Sunday, June 25, 2017

Keeping Track of Ideas

Holy moly - three posts in three days!  To be honest, I'm afraid that if I stop now, it will be many months before I pick it up again!  I can't say for certain that this will be a constant habit, but a few days ago, Pam blogged about an upcoming webinar from Angela Watson on teacher self-care and referenced this podcast from Cult of Pedagogy.  One quote from the podcast has really stuck with me regarding habits:

So I'm going to try to form a habit of blogging.  I'm not saying that my posts will be profound or deep or high quality, but I'm going to at least try to blog regularly, to form a habit of a habit :)

Now on to the real reason for tonight's post - my reading list.  Or more accurately, keeping track of my reading list!

Seriously people, I am addicted to books.  I love books of all kinds and I love used book stores.  A few times a year, hubby and I will venture off just to visit the Half Price Book stores that are within driving distance, including going down to the Dallas area over Spring Break just to hit as many of the HPBs as possible in 2 days :)  Anytime I travel to an area that has an HPB, I am like a kid in a candy store.  To try to illustrate this point, the photo below shows the stack of professional books in my living room that I've purchased at HPB since Memorial Day, with most of them coming from the Kansas City area after the AP Reading was finished :)

I know... I have a problem :)

But they were on clearance!!!

And the teacher discount!!!  (plus they stacked the Memorial Day coupon for the ones I purchased during that weekend)

But anyway...

The *real* point to this post is how to keep track of all of the wonderful ideas from the books I love to read.

I'm a fast reader in general and over the years, I've tried various methods.  I've used post-it notes to annotate my books.  I've tried writing in the margins.  I've tried blogging about various ideas.  If it's a way to keep track, I think I've probably tried it at some point.  But none of these methods have truly worked for me because I will get an idea from a book and get really excited about using it, then school starts and I quickly forget about the great idea.  Then summer comes again and the cycle repeats itself.

So how do I stop it?  How do I keep track of the ideas I gather from these books and actually put them into practice?

This year, I am trying something new.... a book journal.

I started the summer with this idea of keeping a small notebook next to me whenever I am reading.  and scribbling quick notes and references to myself.  However, as I've already read several books this summer, I quickly realized that this small notebook will not help me achieve the original goal, which is to keep track of ideas that I want to implement.  This realization led me to revamp and create an official book journal, so please feel free to critique and give suggestions!

Here's the idea:

First, a notes page modeled after the Cornell Note style will be where I jot all of my notes throughout the book:

You'll notice the typical "summary" section is missing from the above page.  That's because...

I decided that I wanted a Book Summary page to have as an "index" of sorts, where I pull out the big take-away ideas from the notes and put it in an easy-to-find reference page.

I've just started using these pages today, so I don't know how it will work or what tweaks I might end up with, but my current thought is to have a binder with tab divider pages for each book I've read.  Behind each divider page will be the Summary page, then all of the note pages for each book.  Hopefully this creates an easy to use reference to organize the ideas I've gathered and to ideally help with the actual implementation of said ideas!

What do you use to help you keep track of ideas?  What strategies do you use to take notes while reading?  And most importantly, how do you not forget those ideas that you want to implement?

Thanks for reading! :)

1 comment:

Sarah said...

I love your reading journal. I have a 'learning notebook' that I use for reading and also for other learning like lectures or videos or in-person professional development. Maybe in your next post you could show us the notes you took this week.

When I read or hear about an idea that is topic related, like a good idea to teach about the vertex of a quadratic function, I add it in my Resources Listing document. Then when I next plan a lesson about this, I look back there and see what good ideas I have had or seen in the past.

But more general ideas are hard to remember at the right time. I have a feed on my Tweetdeck for tweets I've favourited and I use this as a note-taking tool of sorts and occasionally look through for inspiration when I'm feeling a bit down.

More ideas would be welcomed. I guess I have realised that as valuable as it is to read over the summer, it's even better to read a bit every week of the school year, because that's when I need the ideas.