the hours of the night. I needed to work smarter, not harder.

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  10. There is definetely something to be said for the need to work smarter, not harder. I know that most of the teachers I work with do extra work outside of the classroom to supplement pay and as a result are giving up even more time with their families. I coach both basketball and track, I help supervise athletic events, and I am in charge of our schools concession stands. As a result there are times when my wife is asleep by the time I get home during the week, then to top it off, I need to worry about making sure everything is in order in terms of lessons, and staying on top of grading, especially for those parents who have a meltdown if a grade is not entered as soon as the assignment is turned in.

    I have really began employing the mindset of working smarter. I make it a point to not take papers home with me during the week, and only if I need to, will I grade on the weekends. I have also been looking at what am I assigning to students, and what could be considered "busy work". The idea of busy work is one I am trying to scale back as I feel most students do not comprehend the ideas being provided within worksheets and book, but also cutting back on what I will have to grade. We do weekly responses for a grade, and bellwork/exit slips from time to time, but when it comes to work, I really try and provide my students with activities that they can relate to in life. For example, in my Health class, each student is taking on the role of a personal trainer. they are responsible for researching what a trainer does, what types of trainers there are, how does one become a trainer, and so on and so forth. They will then take that information, and formulate a one month workout plan for an imaginary client to help get them on the right track towards a healthy life.

    The idea of working smarter, not harder is one that I want to continue to grow with as I feel it will help push me to become a stronger teacher. It will allow me to create better lessons for my students, and will not fill them with busy work and leave them bored with Health Education.

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  11. I first heard the phrase, "work smarter not harder" about 10 years ago. My Spec. Needs Supervisor use to say that to us all the time. I would work so hard on my IEP's and they seemed to take hours. After hearing her say that and explain it, I finally had my "ah ha" moment. I realized that I was doing everything I could for my students and that they had to take responsibility for themselves and that when I put their IEP together and writing their goals, I knew i was doing what was best for them. In the classroom, I use to grade every problem because I felt that my students deserved to have them graded and to get feed back on what they did wrong, but when I would review and go over problems they had missed, I realized most were not interested and they through the papers away if I didn't say to put them in their binders. I decided then that I have to make them accountable for what they do. I don't grade all problems any more, I still give feed back but as a group I go over the most missed problems. I know my job is very important to me, but I also want to enjoy my life outside of the school.

    I have looked at pinterst, but get so overwhelmed by that. I search specific areas in teachers pay teachers and have found that very helpful. I also just search the web browser and find many useful items. We have very many creative people out there and I want to thank them for making my life Smarter not Harder!

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    1. I also teach special education and I think it is easy to get overwhelmed by trying to monitor progress too often. We can get lost in the sea of paperwork and data collection! I finally decided that I would dedicate 1 day a week (Wednesdays) to data collection. I pull students 1-on-1 while my assistants teach groups or review. This way I only spend 1 day assessing and can concentrate on teaching the other 4 days. This has really reduced some stress for me!

      I find Pinterest overwhelming at times also. I pin so many things that I get stressed when I can't do them all. Recently, I have tried to just pick a few projects or new ideas to try over the course of a few months. I also like to read articles on twitter for ideas and insight.

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  12. Interesting ideas in this segment. I often feel like I'm not "teaching" if the students are doing all the hard work, but it seems like I spend my prep time working harder then sit back in the classroom and guide my students to do the harder work. I get to enjoy interacting with them in a totally different way than when I did all the work and they just learned it by rote memory. In Social Studies, we are constantly revising the past due to new evidence brought forth by science and technology, so the picky dates and facts are becoming less relevant to the big picture and concepts as we go through the year. I'm having to revise my assessments to accomodate the idea that we can Google facts but deeper understandings are harder to assess (but WAY more fun to teach). Instead of spending our class time drilling facts, we can be historical detectives and read like historians and do the work of gathering historical evidence like historians (and incorporate the politics, geography, and economics along the way that used to be taught separately in a vacuum), so the kids are working both smarter AND harder and learning much more and really enjoying it.

    My Twitter handle is catanhistory. https://twitter.com/catanhistory Follow me- I only tweet about my classroom. For any Social Studies teachers out there, I recommend #sschat and #wrldchat and #sstlap (Social Studies Teach Like a Pirate) as well as pirate fans #tlap. There are lots of great Twitter chats out there- I used to be super involved in several, but this past year as my own children have become more involved in school activities, I find myself rarely able to connect with that big world. I look forward to life slowing down a little now that we are at the Fall Break point (almost- 2 more days until 2 weeks off, love the balanced calendar) and maybe having some time to reconnect and recharge my teacher batteries.

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    1. I wholeheartedly agree with your first paragraph! I feel the exact same way!

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  13. I taught math for 13 years until I moved into a new position of technology integration this year. I am constantly amazed at how much time I have now for my family at home. I even go to bed before 11:30 now!

    For about the first 10 years of teaching math I would stay up late to get my grading done. I learned early in teaching that I did not need to grade every single problem of every single assignment, so it wasn't homework I was grading, instead it was quizzes and tests. It was too time consuming. Ultimately, it took time away from my family. Just as Matt realized on his drive home that night, I had my priorities in the wrong order. My students and their math knowledge were real important to me, however, that needed to come after my family. So I changed my grading habits at home. Instead of grading right after dinner, I waited until my family fell asleep around 9 and then went back downstairs to grade for a couple hours. These late nights weren't so bad as I didn't require much sleep. However, this was tough to do multiple nights in a row and by the weekend, I was beat. I had to change something again.

    3 years ago I flipped my PreCalculus class because they all had the use of student laptops. In a quick summary for this method, the students viewed the notes at home and then worked on the assignment or activity in class the next day. I LOVED this method for multiple reasons. #1 - I was able to make contact with all my students throughout the class period. Instead of standing in front of the classroom and going over the notes, I was able to walk around and check on the students' work as they worked through the problem. This segways into #2 - Just like Matt said, the students' work became better DURING the process and they could make corrections at that time. They did not have to wait on a grade or a paper to be passed back before they corrected a mistake. This also reflected in better test and quiz grades as well when they were taken. My grading at night became much shorter. Flipping the classroom was one of the best pedagogical moves I ever made.

    My Twitter handle is: @MrKline_EdTech. I LOVE Twitter and that is where I find most of my motivation and different ideas. I follow most of the edtech bigwigs as well as some great blogs by educators. As much as I love Twitter, my PLN (@EdTechHeroes) is my greatest asset! There are 10-12 of us educators that were selected last year to do an awesome project for the Indiana Migrant Ed Program. That ended in April, but we have all remained very close. There isn't a day that goes by without someone saying something incredibly motivating and awesome from my group message. (There are also some great Dubsmashes as well). I feel it is very important for teachers to connect with other educators outside of their own school. Twitter and my PLN are my methods I can't teach without nowadays.

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  14. Last year I changed my quizzes in my 6th grade science class. If any student gets a D or lower I have them correct it without their book and turn it back in. Most of the time they get a better grade which is great, but they see the questions they missed, which I think is huge. If you don't go over the answers with students in class, odds are many of them will not check their homework and quizzes/tests to see what they missed and actually correct them. I know some will, but many don't. The kids also then try to do well the first time around so they don't have to re-quiz later on. It has helped immensely in my class and although it is more work, it is smart work.

    I use pinterest to get ideas for labs for my science class, as well as looking for ideas for my digital citizenship class. It can be overwhelming, but I do find a lot of useful information. I also have found a lot of digcit info on twitter - George and Alec Couros have given me some great resources. I like to see who my principal, Tom Stoner follows, as he is a huge twitter nerd. Also, Matt Miller is pretty awesome too. :) my twitter is @vankleykms and I use my twitter for education, Jimmy Fallon and Packers updates. ;)

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    1. I totally agree with your "correct and return" idea! If a student gets a D or F in my class they are encouraged to fix it. At least this way I know that they are actually going back and rethinking through the problems. I don't want any student, regardless of the grade, to just look at the grade and move on. I want them all to see what they got wrong and figure out how to not make the same mistakes in the future.

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  15. I am in my fifth year of teaching (three of the five were middle school band, I'm now in my second year in elementary general music.) It's interesting, looking back on my first few years (especially my first year in a position.)

    I remember my first year teaching 6th-8th grade bands and 7th/8th grade general music, when I was truly working "harder, NOT smarter." I spent forever making elaborate lesson plans and custom music theory worksheets, staying at school until 6 or 7 o'clock at night. Then I would go home and spend the rest of the evening studying scores and grading general music worksheets. By December, I had lost weight and started having anxiety attacks on Sunday evenings about going back to school.

    Everything started to get better the second half of the school year: I started playing clarinet in a community band, and my husband and I adopted a kitten for Christmas. Suddenly I had activities outside of school--playing and making music with other grown-ups/ I had a kitten to play with at home--and my priorities started shifting back into balance.

    Fast forward four more years and now I try to get as much done during my hour plan period as I can, and I limit my time spent after school working. I also make it a priority to get all my lessons for the up-coming week done by Friday, so I don't have to bring anything home with me on the weekends.

    I LOVE facebook groups: Band Directors Group, Music Teachers, Teaching Music to Students with Disabilities, Elementary Music Teachers. I love the instant feedback that you get with posting a question on social media.

