Simple Teacher habit tracker

A Simple Teacher Habit Tracker

For each class, I have three things I have to do each day: lesson plans in Chalk, Google classroom assignments updated, and then I have to go back and grade the work for the day. Using a sharpie marker and a simple template I made in Canva, where I am with those habits, is a quick glance away.

The Quick Glance Can Be Powerful

I've been thinking about this concept of the power of the “quick glance” from something I read.

The smartphone provided a new technique to banish these slivers of solitude: the quick glance. At the slightest hint of boredom, you can now surreptitiously glance at any number of apps or mobile-adapter websites that have been optimized to provide you an immediate and satisfying dose of input by other minds.”

Cal Newport, Digital Minimalism: On Living Better with Less Technology

I don't want to get out my smartphone and waste time; I want my quick glances to nudge me toward productive habits instead. Simple Teacher habit tracker

Harnessing the Quick Glance for My Benefit

As for me, I want to get most of my work done at work. Yet, for years I found myself grading on nights and weekends. Likewise, I realized that If I picked up my smartphone during the day, I would waste time glancing at this or that.

But now, I glance at my teacher habit dashboard for my classes. This way, I can see where I'm behind. I aim to stay a week ahead on revising lesson plans (I imported all of my plans from last year). I also want to have a week ahead of Google Classroom scheduled. And then, I like to keep up with grades with the goal that one week before progress reports or report cards, I will have everything entered and can email parents about updates and what needs to be done.

As a parent, I wouldn't say I liked surprises.

As a teacher, the purpose of grades for me is to provide feedback and promote additional learning. I have no idea what kind of benefit a quiz given back two months late has for the student when the test for that unit is already done. (This is why I use tools to help me grade as quickly as possible so that most of my tests are graded on the same day. Granted, these projects I do with kids are enormous and can take a week to grade, but if I've given good formative assessment throughout the project, it usually comes out well.)

Create Your Own Teacher Habit Tracking Dashboard

So, as a teacher, you can have a free Canva account.

Then, click this free template.

You may have to ungroup things to work on them or build your own.

You know your habits and your goals. How can you track them to harness the glance so you can easily see what needs to be done?

Seeing Visible Progress with Grading and Planning is a Joy to Me

I love getting out my Sharpie and marking what is graded, and with homecoming week last week, I will admit that I'm a bit behind. This simple habit tracker will help me get back on track today as I squeeze grading in between everything else going on today so that I can come home tonight and not stress.

Do you have any at-a-glance trackers or anything that can save teachers a lot of time? Please email me at vicki at coolcatteacher dot com – I would love for you to share them!

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Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis is a full-time classroom teacher and IT Director in Georgia, USA. She is Mom of three, wife of one, and loves talking about the wise, transformational use of technology for teaching and doing good in the world. She hosts the 10 Minute Teacher Podcast which interviews teachers around the world about remarkable classroom practices to inspire and help teachers. Vicki focuses on what unites us -- a quest for truly remarkable life-changing teaching and learning. The goal of her work is to provide actionable, encouraging, relevant ideas for teachers that are grounded in the truth and shared with love. Vicki has been teaching since 2002 and blogging since 2005. Vicki has spoken around the world to inspire and help teachers reach their students. She is passionate about helping every child find purpose, passion, and meaning in life with a lifelong commitment to the joy and responsibility of learning. If you talk to Vicki for very long, she will encourage you to "Relate to Educate" or "innovate like a turtle" or to be "a remarkable teacher." She loves to talk to teachers who love their students and are trying to do their best. Twitter is her favorite place to share and she loves to make homemade sourdough bread and cinnamon rolls and enjoys running half marathons with her sisters. You can usually find her laughing with her students or digging into a book.

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Katie October 31, 2022 - 1:52 pm

This is such a great idea! I hope to use this with my students so we can all work on self improvement together!

Katlyn October 31, 2022 - 7:33 pm

Hi Vicki! I love the idea of creating a habit tracker to improve my skills and use my time more wisely. I was also thinking about how it could be fun to do this with my students as well to work on their self-regulatory skills. It would be nice for them to know they’re not in it alone, and I could update them on my progress

Vicki Davis November 3, 2022 - 7:25 pm

Well if we get too behind, we hear from their parents (and from them) so this prevents that and helps me keep up. It is so easy to fall behind! That has been me this week trying to catch up after homecoming alst week!

Brandon Leber November 1, 2022 - 1:42 pm

I really like this idea of critiquing your self with a grade sheet. As a college student going into teaching, I am looking into ways that can help me become a better teacher in the future. This is a very good template. Not only does it keep you organized and see what you need to catch up on, but it also gives you time to give yourself feedback on what you need to work on or complete.

Vicki Davis November 3, 2022 - 7:24 pm

Thanks, Brandon. I color in the blocks with a marker and write dates across the top and can quickly see how caught up I am. I hope it helps!

Sophie Stewart November 1, 2022 - 2:30 pm

Hi Vicki!

I am currently a student at the University of Northern Iowa majoring in Elementary Education. While reading your blog post, I was amazed at how much it made sense in my own life. I have caught myself looking at my phone and scrolling on social media when I need to get other things done. When I get on my phone, it is only supposed to be for a few minutes, but it turns into much longer. Although I am not a teacher yet, I can assume my phone would distract me from grading student work. I am very glad someone can relate to this! Creating a teacher habit-tracking dashboard is a wonderful idea that I am going to have to try. From how you make it sound, I bet it will work much to my benefit. Thank you for sharing this wonderful idea!

Vicki Davis November 3, 2022 - 7:23 pm

I keep my phone away from me during the day! I need to focus on my students and yes, the habit tracker helps me keep on track! ;-) Thanks for commenting, Sophie and give my regards to my dear friend, Dr. Z!

Juanita Frett November 6, 2022 - 7:27 am

This is a very good tool for teachers! I am usually hustling each week to stay on task with planning and grading. I can see where this will help me to stay on task. I agree with you that fast-moving grading tremendously helps students and teachers to progress monitor. This way we need the next steps to address with each student or the class as a whole. I have set a new SMART goal this year to do more self-reflection on my professional practice and this will be a great tool to assist me. Looking forward to learning and sharing.

Cora November 6, 2022 - 7:56 pm

I love this idea! I hope as a future educator I will be able to take this helpful tactic and use it in my own classroom.


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