Recently here at Together Central, we taught a Friday class that inspired us at the end of a full and busy week. Three schools from Denver Public Schools combined for a big old Together Teacher Extravaganza. And it was here I came across Paula, a (solo) mom of three, literacy teacher, coach, and juggler of all the things. When I saw all the ways Paula was using Google to keep herself, her students, and her family Together, I just knew I had to interview her for the blog.
Paula uses the big three of Google’s Together Tools: Google Calendar, Google Tasks, and Google Keep. Let’s start with Google Calendar!
How does Paula make the most of her Google Calendar?
Paula notes that in Denver Public Schools, Google reigns, and three years ago, she started learning more about the power of the Google Calendar – after years of being a paper person. Her coach and principal, Joey, gave her a few tips like entering all the pieces of her day into the calendar – and bonus for the color-coding! Because Paula meets with others regularly in her role as a coach, it is important for her to be able to schedule with various teachers and leaders at her schools as efficiently as possible – and keep track of her busy mom life as well. Being able to quickly enter details of locations and place meeting agendas directly within the appointment saves oodles of time.
Paula inserts the classes she teaches, lunch, coaching meetings, and if you look closely in dark blue, two dedicated periods to prepare. On Friday afternoons, she preps for the week ahead, and on Monday mid-day, she preps for the coaching meetings for the week. Knowing WHEN you have time to plan – and dedicating certain days for when it fits in your schedule – is super-helpful in busy teacher life.
How does Paula use Google Tasks?
Paula uses Google Tasks to keep track of all of her To-Do’s over the course of the week. She mentions that with stacked meetings back-to-back in her calendar, it is helpful to have a singular place to put her action items. Paula also tracks personal To-Do’s, like making dentist appointments for her kids, right there too. Bonus points for synching Google Tasks right to your phone for easy mobile entry. Finish the task? Check it off? Recurring task – well, you can set that up too!
Lastly, how does Paula incorporate Google Keep?
Paula previously used Google Keep to maintain to-do lists, home life, and planning rituals, and she loved the beauty of it (me too!) with customizable headings and the ability to adjust backgrounds and colors.
What struck me most after interviewing Paula is the extent to which she uses rituals to keep herself Together. Whether it is her delicious smoothie made each morning (I’m working on getting the recipe), her consistent Monday prep for coaching meetings, or her standard meetings with the people she coaches, Paula leverages Google tools to help meet her needs as a teacher, leader and mom in her 15th year of teaching.
Thanks, Paula! How about you all? Leaning into Google? Yes or no?