    I also use Pinterest, and Teachers Pay Teachers. I like a website called SmartExchange to find SmartBoard lessons.

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  16. When my husband got sick I stopped "working harder not smarter". I had to make decisions on what was really important for my students and what is needed to grade and use to evaluate their knowledge. I now spend more of my time watching webinars, doing eLearning Club and researching new ways to teach my subject area. When I taught math many moons ago I thought every assignment I gave had to be graded by me and put in the gradebook. Thank goodness those days are done. Yes my students receive a grade every time they meet with me. (I teach gym.) But it is a visual evaluation sometimes not a written one.

    I use Facebook also and go to Pinterest from time to time. Twitter does not work for me. I have tried it twice but both times I can not get my head around it.

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  17. These chapters really struck me. I needed to hear Ch. 15. In April my husband and I welcomed our precious little girl into our lives. Balancing family and career has been anything but easy. I have spent a lot of time in prayer asking what do I do? I needed to hear Ch. 15. I needed to hear it's ok to cheat as long as I'm not cheating my priorities. I needed this more than anything. How important it is for me to find a balance and cheat where it is necessary. This easily fits into the minimum effect dose. I am working to help my team to work smarter and not harder this year by lessoning the load on each of us. We are learning to work more together as a team rather than separate parts of the whole. This year I have also really narrowed my focus with each lesson. Each lesson has one important skill that I want students to get. This means I just need to make sure the activities focus on that one skill instead of the multiple skills I was doing. In return, my students are doing significantly better and I spend less time modeling and more time allowing the students to dive into the material and learning! I also love this Google Doc from the DOE that has resources for each standard!! https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Gxk1kKcGZ3FetOW80w8kWoaZCWZ6Vj6o-2YNWEhjFZg/edit. This helps to make my planning so much easier when I am stuck on what to do!

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    1. My child is just a year old and I also needed to hear that it's okay to cheat as long as it's in the right way! It so hard to balance these two important passions in my life! I appreciated that chapter as well. I am an instructional coach who has also taken on the role of librarian at two of our elementaries in a small school district. Being intentional with my time is so important!

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  18. The longer I've been teaching, the more I've realized the value of "cheating." I think it's important to remember that I should not be working harder than my students for their education. This means that I may just choose 5 of their 20 questions to grade or I may just grade it on completion. If I have 150 essays to grade, I may show a relevant video for a few days. If I can't "escape" work at home with my family, I won't be the best teacher I can be.

    I love Pinterest, but I do get overwhelmed by all of the ideas. I have a board where I pin things, and I will go through and look for new ideas from time-to-time. If you want to check out my board, follow this link: https://www.pinterest.com/jprosser21/school/

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  19. These two chapters were full of so much truth. I currently have a student teacher, and so many of our discussions eventually turn to questions like “Why does grading these tests take so long?” “How can I plan and prepare lessons without being at school until 8 p.m.?” “Do you have a life during the week?” He struggles with determining the M.E.D., and so do I. I often talk to my small group girls about comparing our behind-the-scenes with other people’s highlight reels via Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, etc. As teachers I think we do that too. I put in extra time and effort to creating learning experiences because I compare myself to the amazing people in #sschat, down the hall, at e-learning conferences... I remember being in my student teacher’s position, and I’ve gotten better at the “work smarter, not harder” mantra...but there are still 14 hour days of school + coaching. I can tell him all the right answers like Matt does in Chapters 15 + 16, but putting them into practice takes intentionality.

    Technology (Socrative, Formative, GOOGLE…) has helped me become more intentional, efficient and even made grading a lot easier; but for the reflective teacher constantly improving I think we are always going to fight the clock. Ch. 15 is probably my favorite chapter in this book because it applies to ALL areas of life. Faith, Family, and Friends...are my priorities as well, but they haven’t truly been prioritized until recently. In the past 7 years, I’ve worked in 4 schools and am finally in a place where I found it’s easier for me to not “cheat” as much. I’m home. It’s a blessing to be near my family + friends and serving the community where I grew up. I hope this is where I’ll stay for a while.

    Twitter: UlmerBHMSD
    Resource: @AliceKeeler (All things Google and tech; alicekeeler.com)

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    1. The comparison factor among educators happens frequently. I find myself wishing I could be better or "more like so and so", but in reality, time is precious and family is important. My children are older- two in college and one in high school. I try to work late one night a week, at a time when my youngest is at a late practice or when my husband is working late as well. Although they don't rely on me as much, when they do want my attention, I have learned to listen. Your student teacher is lucky to have you process these ideas now. It at least gives her a chance to begin figuring it out now.

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  21. The topic of cheating and determining the M.E.D. really hit home this week. This is an incredibly overwhelming school year for me, in the best way possible. (Ironically, most of the stress is coming from an extracurricular and not my classroom.) I have very broad shoulders and can juggle a LOT of different things, but without cheating, I'd easily be gibbering in a padded room somewhere. It's so important to hog your own personal time- and not feel guilty for doing so. Prioritize what needs done, and "let it go" if you don't get to it all. We all know it'll still be sitting there tomorrow.

    On the other hand, how can educators / administrators convince us to give up our time to help in situations where the majority of "other" work (professional development, clubs, honor societies, committees, etc.) falls on a small number of faculty members, who then feel obliged to continue, despite the fact that they're overwhelmed or burned out? This is such a common issue- especially among small schools. Burn out is burn out, and it affects the enthusiasm and ability of that person as a classroom teacher, too.

    Flubaroo and Goobric have saved me untold minutes in grading projects and shorter formative assignments. I spot check the regular work students submit instead of grading every question for every student. They get the practice, I get some relief and the general idea of what I need to review. Giving them tasks that synthesize multiple concepts and skills has also saved me a lot of time. For example, my German 2 students are producing short story videos using the platform and topic of their choice. Two rules: stories must be school-appropriate and must be in past tense. I can guide and reteach as needed during work time in class (and maybe have time to sneak some grading or "other" work in). They're utilizing just about every grammar topic they've ever learned, picking up new vocabulary, writing, AND speaking- and I only have to watch the video to see how well they've done. Smarter assigning for the win! (They've had so much fun with it, too!)

    Twitter: @kcalvert1029

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  22. I really like the term "minimum effective dose". I am not sure all administrators would agree with that. I have been teaching for 30 years and had a very similar experience as Matt describes. I finally realized I had to cut back and do less for the "school family" and do more for the real family;. What I found is that my students didn't suffer as much as I thought they would and maybe even have benefited by my more positive outlook.

    I have been on Twitter for about two years, but not a heavy user until recently. I have a Twitter account for my classroom: AMS 8th History @BmooreAMS. I post assignments, pictures and announcements. I had a hard time getting the kids to follow. It has like I was invading their territory by using Twitter for school. It wasn't until I started posting pictures of class activities that they started to follow the class. They wanted the pictures!! Parents have been slow to follow, but it is growing slowly.

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    1. I liked the MED also. I feel like there were sometimes I needed to put a cot in my room. You know you spend too much time at school when you come home and your dog barks at you like a stranger. LOL I remembered the decorating saying, "Less is More". When I balance my home and work life, I sleep better and feel happier.

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  24. I loved reading chapter 15 about "cheating". I remember a few years ago, before I had kids, how many hours I spent grading papers and planning lessons. My first year teaching, one of my fellow teachers told me not to grade everything, but of course I did not listen. Once I had kids, my whole life as a teacher changed. My priorities changed. My children came first. I started giving everything I had at school, but once I left school, MOST of my work stayed there. Technology these days, allows us to cheat, to find something that someone else has been successful doing. I think this is extremely beneficial as an educator. I think we have to cheat as teachers. We can not be original all of the time.

    I also enjoyed Chapter 16, MED. I think we all need to live by this. I know when I think back on how I taught a lesson, sometimes, after the fact, I think about how I could have done that differently and how I could have been more effective in a different way. I think we are all getting loaded down each year with more and more that we are responsible for. I think we all need to make sure that we are doing the MED.

    I am not a twitter user. I am kind of terrified to start using it because I have no idea where to begin. My 6th graders use twitter because they are always hashtagging things in my classroom.

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    1. I definitely agree that the "season of life" that you are in, definitely affects how much cheating you do.

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  25. There were several things that touched me in the reading this week. The cheating part is so nice to hear. I really needed that this month. It is cross country season. I have a middle school runner and a high school runner. I am running from meet to practice practically every night, not to mention for some reason I am still working my summer job. Every one of us has an "I'm so busy story." It just so happens another cross country mom is a teacher in the same district. We were sharing survival stories and confessing we both had thrown away a stack of homework papers we just did not have time to grade. My favorite line in the reading was they need the practice, we do not. I am still working out how to use technology to make my life easier. I am getting pretty good at googling to find practice and lessons. I have created a twitter account, but have not used it. I hope to follow up on all the advice, and begin to read a few blogs or follow some twitter chatter. I am also working on allowing more choice in my classroom. All of my students have laptops. I was working to create lists of websites they could visit to study certain skills. I had not had a chance to create a list for fact practice study sites. I decided to just put it in my students hands. I told them that it was up to them to find a site to use to study facts. They were so excited to have the freedom and choice. They were all working and sharing sites. It was fun to watch. It was something so simple, but generated so much excitement.

