Here we go with a new school year and a new blog! I've been racking my brain trying to decide what to post to begin this new journey. After several minutes (and by minutes I mean days) of brainstorming, I finally decided to jump in as if this blog has always existed. So join in with me like an old friend, a close colleague, or a newcomer amazed by what you've discovered :), and let's get this party started!
I've always despised the wealth of paper that accumulates in my classroom from week to week. In my mind, more paper means more "busy work" for students, more things to take home and "grade", more stacks in a lattice formation... Then I became a parent and my own children, when they began pre-K and elementary school, started bringing home folders full of papers that honestly ended up in "file 13" (I'm sure you can infer). Now, in the grand scheme of the week, I most likely make fewer copies than an average traditional teacher makes for one day. But I still find myself believing that we often create a mess of papers that are without purpose and meaning. As I pondered this one day last semester, I had the sudden urge to research and/or "fix" the problem, like I often do when pondering things. Thus began the journey to "Paperless Thursdays".
The first Thursday was the most difficult of all! It felt almost like jumping into my first year of teaching- 'What if there were technological issues? Do I have everything I need? How am I going to get work samples? Will this be a huge flop? What will people think of me if this fails???' But then I remembered that this was only one day out of the week and the research was worth it! Plus, I had a team of teacher candidates observing and assisting as needed, a technology specialist on speed dial, and a box of chocolates awaiting the day's end. Nothing could go terribly wrong, and it didn't! However getting started took a significant amount of planning and preparation. I decided to continue with lesson plans as usual. I would build my paperless plan based on what was already on our schedule for the week. Below is a vague list of the instructional times that usually require paper and the ways we attempted to go paperless:
As I moved on with "Paperless Thursdays", I tried my best to keep in mind the simplicities of things like whiteboards. The students and I became pros before long and they were continually coming up with new ideas for this endeavor. As the semester moved on, we fell into a familiar pattern for these paperless days. This was beneficial but sometimes limited us to our comfort zone of apps and websites.
We begin "Paperless Thursdays" again this coming Thursday in my classroom! Join us and share your thoughts, successes, failures, pictures, and ideas on Twitter using #paperlessthursday!
Welcome! I am Casey Watts- teacher, mentor, leader, mother, and wife aspiring to be much more!