Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Understanding Time: Part 4

The previous posts from the series are here:
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

By week 3 tracking became pretty second nature.  I was, however, wishing there was a way of putting in the "regulars," like the hours I teach each day.

One thing is sure about week 3, I did a larger variety of things.

I spent about 55 hours working again this week which seems to be an unfortunate trend, of late.  I'm hoping to consistently use my own foresight and lessons after spring break to cut down my time significantly.  This information provides a lot for me to think about and is going to drive my self-prescribed summer PD.

Daily/Weekly/Long Range Plan - 50 minutes
* When I wrote about this last week, I tweaked my time use in terms of daily agendas.  Unfortunately, that was NOT before I spent 26 minutes on it on Sunday and 12 minutes on Monday.  Then, Friday, I forgot to set it up ahead of time.  Friday was an unconventional fitness day - organized chaos, and I do not really produce well, nor think well amongst chaos.  So, I slipped with my new habit and had to set up Monday's agendas on Friday after school which took another 12 minutes.
WIN:  Despite those slip ups, I still saved an hour and ten minutes over the previous week in this category.

Planning - 9 hours 15 minutes
* At first glance, it looks like it's my history class that's killing me at over half of the overall planning.  It is, but this looks worse than it was.  We are currently immersed in Manifest Destiny, so I thought it would be fun to expose them to the magic of The Oregon Trail.  Even though the only free online version I could find was from 1992, they loved it.  So, it looks like the two hours I spent planning it were worth it in terms of engagement.  Again though, I had a simple goal in mind when I was creating a tracking sheet for them as they moved along the trail - keep track of the good luck and tragedies that strike on the trail and the results of each river depth and crossing result.  So, what did i do?  I played the game THREE times recording the various routes and then coming up with detailed questions for various stops.  I didn't NEED to do that.  I could have had a much simpler form they filled out.  Lesson learned from the video sheet, but again, I didn't reach that conclusion until reflecting...after I spent two hours playing Oregon Trail and creating a complicated worksheet.
WINS:  I spent less time planning than teaching in the other two classes.  Not only that, but some of that planning was forward planning into this week which should, hopefully, yield results in future weeks.

Grading - 4 hours
* WOOT!  I got a lot of grading squeezed in last week.  I still have plenty left - estimated 5 hours - to grade, but I made a huge dent.  It's important here for me to note that I grade the bare minimum.  I'll talk more about my grading philosophy at another time, but I am down to grading writing and assessments only in terms of full point values and feedback.
* WIN:  This whole thing is a win.  Often times it's tempting to procrastinate grading.  I scheduled it in and did it.  There were a few nights where it was tempting to leave before crossing it off my list, but I stuck to it.  My goal is always one week turn around on assignments, but often times it's closer to two or three weeks.  I think if I'm able to fine-tune the hours I'm planning, the one week goal will become more attainable.

Professional Reading and Research, PD/Meetings  - 3 hours
* This looks like more on my chart because we had an early release with afternoon PD.  I didn't really lose much "spare" time because I would have been teaching anyway; therefore, I'm not counting it here in my tally.  I think I sacrificed a half an hour.
* Two hours of this were self-imposed: an hour of the voluntary book study and an hour when our book group met.  I value the idea of a book-club, but it's really difficult for me to balance learning more techniques for teaching and saving time.  Learning new strategies is great, but unless they require minimum input for setup, it's not going to save me time right now.  It's the last book study for this year, but next year I will definitely need to weigh the benefits against the costs and save any PD books for summer reading.
* WIN:  Some of the ideas in the Making Thinking Visible book DO seem pretty low prep.  If I can incorporate some of those strategies into class, it may decrease some of my prep time.

All the rest - 3 hours 40 minutes
* The most disappointing thing in this category is that 44 minutes of "Time Wasting."  Like I said above, Friday was unconventional.  Teenage boys outside my room blasting music and lifting weights.  It was a great day overall, but a serious speed-bump in terms of productivity.  My prep was a total waste.  I tried to concentrate, but it just wasn't happening despite my list which only had focus-based tasks on it for the afternoon block.  The rest is pretty standard.
* No wins here.