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    1. I love the idea of your students finding the sites to share. I am learning how to use technology to better my teaching as well.
      One idea with grading writing is to focus on one particular skill. Are you focusing on varying sentences or an interesting lead? Ask the kids to circle in their notebooks their best crafted sentence. Just grade it. You get a quick look without having to grade them at home.
      Keep on cheating!

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  26. I too cheat and do not grade everything my students complete. We talk and use visual cues such as thumbs up or sideways. I also use out the door tickets to check for comprehension on one or two important concepts that were discussed during class.
    We use Kidblog also. It gives the students a chance to comment on class discussions. I also use it when reading a novel. I post questions and the students post questions about the character or chapter. We use stars and wishes in our comments (stars=positive & wishes (what we would like to know more about) and I do approve comments before they are posted. I try to use DI in my classroom and I did feel like I had to do it all, but now I feel cheating by not doing everything is allowed.
    I don't have to do it all. I have found using Hemingway.com which Matt wrote about helps me and my students revise and edit our writing. I don't have to spend hours grading. I've also learned to tell my students that I am only grading punctuation today or sentence variety. It works for me and my students. It takes a little time to sell it to the parents.

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  27. Also, I liked the MED. I try to keep my home and school separated at least a little bit. I keep my cell private. I use REMIND to get messages to my parents. They receive messages, but do not get my private number.

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    1. I also do not give out my personal number. I think separation between work and home needs to happen. I just post things through edmodo.

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  28. I enjoyed the concept of MED. I hesitate to say that it will be my mantra this year, but it is nice to think about. Yesterday I noticed a student using Google voice typing for the first time in my classroom. At first, this bothered me because the student was to be writing an essay. Then I realized that maybe the students are also using MED. I never specifically said that students had to handwrite their essays, nor did I say that they had to type their essay. Actually, I was proud of her for using her resources and utilizing her tech tools. It will be interesting to read her actual essay to evaluate how successfully she made the transition to voice typing from the actual writing process. Middle school students can’t type as fast as they speak, with this in mind I think voice typing could be handy for certain tasks. For my blog post this week, I decided to use voice typing as opposed to actually typing my entry. So far, I’ve found it a bit cumbersome, a bit uncomfortable, and I’ve had go back and do a lot of editing. I do see “real world” applications for voice typing, although, I haven’t quite wrapped my brain around it for a writing class.

    A wise teacher once told me that it is okay to not grade every single assignment This same teacher told me to do observational grading. Another Language Arts geru claims that you should only assess one quarter of what a student writes. I’ve experienced students pitching their papers without reading the comments. Students see their grades online in real time. Students know my expectations before they do the assignment. They turn in a “how I met the expectations” sheet with their essay. I feel this eliminates the need for lengthy comments. This is what I do. Perhaps it is the MED.

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    1. I love the idea of google voice typing. This would help several of my students. I have my students use the google app on iPad to check how to spell words. Using a dictionary is very time consuming an not helpful if you don't already know how to spell a words. They open the app, press the microphone and say the word they are trying to spell. Google then brings up the word with a definition. It's so fast and simple.

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  29. This discussion prompt came at the perfect time. I first began to look at how I could "work smarter" when I was teaching three sections of Dual Credit Advanced Composition. At the end of the semester, I was to grade roughly 100 10-15 page research papers. It took forever; my entire Christmas Break was spent grading, and at the end of the year, I pretty much had to grade 24/7 to get the papers back to students in time. I felt that my students had spent so much time working on the papers, that I should dedicate just as much time giving helpful feedback. So, I decided to spend more time throughout the process with students, giving feedback when it really mattered, not at the end when the class was over. Much like Matt Miller describes his student blogs, I used writing workshops and turnitin.com to give feedback through the process so that at the end, I could grade more holistically. This isn't to say that I didn't give formative assessments and feedback through the process, because I definitely did- I just needed to rethink everything.

    I have to be honest, I don't really love the word choice in "choosing to cheat," because in my mind, it is not really cheating. It is being intentional and mindful about our choices. Every single day, at least one person shares that they are overwhelmed. I get text messages daily from friends in other districts about how overworked they feel. When I work through coaching cycles with teachers, a huge concern for them is how much time I am going to require of them. Teachers share that they can't answer emails because they need every minute of their prep time to grade and plan. My response- how can we help students own the learning that takes place in the classroom? I remember going crazy coming up with cool lessons: giving the lesson practically sweating while running around the room. Key word here- giving. For all of us that feel overwhelmed, how can we put the students at the front? It isn't cheating; it's being intentional and empowering students.

    https://www.pinterest.com/dgill0509/ is my school Pinterest account, though I'll admit it is not yet as rich as my personal account.

    Twitter- @eastpco_tech

    teachlovetech.blogspot.com

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  30. I just learned this year that our grade book program (Skyward) includes a function that let’s me create either a multiple-choice or true-false reading check quiz on the site. The students take the quiz and the score is immediately entered into the column in my grade-book. I used to spend hours grading daily reading checks whenever we covered a novel. Now all my students are set up for the quiz and given a score immediately.

    To take working smarter one step further, I no longer give daily reading checks. I do these at the end of chapter or even a couple of chapters instead of each day. This has freed my time so that I can create better project-based experiences and stay on top of the non-classroom requirements like earning PGP points and writing curriculum.

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    1. We just started with Skyward this year, I will definitely have to figure out how to do this.

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  31. I really enjoyed this section of reading. The first two years of teaching were really tough. I felt like I had to be working all the time to prove that I was a good teacher. I was newly married, have a stepson and we had just opened a new business, I always seemed to be taking time away from them. The best decision I made was sometime in that second year, they must come first. I get overwhelmed sometimes but my family is the most important thing to me. It was so helpful knowing that other teachers felt the same way. I have worked very hard to find balance in both my personal and professional life. I have been trying different ideas to work smarter. Last year I changed the way I was doing our math fact practice. We practiced every day but we only tested 2 days a week. This really cut down on my grading.

    I have also been working on becoming more connected this year. I have my classroom facebook page up and running, where I post our PLTW pictures daily. I also post on twitter almost daily, these are mostly what is going on in the classroom. My twitter handle is Ashley Roberts@AshleyRobertsA (I am not really sure if I shared this properly)

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    1. Ashley,
      Thanks for your post and for sharing. I absolutely understanding what you're describing! You sure did have SO much that you were balancing when you first started. It's tough to get into teaching. Then once you get there, it's continually learning, and quite fast-paced. Meanwhile, you try to nurture those whom you love!

      Thank you for all your hard work at our school! Remember to keep your husband and son first and foremost. Sometimes we really have to just say, "No." That can be the hardest word!!

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  32. This chapter about using your time and how you use it really hit home for me as an educator. I have been working on this concept for a year now. I feel like I am doing better but not where I would like to be. I have tried to limit what I do on weekends. I try to get things done at school that I have to get done and leave work at school. I have had the moments that Matt speaks of; missing events in our families' lives. I have discussed with a colleague many times about how their are stages in our lives where we may be able to donate more or less time to our work. It seems to continue to be a balancing act.
    My twitter is PES_JMccammon. I am new to twitter and have only been following a few other folks. In our district we have been trying to promote and learn about what the other buildings are doing, I have actively been participating in that. I haven't been using it for the "get ideas" part of it at this point, but I feel very comfortable in using it so that is a plus.
    I agree that teachers like to help each other. It's a good feeling when you are able to brainstorm or to share go ideas.

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    1. Jenni,
      Keep working on that balance between family life and school. I know it's a tough one! Keep working with Twitter, too! Such great professional development resources on there. I'll see something on Twitter that's unexpected and will be SO inspiring!!

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  33. Finding a balance is always tough. Last year I learned how to create and test spelling on edmodo. Using that piece of technology saved me so much time. This year I'm working on using google classroom to "cheat" and save time. I'm still in the learning process.
    In my classroom this year I have a fb and twitter account. We post pictures and work to share with parents. I'm planning to use the classroom twitter account to tweet authors during our book study. I'm excited to try this. I also have an educator twitter account which I use to share and get ideas. I have gotten so many great ideas from twitter by following other teachers.

    My twitter account is JNettrouer
    My classroom account is NettrouerClass

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    1. I love seeing what your class is doing through social media! It's such a great outlet. I can't wait to try #readitglobal with your class this year!

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  34. Creating a work life balance is difficult sometimes. There seems to be guilt attached to teaching. If you aren't buried in work, then you are not doing a good job. I bought into that mindset for a long time, but I got tired. Now, I have changed my grading practices, and I have reduced the amount of work that students do that must be graded. I try to focus on quality of work instead of quantity. I also try to get as much work done at school as possible, so that I have less to do in the evening at home. This means staying in my room or a colleagues room during my prep and resisting distractions as much as possible.

    I use Edmodo in my classroom and to be honest that is where I get a lot of great ideas. I joined the social studies group and teachers from all over the world ask for help and suggest resources. I have found some really good tools based off that sharing.

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    1. I agree about the getting work done on prep instead of taking it home. I believe this is something that we need to model to the students. I tell mine that I did not take books home until I was a senior because I always scheduled a study hall to get my work done before I left for the day. I had other things to do in the evening. So many of our students are in this same boat, but have terrible time management skills.
      I also see the "so overwhelmed, taking work home, working until after 9 PM each night teacher",chatting with coworkers on prep. Why should I feel guilty because I know how to manage my time?

