I shared some apps & tools I use during a session at the Napa Google Summit last week. It was very specific to my role as an elementary administrator. I feel like I’ve leaned on a lot of folks within my district, site and PLN, and it was time for me to share what I’ve learned and use to make my job more efficient. The goal is always to get out of my office and be with our teachers and students.
Based solely on facial expressions, my use of forms was of interest. I shared my two main forms… one for student discipline and one for classroom walkthroughs. Both forms include a script to communicate specific information with the teacher. I shared 3 scripts that I have worked with and know fairly well: autocrat, formemailer and formmule.
I’ve made and remade my class walkthrough form (as of this moment) six times. I was collecting too much information, then I was collecting weird (very technical term) information… then I had to consider how my summary information looked/behaved–not as useful as it could be. On and on. The first time I changed it, I was so upset. It felt like starting from scratch, like a failure. But now, on iteration 6, I’m over it. The form is really good now. I get the vital info I need, the summary info helps me reflect and refine what I’m doing, and the script creates an open conversation with the teacher.
So the script. Like I said, I use three. That’s all I know. And every time I use one of these brilliant tools, it feels like a brand new learning experience. I don’t link scripts to forms often enough to have any facility with the process. Nor should I. My school is relatively small so I’m face-to-face with folks mostly, but the few I use save me a lot of time. So autocrat works really well. Fairly straightforward with the help of some screen shots and notes from a few conference sessions. But I had used formemailer before that because when you are fine tuning the script, it actually looks like an email–easy on the eyes, intuitive, etc. Trying new things is good. But knowing when they aren’t fitting the need is better. Autocrat out, formemailer back in. For this task.
If it’s not working, change gears. I love Carol Dweck’s message in Mindset. And I try to keep my mind in a growth mode and support growth in others. I can identify many areas, moments, situations of my life where I am very fixed (exercise is my best example–hate it). It’s exciting to work through a problem (my classroom walkthrough iterations) and come out the other side a more flexible thinker. I can feel it. If at the end of work today, something needed to be added or changed (even with all the thought/time/reflection already put in), I wouldn’t hesitate to make it better.