As education professionals, we attend a lot of professional development sessions each year and into our summers. With that comes a lot of paper clutter, and up until recently, I did not have a proper system for storing the information. But with a little professional development organization, I can now manage the paper clutter and keep track of my professional development notes.
When I first started teaching, I made a new paper file folder for each session and put all the handouts into the folders. I quickly learned that I had no place to store all of this information, and I would forget what each folder had inside of it. I needed a better system that worked for me.
Then, I tried just taking my own notes on the handouts they provided. That did not last for long as this became very messy and mixed in with the credits of the conference, etc. After these two failed methods, I tried a spiral-bound notebook and a digital method. I loved both of these methods. Read on to see which one would be a good fit for your personal style.
Professional Development Organization: How to Effectively Organize Professional Development Notes
The Paper Solution
I finally solved my paper dilemma by purchasing a really nice spiral-bound notebook with thick paper and reinforced sheets. The only downfall to this fabulous plan, when it came to professional development organization, was that I could be forgetful sometimes. Okay, all the time; thus, I ended up not bringing it to most workshops or in-services, making me revert back to my “messy notes on the handouts” method.
I love the spiral-bound notebook method as it contains all of my notes in one easy-to-access book, it is very portable, and I am able to reference my notes at any time. Best of all, this method is cheap. You can buy a nice notebook at the dollar store or at a discounted craft store and have a durable solution to all of your professional development organization dilemmas.
However, if you are forgetful, like me, read on. I found another, just as great, solution.
The Two-Fold Digital Solution to Professional Development Organization: Google Drive and Pinterest
I always have some form of technology, be it a smartphone, iPad, or laptop, on my these days. The harder I try to go unplugged, the more I seem to have them on me. I found that I had fewer and fewer papers and/or writing utensils available.
I thought I would start using Google Drive to keep track of my notes and stay on top of my professional development organization. I use my school board Google account to record and manage my notes. I created a folder called ‘Professional Development,’ and then each workshop gets a new document created and titled with the name and date of the workshop. Plus, a Google Drive account is free, so you don’t need to wait for your school to purchase one for you.
- I can now access my files, copy and paste ideas, and share my notes with colleagues, all with the click of a mouse.
- I use my devices to take photos of resources, ideas, and handouts during the presentations. I can then immediately paste these photos into the document to ensure I have them as a future reference.
- The cons are very few for this method. For it to be effective, you have to have regular access to personal or school technology, as well as reliable WiFi.
- With either of these methods, you have to be ruthless in taking good notes and recycling most of the handouts, keeping only the most important. Our classroom and home space are valuable, so let’s not use them up on paper storage.
What About Digital Ideas?
- I love Pinterest. I use Pinterest to organize all the great ideas I find on blogs, teaching websites, and Google, and it is definitely a tool that can be used for professional development organization. You can create a different board for each subject you teach or each topic you cover. Then, you just have to glance at your specific board to find an idea that might spark a great lesson.
- Some people use the app GoodNotes on their iPads to take notes and annotate.
- You can also try and use Microsoft OneNote for note-taking and professional development organization.
Staying on top of professional development organization is relatively easy once you get the hang of it. It’s all a matter of getting into a routine when it comes to how you plan to take notes during professional development workshops and training and then sticking with that method.
Are you looking for more ideas and tips about organization?
- Classroom Organization Ideas
- Classroom Organization Tips for New Teachers
- Virtual Classroom Organization Tip: How to Make a Digital Table of Contents with Google Sheets