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    2. I have joined several Edmodo communities as well. I have gathered so many great resources from teachers all over the world. Google+ Communities are growing and I've found several that I really enjoy following!

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  35. Someone mentioned to me on a Twitter chat that making smart choices with tech and education is like taking a drink from a fire hydrant. That is so true. It is challenging to stay relevant, try new things, keep up with administrative expectations and maintain a healthy lifestyle. I have a lot of support from parents in my classroom. They make copies, sharpen pencils, and do projects with the kids in small groups. I am so thankful for their help. I have always enjoyed technology. It really inspires me to try new things. I love Pinterest, Feedly, and Twitter. I recently gained confidence in Twitter chats by participating in #INelearn chats on Thursday nights.

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  36. "Work smart, not harder" is my mantra because that is the only way for me to be effective in all things I do, most of all teaching. To carry out this idea, I never delete everything, and I save everything I get my hands on. Why reinvent the wheel when it's already been done several times? With this, I am able to edit and tweak as I please, instead of creating something entirely new all the time, though I do this on occasion when I feel the need. Doing this saves a lot of time and energy that I could use for furthering other lessons, grading, collaborating, and even just taking a break to gain my energy back because at the end of the day, I have to take care of me in order to effectively teach my students. I love the idea of the minimum effective does because there is so much in my history course to teach my students, we could spend a week on each learning standard. But I am constantly asking myself and my colleagues what we want students to take away from history--content and skill wise--and we work from there. We may not be able to hit a home run on every learning standard, but we can at least teach them the skill they need to succeed in the rest of school and their careers.

    As for resources I find helpful, I follow Edutopia on Facebook, which has a lot of great article and ideas.

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  37. I am in the constant struggle of feeling like I'm not good enough at doing my job at work and home. It seems impossible to handle the stress of managing a classroom with all the added expectations while trying to be a good mom and wife at home. I'm learning to let go of some of the control both at home and school, allowing my now older children and sixth grade students to handle more of the responsibilities so I can use my time for other necessary tasks. I do occasionally borrow ideas from social media that pop up, but nothing consistently. I need to carve out time each week in my schedule to use/find resources that can help me to be more effective as well as time savers. I am still looking for time savers when it comes to grading writing. If I am going to spend several hours grading student writing, I feel it necessary to give feedback to each student. I liked the idea from Ch 16 about blogging with students during the writing process rather than giving feedback after the fact on their papers. That will something I try this year.

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  38. I think it is very important that teachers work smart. We have access to so much information just like the students we teach. It seems when I am preparing a lesson sometimes I could go a million different ways. I think that is also where Matt's Keep it simple stupid becomes very important also. The large amount of information we have access to has made the teacher more of an information distributor not the person of all knowledge of the teachers in the past. I think teachers and students today lead very information overload lives so we must keep it simple yet find those ways to motivate students to care about our class and not just everything else in their lives and all of the information available. I also think his advice of using 4 words instead of 7 to get something across is important as todays students are used to fast information.

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  39. I don't know that it is cheating, I think the terms sufficient and efficient are better. I learned early on that I can spend hours creating the best lessons, and at the end of the day, the students didn't learn unless they really want to learn. Now I create lessons that I consider sufficient. I try to open their minds, and grade a lot on participation. I tell them that as much as they dislike doing an assignment, I generally dislike grading it equally which led to a Eureka moment! If I hate grading, do less of it. Do I feel like my students are leaving knowing less than the earlier ones with the fantastic lesson plans. Nope.
    As for technology, I am definitely guilty of staying in my own silo. I try to attend conferences, and I subscribe to listservs, but I do not do twitter. I do not subscribe to any education blogs, but do read different ones fairly often. I do have a pinterest board with work related items. I stay abreast of current events, and will often read an interesting article pertaining to my classes, and assign it to my students the next day as reading, and then ask for their feedback. I am very cautious of trends (maybe a better term would be bandwagons).

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  40. Connected educator- I am an instructional coach so connection is so important! Working with others, learning together, and growing from someone else is something I value so much. My twitter handle is @Hilaryham . As a new librarian, I have used twitter for professional development and learning about running my libraries so often! I love it.

    Using google docs as a part of writing workshop is one thing that I thought about as I was reading about minimum effective dose. Having students write their pieces on a google doc that you can comment on, let students edit and eventually publish is a way to save time and energy.

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  41. Last year was my first year in a classroom and the best advice I received from the principal was that it was ok to not grade everything. That freed up a huge chuck of time and "sharing" ideas and resources from other teachers and places like Teachers Pay Teachers and Pinterest also helped when planning lesson activities. In the school library, I borrow resources from the same places. I also peruse school library blogs for helpful tips and info and to see what others in my position are doing in the school library. My first year in the school library was overwhelming, but the book The Centered School Library by Cari Young was a lifesaver! I still use the activities from her book today. I even emailed her for advice and she gave me tips on how to work smarter with my library kids. One other thing I realized at the elementary library was that 4th and 5th grade students love to shelve books! What an amazing time saver, plus it helped to reinforce the skills they were learning about fiction and nonfiction organization.

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  42. I didn't realize that many of the things that I do here at school fall under Matt's "cheat" and "MED" categories. I am no longer in a classroom but when I was (almost 8 years ago), I has used both of the these concepts. I taught theatre history and while I laid out the background knowledge the students needed - the learning was more on them. I gave them the "MED" and they took it from there. The learning was there own. Now I still find myself using these same methods, I direct our school productions and give the students the bare minimum of what is to be happening on stage (where the set will be, types of props, etc) but the acting the stage directions come from them. I expect them to know their characters and the relationships with the other students on stage - as that is what causes the production to be more that just pretty words being repeated. It always amazes me how the students reach to meet those expectations. The world is changing so quickly - we have to make our students take control of their own learning - so that they can continue to learn for the rest of their lives.

    I don't have any single place that I go to find ideas and help -- I love to just "google" search to see what is out there I can use. I do follow a few different twitter feeds. My daughter who was a 3rd grade teacher and is now a Kindergarten teacher uses Pinterest and Teachers Pay Teachers.

    My twitter name is @jasmith56

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    1. "The world is changing so quickly - we have to make our students take control of their own learning - so that they can continue to learn for the rest of their lives."

      Inspiring words and so very true!

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  43. One of the benefits of being in teaching for a long period (in my case, 30 years) is that you really do come to know what of the myriad of teaching tasks pays the greatest dividends and spend your time there. For example, I spend lots of time every Thursday on my school newsletter because I've learned that that communication is very helpful to the parents and enhances the relationship I have with my families. I don't always grade and record each paper because much of what we do in first grade is 'practice'--it would be like counting the score of a scrimmage game against your record--but I do make notes about what I notice about my students after I've worked with them. I agree with previous posters that "cheating" is probably not really accurate, but experience helps you know where to spend the time. That being said, I really am trying to pick up new ways using technology because that isn't currently in my repertoire of "lessons that work." So there is a balancing act to be done regarding what I've done that I feel is tried and true and being open to new and better ways to do it!

    I also enjoy Teachers Pay Teachers as a resource, and have recently been made aware of a website called "Khan Academy" which is free and posts lessons of all types and grade levels with videos and explanations. It would be especially useful for students who are absent and missed your 'big explanation' because if you directed them to the site, they could hear it taught online.

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    1. I just recently bought a novel unit off Teachers Pay Teachers and even though I am not going to use everything, it gives me a basis. I feel like if I create my own questions and tests all the time it is either too easy or too hard. I also am taking a class and pulled an idea from a classmate that I am going to borrow. I love reading what other teachers doing. It definitely sparks inspiration.

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    2. I have found many qualities instructional videos on Khan Academy.

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    3. Th Khan Academy was very helpful for my 4th grade students. We used it to help us with math especially fractions, the videos and explanations were great.

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  44. Finding Balance inside and outside of the classroom is very difficult. During my first year of teaching I felt like I needed to grade every single assignment with details about everything. That was very stressful and time consuming. This year I have tried to focus more on quality work.
    I think one way that I cheat is that I do not reinvent the wheel. The internet is a great resource for educators, and If I find a useful lesson online. Great! It saves me time and typically are very beneficial to my students. We as teachers can not constantly spend 3-4 hours after every school day creating the perfect lesson. Chances are there is already one out on the internet.

    I also use edmodo.com for all of my classes. Grading tests and quizzes is very efficient on this site. In addition to grading, students are much more responsible for their work because they know what is expected of them when an assignment is given.

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  45. I read What Connected Educators Do Differently and really enjoyed it. I did not participate in the book discussion because I felt I was too far behind with working summer school an all. I did a lot of suggested activities and have even told several of my colleagues about the quality information I found through Twitter. I was extremely skeptical, but now I am a believer. I can be added at @sanders0205.
    Finding balance is something I struggle with. Some days I find I have more time than others. But setting a schedule and sticking to it has help me manage my professional and personal life. For example, I was scheduled to go to a training from 3-5 and found out I was told the wrong time and it would actually be 3:30 - 5:30 maybe even 6. I excused myself and saying I would have to reschedule because I had another commitment at 6. Time matters especially when you have every minute accounted.
    This year my district has moved to Google Docs and Classroom. I am trying to become familiar with the program and take in all I can at the training sessions. Once I learn how to use Classroom, I will set up my classes and take time to organize it so that it is functional but can be easily updated.

