It may seem obvious to most that keeping track of resources you’ve found online is helpful, but it took me a long time to realize that this was something I must do in order to prevent myself from reinventing the wheel every year. Sure, I have a file cabinet stuffed to the brim with handouts and things I’ve used over the years, and I sometimes I use it when I’m looking for a specific activity, but I usually hit the internet if I’m looking for something new to try.
There are endless ways you can organize yourself to keep track of things, but this is the system that works for me.
Step 1. Generate ideas
You will likely hit up the same sites for ideas on a regular basis. Bookmark them, or create a google doc with a list of your favorite sites. Pinterest is great for this. I frequent ReadWriteThink.org, PBS Learning, and Scholastic quite often so I have them all bookmarked. I use Pinterest more for collecting ideas I want to check out later (although it can turn into a huge time suck if you get caught up in all the cutesy stuff!)
Step 2. Save your resource or lesson for later
This can be as simple as punching holes in a print out and sticking it in a binder, or filing it away. But what if your lesson includes digital media? You should have a consistent method and system for keeping track of these resources that you have used and liked. You can also use Pinterest for this, if you have a specific board for each area of study, but I use it as more of an idea generation tool. For organizing resources, you can use a site like EduClipper, Evernote, or even a basic Google Doc. I have a Google Site where I keep links organized by subject, and it has worked quite well for me. Take the time to save what you like, you’ll thank yourself later. If someone gives you an idea, write it down, add it to your site as soon as possible. You will be so relieved that you already have a great video saved for teaching a particular standard, so you don’t have to scour the internet every year. Teachers spend so much time searching and vetting resources, it is worth the extra few minutes it takes to save something you may have spent hours finding. You may not always teach the same grade level, but there are events such as holidays that come up each year, regardless of your grade level. You won’t regret saving your materials even if you do switch grades.
Step 3. Be reflective
Every so often, go through your list of resources and delete the ones that have become irrelevant, or didn’t work out so well. You don’t want your list to end up like an over-stuffed file cabinet full of junk. Keep it fresh, and think about whether you will really use something again.