Saturday, March 18, 2017

Understanding Time: Part 3

If you are just joining me, this is part 3 of a series on time.  Part 1 introduced the problem I am researching.  Part 2 went into it further.  

No problem can be solved until it is reduced to some simple form. The changing of a vague difficulty into a specific, concrete form is a very essential element in thinking. - J. P. Morgan

Week 2 was mostly another week of just being mindful that I was using my time to be productive and tracking it every step of the way.  

 In many ways the week was worse, even though I only worked four hours instead of eight on Sunday.   I was AT work 55.5 hours. About four hours of that were "socializing" so those do not appear on the above chart  I worked almost 52 hours. Regardless, I spent a whopping 29 hours on work where no students were present, only four of those were on a Sunday this time.  I worked a few twelve hour days in there - 6:45am-7pm.  During this week, I learned that Eternity would allow me to tag my time as well which gives me a more full picture when reflecting back on the usage, like I am now.  

Planning This Week: Just shy of 16 hours

English 8 - almost 5 hours
* (1.5) An hour and a half of this was on a review scavenger hunt that I ended up abandoning.  This was a hard choice for me, but I was cutting my losses.  It was going to take me at least another hour and a half to finish.  I decided I just didn't have the time to see this through to completion.

* (1.5) Another hour and a half was spent revising a test.  Looking back that seems excessive for something that was mostly completed and was just revision but I know this includes copying, printing answer keys, and adding it to the student management system for students to take it online.  Because over half of it was accessible to students online and graded automatically, I saved myself probably double this time in grading that portion of the test since I have three sections of this class.  Remember to weigh the time you spend against the time that the front loading will save you later!  

* (2) The remaining time was a mishmash of classroom activities, creating a writing model for a paragraph, and writing a study guide for the test.

English 9 - 4 hours
* (2.5) Two and a half hours - Quiz creation.  Ugh.  We're in the midst of To Kill a Mockingbird, and I have them take quizzes almost 3-4 times a week to keep them accountable to the reading.  Good news!  They are reading it much better than my freshmen did last year.  Bad news - I'm spending a lot of time writing and tweaking quizzes.  Again though, most of these were multiple choice and computer graded.  

History 8 - almost 5 hours
* (1)  One hour was test creation.  That seems to be standard for me.  I don't know if that's too long or not.  Again, completely online so it at least graded itself.  Students wrote the essay ahead of time while I was out with my son the Friday before.  
* (.75) I spent 45 minutes creating a review on the Quizizz website.  I have an ultra-competitive group of boys.  Quizzes allows them to compete and practice test concepts in a "race" type situation.  
*(2.25) Two hours and fifteen minutes was creating a viewing guide for a video we were watching on The West.  The break of a video during class is nice, but I either need to simplify and have the students take notes surrounding an essential question, or cut video based assignments altogether.  Creating the viewing questions is really time consuming!  
* (1)  Creating an overview for the rest of the West unit, writing a few sheets to go with activities, and doing some research/flipping through my materials.

Daily/Weekly/Long Range - 2 hours
* ALL of this time was on daily agendas.  I truly had NO idea I was spending SO much time on these.  I thought it was taking me maybe 45 minutes per week.  

All the Rest
* (5) I spent a healthy amount of time grading this week.  An hour a day seems acceptable in allowing me to not get TOO far behind. 

* (1) A full hour was spent on listing and reflecting.  I think 12 minutes a day is completely acceptable for that.  It's how I end my day and set my priorities for the next day.  Having the pre-planning done lets me run on automatic mode.  When I have a free moment of time, I just look at my time block, choose a task and get to work.  

* (.75) Almost forty-five minutes of cleaning up and filing.  We're getting to the end of some units, so that tends to be the time I start getting stuff packed up. My desks are clear, so this is a happy sacrifice.  

* (.5) Totally wasting time.  This is like lost in thought, totally spaced out.  What can I say, I worked 55 hours, only a half an hour spaced out seems like a pretty small slice of all that time.  


* Tracking time can help you get a healthy perspective.  There might be something in your schedule that you had no idea was eating up so much time.  I could have saved nearly two hours here.  You cannot possibly remedy it unless you've identified it first.  If I'm spending two hours a week on an agenda, that's eight hours a month!  There are better ways for me to squeeze this in while I have students in my room.  What things are you doing every day that might be time leeches?  

* Decide if you value socializing with your colleagues.    The more hours I spend at school in a week, the more I seem to tack on in the socializing category.  I do count my lunches, so 2.5 hours would be completely normal in the realm of "off-task" socializing time for almost any teacher, but it's crazy how fast a few minutes here and there can add up.  I could cut this time, but it's not a priority to me.  I'm willing to just say, I spent 48 hours at school but only 42 working.  I work with really fun people!  

* Find no-prep assignments to serve the lesson objective you have in mind.  I spent over two hours writing a movie guide.  Why didn't I just tell my students to write down 5 interesting facts for every 30 minutes of the video?  My true purpose was in making them pay attention throughout the whole video.  That would have saved me 2 hours.

* Make sure you REALLY want to do an activity or lesson before committing time to it.  I thought I wanted the students to do a scavenger hunt review.  But the test was open note, we were running low on time, I had so much to plan and do this week, and I what THEY really needed was a day to work on projects not another activity to complete.  Unfortunately, I didn't realize that until an hour and a half into the project.  I wasted an hour and a half by not spending a bit more time thinking things through.

If I would have used my own time hacks above, I'd have saved myself nearly 5 hours last week.  I'm sure I'll continue to fail myself many more times in time efficiency before I get this all figured out.

Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently. -Henry Ford

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