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  46. I liked the idea of cheating and feel like I have to cheat to balance life! I use many resource to help me work smarter! I do put in many hours but I love to come up with new ideas and try new things. My twitter handle is @barblaz. I teach FACS and love pinterest, TPT, twitter, FACS websites and even facebook has pages I use to find ideas. We are going to chrome books at my school and I am hoping to be chosen to pilot 1:1 with a classroom set of chromebooks. This will help me not have to rely on extra worksheets etc. I do not grade everything I give and I think that would be impossible. I like other forms of evaluation besides just quizzes and tests. I use projects and labs and feel that my students get more out of this than a quiz or test. I love webinars and keeping up with new technology. Ditching the textbook is a must for MED!

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  47. "Being extremely intentional with your time" is a quote I am trying to work by this year. I am limiting the number of late evening to one a week. By setting a time limit to work on things, I find I am more focused on planning. I also choose to work during lunch a couple of times a week. I am sure others have done this, but having a prioritized list, I am able to stay focused. Before I leave, I have been leaving a list as well so I know what needs to be done first.
    Cheating seems to be negative, but actually this is refreshing. We do compare ourselves with others. I definitely do. Even Twitter can get overwhelming. I usually set a time limit when checking though the professional articles. I have appreciated being able to be connected especially during down times like waiting on a meeting or event to begin.
    "Tiny changes can produce big results." I wrote this quote down because I need to examine the teaching practices I have done and look for little changes. Reading this book is helping.
    I am on Twitter @MHGBooks and I blog at Booksavors.wordpress.com.

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  48. As is stated in the section we read, working smarter is more efficient and beneficial to teachers as well as students. Working "harder" doesn't necessarily benefit all parties.

    During paper assignments, I frequently check and give feedback on student drafts. This not only benefits the students as they intellectually struggle through the writing process and cognitively process and alter their writing, but reading student drafts aids in the final grading process as well. I know what students' areas for growth are and what they should have spent time correcting. Therefore, when it is time to grade final papers, I can skim their writing and grade using my rubric. There is no point in me making a long list of comments on their final papers because they aren't going to use them to rewrite.

    Balancing school and life is important. What is also important that is not really mentioned (accept in the "friend" section) is internalizing student issues. It doesn't matter the school district, poverty level, or any outlying factors, there will be students who do not have easy lives. Teachers spend a lot of time with these students, and students tend to trust the people they are around most. There will be students who feel comfortable telling teachers their outside issues. It is extremely important for teachers to not internalize student issues to where it effects their lives outside of school. In a sense, teachers can not be emotionally involved. We have to desensitize, to be blunt. In order to perform effectively and maintain a high level of dedication to students, we have to be good listeners and, yes, turn students to outside resources to help them in extreme cases (school counselor).

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  49. Chapter 15 was very moving - I totally get it. It's correct that we cheat those whom we love. There are other careers such as this - not just teaching. However, when we're passionate about what we do, we certainly can get swallowed up in the never-ending work and implementation of ideas that go along with being a teacher.

    I've cheated too. My husband and my parents, I've definitely cheated. I don't have children, but I do have a family whom I'm very close to. I have elderly parents. No one knows when it will be our time to do, but just in terms of math - Mom & Dad won't be around a lot longer due to their age. They are the reason I am a teacher, they have been the greatest teachers to me and I'm indebted to them. So, it definitely makes me sad when I think how I cheat them out of time. . . not seeing them and helping them as I should.

    I completely agree with Matt that "cheating" isn't about cheating at all. Yes, I don't like that word - very negative connotation for me. I agree, though, that what it means is being VERY intentional with our time.

    Absolutely we shouldn't be grading every piece of work that students do. That's insane. Yes, we need to grade, however, being sensible about it is quite important and also grading when it matters, when we've properly taught and prepared students makes a difference.

    I was talking to a staff member last week. She told me she had arrived at school that morning at 6:30 AM (it was 4:00 PM when I talked to her). She still had a couple of hours work ahead of her at school that day. I know the wee hours of the morning when I leave my house each day, teaching until 3 PM, then staying at school to do paperwork, make phone calls, check email, prepare materials for the following day, write the schedule and objectives for the next day. . . the list goes on and on. Next will be a few hours of grading, writing to students, and tweaking lesson plans in the evening (Oh, and the RTI paperwork!). If you add an errand on the way home, and dinner, and general housekeeping, the day is a long and exhausting one. It definitely can be a vicious cycle. However it IS worth it!!
    "
    I think it's important to keep in mind Matt's message in chapter 15. Maybe not so much "Embracing the right kind of cheating." I'd rather say, "Intently focusing on what really matters."

    I LOVE Twitter! My Twitter handle is: @BallScholars.
    Twitter recommendations from me: #geniushour, @PernilleRipp, @IAG_gifted, @flippedclassrm

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  50. I had the conversation with my boyfriend this week about the difficulties of our jobs. He is an engineer and believes that his job is not difficult; any intelligent person could do it. I disagreed that teaching is not something everyone could do. I can remember the struggles of finding time to create curriculum, lesson plans, coaching, and organizing my classroom the first few years of teaching. My work to personal life was very imbalanced. Unlike Matt Miller, I did not “cheat” on my loved ones. I focused purely on work and my personal life suffered greatly. There are many facets of teaching that cannot be taught. I have learned the most about my career from my own students and struggles.
    This balance has shifted greatly now that I have been teaching over a decade. I believe greatly in the “work smarter, not harder” mentality. I do not grade every assignment that I give to my students. I ask for help in menial tasks in the classroom, finding that students are still eager to help a teacher for a piece of candy. Pinterest is my “go-to” for connecting with other people/ideas not only for my education but for fun. A few of my boards include @justfacs, @freshfacs, and @lindahuntfarrow.

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  51. I have learned over the years to work smarter not harder. I try to get everything done at school during the day. Sometimes there isn’t enough time in the day to complete everything. I wish I would have known that it was ok not to grade everything when I started teaching 30 some years ago. I know I spent countless hours planning, grading, and re-planning lessons so that they would be perfect. I know I missed out on many hours that should have been spent with my own family. It is disappointing when you grade papers, make comments, and correct answers on a student’s paper, and all they do is look at the grade and never read the rest. The use of Edmodo, Skyward, sites like studyspanish.com and our on-line textbook simplify the art of grading.

    I agree with my colleague, Greg Stetter, that there is no reason to reinvent the wheel. There are so many great sources on-line. Borrowing , ”stealing” and revamping ideas makes the life of a teacher easier than it used to be to find good resources. I still work hard at my job, but it is much easier to find the right tools to use n the classroom. I am glad that Greg has found this out in his second year of teaching!

    I am a huge fan of Pinterest. My account is https://www.pinterest.com/sandygutz/. I use this for personal pins and educational pins. I have found many Spanish teachers to follow. My twiiter is @sandygutzwiller. My favorite people to follow are Matt Miller, George Couras, and local teachers. I also love Teachers Pay Teachers. I love the freebies but I have also purchased several useful lessons.

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  52. My oldest daughter is now in high school and in my German II classroom this year. Because of this, I get much more brutally honest feedback on my teaching techniques this year than ever before! One thing she has told me is that I repeat myself too much. What I thought was being thorough and using reinforcement by repetition was actually causing students to turn off their listening ears. I'm working on saying things once, and then being available to work with individuals who may not have gotten it the first time. My hope is that students will stay with me better if they know I won't be saying the same thing repeatedly.

    I love my SmartBoard, as I know others like their Mobi devices. The best benefit is being able to save things that were written on the board for those who were absent, as well as being able to reuse for different sections of the same subject/level. Edmodo is great, both for getting info to students without killing so many trees, as well as for paperless quizzes that are graded automatically and instantly. I do have to be sure that the students do not have any other tabs open while taking quizzes. It has greatly decreased the amount of time I spend in the copy room! I make Quizlet sets of flashcards for all vocabulary lists. Students really do use this to prepare for quizzes and learn new words.

    My Twitter handle is @bjaquess.

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    1. It is refreshing to hear how others cope with having their own children in the classroom. I have had all three of mine in varying lengths of stay, and my oldest in particular did not hold back telling me how I could 'improve'. Today she instructed her first college level seminar class as a professional student; and oh, how I enjoyed hearing about how much her heart was pounding and how she knew she had talked too fast. We all learn.

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    2. I can relate. I have had my daughter as a student, and she frequently tells me I baby students too much. I remind her I have students with a variety of skill levels, but she is right, I could toughen up on my expectations. In my hope to reach the least motivated students, however, I was losing the most motivated students by repeating and moving through material too slowly. It has been a good learning opportunity for me to have a daughter in one of my classes!

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  53. I certainly recognized myself and many of my colleagues in Matt's examples in these chapters. I regularly put in ten to eleven hours a day at school and take school stuff home to complete. I love my career, but the older I get the more I question the sanity and effectiveness of keeping these hours. I continually look for ways to work smarter and increase my time with the other important facets of my life.

