Thomas Baker’s Together Tour (Apple Pencil FTW!): Issue #108

Jun 28, 2024

Together Friends,

The Together Team heads to New Orleans next month to train for the TENTH consecutive year at Crescent City Schools. Now, you know Crescent City values Togetherness because they sent the cutest little Post-it flags as a holiday gift, they produce the hippest t-shirts that our team wears with pride, and this annual trip is a highlight for our team. So, it is fitting that this month’s Together Tour features an amazing teacher from Crescent City Schools! Take it away, Thomas!

Together Tour: Thomas Baker

Thomas has been a teacher at Crescent City Schools for 12 years, and before that – get this – he was a health care professional. I love a good career change story, and now as a teacher, like many of our other Together Tour stars, Thomas has a lot going on in his life! Let’s see how he keeps it all Together!

Why is Togetherness essential in your role? 

I wear a LOT of hats (teacher, team leader, dean, cook of the family, coach for my son’s sports, and more!), and I’d like to credit my parents with making me so organized. My dad’s favorite phrase was, “Do what you have to do, so you can do what you want to do.” My mom was very organized and she modeled doing everything on time – or early! I try to do the same.

What are your Top Together Tools and why?

The first is my Daily Sheet.  I created this specifically for me, and I like to see the big picture monthly calendar, the daily events (pulled from my Google calendar), and a place to capture random notes and announcements for my team. I do everything digitally, so I created this in Goodnotes with a template, and I swap out the calendar picture and quotes monthly.

The second way I stay Together is keeping a longer-term list of items, also digitally. This helps me prioritize when there is a lot coming at me.

And the last thing I use to stay Together is my Apple Pencil. I do everything digitally with my iPad and Apple Pencil, so I always have these tools with me. [Editor’s Note: Is it time for me to start taking notes with an Apple Pencil?]

In my tablet, I also keep observation notes, meeting notes, and my Google calendar. It is also all synched to my laptop and phone, so everything is portable.

Watch Thomas explain how he uses his Apple Pencil and Goodnotes!


What is the last thing you do before leaving school at night?

I make sure my students’ laptops are charging and that I have everything I need to complete work that night.

When you are at your most Together, your lunch at work is _________!

Peaceful and delicious. I am also deep into my air fryer with vegetables (like cauliflower), and chicken.

What advice would you give a new teacher on how to stay Together?

  • Be prepared. There is enough last-minute stuff that happens in a school that making copies should not be an emergency. So, be as organized as you can and always be prepared.
  • Prioritize well. It is essential to take a moment and figure out the hierarchy of what is most important. Otherwise you waste time sitting there thinking, “I have all these things, I don’t know what to do first.”
  • Look ahead. It helps a lot to take time to look ahead and forecast. I’ve been at Crescent City Schools long enough that I can really predict when I need to get started on certain projects, such as LEAP testing or grades due. My advice to a new teacher is to start building out their own calendar of what benchmarks they need to hit by when, so that there isn’t that last-minute stress of pushing to meet a deadline.

Thomas, thanks for giving us a peek into your teaching and home life! Any other digital notebook users out there?

Together Treasure Box

  • Find a place to store and streamline your thoughts. Take your Thought Catchers even further and build a second brain!
  • Summer travel season is upon us! If you have any upcoming travel, especially with kids, check out my packing list—those things I find essential on a family road trip.
  • How are you using your summer to prepare for next year? Summer is a time for (well-earned) relaxation, but it can also be a great time to get ready for next year!