GACK! Where’s that post?

I don’t know about you, but I have this huge problem. I do all this writing on this blog, and I do all this reading on other blogs, and I have this information overload. I will get to a topic I’m teaching and be like

“Shoot! I know someone out there posted an awesome mnemonic for the sum and difference of cubes. What IS it?”

or

“Wasn’t there a great way to introduce logarithms that I wanted to try?”

Immediately after that, unless I’m in a i-need-to-find-that mood, I forego looking for it and just recycle what I did last year. I read about all this good stuff, but I rarely use it in the classroom. It’s actually pretty sad, considering how much time I spend reading.

The problems:

  1. I subscribe to a ton of blogs
  2. I’d guess that less than 1/3 of the posts deal with “on the ground this can help you in the classroom here’s a worksheet or mnemonic” things
  3. I can’t really find the posts in google reader using a search. I just can never come up with the right words, because I always only have a vague recollection of what I’m looking for

So I wanted to create a virtual filing cabinet — with only posts that can help with on-the-ground teaching stuff.

Without further ado

My Virtual Filing Cabinet

(Or you can click on the link on the upper right hand corner.)

Three things.

1. If you want to know why I didn’t make this into a collaboration where a bunch of us would add to this list and it would become super comprehensive… I did think about it. The only problem is: if everyone were adding to it, it would suffer from the same problem as before. Too many things to click that I don’t want to wade through. My blogroll is like my virtual magazine subscription — and I just put on what’s useful for me. So to is this list my virtual filing cabinet, and it has to be useful for me. (Which is why is it centered around Algebra II and Calculus at the moment.)

However, I bet if everyone made something like this, it could be super useful. Because just like I find new blogs through other peoples’ blogrolls, I could find great things from other peoples’ virtual filing cabinets.

2. Does that mean I don’t want suggestions on things to add to it? Obvi I definitely want suggestions. If you have something that fits just throw it in the comments of the virtual filing cabinet page. I’d be much obliged.

3. If you care to know how I went about constructing it, logistically, it actually wasn’t hard. I use google reader, and I “star” my favorite posts. So I first went through our curricula and wrote down the topics I teach. Then I went back through my starred favorite posts and found which ones fit the bill (the criterion: anything that could be super useful on-the-ground in-the-classroom) and added ’em in the list.

All in all, it took about an hour to do it. Seriously.

I’m sure I missed a bunch, but I figured having an incomplete list is better than no list at all. (Though my retentiveness hates the fact that I missed a bunch. It’s also why I get stressed when I can’t read blog posts for a week, and can’t “mark all as read” because I might just miss the most best idea ever!)

I continue to “star” my favorite posts and every two weeks or so I add what I’ve found useful to me to this list. (All that takes me is about 5 minutes.)

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11 comments

  1. Wow, I have the same problem, and I’ve brought it up with non-teachers, where I wish I had some awesome way of organizing with the quick touch of a button everything awesome that I read.

    Luckily, GoogleReader does help with its star and search capabilities, but there are times, where I wish I could also merge these with my own ideas that I’ve jotted on my phone, tweets I’ve read, and other articles I’ve read in other places.

    Can someone create this super-teacher-aggregation Web site that I can send stuff too from Twitter, GReader, my cell phone, or any other thing that ever gives me ideas ever in life?

  2. Yes, Google’s got the search thing down. I rejoiced at the Gmail model where I didn’t have to worry about filing messages into folders and instead, assigned searchable labels. And Google Reader’s nice with its Starred feature. The ultimate help that I’ve found for this is actually Google Notebook. (Can you tell Google owns me?!) I hear it works a lot like Microsoft OneNote but I’ve never tried OneNote to know for sure.

  3. Google Notebook fan here, too! But sadly they’ve stopped development on it and they are allowing new downloads of it. I haven’t found a good replacement yet. I guess everyone is supposed to be collaborating with google wave, right?

    I have the same problem of finding stuff I want and also the opposite problem of finding too much stuff I want to use. I’m sure I’ll be using your filing cabinet often!

    While we’re putting down wishes, I wish there was a whole collaborative site on all the little mnemonics we use, like “All Students Take Calculus” for trig signs in each quadrant or the SOAP method of sum/difference of cubes (same sign, opposite sign, always positive).

  4. Sites that may help:
    Setting up a twine (twine.com) group is easy, then you can suggest posts that have the tips you’re looking for. People can subscribe to the twine just like they do a blog.

    Also I have heard really great things about evernote (evernote.com).

  5. Instead of starring things in my Google Reader, I have started using the tagging feature for the blog postings that I really like. This helps me easily find them again because they are sorted by the tags (like in Diigo or Delicious).

  6. I like using Delicious. I can use as many tags as I want to label any post, so a post about using GeoGebra in High School math that I want to follow up on when I get a chance might get 5 different tags. I can also search in my Delicious sidebar in my browser.

    Note: This doesn’t replace my Google Reader, but helps me organize my readings that I think are valuable.

    I like your Filing Cabinet, but for my purposes, I like being able to file items in multiple locations and still manage them easily. Delicious (i use the add-on for Firefox) does this for me.

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