    To aid in organization and efficiency, I use Google Drive, Google Classroom, Classroom Messenger, and Planbook.com. My students have Google accounts, so we use Docs and KidBlog for writing workshop. My district utilizes Accelerated Math and Dreambox which I use for targeted math practice. Both sites grade student work and provide instant feedback. I use YouTube, Pinterest (for ideas), and Powerpoint presentations found in Google searches for topics I am introducing. My go-to P.D. sites are Twitter (@Mrs_T_V) and Google+ (Mrs. Vogelgesang).

    I plan to reread this section again. It contains so many ideas. I am sure I will discover something that I missed during the first reading. I am also excited to check out some of the ideas and sites I am reading about in the comments.

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  54. I have seen Edmodo mentioned several times in the comments. I am not familiar with this site. Would anyone mind telling me a little about it? How is it different from Google Classroom? Is it something worth considering at the elementary level (fifth grade) and if I am already using Classroom? Thank you!

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  56. Time management is a pertinent subject! I used to grade everything and put comments on students' writing to see them throw away, lose, or stuff the assessments in a binder. It is much more valuable to comment as students are writing so they can consider your comments during their writing process. Google Docs make this pretty easy. An even better smarter use of technology is for students to be asked to comment and edit each other's work during the process so they can teach/help each other.

    @wnmslmc

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  57. I really liked Chapter 15, Choose to Cheat, because as a teacher, mother of three, and wife trying to balance all of these roles is a daily struggle for me. I think it is good to hear that it is okay to cheat even though it is something I was already doing on a daily basis. I am very lucky to have a wonderful teacher next door to bounce ideas off and to share lessons with. We have very similar styles and balance each other out. Even with that support I also rely on technology to help with my lessons. I have never tried Twitter but after reading Matt Miller's suggestions I might give it a try. I use Pinterest and Teachers Pay Teachers a lot.

    One blog I really like is Wild about Fifth Grade: http://wildaboutfifthgrade.blogspot.com. I found this blog after reading The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller. I found lots of good resources for implementing the 40 Book Challenge on this blog and find myself checking it often for ideas.

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  58. I know I cheated my family of a calmer, happier, more fulfilled me. There are many times I should have put away my school work and focused on my children and family...instead I felt I needed to get through one more stack of papers, or whatever. For some reason, school is always on my mind. I know a lot of the pressure I felt/feel was/is my own fault. My children are grown now, I would do it differently if I had it to do over again....

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  59. I am on twitter @ClaraBoyles...I am also on FB in groups like Spanish Teachers in the US, IFLTA and other language groups, I am also on FLTEACH listserve and Pinterest and have playlists on YouTube and quite a few subscriptions. I get a lot of great ideas, but they take a lot of time too.

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  60. It is very difficult to find the balance of school vs. family, especially as a physical education teacher you are kind of expected to coach multiple sports. Having a 2 year old and a newborn added onto this, and it makes it nearly impossible to spend the amount of time you need at school and with your family.
    I also do not like to call this "cheating" in Chapter 15 because I think it is just a matter of becoming more efficient and simplifying your material for your classes to make it easier for your students to learn and to save you time as an educator with grading etc. I found myself giving vocabulary assignments in my Health class, and there were 15-20 vocab words per chapter. I decided to only pick the most important words, the words you really want your students to know instead of assigning all of the vocab. I also converted all of my paper tests to online tests using my corporation's technology called SMART testing. (this saved a ton of time with grading).
    Now that our school has chrome books for every student I would really like to make the jump to have most assignments etc. online or via chrome books. I am not sure exactly where to start though, we do have a new technology called Canvas and I am slowly learning how to use this with my classes. Is anyone else familiar with Canvas and do you like it or find useful? I do enjoy reading Matt Miller's blogs he has included in the book. (20 Collaborative Google Apps activities for schools, 20 ideas for solid student blogging)

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  61. Chapter 15 was very powerful for me. I have not met an educator who doesn't struggle with the home v. work dilemma. There is always more we can do for our students and our classrooms. Knowing when to quit, without shortchanging the students, is an important survival skill for us all.

    I decided to start small and be consistent with the tech tools and social media that I use. Instead of giving up in despair because I can't do it all, I have chosen to focus on the ones that I find enjoyable and that provide the greatest benefits! At our middle school, I run our Instagram and Twitter accounts (wnmsligonier for both). In addition, our staff plans RtI in teams. A lot of our teachers are starting to use Pinterest for intervention and enrichment ideas. It has made the lesson planning enjoyable!

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  62. Our school uses a Learning Management System called Canvas. It definitely aids in the "work smarter, not harder" concept. I can upload worksheets, discussions, and quizzes (a lot of work this first year to load everything, but wow, won't it be amazing next year?!) and not have to worry about taking time to make copies, collecting papers, etc. Everything is in one place for me to grade when I'm ready. I have found that it is so much faster to type a quick comment in a student's assignment submission than to take the time to write it neatly, only to have them toss the papers in the recycling bin. We can have a dialogue of their work as they revise drafts, and it saves paper and time all the while the students actually learn from the comments and suggestions.

    A few resources that I have had good luck with this year include Teachers Pay Teachers and Music Teacher Resources.

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  63. I wish I would have heard that so many others accept that they cannot grade everything earlier in my career. I still struggle with that but I have accepted that there isn't enough time and it made me feel better to know I am not the only one. I use technology whenever I can to be more efficient but find it difficult to find time to learn all of the new applications that we have been introduced to recently. I teach five subjects, 6 out of 7 periods a day so I am busy staying on top of managing what I am comfortable with. In addition, I know that during the school year I am cheating my family, mostly my husband. I can relate with Clara in that I have my work on my mind a lot! I have a Pinterest School board and have recently signed up for a school Twitter account. I will look into following the Twitter recommendations given by others in this blog.

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  64. I might be the only educator out there who is not really connected to social media. I have resisted FB for years and do not tweet or use Instagram. I have my own silly reasons and I just can't get passed it! Reading this chapter has me leaning towards Twitter, though. I do LOVE Pinterest, however. I have so many boards dedicated to school and it really helps keep my ideas organized. I'm a big fan of not recreating the wheel so if someone else is willing to share, then I'm willing to take it. As Matt said, it's our responsibility to share the ideas/creations/inspirations we have.

    I am still in search of the "minimum effective dose". It's been years and I still haven't figured it out. However, it's my eternal quest and I am confident that some day I will find a better balance. As it is, I work late nights after my kiddos go to bed and spend many weekend hours working while the family sleeps. I'm definitely cheating my husband and also myself. I'm usually running on empty! I just started at a new school in a new grade level so I'm looking forward to the future when things are more settled. I continually reflect on how I can work smarter and not harder so that my students can get the best and I can not stay up so late. I've got a few ideas for next year already.

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  65. follow me @estrolberg my decision to jump into twitter 5 years ago was the single best professional decision I have ever made. I truly believe that I learn more from my twitter PLN in a day than in did in a month before twitter. I am amazed at the amount of information shared on twitter by people I follow. There are days where it is just too overwhelming and I need to just move on to the most recent tweets.
    When it comes to teacher-student work ethic, I tell newer teachers to read this article:
    http://www.mindstepsinc.com/2012/09/why-teachers-should-never-work-harder-than-our-students/
    We let students off the hook way too often in our classrooms. They need to struggle, get frustrated, and learn how to solve difficult problems in our classrooms, not be spoon-fed information that we stayed up all night trying to find for them.

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  66. Isn't it refreshing to hear others experience the same things you do? For a long time, I was one of the "work harder" people. I think it comes from having high expectations that we set for ourselves as educators, because let's face it - our job is pretty important! We educate the future! I have to admit that I have improved on the "work smarter" side of things, but it is easy to get lulled back to the other side at times! It is a constant struggle to keep the balance. As far has having technology help me work smarter, I'm working on it. I just got five iPads for my classroom this year, so I have been busy trying to get some things started for my students on those!

    One resource that I was introduced to recently is Symbaloo (it's free!). You create your own by adding links to the websites you use most often. For my primary Title I students, I have started a symbaloo of links to sites they can practice reading skills. (It's a work in progress!)
    http://www.symbaloo.com/home/mix/13ePGX9d12

    I also use Pinterest (www.pinterest.com/jhousinger) and Teachers Pay Teachers quite a bit. My colleagues are also great sources of information and technology 'finds.' And a good ol' Google search for something specific usually has me diving into numerous blogs and links that I normally wouldn't find on my own!

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  67. My Twitter handle is @mr_Yoder.

    In regards to the MED thought, I recall one of my college professors discussing the reality of the teaching profession and how it is impossible to get everything done. She gave the advice to "get the dishes done." What she meant is to focus on a task that is simple and didn't take long to accomplish. By doing so, you feel ready to take on those bigger tasks. Your mind and body and already focused so get the dishes dinner first and then take on the bigger items.

    Teachers often ask me how I know things about devices and websites. Plain and simple... YouTube. It is the best resource on the web for anything you want to know.

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    1. I like the "get the dishes done" idea. I am a list-maker. It definitely helps me to see what needs to be done, and then I can prioritize what needs to be done NOW and what can wait until LATER.

