The Organized Ones.
You know who they are, with their row of jet black three ring binders neatly lined up on a bookshelf at eye level for any disheveled first year teacher to gawk at with unabashed envy. "Oh, you need a lesson plan for King Lear, Act I, scene III?" *flip, flip* "Here it is. Right on page six of Binder Five. If you need a vocabulary quiz, just turn to Appendix CC."
All kidding aside, I wanted to be this kind of teacher. I longed for the simplicity of turning plastic sleeve after plastic sleeve, spying exactly what I needed and slipping it out to peruse at my leisure. Instead, I pulled my overflowing file folder out of my cabinet and laboriously looked at each and every paper in order to organize what I was doing for the next unit. The rationalizing part of me always said that this kept me fresh. I would throw articles, pictures, worksheets, activities, and all sorts of miscellaneous flotsam into my file folder all year round, rediscovering them and getting my brain into gear as I prepared to delve into another novel or play with my students. The practical side of me argued that I wasted too much time trudging through multiple printouts of the same lesson plan, each with random scribblings about how it went that day and discussion points that students brought up in different class periods. My system worked for me, but it needed a little streamlining.
Enter Google Docs.
Quick overview, courtesy of Google:
This past year, as I prepared to get my teaching materials together, I uploaded all of my files onto Google Docs. I created collections for each of my units.
I was then able to open each of my collections on Google Docs, go through each file and revise, delete, and edit accordingly.
Voila, I had my virtual binders set up in the Google Cloud, ready to be opened on my home computer, school computer, iPad, Droid (!!!), etc.
There were a few stumbling blocks, such as when I neglected to click on the correct collection when I was uploading a particular file, but overall I was really pleased with the entire process. I loved how I could upload entire folders in a minute or two.
Technology...how I love it so.