Briannon’s Key Three

Oct 16, 2015

nd. . . I’m back. The book broke my brain, but I’m slowly recovering and I’ve returned to the blogosphere! I have a new series lined up that I think you will love. . .

After my Serial podcast hangover wore off, I went on something of a podcast binge. One of my favorites is NPR’s The Splendid Table — all about cooking, chefs, and restaurants. The host, Lynne Rossetto Kasper, does lots of small bit pieces. My favorite is when she asks chefs about their Key Three: What are the three kitchen tools or techniques that help them the most?

Maybe because it’s a list, or maybe because it’s succinct, or maybe because it’s how I learned that I really should have fondue forks in my kitchen, I love this question the most. It got me thinking: Could I apply the same idea to a blog feature on Togetherness? Turns out, YES!

With full credit for inspiration to The Splendid Table, meet Briannon, a high school AP English teacher and department chair in Houston. Briannon works in a very digital school and district (think shared Outlook calendars, lots of invites!), but she herself is a paper-based woman. Spoiler alert: She’ll give us a full-system tour in a few weeks!

In the meantime, here are Briannon’s Key Three:

1. My Comprehensive Calendar laid out over a grading cycle

“A game changer for me has been thinking about my calendar–not just in terms of what is coming ahead, but what is happening in this grading cycle. I can think about where we all are, both my students and me, in a six week period. I color-code my own Master’s degree work in blue, my students’ exams in pink, and my grade-level work in yellow. I also pull dates from our shared district calendar, weekly notes from my principal, and my school portal.”

2. Email Quick Hits and Thoughtful Response Times

“I teach in a school that moves very quickly. If you miss an email on Friday, you may not know what is happening on Monday. I keep my inbox numbers very low. I have installed my work email on my iPhone, and I block several times per day to scan subject lines in my inbox that may be urgent or informational but don’t require a reply. I avoid opening emails that I know I will have to open again on my computer. I have separate time allocated during my preparation and grade-level time to answer emails that require a thoughtful response. This system keeps me responsive to my team and colleagues.”

3. Friday Night Meeting with Myself

“Perhaps my biggest Key is my Friday night meeting with myself. If I don’t do that, it is amazing how quickly everything can unravel!” But let’s hear Briannon tell us herself.

Amazing! Thanks for sharing, Briannon. And if you like this series, stay tuned for more in the near future. I find everyone’s approach so fascinating!

PS – Diana’s Weekly Round-Up Checklist helps her stay on track during her meeting with herself