Monthly Archive: January 2015

The End of Sign-Up Sheets

When I started teacher 20 some years ago, I had sign up sheets for all kinds of stuff.  At the beginning of the year, I had parents sign up to help with classroom parties, field trips and help in the classroom.  Later, I moved to conferencing with kids on writing or taking fluency checks for both math and reading.  Of course we also had lists for things like career day, musical tryouts and arts festival performance time slots.  All of this was done with paper and pencil, slots assigned and then reposted for all to see.

In my position now, I have to schedule professional development days with multiple options for sessions and times.  Quite a task and I was determined to find a way to use technology to help.  Here’s the list I like so far:

Snappy Sign Up – This is my current favorite.  I’ve used it to schedule our professional development day.  You can set multiple time slot

Google Calendar – This is great if you are scheduling a meeting and want to invite people, post an agenda and figure out who can come.  We are a Google Apps for Ed school so everyone already has an account.  This can work for those without Gmail account as well.

PTCFast – Scheduling Parent-Teacher conferences just got a lot easier!  This cloud based program allows for whole school scheduling or individual scheduling.  You can also use it to schedule team meetings or conferences with multiple teachers.  Parents log in, pick a time and that’s it!

Doodle – This has been around for a while but it still works well for setting up meeting.  We’ve used to RSVP parent information meetings.

You Can Book Me! – This a great program for scheduling multiple time slots.  It also will populate your Google Calendar when an appointment is made.  Very handy!

Have one you like?  Let me know!

New Year, New Adventures

Welcome to 2015!  This will be a year of adventure, challenge and excitement!  I read two article recently that go me to thinking:

  • The first was by Dr. Clint Longenecker from the University of Toledo.  Each year he challenges his students the following question:  “Please tell me one specific thing that you are doing to make the world a better place.”  The answers will amaze you.  Read the full article here.
  • The second was an article about Gregg Dodd.  He set out at the beginning of 2014 to accomplish 52 things (52 weeks – 52 things).  Kind of a Bucket List for the new year.  Read the full article here.

These both inspired me to create my own list.  I’m not quite as ambitious as Mr. Dodd nor as idealogical as Dr. Longenecker’s students, but I did come up with 12 items for my list (12 month – 12 items.  Get it?)  In addition, I challenged my wife to come up her own list.  She was not nearly as excited about the challenge as I was! She played along though.  I gave us two days to compile our lists and then we got Grandma to watch our son and went to dinner to compare notes, err, lists.

The conversation we had was one of the most meaningful we’ve had in a while.  It was a little rough at first as we both wondered what was on the other’s list.  However, once we got going, it was amazing the different things we had thought of.  Here’s a couple highlights before I reveal my whole list.

My wife’s biggest surprise from my list?  I want to shave off my goatee and regrow it.  Why? I don’t know.  My wife has only seen pictures of me without facial hair and I’ve kind of forgotten what I look like without it too.  Sounds silly, but that was her biggest surprise.

My biggest surprise from my wife’s list?  She want to save someone’s life.  Medically.  Mouth to mouth kind of thing.  Never would have guessed it.  She’s not in the medical field at all.  She works with numbers.  Where did this come from??

So, here’s my list in no particular order:

  1. Run a 5K/10K (I’ve never run a race in my life!)
  2. Visit a foreign country
  3. Visit a city I’ve never been to before.
  4. Pay it forward to a stranger somehow
  5. Shave off and regrow my goatee
  6. Take a MOOC and finish it
  7. Make something out of wood for our home. (I’ll definitely need some help with that one!)
  8. Have dinner with another couple once a month
  9. Go skiing (Haven’t done that for years.)
  10. Learn Spanish
  11. Ride the tallest coaster at Cedar Point
  12. Start a new family tradition

I would also like to extend this challenge to everyone.  I’ll keep you posted on my progress to complete all twelve items.