Every time I teach a lesson, I realize there is something that I could have done better. Sometimes it is something profound and sometimes it is something mundane. Oftentimes, it is something resulting from the curse every teacher faces: I already know the material so I sometimes forget that something that I take as a given is not so “given” for my students. Fixing whatever it is happens in the moment that day. I add something into the lesson that I hadn’t planned or change things for the next period. However, I want to remember the needed “fix” in a more permanent way so that I don’t make the same mistake the next year.
I’ve been trying to find the best way to write these “notes to myself” for a while. Initially, I wrote notes on post-its that I put on top of the lesson in my plan book. That meant that I had to go back through each lesson in the previous year’s plan book to find the “notes”. Next, I tried typing the changes into my unit plan. I found that I didn’t always have time to log in to a computer, pull up a file, and type in the reflection when the realization hit. By the time I had time, I sometimes forgot to get to it. Last year, I started using post-it dividers in my plan book.
They proved to be a great fit for me. All of the “notes to myself” for a unit are in a single place so they are easy to access the next year. Since, I keep my plan book open on my desk, it is easy to access and write the notes in the moment rather than having to remember to do it later. Finally, I like having them divide my plan book into easily identifiable units. (For anyone interested, they are not actually post-it products. These are the ones that I got because I like having the lines on them. However, there are cheaper versions without lines.)