What is your favorite time-saving or organizational strategy?– Readers’ Collaborative Post
In our recent survey, we asked Band Directors Talk Shop readers, “What is your favorite time-saving or organizational strategy?” This categorized list of your answers. Thanks so much to all of our readers who took time to fill out the survey. Keep an eye out for more Readers’ Collaborative Posts in the future!
- Be organized and think through what students may need, pass it all out prior to class hitting their chairs. Involve section leaders all year to help out.
- Create a personal daily “power list” of the three big things you have to do for the day. Create 21 items for each week, and set a certain time/day/location that you will create the 21-item list for each week to make it a consistent habit.
- Get your year set up as much as you can during the summer.
- Handing out materials before students arrive in the classroom instead of using valuable class time.
- Keeping good notes on a calendar and copying it for the next year so you don’t forget when to do important things. (See this article.)
- Plan ahead far enough to do all of the stuff like bus requests at the beginning of the season with a TBA on times. Then you’re simply calling the bus barn with departure times instead of having to remember to do the whole request when required. Pre-write a base itinerary, etc. for the same reason. Small tweaks are fast and then you’re sending out your information quickly.
- Plan ahead, get the redundant paperwork completed at the beginning of the year, so it is completed when it is needed.
- Plan what you want to cover/address in each rehearsal. At the end of a rehearsal, write down what you want to cover/address next time.
- To-do list calendar: Having a calendar with no dates, but each week has a list of events to expect or things to do (field trip request forms, purchasing music for concert, emailing parents, etc.). Each year I update. (See this article.)
- “Don’t put it down, put it away.” Also, labels are your friend!
- Use calendars.
- Color code everything.
- Delegate administrative duties to upperclassmen: passing out handbooks, collecting and alphabetizing forms, music management, and managing uniforms.
- If it takes less than two minutes, do it right away. Only handle it once.
- Keep one original of all music parts separated out so that you do not loose the ability to play pieces due to missing parts.
Use Technology to Your Advantage
- A little work on an extremely detailed student database including contact info, ensemble/instrument info/grade/etc. at the beginning of the year saves a ton of time later in the year.
- Do a lot of data entry during the summer while watching tv, so the bulk of it is finished when school begins.
- Use a digital planner.
- Enter grades daily.
- Use file folders and a flash drive.
- Google drive, google forms.
Set Your Students Up For Success
- Binders for students with sheet protectors. Very rarely do I have kids with lost music!
- A self-service station for things like valve oil, ratchet for tightening music stands, paper towels, small screwdrivers, spring hook, etc. Kids can take care of most of those annoying problems without interrupting class.
- Daily agenda on PPT slides posted everyday for students.
- Display goals for rehearsal so students know what they are doing for each rehearsal everyday.
- An extra binder of music for each instrument so if a student forgets their music, they just borrow the binder and I do not have to go get them music.
- Print supplies and prices for each on the front of a business sized white envelope. When kids need reeds, valve oil, snare sticks, etc. I hand them the envelope. They return it with the check enclosed and I don’t have to remember what the money is for – it’s all on the envelope.
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