So I realized I haven't nerded out over my bullet journal yet, and that's an atrocity. This is the type of nerdy stuff I ADORE, so I'm sorry if note-taking is boring....too bad...my blog....
For those of you who don't know, bullet journaling has become increasingly popular among neurotic-pinterest types, such as myself. Used as a to-do list/sketchbook/journal/planner hybrid, bullet journals invite the creative and organized (or otherwise) to take charge of their day.
According to one website, bullet journaling "works as the crossroads of mindfulness and productivity." This website in particular promotes its own special materials and even an app, but really all you need is a notebook of your choice and something to write with. You can make bullet journaling as simple or as complicated as you like.
Personally, I use my bullet journal to balance my week's lessons, my novel revision schedule, my exercise, my language studying, my leisure reading, my blogging, my martial arts and climbing, my thoughts, my social time, my me-time, my creativity, my...
...you get the picture.
I won't say that bullet journaling is some magic hobby that everyone should take up. That's unrealistic. But it has worked for me in multiple respects. As an educator, it's become the easiest way to prep for the week and keep notes on individual students. As a writer, it tracks my revision habits and creates a space for me to use those creative muscles. When it comes to hobbies and interests, it holds me accountable for pursuing the life I want.
Okay so up there you have a few photos of how I use my bullet journal for work.
I know we teachers love sticky notes, but instead of using a thousand and one sticky notes to track my to-do lists, I just draw a table with enough spaces for my weekly classes. I'll use a bullet format for daily class procedures, and different colored pens for different classes. My general English class gets pink, my Mon/Wed writing class gets green, and my Tues/Thurs writing class gets blue.
Below the table I have a space for class notes. This is usually where I write things down that occur to me during class, whether it be a specific observation about a student or something I'd like to accomplish during my planning period. The bottom right-hand corner is where I write what materials need to be prepped for the week, and the boxes that I've ticked with an X or a check are to simply remind myself if I have access to a computer and projector in class. On Wednesdays, when I usually tackle grammar, I'm always in a computer-less classroom.
On my monthly spreads, I have a Personal Month Page and Lessons Overview Page. I'll get to the personal spread in a bit, but for the lessons overview it's a color coded mini chart to remind myself of what days I'd like to get certain types of tasks done. My school is a bit different so I don't need to worry all too much about random assemblies or last-minute changes.
You'll notice another notebook underneath the bullet journal, this is where I write some VERY VAGUE lesson-plans. I know most teachers have moved to online sources for detailed lesson planning, but, unlike most of my generation, I'm a paper-and-pen kind of girl. It's just easier for me to flip through a book. (Though don't worry, I know to keep my lesson plans on a digital source as well for ease of edit and a wider access range. I've decided to make that switch when, next semester, I'll have more downtime since I'll be taking a few linguistics classes.)
Finally, below ALL the teaching is my "Home and Self" space. I literally just draw two lines and a box divided in two. I usually list three things I'd like to accomplish after teaching, such as novel revisions, language learning, or exercise. (The first task I've been writing down lately are revisions for my novel, as I'd like to see them as an extension of the work-day rather than a "hobby.") In the back, I have a habit tracker that I use to see how many days a week I either complete a chore, keep up with my health, or practice a hobby. There's also a page where I write some notes on TKD because I've been considering/starting to practice for getting my second degree.
Finally, the folder in the back of the book where I keep my revision tracker.
But because I'm me, I have more than one weekly spread. I have my "work-spread" and my "fun-spread."
My work-spread was all that fun teacher stuff I described before. The fun-spread, though, is where I remind myself to let loose. I let this spread be my right-brain running free after having the left-brain take charge for most of the week. (This doesn't mean I don't keep a traditional journal, by the way, this is for quick thoughts and doodles more than anything).
You can find a ton of more creative spreads on pinterest, but here a few of mine. I used it as a scrapbook of sorts, a place for questions, thoughts, favorite vocabulary, drawings...whatever!
Speaking of vocabulary, you'll notice I threw some Korean under some days. I've actually adopted the bullet journal system to my language notebooks. The front has an index as well as a mini week spread with different goals written on different days, such as "read a poem in Greek" or "practice past tense conjugation in Korean" or "review irregular Spanish verbs." At the back of my notebook I keep a language tracker, a "grammar fact" section, a "favorite vocab word" space, and a "write a sentence" section. That last part is, presumably, going to be with at least one of the new grammatical structures I'd learn. For Korean this works great as I'm still new to the language. For my Greek notebook, it's mostly to keep track of the small things I'm realizing in my review sessions and whether or not I've had a conversation in Greek that day.
But yeah! If you've been thinking of bullet journaling, know it can be used for ANYTHING. I literally chose this as my "planner" because it was so customizable. What other system could give me language/teaching/writing/creative/doodle/Black-Belt training spaces? Answer: none. I wanted to create a planner that was specific to my interests and needs. With a bullet journal, I could do that. Anyone can adapt a spread to their interests, whether it be swimming or medical school.
It can be time-consuming, but I find that making the spreads is relaxing. You could also simplify this ENTIRE process by just writing the day of the week with a bullet list of things you'd like to do or whatever. Like I said...it's just a personalized journal at the end of the day.
Pedagogy and Reflection
We do not learn from experience. We learn from reflecting on experience