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  • Jeff Madlock

After #FETC – Clearing the Haze, Part 1 of 2

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So, you’re back home (or headed that way) after an awesome week of session-going, conversation, and expo hall-hopping. Your brain may be in a haze from everything you’ve taken in over the course of the previous week. Here are a few tips for clearing the haze and making sense of it all.

  1. First of all, point your phone, tablet or browser to and start the playlist of incredible interviews and conversations held throughout the week! Leave this running as white noise as you move on to the next items.

  2. Pull up a trash can, grab your favorite beverage and snack, and settle in.

  3. Separate the wheat from the chaff – Quickly sort the handouts, pamphlets, tchotchkes, and other materials into coherent piles. By doing this quickly, you are forced to make snap decisions whether something receives a cursory glance or warrants deeper examination later.

  4. Now that you separated things, grab the stack of pamphlets you snagged while walking around the expo hall. We suggest you start here because, let’s face it, most of this stuff will end up in the circular file at the end of the day.

  5. Quickly toss those things that you immediately know you will never use, share, or recommend.

  6. The other items can be organized into “keepers” and “sharers.”

  7. The Keepers are the things that you would like for your classroom, building, etc. These are the products and services you will ultimately want to present to your peers, administrators, and other stakeholders as necessary.

  8. The Sharers are those things you grabbed because you feel someone else at your district would benefit from them. These can be organized by building, by grade, or by whatever other method that will make disseminating the info easiest for you.

  9. Throw away the items you thought you wanted to keep but have since realized you don’t have a purpose for them after the sort.

  10. Let’s grab those gizmos, gadgets, and trinkets! That’s right. For now, we’re skipping the meat of the materials you have and jumping straight to the dessert!

  11. Organize the doodads and goodies into “Keep” and “Toss.”

  12. The Keepers are those things that you are going to use in your own home or classroom or will give to a colleague who will enjoy the conference treasures you brought back.

  13. These will be separated further: “Yours” and “Theirs

  14. Yours: Things you are keeping for yourself – for your home, your own family, your classroom, your students. You can further break these up into “Home” and “Work” if you like. The things you want to take to YOUR classroom, office, etc will go in its own sack. Put that somewhere you will remember to grab as you head back on Monday.

  15. Theirs: Things you are giving away to other teachers, admins, etc at your building or district. Put these in a sack and place them where you will remember to grab them as you head back to work.

  16. The Toss pile is easy. Throw those things out.

  17. If you’re not sure where something goes after all the sorting, stick it in the “Theirs” sack. You never know what someone else might think is the greatest gizmo ever created. Give them the chance to find out.

Stay tuned for our next article, where we get into the meat of your experience: Session handouts, notes, and info!

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