Using Evernote to reduce my paperwork

I can honestly say that I’m one of those teachers who just can’t shut off over the holidays.

I spend lots of time thinking about all the things that are coming up in the new year, or in the next term. What are the new resources that I’ll need? Can I find any great online resources or tools to support learning in my classroom? Can I make connections with other educators to further my own knowledge and understanding? How can I streamline my paperwork?

One thing I’ve been working on over these Summer holidays has been the last question on the list. I’m terrible with paperwork – absolutely and utterly hopeless. My papers get thrown on a pile and left there until the end of the term/semester/year. (Another goal is to learn to be clutter-free, but that’s a whole other story.)

My solution is Evernote.

By now you’re probably going, ‘Yeah, Stef, you’ve talked about Evernote before.’

And I have. Inspired by Bec Spink I experimented with Evernote very briefly last year using a checklist to track students who were returning their communication folders and readers each day. I intend to keep using that particular checklist in 2012 because it only takes a couple of minutes and gives me a very accurate record. Here’s a screenshot of what my checklist looks like (ready for first term):

I’m going a bit further by using Evernote as a digital portfolio of student work and assessment.

My goal is to, ultimately, have a very complete record of student capabilities when it comes time for report writing and parent interviews. (It’ll also be handy so that I don’t have to cart workbooks to and from school – always a bonus!)

I’ve set up notebooks for each student in my class so that I can add the following items throughout the year:

  • writing samples (once a month)
  • reading samples, audio (at least 2)
  • running records
  • assessment pieces across the curriculum (as completed)
  • anecdotal records
  • behaviour logs

The majority of this work will be collected as a photo (taken on my ipad) and stored as a new note in each student’s notebook. I’m also going to make use of the audio note taking to record students reading.

(Evernote view from laptop – student notebooks set up on far left side.)

The brilliant thing about Evernote (and other cloud storage programs) is that it syncs across multiple devices, so that I can add new notes and access everything from my iPad, my iPhone and my laptop. So, if I forget one of the devices somewhere (or I forget to charge my iPad… it’s been known to happen!) I can still access all of my files.

I’ve also started using it to store all of my PD notes, meetings, and ideas for my classroom.

I’m sure I’ll be adjusting my plans (adding and adjusting) as the year goes on. But having these tools available to us as teachers really gives us a lot of room to experiment and discover what works and what doesn’t work.

So that’s one of my goals!

Did you set any goals for teaching this year?

Do you have any other excellent tools for being organised (or even just tips)?

Check it off!

Last week, MissSpinkOnTech shared a great way to use Evernote in the classroom. The idea was was pretty simple – create a simple checklist without the hassle of paperwork.

Like so many other teachers, paperwork is part of our daily lives. I, however, am not so great on the paperwork front. I really loved how @MissB6_2 had come up with a simple way to check off when her students returned their readers during the week.

I grabbed onto this idea, because my goal at the moment is to be more organised than I currently am. And with report writing looming (what, you mean I should have started already?!) and a deadline on the Contemporary Literacy Project knocking on the door (this weekend’s project), I needed a better system than I already had. So, I took a leap of faith and launched my first foray into Evernote-usage on the iPad!

It was quite successful and I’m glad I had a go. This is something small that I can continue with for the remainder of the year. And, hopefully, expand on next year!

That’s not to say that my first attempt was perfect… I have since redesigned my checklist so that it’s easier to view across a week.

Checklist Attempt #1, followed by the re-designed table!


photoSince her original post, I’ve had conversations with @MissB6_2 and other members of my PLN on other ways that Evernote could be used to to help eliminate paperwork in the classroom. Some suggestions we’ve come up with include:

  • Checklists for assessment progression points (that could be sent digitally from one teacher to the child’s new teacher the following year)
  • Attendance
  • Checklists for reading behaviours
  • Checklists for behaviour charts

What other ways could we use a tool like Evernote for in the classroom?