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  68. I definitely think that MED is something that is a struggle for teachers, especially in the first few years. I think organization is one of the keys to making this happen. I have noticed that the more organized I am with my school work, the more efficiently I can get things done. I had a principal that often reminded the staff that we need to know when to go home, because the work would still be there in the morning--you do what you can, when you can. We also have to be willing to accept help when it is offered. Technology is now one of those helping hands that can often make our lessons better, more exciting for students, and less work for the teacher. Anytime I need a new idea to freshen up my class, I turn to Pinterest or Teachers Pay Teachers. I do not always lean on one specific contributer for either site (that I have noticed). I also use YouTube to find videos to help explain concepts. The students particularly like this one because they use it often as well.

    Being in a college town, we often have practicum students and student teachers in our building. I like to get ideas from them as well. They are coming into our profession with a fresh set of eyes and, sometimes, a new perspective. They are young enough that technology has been a part of their lives since they were babies, so they can often bring new ideas about technology and how to incorporate it into the classroom that I love. Each time I have an experience with one of these students, I "steal" at least one idea from them.

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  69. Technology! Apparently when I thought I posted my response, it didn't work. So here's what I said:

    Balance. When I read the chapter about “cheating,” everything that Matt said really hit home. I have lived something similar, having 5 preps and trying to be a creative and exciting Spanish teacher while integrating technology that is new for me and also trying to cover our standards. I am wrestling with trying to “work smarter, not harder.” Online grading and planning takes me longer right now because I am learning. I’m getting faster and learning a few tricks here and there.

    Twitter was a good resource over the summer when I had time to read it. I’m @4Angeles4. My favorite online source to make my teaching life easier is señor Jordan, a talented Spanish teacher who puts out lots of Spanish grammar videos. I teach my students his songs and use his video clips as reinforcement. I have used conjuguemos.com for grammar practice and vocaroo.com for online recordings. I am sure there are so many more resources for Spanish teachers and I’m open to learning about some new ones for a few more “tools in my toolbox.”

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  70. It was refreshing to read that it is o.k. to make tiny changes that can produce big results, or even the best results.

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  71. It was refreshing to read that it is o.k. to make tiny changes that can produce big results, or even the best results.

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  72. Twitter handle: @ljraiders

    I love twitter and have found that the news and informational aspect is one of my favorite parts and yields many ideas for the classroom, particularly for my journalism/newspaper classes. Even follows like @jongordon are helpful for motivation and staying positive, in addition to building on a teaching mindset.

    In terms of working smarter, I have learned and developed this skill over the course of my teaching career out of necessity. Balancing coaching and other responsibilities forced me to be extremely efficient, and I think I do it pretty well, but I'm always working at it. I made it a goal years ago to not take work home, and I stick to it pretty religiously. I keep work at school and don't grade papers at home with only a few exceptions. This helps me keep a balanced lifestyle.

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  73. Twitter handle: @ljraiders

    I love twitter and have found that the news and informational aspect is one of my favorite parts and yields many ideas for the classroom, particularly for my journalism/newspaper classes. Even follows like @jongordon are helpful for motivation and staying positive, in addition to building on a teaching mindset.

    In terms of working smarter, I have learned and developed this skill over the course of my teaching career out of necessity. Balancing coaching and other responsibilities forced me to be extremely efficient, and I think I do it pretty well, but I'm always working at it. I made it a goal years ago to not take work home, and I stick to it pretty religiously. I keep work at school and don't grade papers at home with only a few exceptions. This helps me keep a balanced lifestyle.

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  74. Reading these chapters about MED have proved to be very helpful to me, not only in my school life but in my personal life as well. I am that parent that feels like I need to be everywhere to be a considered "a good mom." After talking to my children, I found that sometimes, "less is more" as they say! I think they appreciate the little things I do more when they are more infrequent and less predictable.

    I also learned, at school, letting kids decide how much information they want to digest at any given time is their preference. I have an extracurricular Battle of the Books team. At first we were meeting several times a week after school and I made these very detailed (and long) study guides. I had “required” work for each meeting and to some of the students it was overwhelming. So, I backed off, I let the overachievers do more and the kids wanting to slow down, did. It worked great and our team became much more successful. Now we only meet once a week at most and we actually get a lot more done during our time together since they are setting the pace. And I have a lot more time to do things I like to do too!

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  75. A few times a year a get really busy and doing a lot of things at once. Many times it's the weeks around any kind of testing or when I'm in classrooms doing my guidance lessons. I get so busy that I'm often found around 1:30- 2pm heating up my lunch because I've yet to eat, even thought I get 30 minutes a day in the lunch room. I know what you are thinking, who likes lunch duty, but honestly it's one of my favorite times of the day, I get to see my kids (not students) in a different environment. I think more times that not we over extend ourselves and don't seem to get the desired effect of a better outcome. I've always been a firm believer in "Work Smarter, Not Harder." Being a counselor has it's own set of stressors outside of what the classroom provides, it can be mentally exhausting when you have a day or week full of students in your office who are having a rough time. We are expected to not only be able to say the right thing no matter the situation with students but also be a sounding board for teachers.

    I coach JV girls basketball and MS track, and while I love coaching, I too feel at times I neglect my wife and son. They are by far the most important parts of my life and I work hard to provide for them, I hate having to go days or a week without seeing my son. For me it's why breaks are so important and why leaving as much as school as I can is so important.

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  76. Being overwhelmed is easy - especially starting out. Making small changes, and letting the kids be part of it helps take some of the unease out of the equation. And sometimes a small change is better than a big one! Good things come in small packages! Small doses of a new thing works for kids as well as it does for the teachers, so when incorporating something new just a lil' dab'l do ya!
    @mizanoa

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  77. Being overwhelmed is easy - especially starting out. Making small changes, and letting the kids be part of it helps take some of the unease out of the equation. And sometimes a small change is better than a big one! Good things come in small packages! Small doses of a new thing works for kids as well as it does for the teachers, so when incorporating something new just a lil' dab'l do ya!
    @mizanoa

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  78. My twitter handle is @jmyersteacher

    I have found twitter to be a very useful professional development tool. I have gotten many ideas off of twitter. Recently, I saw a tweet about Global Read Aloud. I shared this with our literacy coach and pretty soon the idea caught on! Several classrooms at my school are participating because I saw that tweet, which I think it pretty cool!

    I loved the chapter on MED. I am much more efficient now than I was when I first started teaching. The reason is two little boys that call me mom:) Having more responsibilities forced me to be more precise with my time. I teach fourth graders and if we go over something in class I have them write TIC for together in class. Parents know that we did it together and I don't have to grade it. It also makes me really think about what assessments I'm using with my students, not just giving assignments to get a grade.

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  79. "Working smarter, not harder" is my life right now, or at least it should be. I have taught first grade for several years, and feel that I do a good job of doing so, but I am always on the lookout for new and better ways to reach my students. Each week, I am creating new learning centers and searching for the best ways in incorporate technology to better do what we've already been doing. However, this year, I have been faced with a new challenge...teacher's kids...my own kids. I have five-year-old twins that just started kindergarten. And now they come to work with Mommy every day. It's a blessing and a curse. I absolutely love seeing them as they pass my door frantically waving. They make me smile when they jump up from their seats at lunch to give me a hug as I drop my students off in the cafeteria. I love being in the building and getting to know the families of their friends and being able to lend a hand to their class while my students are in specials. However, I am struggling to get anything done! They are with me before and after school...those precious moments that used to be my most effective in planning and preparing lessons. Now that time is spent tying shoes, settling arguments, and passing out snacks. I have to figure out how to "work smarter, not harder" and fast!

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  80. I have always had the philosophy that it is the quality of work I assign over the quantity. With the total number of students I have each day, it is important not to overwhelm myself. I do feel I learn a lot from the grading process. Sometimes, I find the students have mastered the concepts quicker than expected and sometimes I find I need to reteach as they are struggling with the material. I encourage students to look at my notes and corrections and take time to answer any questions. I don’t feel this is something I can short cut in mathematics. I do not collect every assignment which does free up some time so that I am not spending too much time grading every evening.
    I do feel it is good to make time for other events and activities not only for myself but for my students. During school breaks, I give myself a chance to relax and not worry about planning/grading/etc. It’s time for me to recharge and have some time for me.
    I’ve not taken to twitter so the account I experimented with for another book is currently not being used. I do occasionally use pintrest but not on a regular basis. I do enjoy facebook and I’m setting up a page to use with my students/parents. Our school went 1:1 this year, so I will be starting to use the google classroom. Although, I do search for ideas and I have borrowed much relevant information to my lessons and some worksheets from simple google searches. This has freed up some time for me to spend on other areas of my lessons or to take a break. I do like the site betterlesson.com to get new ideas for my lessons.

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  81. I am still a relatively new teacher, only working for 5 years but one of the things that helps me the most is my daily lesson plans. My first year I spent many hours after school creating lessons to follow but, every year since then my time spent "creating" has gone down more and more. Even though lessons need to be tweaked every year I am easily able to do that by accessing my word document from the previous time the lesson was taught.

    For me the FACS website that has helped me the most is http://www.uen.org/cte/facs_cabinet/
    And Indianas FACS Listserv. This is a daily email group where resources are shared, collaborations take place, and advice is given on our subject area.

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  82. @FunfotosKim
    I am trying to "work smarter not harder". I know that I am horrible about recreating the wheel every single week and I have been trying to save plans from week to week so next year my planning time will be cut down. I spent a lot of time with a teammate this summer typing out plans for math units that can be easily pulled into my plans. I need to figure out how to work smarter with small group plans.

