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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Think Pink:Dear Katie (V1#7)



From time to time I plan to encourage my niece Katie in her pursuit of being a teacher.  She is currently a Sophomore in college.  These blogs will take the form of a letter.

If any of my teacher friends have any topic you would like be to write about or would like me to paste your own post on here for her or anyone else to read, by all means, please be my guest.

Dear Katie,

I am not the most organized person in the world (ask your grandparents and your mom what my bedroom was like as a kid), but in one area I have been consistently organized, the color of my tests and quizzes.  PINK.

Why pink?  It is not because I like the color.  I will admit I did wear a pink polo shirt in the late '80's with the collar popped.  This wasn't because of a love of pink.  I wanted to be cool and hip...trust me, I wasn't cool and hip with a pink shirt on.  Real men don't wear pink, at least not this real man.

When I first began teaching, I had a problem with student's talking during tests, particularly in one class. Willing to try anything, I remembered reading an article in Sports Illustrated about University of Missouri basketball coach Norm Stewart and how he painted the visitors locker room pink because he heard it calms people down.  I decided to give it try and it appeared to work.  So I began running off my tests in pink for that class.  The pink tests started a trend.  Since I taught multiple courses, each class began to receive a color for their tests, blue for US History, pink for World History, yellow for Civics, etc.

At my current position, I only teach one course, six times a day, so I chose to stick with pink for all the soothing and calming thoughts it supposedly evokes.  Since I have never completed a scientific study, Im not really sure pink tests work.  It has other benefits.

One thing you will not be prepared for as a teacher is the sea of paper that will seemingly flow unendingly into your classroom.  I swear, sometimes it feels like a tidal wave (and sometimes my desk will look like a swell of paper about to crash on to the floor).  In this tsunami of paper I can point out my tests because they are pink.   

And now I create my handouts for a unit all in one color (except pink).  So when a student prepares for a test, I can say, "Study all the blue notes".  (And this helps me keep straight all the notes the students have in their notebooks).

For being the kid who always had to bum a pen or pencil from some sweet girl in my classes growing up, I'm amazed with myself for stumbling upon this organizational idea.

And the more organized you are, the more time for planning and preparing the next great lesson.

Just My Opinion,

Uncle Kevin



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