I had the pleasure of attending NCCTM this past week in Greensboro. It was a breath of fresh air to surround myself with teachers striving to improve our teaching practices–I just love having the opportunity to put myself in the learning seat for a while. Not that I don’t enjoy teaching, I love it, but I also love learning…which come to think of it is probably why I like teaching.
But anyhow, when it comes to teaching I do tend to assume that almost everyone else has a better handle on it than I do. I’m on year 6 and every year I have a list a mile long of things I wish I had done better/could have improved/need to improve for next year. The internet Gods gave me the Math Twitter Blog-o-Sphere (#MTBoS) when I was in grad school and their sharing of the happenings in and out of their classroom that have kept me afloat in my time teaching. My online math family keeps me bettering my practice and I love everyone of them for all they share.
At NCCTM we were recruiting newbies to Twitter and it was brought to my attention that some of my MTBoS family don’t have a good system for storing the wonderful things we have borrowed from our friends. I’d say I spend about an hour on Twitter in a day, mostly while I’m cooking dinner or waiting on photo copies to be made…and often when I’m procrastinating from other things. But my MTBoS family post really good stuff that I don’t always have time to read at that moment–I have a two year old after all, time is something I never have enough on–so I store it away for later. This way I can re-look through the goodies when its on my mind or I have time.
So here is my system:
I use Evernote to store all of my internet findings. It is free to sync across two devices, and you can pay for a premium account of you want more devices. Evernote is meant to be used as a digital notebook–I originally got it to try and keep myself paperless in grad school, but quickly decided it had a better use: Storing all the goodies I find on the internet.
So, I’m not sure if this is the best way to use Evernote, but its the way that works for me:
- Download the Evernote extension in your web browser. I use Safari, so I got the extension here. This allows you to be one button click away from storing the site.
- I also use the app for my computer, but that’s because I like its layout better than the web-based view.
- So, let’s say you find an awesome resource you want to save. Click the WebClipper Extension (elephant icon) and the magic window of storage will open in the top right corner of your browser.
- You can then choose what notebook you want to store the website in. I’ll talk more about how I set up notebooks in a second.
- Then you add tags, these are storage labels that you might use to find the webpage later. For instance, “Desmos”, “Linear Equations”, “Linear Systems” These are words that you can search through later on to re-find things.
So somewhere along the way I decided to organize my notebooks by standard clusters. So things like “Linear Equations”, “Quadratics”, “Trig Functions”, or “Triangle Proofs”. There’s still evidence of my first filing system, it was by course, but things got far too cluttered for my mind.
Now that things are organized by standard, if I’m gearing up for a linear equations unit, I just click on the linear notebook and I can see all of the goodies I’ve
stolen borrowed from my MTBoS family.
This is what my Linear Equations Notebook looks like. The middle column has small snips of everything that I’ve saved. The right column will preview any of the sites that I’ve saved. To go to the website I simply click the URL at the top of the application by the date.
Can you save other things to Evernote? YES! You can save screenshots, which is the easiest way to save tweets. When you save a screenshot you are given the option to add annotations like arrows, lines, shapes, you can blur out faces, and add text with the built in editor (which is also available for your phone in app form).
(Sorry Julie, I couldn’t resist this screenshot hehe).
You can save PDFs, you can write your own notes to save. And my favorite feature is to add text to a page that I’ve saved. So let’s say I found a 3-act task I LOVE but might want to add a reminder to future-me that it requires computers, or extra materials for class. Its a mental reminder for “YOU NEED THIS STUFF BEFORE YOU USE THIS” feature.
I’m hopeful this helps you. I’ve been told I should write a proposal to chat more about this at NCCTM in 2018, but I thought I’d get a blog out in the meantime. Also…I really need to get better about long blogs. My 180 blog has been more successful this year as I LOVE to take photos 🙂