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    1. I like the idea of not recreating the wheel, but it is difficult in our field where our students are constantly changing and challenging us in new ways. In the past, I have not used centers in my math instruction because there simply wasn't time for it in my math block. This year, however, we have a great schedule with time for interventions and centers as well. I am spending a lot of time finding ideas and resources as well as creating, printing, laminating, and cutting games and activities that I hope keep my students engaged and learning this year and in the future...

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  83. What an interesting concept! I feel like he was talking directly at me. I used to teach at a private school where I taught four different subjects each day. I also coached high school kids in which I was in charge of a school's entire basketball program K-12. There were numerous weeks when I only saw my young son and daughter on Sunday's. It was devastating and I knew something had to change. I too, tried to be everything to everybody until I finally said enough was enough. I am no longer coaching so that I can see all of my kids' events during the year and spend some quality time with them. When I gave up coaching, I also made a goal to be the best teacher possible. I learned quickly that even without coaching you can spend 24 hours a day on teaching. Once again, this was not going to work. I thought I had to handle everything myself. Finally, I began talking with other educators both current and retired. I picked "their brains" on how to still be effective in the classroom, but not spend as much time on lessons, grading, etc. I learned an enormous amount from these educators. The grading issue was a real problem for me. I graded everything and it was wearing me down. These educators told me to use something similar to Miller's MED concept and focus on the things that are most important to me. Kids grow up so fast, if we don't make changes and make some time for ourselves and our families, they will be gone and in college before we know it. I am glad I sought help when I did.

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  84. Early on in my teaching career, I worked very hard to grade, create lesson plans and just "make it" everyday. I wore myself out and my students probably didn't really enjoy class! Nine years later teaching is so much simpler. Technology has greatly improved my ability to teach students with different methods. In addition, there's less paper and stuff to grade because I typically am able to incorporate their online learning into a project. I enjoy this method so much more as I am able to move around more and help students and discuss topics with them.

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  85. I found the MED concept to be very interesting and it hit home. I spend too much time grading and planning to the suffering of my personal life. I don't like it but feel that it is necessary. The idea of cheating in a way that is beneficial to all was helpful to me and one I will further consider.
    The idea of becoming connected has me very interested and when I read his first post about asking someone to help him learn to be connected and the reply from another Twitter person that no student needs help with this, I had my eyes opened wide. I am afraid to get connected and feel like it will take too much of my time that I need for other things. Not thoroughly convinced that I still don't need some instruction.

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  86. My handle is @GarberKk

    When I think about "Work smarter, not harder" I think about the tiny changes that can produce results, or even the best results. In my classroom...about 3 days a week for 25 min. I have been giving my students a choice of reading independently from book in their personal library box or reading books online. It's interesting to me what they choose and how it may vary day to day. As I walk around and monitor/conference during this time...the students have been listening to my discussions with other classmates and may ask me what site another classmate was using. Sometimes it is contagious and exciting.

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  87. I really enjoyed reading these chapters and I think it is important to constantly hear reminders of both MED and 'cheating'. I try to use quick informal assessments, like, tickets out the door, Google Forms, pear deck, and other sites to get a good gauge on my students progress. I will check a couple problems from in class work/homework but I like to check progress by hands-on in class and observation along with the quick informal assessments.

    I just recently joined Twitter, my handle is @MrsBarkerPHMS, currently I follow a few people but I am still getting the hang of things!

    I've been doing a lot of work with FiveStar for technology professional development and I enjoy reading articles on Facebook, Edutopia, and Edmodo!

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  88. I have just started using twitter and my handle is @jcollicott10. I follow a few math groups such as Hooda Math and Interactive Maths, but am not making full use of twitter. I like the concept of working smarter and not harder. Teaching is wonderful but can be so overwhelming. There is always something to do with grader, planning, making tests, attending parent meetings etc. Then if I am stressed with the schedule I get so cranky no one wants to be around me including my students. This is my 9th year teaching and I am getting a little better at walking out of my room when I need to. What I find the least time for is professional development which is not good. We teachers can learn so much from each other that I miss the professional development days that we used to get. My district uses 1 hour after school each week, but 1 hour can only get you so far. I hope to find more time for twitter. I would like to follow more individual teachers so I can see how other math teacher’s present material. I want to be more creative with my instruction!

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  89. I like the idea of work smarter not harder. I have lessened my grading and not collecting as much. I try to make activities and use new ideas. I have kept binders with all my stuff and every year I find myself using and pitching my stuff. Kids are new every year and I am always making adjustments. I got a twitter account this summer and I need to follow more people with good math ideas. I just feel that I have little time to do it. I need to just start doing it just a little bit at a time.

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  90. I like the idea of work smarter not harder. I have lessened my grading and not collecting as much. I try to make activities and use new ideas. I have kept binders with all my stuff and every year I find myself using and pitching my stuff. Kids are new every year and I am always making adjustments. I got a twitter account this summer and I need to follow more people with good math ideas. I just feel that I have little time to do it. I need to just start doing it just a little bit at a time.

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  91. I am going to try to work smarter not harder. I still feel more comfortable using pencil and paper. I am trying new activities and ideas using technology. I really want to change and use less paper. I have found I am putting in more time searching and developing new things. I can get more done by just grading papers. I have gotten a Twitter account and am learning. I follow a few people, but haven't taken the leap to really see what I could learn. I am trying a little bit of several different things.

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  92. I am reaping the benefits a few long nights and a whole lot of failure about three years ago. I was the only teacher to venture out to GAFE. My then school district had just gone 1:1 with iPads and were pushing Pages and Keynote, I stayed with Google. Then MyBigCampus pulled up and everyone pushed bundles, I stayed with my Google Drive and folders. Now, they are finally comning around to GAFE and I have all my ducks in a row, all my students are teaching faculity how to do things because I kept teaching them (that is awasome if you ask me).

    I feel more prepared as a teacher because I can always pull up what I did last time, change the things that didn't work and push forward in class, and then go home and spend time with my family. I am not creating from scratch often anymore and I have found myself sharing my curriculum with my husband (also a Language Arts teacher!)

    Coming home and asking "Have you ever taught_____" and my reply "Yes, I will share my folder with you!" has been amazing.

    There are so many blogs and websites I follow BUT my most inspirational and helpful blog would be the one that makes me laugh out loud. Please check her out:

    www.loveteachblog.com

    Twitter: @MrsBurman

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  93. I have not ventured into the Twitter-sphere. I appreciate what it has to offer, but I worry about spending more time on social media than I already do. Between teaching, family, and tutoring, I don't want to add other things to my plate that would divert my attention. Sure, Twitter would not necessarily be all that time-consuming, and it could be for social and professional purposes, but I just haven't jumped on board. I'm sure I will at some point. I am still working on the MED/"work smarter not harder" mentality as well. It's a mental stumbling block for me, personally, that I just have to overcome. I agree that it's a logical way of thinking in many situations, but I can't justify it in my own brain as a way of cheating my students out of giving them my absolute best as a teacher. I know that I can "work smarter, not harder" and still give my students my absolute best, but I have yet to reconcile with myself the best way to do so. I think it's just the perfectionist side of my personality that I have to let go of, but that's hard to do!

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  94. I have a blended family. On one side there is a weightlifting, conditioning, basketball player, and softball player who needs rides everywhere. on the other I have a cheerleader and committed band member. As well as, an autistic 4th grader. Over the past couple of years I have come to embrace the MED philosophy. Simply because I don't really have a choice. On the go planning and all the Google applications have it possible to move away from the kitchen table grading platform and be able to check for understanding on the go. Doctopus has been wonderful. During my daughter's warm-ups or waiting in the parking lot after practice, I've been able to get things done more efficiently and spend more time with my family.

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  95. The MED is a reality of life! My life is different now, and teaching is different, too, from my days as a beginning teacher. When I first started teaching I was single, so I could devote as many hours to prepping, grading, coaching, and teaching as I wanted to each day. Now, my schedule includes a husband and a daughter, so I have to be aware of their schedules as well as my own. At some point most teachers realize, there is never enough time to do everything as well as we would like. Our job has no stopping point unless we decide what it is and at what time it arrives! As far as cheating, I've learned to look for more resources I can easily tweak to fit my classes. I also have learned to keep my grading in better balance. I try to assign some items that are graded on the laptop for quick, easy assignments, and longer, more involved assignments that require my attention for grading. My students and I both benefit from this plan.

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  96. I think one of the most profound ideas for me so far from reading this (potentially because it came at just the right moment) is the idea of MED. Too often I have found myself working entirely too long or too hard at something that should not take that amount of time or doing more than needs to be done. And while there is nothing inherently wrong with working hard, there is I feel an issues that arises from drowning in a workload that seems never to end and only to build. The idea of MED is not saying we as teachers should cut working in half just because we think we are too busy or have other things we need to do that are better than preparing for class, instead it is making it okay to use your time wisely and know when to stop working. In my first year of teaching I have noticed I am the person who overthinks and overdoes to the point that on occasion I lose my way in what I was wanting to do or lose the overall message to my lesson as I create it or I lose the passion that was originally so prevalent before I worked past the desired outcome. With that being said, I am going to work harder in the near future at working smarter and realizing when I have reached my desired outcome it is okay to stop.

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