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Making Progress…Without Getting Frustrated!

Okay, let’s face it, the beginning of the school year is tough. As much as we might miss the kids or crave a schedule it is hard to shift gears from summer to school! As we know, it is also tough for our students. We begin the year building community and establishing routines. We are patient. They are babies, no matter how old. We still have memories of the class we left and these new cherubs have so much to learn.

There is a lot of repeating. Repeating of expectations. Repeating directions. Again and again. It can be draining and yet we know it is just part of the drill. We have to remind ourselves, get through this time, it will get better. In these moments, it can be frustrating and we must remind ourselves smoother times await us.

It all becomes worth the sweat when we begin to see progress. When students begin to follow procedures without our direction. When they need us just a little less. I had this moment today as I began to take my notes in workshop. I remembered my goal to “be more digital” and try a new way. I started my Evernote notebooks today. As students began to notice I was taking pictures of their work, I saw a glimmer. I saw more diligence. I saw enthusiasm, excitement, and independence.

“Why are you taking a picture of my story? Is this going to be on our website?”

You might remember my challenge for myself, taking notes digitally for writing workshop. I began today and students noticed. It feels different. Maybe it is because I feel more committed. Maybe it is the group of students. Maybe, just maybe, it is because this is the right time. I jotted notes about writing behaviors and snapped photos. I told them it would help us become better writers and better learners. I think this may just be the year.

Students wrote their planning method in a box at the top of their page, planned, and then began their story below the box.

To see an example of “planning methods,” visit this post from last September on giving students choice within their process.

Betsy Hubbard View All

Daughter, sister, wife, mother, teacher, and writer.

12 thoughts on “Making Progress…Without Getting Frustrated! Leave a comment

  1. I am a current student in the process of achieving a degree in Elementary Education. Your post was an insight. I loved how you shared that teaching is not always easy in the beginning. Through my current job, I know repetition is key. I see all of you are talking about Evernote. I am trying to expand my knowledge on different technological devices and tools. What does Evernote entail? Is this a application I should look into using?


  2. I dusted off my Evernote after reading this. I hope that the antiquity of some of my posts/notebooks is not an indicator of my loss of interest. Betsy, you have inspired me to set this as a goal. Thanks for sharing.


  3. I think it’s wonderful that you’re jumping in and having a go with this, Betsy! Trying something new (that’s as big as Evernote) is hard. Be gentle with yourself and go slowly.

    BTW: I committed to the premium version from the start. Don’t know if that was totally necessary. See if you like it and then think about going premium if necessary. Nowadays, I think you can bundle Evernote Premium with other things. Here’s the scoop,, in case the time comes.


  4. Betsy, I no longer read all the teaching posts, but I’m so glad I clicked on yours. I’m saving your words as encouragement for a couple of projects I’m working on: “get through this time, it will get better, smoother times await …” And this hopeful one: “I think this may just be the year.” Thanks!


  5. I tried to use Evernote one way and need to get back to it in another way. Curating the work of 28 kiddos was just not realistic one year. This year I have 21. Maybe I should try again in a different way. I would love to hear more about how you are setting up your folders to curate their work and your notes. Be patient with yourself. It’s a powerful tool. But, yes, it does feel different.


  6. Betsy, I’m putting Evernote on my mini. Duh. First steps. And now thinking about modeling with coaches as well. Increasing my own accountability publicly also makes me more aware. So interesting that your students are already noticing your work as well.


  7. I would love to use Evernote in the classroom but my district does not have the technology to support it at this time. Does anyone use their own personal device such as their phone or tablet?


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